The Daily Prompt: Geek

This post was written in answer to October 30th’s daily prompt: “Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.”

Simple enough:

1. Let’s pick the obvious choice for this blog: Geek;

2. Let’s Google search it;

3. Count to eleven;

4. Result:

It’s THAT photo.

The one I have been seeing in the Google search results every time I type “Geek” in the image search. The one that isn’t a flattering representation of geeks. The one that I don’t much enjoy looking at, for some reason. Mind you, I don’t enjoy looking at anyone fixing a computer in their underwear.

The image is located on a website called Geektionnaire: Dictionnaire pour Geek! The description that precedes the photo isn’t negative or denigrating at all. It might mention that Geeks “escape” through science-fiction, fantasy, etc., but also focuses on their extensive knowledge, passion and active communities.

So why join such a strange and off-putting photo to the definition of the word around which the website rotates? Could it be that the authors (the website is a collective dictionary) aren’t proud geeks, or are they simply kidding around? I feel like emphasizing on negative images and stereotypes of geeks can only further marginalize us.

On the other hand, some might say this photo represents a portion of the geek population, and that it wouldn’t be honest to act as if it didn’t exist. That may be so, but there has to be a balance between exaggeration and giving an accurate representation of geek demographics. And while we are on that note, let’s keep in mind that many geeks are girls. They are certainly greater in numbers than what most people think. Few images in the search results pictured girls and most of the ones that did were either unrelated, disrespectful or related to fashion, since geek chic is in.

Additionally: why would anyone allow themselves to be photographed this way? Just wondering.

About Marie-Pierre Renaud

I am an anthropologist living in Quebec city, Canada. I specialize in native studies and anthropology of health. I am a geek. I founded and now co-manage The Geek Anthropologist blog. I am working on transforming my memoir into a book and journal articles. I like to knit while watching Star Trek. Reach out to me for collaborations!

There are 11 comments

  1. alexis

    Hi everyone 🙂 I’m here thanks to the visitors you bring to my Geektionnaire, so thank you :p
    and I’ve to say that I choose this photo because I think it represents what most of people think about geeks, and it’s a sort of derision of us (I’m a geek and I really don’t look like him) and I am also really proud of the geeks, it was just for kidding 🙂


    1. thegeekanthropologist

      Ne t’en fais pas, je ne doute pas que c’était un peu l’objectif puisque ton site est consacré à la culture geek!

      Self-derision can be healthy as long as it doens’t further reinforce stereotypes. Since what you wrote is pretty positive, I felt this was most likely your objective. Still I tried to write something that could explore a little about negative stereotypes of geeks. After all, the person who put that photo online did it to mock someone.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. rarasaur

    😀 I posted this in the daily post comments, but just wanted to say again for good measure… I’m glad you tackled this photo– that picture always bothers me! I don’t look like this guy, except for maybe having a roomful of computer parts and a cat watching from the corner… but all my geekery is done with dignity!


    1. thegeekanthropologist

      😀 Thanks for commenting! Respects to your cat and your computers and every last bit of geekiness in you!

      As I commented before, I don’t even judge that much that someone might want to sit down on the floor in undies to fix and computer (must not be comfy however). What I don’t get is why anyone would allow their photo to be taken at that moment!
      Ans just like you, I’m a very dignified geek!


  3. Arianne Z.

    I have been in the same position as the guy in the photo. I just can’t imagine doing that in just my underwear. Just thinking about the dust makes me itchy =)


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