Needless to say, being a nerd in conventional social settings can be difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to explain my social life to my co-workers:
“Do you have plans this weekend?”
“Well, I’m going to a convention.”
“Oh! What kind of convention? Is it for school?”
“No, it’s a comic book convention.”
Then I get that look, that Oh, you’re one-of-those-kind of people look that makes me feel so alone in my geeky world. The worst part, though, is that there’s a certain sense of why in their tone when they stumble for a socially acceptable response. Being a nerd—or geek—is still seen as such a social faux pas that people expect nerds to personify a particular image. You know the one: a teenage or adult age male who sits in his room surrounded by action figures, playing video games, and hardly bathing. The image never stretches beyond these boundaries, either. It’s very black and white. And then there is the image of the typical “geek girl;” female nerds are expected to fulfill an image that is just as confining: an attractive companion to male nerds who happens to wear glasses, thus differentiating the male nerd from the female nerd.
I hate these images, because not only are they stereotyping, but they’re demeaning to all people who identify as a nerd (and yes, I realize that the word “nerd” can be seen as derogatory and abrasive, but I’m using it here in the most positive of contexts). In my totally humble opinion, everyone is a nerd in their own right, and that’s not a bad thing. All people are nerdy by nature in one shape or another. Me, for example: I am a huge Batgirl fan, I attend conventions (and dress up in costume), I grew up with the Harry Potter series, and I was raised in the age of the Super Nintendo. Other people may be interested in the same stuff I am, or they may be nerds of some other interest: bookworms (guilty), wine sommeliers, and star athletes can be considered as nerds in their own rights. The term “nerd” or “geek” is not confined to Trekkies or Potterheads. People are always passionate about something that deeply interests them, which is exactly what a nerd is, and that is a beautiful thing.
The best part about being a nerd of something is the community that it forms—sports teams, drama clubs, YouTubers, and Twitter pages. These are all strong communities that rally around one central idea and then discuss it day in and day out. This is one of the reasons why I love to go to conventions; we’re just one big community that has very similar interests, and we get together each year and dress up and share everything we know about the nerdy world around us. And FYI, we’re not stereotypical. We’re so much more than our fandoms because we’re people who share basic common interests, and these are what help interact, meet new people, and celebrate the fun things in life—being unique.
This is why I’m writing this blog, because of that sense of community. We’re all secretly nerds of something on the inside, and we should embrace that and nurture it and watch it grow. Encourage your love, because the more you encourage yourself to be happy about one thing that interests you, then you’ll always be happy.
Image credit: http://3chicgeeks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/we-are-fandom.jpg