Between the Medieval and The Modern

April 9, 2013

Fly Your Geek Flag Proudly!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frau Magda @ 9:21 pm
Tags: , ,

CTRF09_538There’s an article making the rounds on my Facebook feed today, So I’m marrying a reenactor. At least four people I know have posted it and I just saw it posted on another reenactor’s blog.

*sigh*

I’d like this article a whole lot better if the first half wasn’t all about how horrified the author was when she found out her crush was a reenactor, and about how ashamed he was about the hobby when on their first date, after four drinks, she blurted out, “Have you ever done reenacting?” “When Daniel confessed, my gut reaction was, FREAK!!!” It annoyed me when the author almost broke her arm patting herself on the back for being broad minded enough to agree to marry “a freaking reenactor.” Describing her lone trip to a renaissance faire as a “freak show” didn’t help my mood either, as she managed to insult two of my favorite weekend activities in a single article.

Now I ask you, what is wrong with reenacting? Is there something wrong with learning skills like how to build a fire, tie knots, do woodworking? Is learning to sew/mend your own clothes somehow objectionable? Do people object to learning how to safely handle firearms? (While I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of guns, I heartily approve of firearms education. The one common thread that runs amongst all my friends that I consider to be responsible gun owners? They are all reenactors.) Is spending time outdoors with your friends wrong? Or is it the time spent teaching children (and adults) about history that’s the problem? Maybe it’s the fact that reenactors actually spend time remembering our military veterans, or regularly volunteer to march in Memorial day, Fourth of July, and Veteran’s day parades? Would someone please tell me, what’s so objectionable about reenacting?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with reenacting. NOTHING.

But the thing that bothered me the most about this article? The shame. The author describes a “clandestine” world of reenacting where everyone seems to be ashamed of their hobby. “Most reenactors who give a damn about their reputation outside the battlefield are mighty hesitant to reveal their historical alter-egos.” “It’s definitely not something I go about broadcasting,” Daniel says today. “There are a lot of negative stereotypes out there that give the hobby a bad name. You don’t want to be thought of as some unreconstructed, gun-loving nut trying to refight wars.”

I won’t deny that there are probably negative stereotypes about reenactors. My question is, why does the reenacting community allow these stereotypes to continue? Why would you let someone make you feel ashamed about something that you love? Do you know what it’s called when people try to make you feel ashamed about doing or being something that doesn’t harm anyone else?

It’s called Bullying.

And that’s probably how all this started. At some point in the past, some high school kid probably decided to taunt some other high school kid because they had an interest in history. And because the bully was probably a popular kid and the target was probably a nerdy kid, the mocking spread. I’ve seen it before. It happens to just about any hobby or interest that is even slightly nerdy or geeky.

How do I know? I am a geek and a nerd. I am a reeanctor. I attend renaissance faires. I love Star Trek and Star Wars and own costumes for both. Yes, I sew costumes and wear them on days of the year that are not Halloween. I read comic books. I ride a motorcycle. I play with swords. I read fantasy and science fiction. I am college educated. I am overweight. I am a woman. These are all things that someone, at some point, has tried to make me feel ashamed of. And you know what? There’s no reason for me to feel ashamed about any one of them.

Maybe it’s because my first experience with shared public geekery was as a member of Star Trek fandom (where William Shatner legitimized bullying Trekkies in his Infamous 1986 Saturday Night Live sketch, something for which I have never forgiven him). Or maybe it’s because the only people who have ever tried to make me feel ashamed about the things I love doing are people that I have come to realize are bullies. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been spending time reading inspirational quotes on Tumblr that remind me to be true to myself, stand up for myself, and be the best person I can be. But any time I see someone duck their head and mumble about a thing they love, it makes me angry.

So what to do?

You stand up for yourself. You take back the thing that you love. You refuse to allow anyone to tell you that your hobby is anything less than awesome. Fly your geek flag proudly! I love this quote from Simon Pegg (Scotty in the new Star Trek) about being a geek:

1BeingAGeek

***
Relevant link -> Contact Hypothesis – The idea that positive personal interactions are one of the most effective ways to overcome prejudice.

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