Public Geekiness

I run a style & adventure blog called A Geek Tragedy where I primarily document my daily outfits, my travels and sometimes I rant a little at the universe. A new reader commented on one of my recent posts saying, “Wow, I was expecting a little more geek and a little less tragedy.” Ouch! But he made a valid point, my life hasn’t been a walk in the park lately and I suppose a bit of that has seeped into my writing.

I titled my blog A Geek Tragedy when I was in college and spent my free time glued to FFXI Online or pixel art forums. I had a lot more free time then to build on my geeky hobbies. I even made money as a freelance pixel artist and web designer (separate occasions) for a while. Now, I work multiple jobs, attend grad school full-time and attempt to make a concerted effort at maintaining my hobbies and social life. I can definitely say my “public geek” has taken a backseat to other pursuits — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

If you proclaim yourself publicly as a geek, especially on the Internet, people expect you to constantly reaffirm that assertion or you are deemed not “real” enough (something Mia touched on in her post). Although I may not seem geeky enough to the Internet, or anyone who doesn’t know me well, my boyfriend (someone who knows me pretty well, I’d say) recently asserted the exact opposite. On Valentine’s Day, while I performed a self-coordinated dance to Chumbawumba and talked about someone re-tweeting my Star Trek joke, he said I don’t wear my geek on the outside, but it’s “definitely there.”


I blend in. I’m stereotyped as a lot of things, but never a geek. I’m blonde, bubbly, a dress wearer; most often people ask me if I was a cheerleader in high school. I always inform them that no, I didn’t cheer. I was, in fact, a newspaper editor who went to LAN parties. Due to the apparent disconnect people sense between my online persona and my blog title I’ve thought about re-branding my blog at various points. Yet, I always end up coming back to it because A Geek Tragedy is accurate. It’s a part of me, it’s who I am – and I am definitely not going to change my blog title because I am not publicly geeky enough for the Internet.

About the author

Abby was obviously born in the wrong time period as she spends most of her time reading Jane Austen novels, drinking Earl Grey and pretending to be a character on Downton Abbey. Professionally, she’s a teacher, grad-student and blogger who writes about geekiness, travels and pretty dresses at A Geek Tragedy.  — Find Abby? Twitter ★ Blog

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  • Sarah Destrehan

    I totally identify with what you're writing here. I'm a lot more reserved about my geek passions in the public sphere, but the people who know me well, now the depth of my geekness.

  • abitofgeek

    Part of the problem that I've found is that stating it *too* often ALSO raises eyebrows and cries of 'faker!' For example, I wrote an article about how I feel my glasses tie into my personality and I fear that lasik (which would be nice) would cause me to lose a part of myself. I went into detail regarding my background and why I self-identify as a gamer and a geek. The first (and only) reply I got was from a guy who told me that geeks and gamers don't call themselves geeks and gamers, and that since I cared about my appearance I *clearly* identified more as a hipster than a geek.

    If I hadn't explained my background then readers would have no understanding as to why I identify as gamer/geek, yet this man took it as me forcing fake credibility. It's really a lose-lose situation with some people.

  • abitofgeek

    It's hard to truly say would would/could be, but I think it's reasonable to assume that if a person is going to take any sort of stance then it makes sense to provide a little bit of background (that way the reader has a reason to believe them, you know?). I, obviously, don't feel that I was being over the top about my words, but instead was painting a picture for the audience.
    For instance, your Cosplay 101 series would have zero credibility if what you wrote wasn't chock full of your experiences. Why should someone trust your input on the subject if you can't prove that you're a reliable source? As it is, you speak extensively of your cosplay adventures and that shows WHY we can and should trust your valuable input!
    I also firmly believe that if one of my male writers (both bespectacled) had written the article instead of me it would have been received VERY differently!

  • Megan R

    This is super timely for me! I just changed the name of my new blog because I decided I didn't want to be locked in to only talking about geeky things.

  • Erini

    I hate that pressure to try to prove ourselves or that we have to continually work to "earn" our geek badge. I wish we could spend more time just enjoying our passions together. I'll admit that I sometimes stay out of certain circles or refrain from various events because I'm nervous about not living up to someone else's standards. Which is dumb. I should be able to just go out and not love what I love without abandon or hesitation.

  • Mia Moore

    Yeah, totally! I always want to know that I'm reading something credible, haha. I can't wait until we eradicate the fake geek stereotype though :)

  • Mia Moore

    Yeah, I personally was like that for a while with comics – that area in particular seems so intimidating! I've had bad experiences, but most people aren't actually as bad as you'd think, and my good experiences way outweigh the bad. But I totally understand where you're coming from – it's a real issue.

  • abitofgeek

    That'll be a wonderful day!

  • Elyse Anderson

    Ugh ugh ugh, exaaaactly! I was just thinking today that I feel weird saying that I'm a geek because I don't wear t-shirts that have to do with my interests and I don't really hang out with a geeky crowd or talk about my interests all the time. I collect comic books and play video games every day, but I just happen to present myself in a way that has nothing to do with my hobbies.