We Haven’t Moved Beyond “Fanboys?”

So here’s how the news Atomic Blonde would screen for select attendees at San Diego Comic-Con was presented to readers of Deadline.

I had to shake my head when I saw the headline. “Fanboys?” Really? Are we still on this? Are we still of the opinion that SDCC and other geek culture events are dominated by lonely males in the throes of arrested development who just like to shitpost about movies they don’t like for the lulz? I thought we were past this.

As someone who’s been to Comic-Con five times in the last seven years (I was covering it for work, of course) I can tell the audience is infinitely more diverse than the stereotypical “fanboy.” Not everyone there is trying to tear down remakes of their childhood favorite franchises. There are comics fans, there are movie fans, there are anime fans, there are horror fans. Not just men but women of all ages, all there engaging in the fun, whether that means attending panels, showing off their Batgirl cosplay or anything else.

This is a rich, multifaceted community that I was honored to engage with for a number of years. Sure, you’ll find some people who seem to be the real life incarnation of Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons,” but in my experience that’s not even the majority of attendees.

If you’re still using “fanboys” as your shorthand for the kind of people who go to San Diego or any other geek gathering, you need to update your style guide. Not only is it outdated and derogatory toward passionate fans but it’s also obviously more than a little sexist. Not everyone there is pulled from the set of “The Big Bang Theory.” Let’s just do better next time.

Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.