The Californian

The evolution of geekdom

What was once unorthodox is now mainstream – geeks are taking over Cal High

Priyanka Krishna, Staff Writer

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High school was once a cliquey place. 

There were the jocks,  art kids, mean girls, and geeks. The geeks, with taped glasses and backpacks overflowing with papers, sat on the stairs playing card games while passersby shamelessly snicker from afar.  

In an era where Star Wars and Minecraft has had a tremendous impact on our generation, it is hard to believe that these interests were once looked down upon.  

Once deemed notoriously uncool, geek culture has shifted into the spotlight of widely accepted pop culture. 

Video games, comic books, and superhero movies are loved by everyone, old and new fans alike. People wear the label “geek” like a badge of pride now. 

“I grew up with superhero characters to look up to. I didn’t always have these types of figures at home,” said senior Joshua Guadalupe-Wilson. “It’s always great to know where a good person should morally stand.”

These bold characters started to become more popular because they are an inspiration and role model that kids, teens, and sometimes even adults follow. 

The social status of geeks rose when geekdom introduced new and creative forms of entertainment and activities to society.

“It would probably have something to do with when the internet became a big thing and geekdom went along with the rest of the switch,” said senior Logan Schluntz. “These nerds, all of a sudden, became technological experts, millionaires.”

Google, Apple,  and television were created by these so-called geeks and are essentially the center of the world today.     Video game lovers are not exclusively the socially awkward kids with a record score on Pokémon Go anymore. They are the kids that have gone vogue in society. 

The thriving geek community, which was once shy to share their interests, are embracing their originality and are celebrated as more people join the movement. An increasing number of books and movies are catered toward geeky topics. 

“It’s cool to see everything evolve and adapt and change to fit the times,” said Guadalupe-Wilson. “I’ve read comic books from the Steve Ditko era and they’ve adapted it so well to today that I still enjoy it.”

Current books and movies are often action packed, while incorporating science fiction and the supernatural, the central ideas of geeky comics. 

This movement has not only become more popular, but the meaning of it has evolved from a stereotype into a more broad spectrum of ideas. 

“The most commonly used definition [of geek] is knowing a lot of random information about some sort of obscure universe,” said AP European History teacher Ryan Cook. 

Geekdom is not simply the obsession with comic books or board games anymore. It is now having a talent for a hobby and pursuing it, regardless of whether it follows the norm.

“To be a geek is to just be really passionate about what you enjoy,” said Schluntz. “It tends to be about things like Dungeons and Dragons and cards, but I’ve also heard of people who are geeks about other things like theater and football.”

The standards of society have become more inclusive overtime, therefore making geekdom more accepted by the current generation. 

“Anyone can be a geek in their own special ways,” said sophomore Sharanya Sharma. “Being a geek isn’t something to be ashamed of, it is a way of self expression.”

Events like conventions are now based on a more wide variety of ideas, instead of just comic books. There are now conventions that focus on sci-fi, anime, technology, and literature.

Some schools such as Dougherty Valley and Monte Vista  are starting to provide AP literature classes that include sci-fi novels of different eras on their reading list. 

Gatekeeping, a way to exclude certain groups from geeky interests, also used to be very common among geek culture, particularly against women. They were isolated from fandoms if they didn’t meet the standards of being a true follower. 

Geekdom used to be very male dominated, whereas now there are more women showing interest in geeky topics. 

“Now that people can accept that geekdom can be interesting to everyone, especially women, more girls can express their geekiness,” said sophomore Alina Naveed. 

New superhero movies such as “Black Panther” and “Wonder Woman” have made geekdom in the entertainment industry more diverse than ever. 

Over time, geekdom transformed into a drastically different concept, creating a substantial impact on society.    

“It’s people doing what they enjoy and it’s becoming more popular,” said Schluntz. “It gives them easier access to do what they like.”

High school was once and will always be a cliquey place. But times have changed and geekdom has spread. 

The kids sitting on the stairs playing Dungeons and Dragons are on the rise.

No one is snickering anymore.

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
The evolution of geekdom