Halloween has come and gone, and I didn’t see a single person dressed as Harley Quinn. Oh, I’ve heard the prophecies: fake geek girls who have never even READ the comics will be out in droves, wearing -gasp!- store-bought Suicide Squad Harley Quinn costumes!
Tremble ye nerdy, and despair.
Now, obviously, my experience is anecdotal. I’m sure someone reading this is thinking, “well I saw like fifty Harley Quinn’s!” Unless you were at a convention this past weekend, though, I’m willing to bet that you really only saw two or three before confirmation bias set in.
Still, the fact stands that almost every single one of those girls were just dressed as Harley Quinn because of the movie. They’ve probably never even read the comics! They just saw a funny, sassy “clown” with her Juggalo boyfriend and thought, “hey! I could stumble around drunk in that for a few hours for attention!” Right?
Eh, maybe not…
Look, I get it. When I was in my early 20’s, and “geek culture” was starting to become mainstream, I hated the fact that the people who made fun of me in High School were now professing love for the very things they once teased me about. Especially when they seemed to have only a superficial understanding of their supposed newfound loves.
So what brought on this sudden interest in geekdom to begin with? The obvious answer, of course, is the Internet. Specialized chatrooms, and community sites like Livejournal, brought fans together during the early days of the Internet. It’s no stretch of the imagination to think that some of those fans kept their nerdier interests private, leading “everyday” lives until they could get home and obsessively blog about the latest episode of Buffy. But, now that it’s “OK” to be a nerd these days, they no longer feel the need to hide their interests.
And even if they really did only recently discover the fandom of their choice, is that really such a bad thing? Everyone has to start somewhere. The girls dressed as Harley this year might use the movie as a gateway to the comics. Besides, no one has ever cared this much about the millions of men (and women) who dress up as Batman every. single. year.
But maybe you don’t care about any of that. Maybe you want your favorite things to fall back into obscurity, where Becky can’t taint them with her conventionally attractive little hands.
…do you really, though?
I’ve heard some people say the greatest benefit to the “rise” of geek culture is the increase in availability; not just the influx of science fiction and fantasy entertainment, but also the merchandise. Oh, God. The merchandise. Do any of you remember a time when you couldn’t even buy a t-shirt for your fandom? I do. In my day, we used to have to walk to Hot Topic uphill, both ways, just to buy the single Sailor Moon shirt they had! Tough luck if your favorite character was Sailor Mercury; they only have Sailor Moon.
Now, I can get a TARDIS-themed shower curtain, an R2-D2 cookie jar, and a pizza cutter that looks like the Starship Enterprise. What a time to be alive.
These days, I’m fine with how geek has gone mainstream. In fact, I’m more than fine; I’m pleased as Hell. One of the hardest parts about having nerdy interests growing up was the feeling that you didn’t really belong. Now, it’s easier than ever to feel a sense of belonging, and isn’t that a good thing?