Take a second and think about the word “nerd”. Who do you picture? What are the characteristics of a nerd? Do you know any? Why would you call them that? I know lots of people, myself included, who self-identify as nerds. When I identify myself that way, however, it’s not negative or derogatory. Instead it reinterprets a social construct to easily identify many of the things I enjoy. Some people would look down on those interests. Others do not. I don’t necessarily think the term nerd is still meant to be all out derogatory as it used to be, but those underpinnings are definitely still there. Shows like Big Bang Theory propagate the stereotype but at the same time make being a nerd cool. However, I would imagine that many of the people who think Big Bang Theory makes nerds cool are people like myself. I don’t know. What do people who more identify with Penny’s character think about people who more identify with Sheldon’s character? Both are exaggerated caricatures. What is the reality of interpersonal relationships among these sorts of people in real life?
When I think of nerds, I think of people who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy novels. They play video games and strategy card games and are excited by science and math. They “geek out” on spreadsheets and enjoy role-playing games. MMORPG, PWN, l33t, and hax0r are not foreign terms. Now, do you think of me as one of these people? Because I am. I also probably own over 20 pairs of shoes and purses. I appreciate a 5-hour shopping trip and want my accessories to all match. An outfit is not complete until I’m wearing eye liner, I have a 5″ tattoo, and as I’ve posted before, I thoroughly enjoy wearing fishnets. Now, is that what you think of when you hear the word nerd?
Check out this link for some other people who participate in a fairly significant element of “nerd” culture. What you may find is that nerds aren’t really who you think they are.