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Interviewer Swaps Usual Convention Questions To Find The Real Fake Geeks [VIDEO]


Jennifer Landa decided to do some investigative journalism at San Diego Comic-Con to sort out this whole “fake geek” issue. And she enlisted help from our good friends Andre Meadows and Dr. Andrea Letamendi!

I never recommend reading the comments but I find it hilarious several folks on YouTube missed the satire part of this whole thing. For instance: “Yeah, I hate to break it to you, but most of the female cosplayers aren’t any nerdier or geekier than the males you accuse of fake nerdom. I find your video incredibly derisive and insulting.” Ah, life.

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  • zid

    This is brilliant. This is absolutely brilliant, and awesome, and absolutely true. This ‘Fake geek’ thing needs to die in a fire. It’s like any scene where you get people who call others ‘posers’, it’s just a bunch of self-hating, insecure people who have decided that they’re going to make up for what they perceive to be their own failings by either being derogatory towards others, or by holding certain individuals to impossibly hard to meet and unrealistic standards.

  • Anonymous

    I love that this video starts off as a spoof, but then really manages to get to the heart of the issue. As geeks have sort of “finally” come into our own, we resist when we see a guy who looks like someone who used to knock our books to the ground or a woman who looks like the girl who rolled her eyes whenever we spoke now dressing up and joining in on “our” fun. We just need to get over that. I’ll admit that I still hold a bias against many people who have propped themselves up as “professional geeks” in order to capitalize financially on the geek culture. (This group actually consists of more “fake geek” guys than “fake geek” girls.) However, it’s something I need to let go of as well, because most of these folks end up getting sucked in and become “legit” geeks as well. Not that “fake” or “legit” really matters that much, anyway. (Hence my liberal use of quotation marks.) The fact that we, as geeks, were so often excluded is the very reason why we must never, ever allow our world to become exclusive.

    Excellent piece. Sharing.

  • Why?

    Yes, but should Jennifer Landa paper mache dress be welcome at the cons? Just kidding..she pulled it off.

    http://www.mitng.org

  • Anonymous

    I’m always a bit torn on the whole “fake geek” thing. On the one hand, people who get all territorial and obnoxious about their fandom are annoying and a little pathetic, and the frequent sexist undercurrents when the term gets applied to women is totally unacceptable. On the other hand, though, there really are people who only get into something when it becomes popular and then move on to the next big thing whenever that popularity wanes. They’re not “fake”, exactly, but the draw for those folks is clearly the hype and the communal enthusiasm, not the underlying subject or activity itself.

    Basically, “fake geeks” are the same as “fair-weather fans” in sports. When a formerly lousy team starts winning and looks like they’re going to make it to the championship, all these “fans” start coming out of the woodwork, buying team jerseys to wear around, painting the team symbol on their faces, going to big game-day parties, etc., but they don’t actually know anything about the team (or sometimes even the sport) and don’t really care about or identify with it. They just enjoy being part of the excitement.

    And that’s fine, of course. It’s fun to be on the bandwagon, even if you’re only along for the ride, so what the hell…the more the merrier, right? Still, it seems silly to argue that there’s no difference between the people who are just there for the party and the ones who are genuinely invested in and passionate about the underlying activity or subject matter.

  • http://adventureinepisode.tumblr.com/ DarthBetty

    My friend said that someone told her she should dress up as Harley Quinn for Halloween and my immediate response was to yell “NO YOU CAN’T DO THAT” She knows nothing about HQ. She’s not interested in reading comics (I’ve tried). She may have seen the animated series? She would turn it into an opportunity to dress as provocatively as possible.
    The obsessive fandom culture is becoming more popular and *gasp* cool? This is thanks to in part main stream television shows like the big bang theory, and blockbusters. Fake Geek Girl is totally a myth, but people being fake about anything just to be on the “what’s cool bandwagon” I still have problems with. I hate that this is immediately associated with women. I am all for people being new in fandoms, but the part of me that was made fun of and socially exiled because of my obsessive fandoms wants to require her to watch/read something with Harley in it.
    I’m thinking I’m going to have to bite my tongue on this one, because it is not my place to tell her what to do with her body. It is also my place to not judge her for wanting to dress up like an abused and sexualized DC character she knows nothing about. But I really feel like she’s perpetuating this myth. My brain is all over the place right now!

  • Anonymous

    My question is really, why does anyone care? See the thing that bugs me about the fake geek witch hunts is part of it always struck me as well…some bizarre form of revenge. People who got made fun of for liking superheroes or Star Trek or Game of Thrones in high school relish the opportunity to be jerks to people now that those things are considered mainstream and “okay to like” and I don’t know, that always struck me as kind of petty?

    If your friend wants to dress up as Harley Quinn because she things it’d look awesome then there’s no reason to shame her or scream “No!” because she doesn’t read comic books. I’m sure there’s a helluva lot of people dressed as Dracula or Frankenstein who can’t tell you anything about the original novels, after all. These characters are icons.

  • Anonymous

    See and I’m reminded of an incident on Tumblr I saw where someone got called out for making a bunch of really misogynistic remarks about female cosplayers and as they kept digging themselves deeper it became abundantly clear they were projecting their own issues into the situation and treating it as some bizarre grade school “Oh, so now the popular girls are pretending to like what I like!” revenge scenario.

    And know what? Bullying sucks and is never cool. As someone who put up with it for years I can tell you how damaging it is and people who’ve had to live with it have my sympathy. But being bullied for being a nerd does not give you a free pass to turn around and be an asshole just because your precious fandoms have now become mainstream. That makes you no better than the kids who were picking on you in high school for liking LOTR in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    The only problem I’ve run into is that I get overzealous when I see someone that likes something I am extremely passionate about. Then the person disappoints me with their lack of enthusiasm or passion about the geeky item. I guess it’s the same reason I don’t like wearing all the sports stuff my husband gets me. I don’t really follow sports and then there’s the awkward conversation when I run into a super-fan or super-hater.

  • http://adventureinepisode.tumblr.com/ DarthBetty

    Yeah, it’s like this insane nerd hulk that I’m suppressing because I know to some degree it’s stupid. I’m sure there are those who would relish the opportunity to be harsh, but I am not meaning this was my intent. It’s not an opportunity to be mean to someone who kinda maybe seems like someone who picked on me when I was 8. (Apologies I’m not trying to mock your words at all)
    It’s more of that I have specifically spoken with her on numerous occasions about characters and I guess “fandoms” and she’s really disinterested in them. It’s not a vengeful process for me or perhaps even other people. It just irks me incredibly that a person ignores something they may like because it is not incredibly popular at the moment.

  • Anonymous

    Well played.

  • Allison

    People who get into stuff after it’s become popular aren’t necessarily following trends on purpose. Things usually become popular for a reason: they’re awesome! And when an awesome thing gets a lot of visibility, more people are going to see the awesome thing and go “hey, that looks awesome, I’d better check it out!”

    They love said popular awesome thing just as much as the “original” fans that found it when it was still obscure, there’s virtually no difference. And if someone really is just following a trend to be “cool,” they’ll leave soon, so there’s no use ranting about them or spewing unnecessary negativity trying to smoke them out your clubhouse.

    As for fair weather fans, you try living in Boston when the Sox are going to the series; it’s wicked hard not to catch the fever! Some people who are drawn to the Sox during that time become fans, others kinda forget about them once the excitement dies down, and there’s really no sense in hating people who do that. Just like what you like, and if anyone should be kicked out of your fandom, it’s the assholes who are actually causing problems, not the people who you assume like it for the wrong reason.

  • Mandy

    “”She would turn it into an opportunity to dress as provocatively as possible.”"

    See I still think of Harley’s original costume (the best in my mind). The original isn’t very provokative at all IMO. It may be form fitting but everything, literally head to toe, is covered. Unless of course she only knows about the modern costumes from the video games and the reboot and definitely fall under the more provokative label. Either way, what’s it matter if she does only use their character’s costume as a way to dress “sexy”? Does it smear the character’s name forever? Does it cast a bad light on every single Harley fan? It sounds like you probably should go with your guy and bite your tongue on this one. It’s unlikely that most people will even know who she is in a modern Harley outfit anyway. All you can do is try to explain your enjoyment of the character (if you like her that is, some ppl don’t), or offer to share your comic-y knowledge with her. I don’t think people like her do anymore damage than people dressing up as Wonder Woman. How many people know more than the basic pop culture knowledge about WW? How many just watched the TV show but have never touched comics in their life? I bet plenty of people just like the costume.

    I mean I kind of feel you on the “”perpetuating this myth”" thing. But I really think we (fandom/fans/ect) need to step away from this idea that only Real Fans can dress up like XYZ. Or you can only dress up like XYZ if you have some kind of minimal amount of knowledge of said character or universe. QueerJock2′s example about Dracula & Frankenstein is a good example. You don’t have to know jack about Dracula to dress up like a sexy vampire. So let’s run with that and say you don’t have to know jack about superheros to dress up as Batman.

  • Anonymous

    I guess this is as good a time as any to admit this, but QueerJock2 I want to be you when I grow up. I want to experience a world where every internet comment I make is intelligent, insightful, and causes everyone else to think “I wish I had written that.”

  • Anonymous

    I get what you’re saying, but I’ve found that I can’t really get worked up about someone not being as invested in a property or culture as I might be. Some people are just drawn to “hot properties,” and I’m not sure it’s fair to judge them negatively for it. For some the experience of discovering something new IS the thing, and when that new toy gets a little old they move on to the next thing. As long as they’re not ruining it for me or anyone else who chooses to experience that thing on a deeper level it’s all good to me.

  • Anonymous

    Coming from a big sports fan, I have to admit that all “conversations” with super-fans and super-haters are awkward. Even for us.

    I do hate the Dallas Cowboys, though. Those guys can go fall into a Sarlacc Pit for all I care.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe dressing up as HQ is “the way in” for your friend. Some people won’t pick up a comic book to save their lives but will watch superhero movies. Some won’t invest the time to watch a series like Walking Dead but enjoy hearing their friends go nuts talking about it. Maybe for your friend a few compliments on a cool HQ costume might inspire her to learn more about the character…and next thing you know she’s out there buying up all the HQ stuff she can find.

    Nerd Hulk: “Don’t make me nerdy, you wouldn’t like me when I’m nerdy…”

  • Mina

    I kind of get that. I mean, when you find someone who loves something you love, there’s that sort of instant bonding. So when you see someone dressed as a character you love, there’s a moment of “Oh my goodness, they love [character] too! Best friends foreverrrrr!!!” And if it turns out they don’t actually really know anything about the character, or worse, don’t care about the character at all, there is definitely a sense of disappointment, and it’s easy to let the disappointment turn to anger. But on the other hand, who knows? Maybe this will be the time that they decide they actually ARE kind of interested in this thing they’re dressed as and they just need some positive reactions to their costume to move them in that direction. If anything, fan hazing of this sort just pushes possible new fans away.

  • Porst

    It’s especially sad to see geeky guys complain about being single, but also complaining about women being geeks. Hello, it gives you something to talk to her about. But then, I guess if you put every woman you meet on a pedestal, you’re not even good at conversations about things you like.

  • Anonymous

    This all sounds like a great opportunity to self-reflect :)

  • Brian

    My girlfriend and I were invited to a Batman-themed Halloween party, and by the time we RSVP’d, all the good female costumes were spoken for. So she, not being a comic fan or knowing any of the characters, searched the internet for female batman villains, and decided on Inque, based pretty much on her name and look. She then asked if I could show her something about Inque, so we watched the Batman Beyond episode “Blackout”. She loved it, and we wound up watching the rest of the series together, then Justice League. So yes, her “fake geek girl” costume was a pathway in for her.

    I was Killer Moth!

  • Kamil Kukowski

    First of all, anyone wants some attention. taken that part away we can discuss the whole “fake geek” and shoot it down a blackhole saving the rest of the ship, shall we? No… oh, i guess we’ll have to throw it down the pits of Moria and never speak of it. A geek test, is a paradox since everyone would fail it, if asked ‘ the right question” For example? A likes te witcher game, but haven’t read the books, B likes the books, but haven’t played the game; who would pass the geek test? No one, unless Noone is a surname (I’m sorry for that Librarian reference). But if someone creates a costume, some research must be done, meaning money will go to the creators and to places costume materials can be bought, meaning more of it, will be created; geek hate is another form of bullying. And let’s face the three-headed monster; female geeks (for lack of bether terms and wanting to save my keyboard from a little bit of key smashing, I’ll use that adjective)… I see no problem in sharing the geeky world with people that don’t smell as bean-inducted-farts. you can call me Cp.Obviouus but empirically speaking 100% of female geeky population can be described as pretty) . Stop the hate, and let’s roll that twenty-faced dice.
    P.S. I would ask you to make me a sandwich, but that would imply I want you to show a sign of affection towards me. and besides… my sandwiches bring the carebears to the yard

  • Emily Krebs

    “She may have seen the animated series?”

    You do realize that Harley Quinn was jointly created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, meaning she actually comes from the animated series. The comics version is the derivative. So if she has seen the animated series and wants to dress like her, she’s in no way jumping on the ‘what’s cool bandwagon.’ The most “authentic” version of that character is the animated one, not the one in the comics.

    And so what if it’s becoming more mainstream? That just means more monetary support for what we like. If the “mainstream” audience hadn’t liked Iron Man, you think we’d have ever gotten the awesome that is The Avengers? See it as an opportunity to talk and share what you like, not to viciously and angrily hoard it. So she won’t ever read the comics? Maybe she’d still like hearing about the stories, though. Here’s your chance to tell her about them.

  • Emily Krebs

    Uhh, perhaps you yourself are satirizing here (forgive me as the internet derives posts of tone, so hard to tell), but what you’re saying is precisely the point that she was trying to make. She was satirizing the community of people who have popped that that like to shame girls for being “fake geeks.” She did this by turning the behavior back around on a guy to highlight how stupid the notion of “fake geekdom” is in and of itself. Purpose of this being: everyone likes and enjoys certain things to varying degrees, regardless of gender. The degree to which you are a fan of something should not exclude you from its community just because fan elitists say so.

    Totally agree with you on supporting more geeky gym guys, though. Ha!

  • Anonymous

    You mean “it’s wicked hahd nawt to catch the fevah?” : )

  • zid

    I’m sorry it took so long for me to say how much I love your comment <3

  • Anonymous

    That guy deserves credit for that costume.