Felicia Day

“That is not what Geek means to me. We are more than the hobbies that we do or the things that we like. To me, Geek means an outsider, a rebel, a dreamer, a creator, a fighter. It’s a person who dares to love something that isn’t conventional.”

What does it mean to be a geek? Are geeks defined by wearing pocket protectors on their shirts and having tape on their thick-rimmed glasses? Or is there something more to it than that? What about the geeky ways to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, as opposed to the more conventional ways that someone might enjoy that sunshine?

You might remember Felicia Day from such TV shows as Supernatural, Eureka and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She has built up a reasonably successful career for herself and she prides herself in being a gamer and a geek. However, in the quote above, she also tells us that being a geek means that you are inherently an “outsider” and a “rebel,” but is that really the case? While there are some definitions of “geek” that say it is a person who is unfashionable or socially inept, this Venn diagram begs to differ.

Geeks, Nerds, Dorks and Dweebs

It may have once been true that the term “geek” had negative air about it, but with the rise of the Internet and the mass appeal of video games, movies, science fiction and comic books, that has changed. “Geek” is a term that is now embraced by many; indeed, in some of my bios and social media profiles, I describe myself as a professional gadget geek. To this end, it is perhaps more accurate today to say that a geek is someone who simply has a very enthusiastic interest in something. And that something could be almost anything.

You have people who call themselves film geeks and they’re the kind of people that would know everything there is to know about the world of cinema. They can tell about how one director has had a history of destroying franchises and why such-and-such an actor was robbed of an Oscar in 1983. You have comic book geeks and gaming geeks. Heck, as a child, I was even something of a dinosaur geek. The thing is that these areas of interest aren’t really all that unconventional anymore. Lots of people like movies, books, video games and dinosaurs.

And to this end, simply having an interest in something isn’t really enough to make you a “geek.” Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that a geek borders on obsession with that certain something, having a level of knowledge and expertise that far surpasses the general population. We all like music and we may know a few things, but the grunge geek can name every member of every grunge band from the 1990s. That’s something else entirely.

Are geeks rebels, dreamers and fighters? No, not necessarily. I’d almost be more inclined to say that the stereotypical image of a geek is more passive-aggressive than being an outright fighter, but maybe that’s just me. I’m not really a geek geek, you know.