There are a couple things you need to know about my family before I continue this post. Firstly, we are all geeks here, especially in relation to movies and TV. All of our favorites are cartoons and/or contain swords or lasers or both. Both my husband and I grew up as geeks and have been indoctrinating our children it the world of geekery since they were born.
As you may know from some of my other posts we have three young boys, which means at my house we don’t get to watch a lot of “grown-up” TV. Until recently it was mostly Nick Jr. Dora and Diego would compete for attention with SpongeBob and Patrick (my kids still use the word ‘barnacles’ as a curse word). So you can imagine how happy I was when the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon came and not only did my kids like it, but it was also amazing! I took to watching it with them and we recorded it so they could watch it whenever they wanted until the DVDs came out. (If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it now. It one of the best cartoons I’ve seen in years!)
Not once did anyone I know have a problem with me watching a “boy’s show”. I’d grown up with TMNT. It was a given that I would end up watching it with my kids. The fact that I was a girl didn’t come up even once.
Then a month ago, I noticed my boys were spending a lot of time on Saturday mornings, watching Netflix with my husband in his office. I finally decided to go see what they were up to and found them all laughing away at the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Now before I go further I would like to point out that not only did I like My Little Pony as a kid, but I have the video tapes of both the original pilot episode and the My Little Pony movie that went to theaters long, long ago. When my boys were a lot younger, the movie was one of their favorites. They watched it all the time. If you haven’t seen it and are a fan of 80s cartoons you should check it out. (Seriously Danny DeVito and Madeline Kahn are two of the many awesome voice actors.)
Anyway, based on all this what do you think happened when I caught them watching the new series? To my shame, it wasn’t what you think. I believe I said something like, “Oh, you guys are watching that show.” Then I rolled my eyes and walked away.
Over the next couple of weeks, both I and my friends (mostly guys) ragged on my husband about it whenever the show came up. I was okay with my kids watching it. It was a kids’ TV show after all. But the fact that my husband liked the very girly show too was (in our minds) a good reason to pick at him. Being my husband, he would mostly stick his tongue out at us and say something to the effect of, “You don’t know what you’re missing.” or “I can like it if I want to. It’s good!”
Not once did it occur to me that this was something I shouldn’t be doing. After all, it was a “girl” TV show. Boy’s shouldn’t like girl’s TV shows.
It took me far longer than it should have to have this epiphany, but it suddenly occurred to me a few days ago that if I could watch Ninja Turtles with my kids (and sometimes by myself) why couldn’t my husband like and watch My Little Ponies? Yes there are some extreme portions of the MLP fanbase, but that’s pretty much true of every fanbase these days. And as long as he wasn’t keeping pictures of Twilight Sparkle on his nightstand, what was wrong with him enjoying a well written cartoon with the kids or on his own?
Well, the answer is there isn’t anything wrong with it. I was guilty of making fun of him for the same thing that boys made fun of me for doing as a kid.
“You can’t like Transformers! It’s for boys!”
The hell I can’t! You try and stop me! I can like whatever I want. And if other kids made fun of my boys for liking MLP, I’m sure I would have words with them or their parents as well.
So yesterday I apologized to my husband. And I intend on sharing this with my guy friends so they stop picking on him too. My house is now (as I thought it was before) a bully free zone. Everyone in my family is free enjoy whatever shows, movies, comics, video games, etc. they want.
And that should be true in all aspects of our lives. It’s the different flavors of geeks that make our culture truly awesome. No one has the right to tell someone they shouldn’t like X or that they aren’t liking X the right way. There are enough bullies in the world. We should be supporting each other not knocking each other down.
So next time you get a chance, show some geek love to a group you normally might avoid. Because whether you like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony, always remember geekdom is magic.