Less than 20 years ago, the term “nerd” was typically used in a derogatory manner, conjuring images of loners with acne playing on computers in their parents’ basements. But as nerd culture has entered the mainstream, the definition of “nerd” and “geek” have evolved dramatically. Both can now refer to someone who is passionate about technology or particular subcultures, from Star Wars to anime, gaming, LARPing, and beyond.
With the rise of nerd culture comes an opportunity for proud geeks to make a difference in the world. Nerd culture is, by definition, accepting of the individual, without prejudices that are based on race, class, sexual orientation, or other demographics. Anyone can be a hardcore fan or self-identify as a nerd or geek.
In fact, nerds may just be the original social justice warriors, fighting the status quo by fostering a culture of inclusivity and acceptance. Nerd culture may also have a positive impact on the environment, and the “cosplay is not consent” campaign has brought widespread attention to the topic of sexual harassment. Let’s take a look at various social issues that are being addressed thanks to nerd culture.
Recycling, Waste, and the Environment
Many celebrities use their status and wealth to promote social issues, from human trafficking to conserving the environment. Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Degeneres are especially giving when it comes to environmental issues. The formereven founded the eponymous Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which supports various environmental causes, including wildlife conservation.
If celebrities can use their fame to help address and curb environmental issues, why can’t nerds? In fact, nerd culture has already made an impact on waste reduction. Film and TV production is a wasteful industry with a large carbon footprint. According to Columbia University, a movie with a budget of $50 million produces about 4,000 metric tons of CO2. Further, many props, costumes, and sets are diverted to landfills once production wraps.
That’s where nerds come in. At various conventions, including San Diego Comic Con, movie props and costumes have become a cottage industry, with nerdy fans willing to pay top dollar for authentic items from their favorite fandoms. These coveted items, therefore, are kept out of landfills and may help bring light to the issue of waste reduction.
Conventions themselves have also become a hotbed of environmental awareness, especially in San Diego. The city’s annual convention is the largest in America, taking place at the San Diego Convention Center. The venue is a pillar of sustainability, using 100% LED lights for energy efficiency. During the 2018 event, the venue recycled 50 tons of cardboard and supported fair trade practices among its food and souvenir offerings. Fair trade business principles promote economic stability, human rights, and the independence of disadvantaged producers.
Along with environmental issues, nerd culture is also a champion of inclusivity, but we still have a long way to go. For example, mainstream superhero movies are now a cornerstone of nerd culture, but the majority of the films in the immensely popular modern Marvel Cinematic Universe feature primarily white cis males. And that’s problematic, especially considering the diversity of comic book superheroes.
When the X-Men were first introduced, their various mutations and the community they found in each other helped bring hope to the oppressed and those who didn’t fit into mainstream culture. Yet that message of acceptance has not been fully realized in mainstream society. It seems that every time someone who does not fit the white, cis, straight paradigm is cast in a superhero film, there’s immediate backlash.
Misogyny and Sexual Harassment
Nerd culture takes the issue of inclusivity a step further by promoting equality and fighting against sexual harassment and sexism. That’s not to say that these issues don’t exist within nerd culture: In fact, Claire Del Sorbo of Fordham University declared in 2016 that “nerd culture absolutely does have a problem with sexism.” Del Sorbo used the death threats sent to gamers Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu by male gamers in 2014 as a glaring example of sexism within gaming culture.
Sexism can also be seen at conventions and similar gatherings, but the “cosplay is not consent” movement is working to help end the problem. First introduced at New York Comic Con in 2014, the campaign erected signs that reminded attendees that touching or taking pictures of cosplayers without their consent would not be tolerated.
The concept of consent itself is of paramount importance within nerd culture and society in general. With STD rates on the rise in the U.S., nerd culture must be willing to help foster a culture of safe and consensual sex, with honest communication and education as a priority. The fact is that hookups and consensual sex are a big part of nerd culture, especially at cons. Thus, promoting awareness of safe sex and the need for periodic STD screenings within the nerd culture is of paramount importance.
Nerds Can Change the World
By continuously addressing social issues like waste reduction, sexism, and consent, nerd culture can make a real difference. It’s time for nerds to merge their interests and passions with activism and awareness to help make the world a better place.
Back in 2014, the Gamergate scandal made headlines. At the time, internet trolls launched a series of harassment campaigns targeting females involved in gaming. As stated in an article in Marie Claire, the harassment included “doxxing, hacking, and warnings of death and sexual violence on social media and IRL.”
Instances like these raise a question that remains relevant today: Why is the prospect of women in the gaming industry so controversial? Let’s take a look:
San Diego Comic Con is like the Nerd Holy land. Nerds from all over the world gather to socialize, network, get the latest news, see celebrities and of course, find awesome loot. Well Toynk Toys is here to give you a heads up on what they’ll be bringing to SDCC. You can be sure to find more of the best quality, officially licensed items that you’ve come to expect for Toynk Toys. X-Men, Avengers, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Fallout 76, and much more will be represented at SDCC. Have you gotten your SDCC tickets yet? What the heck are you waiting for??
Few scenes are as iconic as the first lightsaber battle in Star Wars: A New Hope. Darth Vader and Obi-wan Kenobi, arch-enemies, facing each other one final time. When later we learn of their true relationship, it makes that scene even heavier. Of course, it was the first scene of its kind and the choreography was… Lacking, to say the least. Especially when faced with the stunning work we see in future films. But fans over at FXitinPostdecided that it could be … well. Fixed. They took the heart and soul of the scene and reworked into something that does better justice to what the scene could’ve been.
May The 4th fast approaches, and as any Star Wars fan knows, so do the Star Wars sales. Few franchises can match Star Wars for their merchandising. Plushes. Mugs. Toys. Costumes. If it exists as a thing in the world, it has a Star Wars version of it. If you’re looking for the next Star Wars collectible to grace your collection, look no further thanToynk Toyswith their new Star Wars May The 4th Be With You sale. Great prices for quality collectibles for any fan of Star Wars. Whether your Original Trilogy die-hards, New Trilogy lovers, Star Wars animated series buffs, couples, families, chefs, pets, Toynk Toys has everything you didn’t know you absolutely needed. Offering up to 60% off on over 800 of Star Wars products (figures, accessories, home goods, etc). It starts 5/3 and ends 5/6.
By now any Star Wars nerd worth their salt knows about the ominous laugh at the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer. The laugh is an ill omen, a portent foretelling the return of Emperor Palpatine. Some fans are excited about the return of the villain of both the previous sequels. Some aren’t so thrilled. Is this a legitimate end to the Star Wars saga or merely a cash-grab to put butts in seats? Does this bank on nostalgia to sell tickets or has Palpatine played a role since The Force Awakens? Either way, it’s clear that the return of Darth Sidious will be yet another point of contention between fans.
The yearly Star Wars Celebration, the huge convention in Chicago, for those unfamiliar with it, is here and with it, there’s plenty of new merchandise out. Some of these items are exclusive to the con and, thus, are sure to become collectibles. From mugs to pins to plushes there’s a lot to take in, so consider this your guide to the new merch and what to snap up while you can. (more…)
Today, just moments ago, during the much anticipated Star Wars panel, JJ Abrams, along with Kathleen Kennedy, unleashed the first trailer for the most anticipated movie of the year: Star Wars Episode IX, now, offically, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and, hot fucking damn, it is everything every fan could hope.
Before we get to any sort of breakdown, it’s time that fans see what JJ Abrams has been keeping up his sleeve.
What do you think of the new trailer? What are you hoping to see in the final episode of the Skywalker Saga?
In 1978 Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca And R2-D2 came out as toys, the first ever Star Wars action figures. The box also contained a diorama display stand, some stickers, and a Star Wars fan club membership card. But in 2017, Carl Cunningham committed one of the biggest scandals in the collectible toy world. And while it happened only 2 years ago and caused such a ruckus within its community, a lot of fans never heard of it. Before his scandal, Cunningham was a trusted name among collectors. What could he have done to lose so much? It started with fellow collector Zach Tann and a very rare, very sought after figure. And Cunningham’s secret to how he obtained his rare finds…
Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, announced that the new Disney streaming service will be called “Disney +“. Among the original works being added to the service are a reboot of High School Musical, an original series based on Monsters Inc, and movies such as Noel, starring Anna Kendrick as Santa’s daughter, and Togo starring William DeFoe about the 1925 Nome Serum Run. But what content does NerdBastards such as you, dear reader, care about? With the acquisition of Fox, Disney bolsters their content library. The 2019 launch of Disney + is still a few months out, so more news could pour in at any moment. But with access to Marvel, LucasArts, and Disney libraries, even without Fox’s considerable properties, there’s a lot for fans to look forward to. Rumors abound, but Mr. Iger was kind enough to confirm a few things.