I keep getting questions from people who don’t know me, why I would identify myself as a nerd.
“You don’t look like a nerd to me” “This is not what a nerd looks like” “Why would you call yourself that?”
These comments make me chortle a bit and takes me back to the American high school movies with their cliques and groups. “The jocks, the goths, the emos, the hipsters, the cheerleaders and of course the nerds.”
Unattractive skinny or overweight, brainy men with glasses, zits and girl-allergies. Google images confirms my description and even though we all know by now that stereotypes are one-sided and nonsense , this stigma is getting confirmed over and over again. I guess if someone stopped wearing gothic dresses and start wearing pink, this person is not labeled a Goth anymore, even though on the inside her or she still might be worshipping Cradle of Filth and secretly wanting vampire teeth (just joking).
Okay… I’m not looking like a stereotypical nerdy girl and that seems to lead to confusion. Time to see what Wikipedia wisdom brings us.
Nerd (adjective: nerdy) is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating a person that is overly intellectual, obsessive, or lacking social skills. Such a person may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, little known, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical, abstract, or relating to topics of fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Additionally, many so-called nerds are described as being shy, quirky, pedantic, and unattractive, and may have difficulty participating in, or even following, sports. Though originally derogatory, Nerd is a stereotypical term, but as with other pejoratives, it has been reclaimed and redefined by some as a term of pride and group identity.
I’m not afraid to say that I do have some brain activity. I love to learn and I study every day. I feel like Hermione and would love to have a time-turner so I could be more productive. I send snap chats of my latest math work. I can’t shut up about social robots, climate change and I love discussions about sociology. No, I’m not a genius and most of my classmates outsmart me, but I really feel like a nerd in this area.
I have to admit that I think that I lack certain social skills. I have problems with small talk which leads to uncomfortable silences. At school I mostly sit in the back alone. Not that I don’t have any friends, I just like it that way.
Guess a preference of fantasy movies defines you partly as a nerd. But I do understand that my collection of comics is kind of stating the obvious.
Labels can’t define individuals and only judge the outside. It’s idiotic but we all seem to practice it. Your brain needs to generalize people into categories and media and movies made the names for us.
Receiving a label mostly results into some kind of irritation. But I feel happy when my friends call me a nerd. I take it as a compliment. It feels better than getting identified as a model with all the preconceptions that comes along with it (stupidity, narcissistic, superficiality).
The thing is, if you look like a handsome guy, you’re automatically labeled as socially skilled, athletic and charming. If you enjoy make-up and designers clothes you are labeled as superficial.
What you practice on the outside must automatically be in line with your inside. And if that doesn’t add up, it leads to confusion and disagreement.
It’s sad and I wish everybody could think twice about somebody’s appearance and understand that what you feel on the inside doesn’t have to match with the outside.