It wasn’t that long ago when being a geek was something to hide. Or at least not something to advertise. I was a Star Wars an as a kid, but I didn’t talk about it growing up, nor did it come up as a young adult. And I didn’t explore much else in the way of sci-fi or supeheroes.
And then the first Iron Man movie happened. I don’t know if that was the catalyst for everyone – likely it had been building for a bit – but it was for me. Suddenly, there was a quality film about superheroes with a big star. And there was the promise of more to come.
And did it ever. In the past 10 years, the world of geekery has exploded like never before – we can make or break a movie in a single weekend. More than that, we can make or break a franchise. The most anticipated movies, the biggest summer blockbusters, all involve superheroes now.
So what do we do with this power? Is it not time to use it for good?
Imagine if we worked toward fixing the problems in our community as readily as we jumped to debate the merits of Marvel vs. DC or Star Wars vs. Star Trek.
There is rampant misogyny, lack of consent, exclusion of people of color, exclusion of people of size. And there’s no reason for any of it.
Are men so fragile that their masculinity cannot withstand a quality, female superhero? Are men so weak that they can’t leave a woman alone, regardless of what she is wearing as cosplay? Are white people so insecure that they can’t share space with people who don’t look like them?
Unfortunately, yes, those things are all true.
But we have the power to stop it, to turn ourselves around, police ourselves, and make the geek community better. We have to be better than this. We have to be more inclusive. We have to make our spaces safer. We have to talk about our problems, and then do more than simply acknowledge them.
We have a lot of power, we geeks. We also have a great responsibility.