What To Do When You’re Too “Pretty” To Be A Nerd
Don’t let people “box” you in.
As society tries to progress and grow to be more inclusive, I’ve came to accept the fact that no matter the progression, people are going to stereotype others. It’s just apart of life. From personal experience, within a few minutes of meeting someone new, most people have already crafted a narrative of who I am and it’s often completely different from what they’re expecting. I wouldn’t say I’m super into fashion, but I am a lover of make up and this *for some reason* throws people off when they find out I’m a complete nerd.
When most people hear about my passion for video games, or my nostalgic attachment for the anime characters I grew up watching, or that I like comic books- Im often graced with an odd look or a snide comment that usually goes something like…..
“Really? you don’t look like a geek/nerd”
And until recently, I didn’t know how to respond. Someone questioning your interests because of your looks is one of the strange realities of today and I honestly wish people would stop trying to put others in a box.
Growing up, my Saturday nights were often spent watching Dragon Ball Z, sailor moon, or going through temples in ‘Ocarina of Time’. I’ve had my geek badge for as long as I can remember- however it was really difficult as a black female nerd to find my place in geek culture and even more specifically the gaming community. I distinctly remember the N-word being thrown around in online gaming lobbies and no one would bat an eye… The level of cringe in the gaming community was incomparable and ultimately made me feel unwelcome.
Outside of my group of friends, no matter how far I ventured into the world of geekdom- I never felt like I belonged. Never. I always felt like I was an outsider looking in. I would geek out to my friends about my interest but never felt comfortable sharing with anyone else because I was often met with disbelief or a weird series of questions that made it seem like I had to prove myself as a true fan of whatever the “geeky” subject matter was. Fast forward to now, I realize I’m not the only one. Being a woman of color in the gaming world can at times be a bit annoying in the sense that either people who think your interests aren’t genuine or your not a “hardcore gamer” bc you haven’t played XYZ…. nevertheless, we have to realize that even though this medium has a history of catering to males, it’s changing and becoming more inclusive.
Recently I decided to step out of my comfort zone and I went to a casting call for Rooster Teeth
They were seeking gamers for a broadcast production called ‘Tuesday Night Game Fight’ and at the audition, no one looked like me.. While standing in line, people asked me why I was there and *get this* if I even played video games which to me was extremely offensive since we were all in line to be auditioned for a show that centered around video games. Once again, I was being placed in this box because I didn’t look like them. Fortunately for me, I ended up being casted for the show and I have to say being apart of it was such an amazing experience because for the first time I felt like I was apart of the gaming community. I received so many positive messages and it reminded me how much representation matters.
I would like to encourage others and say it’s okay. Our looks are going to be criticized no matter what we do. Don’t let others put you in a box, their criticisms and opinions do not define you.