#NoWallNoBan: When Nerds Protest Our Signs Are The Best

The cover image for this article is by Maryne Lahaye. You can buy the print or t-shirt here.

I have been going thru it, these last two weeks. We all have, haven’t we? I mean, being a Black American has always been living life on hard mode (understatement understood here), but that was before some absurd percentage of my fellow humans went to their ballot boxes and voted for someone who’s been openly supported by the Klan and the (infinitely punchable) Nazis. Something’s changed on this side of the inauguration for me, something permanent. But that’s a different post. The Women’s Marches on the Saturday after the inauguration were a bright spot, even interwoven as they are with so many problems. To combat the rising tide of bad news, I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit flipping through pictures of marchers all over the world, admiring their tenacity and their humor. Here’s a thing I noticed:

[quote_simple]We nerds were out in force.[/quote_simple]
There’s been plenty of think pieces about how superheroes are the mythology of this generation. Judging from the signs, costumes, and catch-phrases coming out of these marches, it isn’t just superheroes — science fiction and fantasy characters have their places in the new pantheon as well. Their images and names have become true memes, elements of culture passed from one person to another, shorthand for constellations of meaning and emotion that would otherwise be too complex to convey without a 2-hour conversation. Here are my favorite nerd protest signs from the last week. Share your own sign if you’d like with us on Twitter be prepared to up your sign game for the next march, because if there’s one thing I know, it is that there will be more protests. We won’t stop.

McKellen with Cap Picard
This picture has LEVELS. Captain Picard’s facepalm has become the definitive image for “whoa, I need a minute to handle this bullshit foolishness”, and here it is held by his friend (co-mutant and co-Sir of the Realm) Ian McKellen. This is like looking into the nerd mirror and seeing that the mirrors just keep reflecting each other.

You knew Bitch Planet was going to make this list, the Non-Compliant logo is ready-made for feminist organizing. Here it is combined with an explicit theme from the comic (and one that more of the marchers probably could have learned from).

Supers were of course everywhere, with Captain America showing up frequently in my timeline.

Caps Shield Kills Fascists

But Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel is becoming just as prevalent in the patriotic but defiant superhero category.

Kamala for President

The Hispanic Federation featured La Borinqueña on their signs, and she looks ready to save us all, whether we deserve it or not.

Hispanic Puerto Rican Super Hero Signs Lannisters

This one gives me a giggle in that,
“If this is Game of Thrones, we’re all gonna die” kind of way.

#Truth Indeed, Octavia did. A photo posted by Nnedi (@nnediokorafor) on

If nothing else is true, this is true.

Perfect Set up here
This isn’t one poster but two, with all props going to the photographer who composed this shot so perfectly. However, it is worth noting that while Princess Leia has been a minor feminist celebrity for years, since Carrie Fisher’s death at the end of last year, she’s been used in an array of anti-imperialist/fascist statements. More than the men in those movies, she’s becoming synonymous with principled, serious — and successful — resistance.

imperialist bullshit

Last one, neither nerdy nor funny, but it needs to be said:
feminism is intersectional or it is nothing.

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  • L.E.H. Light


    Editor, Writer, Critic, Baker. Outspoken Mother. Lifelong fan of sci fi/fantasy books in all their variety. Knows a lot about very few things. She/Her/They.

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