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On Geekdom and Bullying...

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Hey everybody, Rick here and I am not the type to really get fired up about things because I try to keep things light on the site as much as possible.  However, an article so offensive from Men's Fitness came out last night that I had to comment on it and attempt to keep things civil because I simply refuse to sink to their level.  I will NOT post the link to the site here because they don't deserve the traffic on their site because of this.  The article in question essentially singles out people who are at the convention and may or may not appear out of shape and makes fun of them in an incredibly cruel and hurtful way. 

Here are some excerpts and my comments on them...

Comic book conventions are among the few remaining refuges of sincere, unaffected fun in an otherwise odious leisurescape of extreme binge drinking set to techno or gun claps. They're enjoyed by people of literally every age, ethnicity and economic disadvantage in celebration of the stories and characters on which they were all raised. It's a bully-free zone in which underwear is in no danger of violently wedgie-ing its wearer and freak flags are free to fly. Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of costume play, or cosplay.

A bully-free zone?!?  Bullies exist everywhere. Even at conventions.  They simply stay quiet because they are outnumbered by the geeks and they have no ground to stand on.

This year, attendees all appear to have colluded in advance to imagine the most popular heroes and villains of comics, movies and anime as doughy, sickly, weak, infirm or, in the most impressive examples, morbidly obese. What we observed was a testament to the imagination and resourcefulness of the comic book fan, a live "What If?" comic, if you will, contemplating how our heroes would look close to death.

And right here is where I especially take offense because the writer of the article proceeds to show pictures of cosplayers who are in costume but then does what I feel is absolutely hurtful and heartbreaking.  He proceeds to make fun of the people in the costumes.  I continue to lose hope in this society and this this no exception.  These cosplayers are not close to death you ignorant jackass.  They are more full of life than you know.  They are proud of who they are.  They don't care what they look like and they wear their geekdom on their sleeve.  They are my people because they are proud of their individuality.
Individuality.  That's a great concept that I have firmly stood behind.  

These people are individuals.  Just like the writer of this article, just like the editorial staff of Men's Fitness, and for matter of fact, just like me.  Each and everyone of us have the right to look how we want to look.   I think back to part of the reason why I started this site and I came across something that I wrote back then.  Even before there was a USG podcast... 

All geeks are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, and the pursuit of geekiness.
I still firmly believe in that.  

Point is, there was no reason for the writer of the article to let loose on his cruel and insensitive comments the way he did in his article.  That is bullying and, as someone who was bullied and ridiculed for all his life (including now) about the way he looks and sounds, it is something that I will NEVER stand for.  

I know I look funny, I sound like Ray Romano, and I am tall and awkward but you know what?  I like who I am.  I like the fact that I can dress up as a Spartan from 300 (if I wanted to) despite being overweight.  I don't care how I look.  I have a wife and a son who love me.  I have friends who are also geeks and who think I am a pretty cool guy.  I like me. 

Bullies have no place in my life.  

Bullying is something that needs to be stopped.  Kids are starting to commit suicide because of things that bullies say to them and things that bullies do to those they feel are less superior than they.  Not cool.  I remember being bullied to the point of  tears all through elementary school through high school.  I would never ever wish that kind of treatment on anyone.

The Facebook page for Men's Fitness says in the response to thair article to please have a sense of humor.  Here was my response... 

"Please try to have a sense of humor"?!? Look Men's Fitness, this article was not funny. I have a sense of humor but perhaps some of the people who you essentially tore down in your pictorial do not. Your article was not funny. It is proof that there are bullies in the world and instead of us moving forward as a human race, we continue to digress into stupid, blissfully ignorant arrogance.

I am trying to be civil about this but it is extremely difficult because I have been bullied all my life about my appearance so to you Men's Fitness and all bullies out there I say this. We out number you "beautiful people" and you are uglier people because you feel it necessary to tear down people who do not fit your ideal. You are ugly on the inside so the beautiful image you project is merely a mask you wear to hide the ugliness within.
I had an angry hate filled rant aimed right at the writer of this article but then that would lower me to your level. I pity you. And that is the biggest insult I can give you because of your ugly superficiality and your desire to bully those who you feel are not to the ideal of what good looks are.
This kind of vitriol has gone far enough.  We are all humans.  We are all the same genetic code yet we are all different.  We look, act and feel different.  We love different things.  We are all geeks about different things.  It makes us unique in our own way.  It is what makes us who we are.  We all have the right to live our lives however we want to do so.  All kinds of bullying, especially cyberbullying which gives the victim little to no chance to respond pisses me off in ways I can't even begin to describe.I am going to get off this soapbox because I don't like to write about this kind of stuff in the site but I felt this needed to be addressed because this has made me so fired up about it that I can;t even think straight.  I welcome comments and discussion here on the site but PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL.  Be good to each other.  That is all I need to say.  Thank you for reading. 
The internet is a wonderful resource for learning about bullying and how to help prevent it.  If you or someone you know is the victim of bullying be it in person or cyber, PLEASE do not let this go quietly.  Take a stand, get friends family, police, teachers, clergy, anyone you know who can help you involved.  Make it stop!  Life is too short to let a bully get to you.  You are better than this and no one deserves to be treated in that manner.  Here are some sites with more information about bullying.

Anti-Bullying Network
Government Anti-Bullying Site


It's so easy for someone at a magazine to snap some photos, sit comfortably at a desk and type words of hate and cruelty without so much as a single thought as to how the intended victims would feel.

This bully is a coward. Let him step up to my face and tell me how I, or any of my fellow Cosplayer friends, should dress.

To me, he is someone who makes himself feel good by tearing down others and that is just sad.

I was really surprised by the viciousness of that article, though I suppose I shouldn't be, since I was bullied all throughout school as well. I guess I just hoped we'd progressed beyond such openly insulting statements being printed. I'd be willing to bet that article's author was one of the dumb jock so-called "cool kid" bullies that used to give wedgies and stuff the "nerds" into lockers. And a lot of those people never grow beyond that level; they're stuck in high school forever. Sad for them, really. And clearly this writer has never been to the conventions I've gone to, where there are just as many gorgeous, extremely attractive cosplayers as there are unattractive ones. Some of the most beautiful people I've ever met are geeks, and some of the ugliest are "cool kids."

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