Dudes criticizing cosplayers' personal attractiveness on Kotaku makes me miss the days when nerds supported other's outsider status. - Ken Levine
Geek culture has become somewhat elitist, which is ironic and sad if you consider its origins. - Brian Sharon to Levine
These two tweets made me realize how true this is. It's sad and horrifying at the same time. I'm seeing it in me, in my friends, in conventions, all the time in the internet... Why are we doing this?
I set myself as an example. I used to be anime and manga nerd, but eventually I become bored of all clichés which repeated themselves from series to series. Then I found the delights of western comics and started to look down on anime nerds. I found anime childish, storylines and characters sexist, quite racist and morally wrong, and full of recycled characters, story archs and so on. But why should I care? Western comics have same problems, all the same problems, just in different package. The are gems in both genres. I still love many anime works. But the point is: comic and animation geeks still like the same genre, just different niches. Why did I lift myself on higher position than them? I ditch many series because they're anime/manga, because of course they include all the things and clichés I do not like. Why? They might be the best series I'll ever watch, but I miss them because it's anime/manga. I'm so stupid.
Cosplaying is one of the best examples in this. We look down on bad cosplayers, especially if they are doing the same outfit as you and not as well, or there are mistakes, or he/she is not right race/gender/height/weight/bodytype or the worst: the costume is not selfmade! Gods forbid them. Why can't we just be happy that there's someone else who loves the character or series so much that they take their time, effort and money to create the cosplay? Even if the costume is bought they are quite expensive. Why we look them from the distance judging and bitter, while we could go there and talk, or just smile or wave a hand, or take a photograph together? Acknowledge eachother and be glad.
I've been in this situation in so many times I can't even count. But I've started to change, and I'm glad. In my recent conventions I saw a cosplayer who was doing same outfit I was going to do too. First I felt bitter, but after questioning myself why I was feeling like this I went there, talked to this person and we had amazing conversation about the character and what we thought of him/her. I had no reason to be bitter, I was just happy that I met a nice person with same thoughts and likes as I had.
Most of all I'm a gamer, but I haven't noticed so much elitism in games jet in my part, please correct me if I'm wrong though, I want to end this once and for all. But I see it all around me. Mobile gamers < casual gamers, casual gamers < hardcore gamers, console gamers < PC gamers, girl gamers < boy gamers, (insert game genre) < (insert other), the list is endless.
I feel like great bit of this elitism come from my previous experiences. I remeber being this little anime/j-rock nerd, dressing out-of-mainstream in small school and damn I was bullied for this. I felt bad, who wouldn't? Even in high-school this happened in some extent, even though people were much more open to 'weird' things. We were all good friends, even though I was teased a bit about my likes and quirky fashion sense. Even now in university I feel slightly ashamed and cover up the fact that I collect toys and play videogames, read comics and cosplay. I don't know what the one's who know this think of me likes, but they've been always interested and open and nice about these things when I talk about them. Still I feel like a second class citizen. (My class does not include any geeks in the usual context of the word, situation might be different on otherpeople of course.)
My first conventions and meet-ups in 2005 were amazing experiences. I did not feel bitter, I was young and new (so was the whole scene), and so delighted to find so many people who shared the same interests. I was no longer that one weird and kooky girl. But years went by and my elitism grew little by little. I guess after all those bad experiences and being looked down on I just became one myself when the opportunity stroke. I wanted to have the right to look down on people, since people have always looked down on me. So while in 'normal world' people look down on us, in our 'geek world' we look down on 'lessergeeks' because we want to feel to be the better ones. For once. But we're not, we're even worse. And this has to stop.
This's why I'd like to apologise now to everyone I've looked down on for stupid reasons. I'm sorry, and I'm going to change.