The Stigma Of Being An Adult Nerd

I’ve been away for awhile, I got sucked into the glorious, bottomless pit that is the world of manga and anime. The older I get the more wonderful, nerdy things I discover. Nerding out is way too much fun. It totally transcends all other hobbies. I could write a whole article on how manga is the highest form of art (I will. Coming up next.) I could go for hours about how video games help people connect and build creativity and imagination.

There is a certain stigma that goes along with being an adult nerd. I’ve always said so, and will stand by my belief on this one. According to professional society, appropriate adult hobbies are things like: photography, hiking, and traveling. (everyone says their hobby is traveling, especially people who don’t travel.) Answering the question in public, “What are some things you do for fun?” With “I like to play video games, watch anime and go to Comic-Con.” Always seems to go over awkwardly.

Why is that? Why do people turn up there nose at adults who enjoy this particular group of hobbies? Why is gaming considered a waste of time? The online gaming community is vibrant, and a great way to connect with other people, have fun with friends, and experience new worlds all through your computer screen.

Why is anime considered to be something that is only enjoyed by men in dark basements? Because it’s different? Because it’s animated? We have countless American animated shows, Bojack Horseman, Family Guy, Archer, which are hardly worth watching compared to some anime such as Attack On Titan and Knights of Sidonia.

Why is cosplay considered weird and childish? The amount of time, effort and ingenuity that it takes to create such amazing costumes is astonishing. It is true talent and creativity.

Am I the only one that feels like its “not okay” to talk about nerd hobbies in public? That feels like I need to find a “regular person” hobby to do on the side, to seem normal around other adults? That I should take up fishing or posting selfies on Instagram? Am I alone here?

Help me out my other nerd friends. Does this happen to you too? Let me know your thoughts. I’ll be wading through Persona 5 and waiting to hear from you.

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20 thoughts on “The Stigma Of Being An Adult Nerd

  1. The one thing I’d bring up there is the cosplay thing. My wife often says she just doesn’t understand why people cosplay, and my response is “Why do sports fans where jersey’s of their favourite players?” It’s essentially the same thing.

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  2. Of course, the first thing you need to abandon is any association with the ‘nerd’ label. You must insist that you are recreationally more advanced than the average person, and superior to those who have not progressed into the possibilities for expanding the imagination that now exist.
    Not that it’s that new. It is an extension of the ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ played in the woods decades ago.

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  3. I’m a very open anime fan and just about everyone I know knows that I am. Even strangers on the streets know I’m an anime fan because I always have anime merchandise with me. With that being said, I have many friends. I have a lot of anime friends, both in person and online. I’ve never dealt with stigma being an anime fan throughout my life, and that includes my current life as an adult. People are pretty accepting and they know that I cosplay. They have seen me fan girl over anime boys and they treat me the same. I can’t relate to how you feel. :/ I think perhaps it has to do with where you live?

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  4. You are not alone in this struggle. I have family and friends who just don’t understand and place me in a “one of them nerds” box. Even my comic book blog gets very little support from them. It is frustrating that other adults can have their special thing that they are interested in as long as it fits the “normal” mold. However, I feel that it is up to me on whether I let it bother me or not. I’m thankful for the internet and Comic Con’s for helping me to find others who I can relate too. Sorry to vent!

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    1. Thanks for the comment, and it’s good to know that someone else relates. I’m working towards not letting it bother me, to just be me and attract people like me and not care what people think!! It is really hard when people look down on you though.

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  5. First off: great post! And to answer your question: ofcourse it happens. When I tell people about my hobbies they politely smile at me, and listen to me talking about it, but in reality I can hear them thinking ” that guy really needs to grow up”. And here is my answer to that: ” I will never grow up, and I could not care less about what people may or may not be thinking about my hobbies”. I love being a nerd, and I love diving into the fantasy and science fiction universes and all the great things that accompany them, such as anime, novels, comics, movies, tv shows etc. I’m proud to share my hobbies with like minded people, and I am never afraid to talk about it with people who aren’t nerds. In fact I don’t see a single reason why I should not do so, as it is nothing to be ashamed of. Some people like photography or travelling, I like the aforementioned things. And that will never change, even when I live to be 100 years old 😀 Well…this has me turning it into a bit of a rant, lol, but that was not my intention at all. All I can say is, keep enjoying your hobbies, as they are a part of you, and never let other people bring you down 😊

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  6. I think as you get older, you’ll care less about what other people think. It’s also in the way you approach things and others, though. I like video games, tabletop games, wrestling, etc and I’m pretty open about it including at work. On the other hand, I don’t pretend that others are going to care about what I like, so it’s about not being TFG when you talk to other people while openly wearing the Iron Man/Bullet Club/Soundgarden/Fallout t-shirt and letting others use it as a conversation starter if they’re interested.

    I do take issue with what Raistlin said above. Starting to talk to someone who doesn’t care about your favourite geek past time in detail about it is just as inconsiderate as someone else bombarding you about their favourite sporting team that you don’t care about. It’s rude and it turns you into TFG. Keep the conversation about it to yourself and others who are interested, whether it’s football or anime. Just basic social protocol.

    The other thing is that taste is personal. I personally don’t care in the slightest about Anime, but I love Archer. There’s no need to slag one off to praise the other. That’s where the ridiculous tribalism and infighting amongst different “types” of nerds/geeks/etc comes in, and it’s not really useful to anyone.

    Assuming you like things (music, TV. etc) across a broad spectrum and aren’t invested in the idea of being a “nerd” or “geek” for the sake of being “alternative” to the exclusion of just liking things that you might like, then you probably like some “normal, mainstream” things like Game of Thrones, Marvel Superhero Movies, The Walking Dead.. (yes, all of those are mainstream now – not something i thought I’d see in my lifetime, but there it is) – not to mention various music and bands that others like.

    Oh, and while I won’t call it childish, cosplay is *definitely* weird. But weird doesn’t mean bad. That’s an important life lesson. 😉

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  7. I love this post!! The stigma behind being an adult and being a girl when it comes to gaming isn’t fair!! Ive just started blogging and plan on writing quite a few blogs about my gaming experience, I would really appreciate it if you could check out my blog and follow?x

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