Our favorite con of the year has come and gone, and though our lives be crazy right now, we all made the pilgrimage to Anaheim to geek out over our favorite fandoms. WonderCon is a cosplay haven (but more on that later), a gathering of geek culture, and above all, a place to spend your money on things you love (namely: art and comics). Here’s a few things we absolutely loved about this year’s convention: 

MCM_ComicCon_London_h

This spring’s MCM Comic Con, held at the ExCel in London, welcomed 122,634 visitors over the course of the weekend, making it larger by 10,000 visitors than the previous convention held last October. Last time I attended, I was merely an attendee–there for the fun and cosplay. This spring, I attended as a member of the press with all that perks that entailed: namely, spending most of my Saturday in the press room with twenty other reporters, trying to get the attention of celebrities. While it is difficult to make oneself heard in such a crowd in such a short time period (each interview session lasted approximately 20 minutes), it quickly became apparent that most of us news outlets had a common mission: to emphasize diversity and inclusion in mainstream media and culture.

Earlier this week, the Collectress addressed the issue of fan appropriation and writer intent in a letter to TPTB. If you haven’t read it, go do so, tweet it, and then come back.

I’ll wait.

So, we have established that, as members of a fandom, we have the power to interpret textual meaning and those interpretations are no less valid than those of other fans or the writers, producers and actors. What I want to address is parallel to the idea of fan shaming–it is nerd privilege.

meme cr: uproxx.com
meme cr: uproxx.com

The 21st century is proving to be The Time of the Nerd. A steady influx of geek culture into mainstream society in the last few years has given the marginalized a face, a voice and a style that has suddenly become cool. With thick-rimmed glasses all the rage, comic book characters played by gorgeous men and women on the big and small screens, and smart as the new sexy, the “nerd” has been embraced by the media and popular culture. Suddenly, the nerds are at the cool table and, guess what? We are no better than the Mean Girls.

giphy

When I was a kid, I loved books and music of all kinds. I spent my time reading and writing, listening to music and trying desperately to fit in. I was one of 5 black kids in my high school graduating class and grew up in a multi-cultural family that tried their damndest to keep me sheltered from racism and sexism, even though I was an overweight black girl raised by a single, white mother. My favorite books, The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, Anne of Green Gables, were filled with people that did not necessarily look like me, but to whom I could relate. I learned to ignore color, gender, age in order to thoroughly enjoy many of the books and films I loved. As I got older, I fell in love with Batman, Star Trek and Indiana Jones and claimed the term “nerd” to help establish myself in a society that makes it difficult for a young, black woman to define her own identity.

This means my biases and cultural codes help create my experience in this particular subculture. I made a choice, like women all over the globe, to infiltrate a sphere typically reserved for (white) men and engage because I genuinely enjoy what is considered “geeky” and because, well, nerds have really awesome stuff.

Even if my story is nothing like yours, the unifying factor within the subculture of “nerd”, as I am to understand it, is the SUB–as in not prominent; having varying POVs, values and experiences than the larger group. Even if the larger group has appropriated our shit, you ask? Even if we can’t tell the real nerds from the hipsters anymore, you ask?

Wait. What?

You see, the problem with nerd privilege is us.