By Hadia Chaudhry
Growing up, it felt embarrassing to like anime. I was the only kid in my entire elementary school who enjoyed some good old shounen (male targeted) animes like “Dragon Ball Z” and “Yugioh.” Similarly, liking “Harry Potter” made me a nerd. Reading books in general made me a nerd.
Being a nerd back in 2007 was not pleasant, so I hid my interests as best as I could to avoid being bullied. It felt wrong, however, to have “friends” who didn’t share similar interests or appreciate the things that brought me joy. These friends would say things to me like: “Don’t you watch anything normal” or “That’s for boys.” It was demeaning to hear that from people who watched “Powerpuff Girls,” Pokemon,” and “Teen Titans.” Why were their favorite animated series accepted while mine were stigmatized?
Nowadays, however, nerd and geek culture has come a long way from being mocked to being widely accepted. Liking “Star Wars” is cool now. Being a Potterhead, a Harry Potter fan, is pretty rad too. Being an Otaku, someone obsessed with anime and manga, is still in the gray area of acceptance but watching some animes, namely mainstream ones such as “Naruto,” “Attack on Titan,” “Bleach,” and “One Piece,” puts you in a similar category as a Potterhead. The school even has an anime club for all the anime fans on campus.
The term “geek culture” has now become synonymous with pop culture. You can walk into stores such as Hot Topic and find t-shirts of your favorite geeky shows. Everywhere you look, you might spot someone sporting a NASA shirt or a “Star Wars” shirt. Liking things that are considered to be for “geeks” is not bad anymore. It’s easy to find friends who share a similar interests in them because these movies and shows have become very popular among younger generations.
For that reason, I’m now open about the fact that I like anime, “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” and even “Doctor Who.” With geek culture ingrained in pop culture, you no longer become an outlier in society.