Possibly the worst thing about joining a new nerd fandom is the aggressive gatekeeping.
Gatekeeping, according to Google's dictionary is: the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.
For nerd culture, it's access to an identity or fandom.
Let's get some things clear:
- You are a real fan of something regardless of how long you've liked it
- It is okay that you haven't liked it since the beginning
- It is okay if you have not read/viewed/played every bit of source material
- It is okay to like the new versions of things and not the old
- It is okay to like the old versions of things and not the new
- You can like and dislike things without needing to put others down about it
And perhaps that last point is at the root of the problem. I think it comes from a place of passion. People who enjoy "nerd culture" are really passionate about the things they like and are often not shy about taking to social media to yell about the things that they don't.
I think that kind of passion is a great thing. It's what keeps things like fantasy, comics, and sci-fi alive when it was once relegated to dirty basements.
But we need to take it easy on one another. We can, and should, embrace change in franchises we love because it means that more people can fall in love with it too.
I am heartened by The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill, which has taken off on Netflix. It has caused a surge of fans of both the books and the video games. The books saw the number one spot on Amazon's Most Popular Author rankings and The Witcher 3 topped the Steam charts despite debuting 4 years ago.
And so far, across social media, it seems like people are celebrating this win and ain't that how it should be? (Sorry, I felt feelings and my southern came out.)
So, my plea to you is to be good nerds in 2020. Be nice to other nerds and like all the nerd things! If you hate them, that's okay too! Just don't be a jerk about it.
Destiny Johnson is a digital reporter at KGW who likes her plants and her dog. She has a YouTube channel where she reviews comics, talks about movies and tries very hard to be a good nerd. She'd love it if you subscribed.