It doesn’t take a genius to tell that being nerdy is “cool”. It’s been this way for the last decade, with pop culture trends that were once considered “lame” exploding in popularity, and fandom merch being sold at practically every corner. Conventions are appearing all over the place, and old ones (Comicon, Wondercon, Anime Expo) are growing larger every year. In 2015, more than 150 million people in the United States play video games, with 42 percent of Americans playing video games regularly. The nerd is no longer a joke of a subculture.
But for some reason, the news didn’t seem to have spread to one small group, known as the “Gatekeepers of Nerdom”- a group of nerds who argue that nerds are incredibly oppressed, while at the same time zealously trying to disprove the nerdiness of others, particularly of women. They seem to believe that they’re still stuck in 1980, when nerds were the typical bully subject in films. They also seem to believe that girls won’t date them because they’re nerdy, even though they’re really just not getting dates because they harass every girl who shows signs of nerdiness, trying to disprove them wherever they can.
The Gatekeepers are a small group, but are obnoxiously loud on social media, appearing where no one asked them to. Trying to find the “real” nerds seem to be their righteous mission, making many hate them- making the group in turn see themselves as “greatly oppressed”. Acknowledging the ever-growing diversity of the nerdom in any pop culture media is considered to be “SJW bs” by them.
How do they persist? Well, the Gatekeepers seem to push this continuous cycle where they harass people, get made fun of for it, and imagine they’re oppressed, causing them to continue existing. There is also the issue of the purity complex, where minority groups in fandoms, video games, and other aspects will try and prove that they are the most “pure” of anyone else, who is fake because they aren’t. The purity complex is a toxic form of trying to prove realness, especially in the realm of nerd, where there is no real purity. The nerdom has grown so much that finding a “pure” version of a nerd is utterly impossible.
The fortunate thing is, at least, that no one takes the Gatekeepers seriously. How do you take them seriously, when they are viciously trying to “protect” a subculture like it’s still 1980? And their harassment is kind of hilarious in itself. They appear suddenly in your feed, ask a “trivia question” trying to prove that you’re not a real nerd, and get mad when you either answer it correctly or ignore them. They’re not much of a real foe. It is entertaining to watch someone interact with one of them, though.