I have a confession to make… I am a nerd! Sarcastic gasp, “What? No!!! Who would have thunk it!?” I know, it’s pretty obvious to anyone who’ve communicated with me for more than a moment, however I want to write a lot about it. ^_^
Seriously, this is a long post… if you have other things to do today, you may want to skip this one. I’m not responsible for missed appointments or TV shows. =p
I’m still confused about the differences between “nerd” and “geek”, as the two seem to overlap a lot. However, I do identify with the term “nerd”, because of my passion for all things science and my obsession with “Lord Of The Rings”. Apparently, that trilogy is claimed under the “nerd” category, although I’m not sure why LoTR couldn’t easily fit within the “geek” category just as well. Hmm…
Anyway, I do have a massive love for all things science (Quantum Physics, Cosmology, Astrology, Forensics, etc.) and so I do feel as though my interests are more “nerd” than “geek”. And besides, the geeks seem to be a lot more cooler than I could ever want to be in general. ^_^v
I’m always confused when my friends randomly shout out, “Oh, you’re such a nerd!” in response to my ramblings about something in science I’ve learned or when I reference LOTR. The confusion is that I’m not sure if their obvious observations of me is suppose to be some kind of an insult or teasing, because I always hear it as a random fact being shouted in the middle of a conversation.
It’s like if I was cooing over kittens and someone yelled out, “Oh, you’re such a girl!” Wait a minute… I am a girl. So… yeah, what? Are you just pointing out some obvious trait about me for the sake of it? Am I suppose to shout out, “Oh, you have long hair!”, to my friends with long hair? Again, I don’t understand people very well, so I may be missing something altogether. o_O
I do know that some people view the term “nerd” as something bad. I don’t understand why that is. I guess it’s because there are negative stereotypes connected to it, mostly provided from stupid shows like “The Big Bang Theory”, which all real nerds seem to hate that show (me too!). However, everything in life has harsh and untrue stereotypes connected to it: race, gender, religion, politics, culture, and location of where a person is born.
I’ve never heard too many people say, “There are a lot of negative stereotypes for my gender, so I rather not be that gender anymore, because that gender is bad.” or “My religion has too many negative stereotypes, so I rather not be a part of it!” Maybe there are some people who do that, but I haven’t encountered such a situation yet. In my experience, people generally continue to be whatever they identify as, in spite of negative stereotypes associated with it.
My real confusion is about how some people seem to react when I say, “I’m a nerd”. And my reaction to Captain Obvious shouts are pretty much a slow blink, a long pause, and “Yes… I’m a nerd. And… what does that have to do with the standard model of particle physics equation?”
Dammit! One of these days, I’m going to learn enough maths to read that beautiful equation on my own, without leaning on explanatory sites! I vow it!!! Muhahahahaha! ^o^/
A month ago, my therapist assigned homework, where I had to write a list of twenty things that I like about myself. One of the top items on my list was, “I am a nerd”. For me, this was an ordinary thing to list. like my item of: “I’m a writer”. When I read my list to her, it honestly didn’t seem like a big deal to me.
However, my therapist gasped and stopped me in the middle of my list with, “You’re a nerd!? Really?” and she wasn’t being sarcastic about it. Her eyes were lit up, as if I had said, “I am a Hedgehog!” I was a lot confused and muttered, “Well, yeah…”, as I didn’t know that I said anything wrong or unusual.
Then she went on and on about how it’s so positive of me to list that trait as something good on my list, when most people would take offense to such a label as nerd. What? Who are these “most” people? Was there some kind of a poll taken? Why wasn’t I and the other nerds invited to take it? Does not compute!!! @_@
It did seem a little rude of her to assume that being a nerd is a bad thing or that it’s something that most people would be ashamed of. However, last winter I did have a very baffling encounter like this on a Doctor Who forum, of all places.
This forum was made up of mostly members from the UK and maybe a few Canadians, although the Canadians never seemed to post much. I really did enjoy the forum in the first few months, but then it sorta fell apart. A group of ladies on the forum began to speak about how they gain odd looks and attitudes from males, because apparently in the UK (according to them) Doctor Who is a “boy show” and not for girls.
When it comes to all things Sci-fi in the US, rarely do gender issues come up, in my experience. I found that slight difference between the fans of the UK and those of the US, a lot fascinating! Tumblr tends to have hundreds of obsessed fan-girls re-posting pictures of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor! The show doesn’t seem like gender-specific type,, like say wrestling or monster truck rallies. No offense to girls who may like those things, of course. ^_^
So, I replied to the ladies, “Wow. I never had any male fans ever tell me that I can’t enjoy Doctor Who, because it’s ‘for boys’ The only sorta ‘negative’ I’ve heard from others about my love for Doctor Who is being called a ‘nerd’, but that was usually from non-fans of the show. Who cares what they think? LOL!”
I already felt nervous, being that I was the ONLY American on this forum, and I was afraid I would say something that would earn a “Hahaha… you silly American!” response, but I never would have thought the following nightmare would happen. I had a lot of angry Brits screaming at me on the forum, “How rude! Who are you calling a nerd? That was uncalled for!” What??? O_O
I replied back and explained that I wasn’t calling anyone a nerd at all, I was merely explaining that in the US, female fans are not ridiculed for liking the show because of their gender. If US female fans are ridiculed, it’s over the fact that non sci-fi fans see the show and other sci-fi shows as something “nerdy”. However this view that sci-fi or fantasy fans are nerdy happens in general, equally towards males or females. We’re called nerds, by default, the moment we attend any fan convention.
I added, “I don’t take the term ‘nerd’ as something to be offended or ashamed of, so it’s a pretty weak ‘insult’ to start with, unlike the real troubles that you ladies face over gender roles. Most of my friends are nerds, I am a nerd myself, and I enjoy being one. Besides, in order for me to be considered ‘cool’ in the US, I must let go of my love of science and all sci-fi shows, and begin watching a lot of reality TV instead. I refuse!”
This did not calm their fury whatsoever, they roared at me with, “Well, if you’re a nerd, that’s none of our business! However, to imply that fans of Doctor Who are nerds is beyond rude!”, “We have deep intelligent discussions about the show’s plot, characters, and meanings. And in the UK, that does not make a nerd, but a very clever person!” What??? Aren’t nerds clever people in general? What is that suppose to mean!? @_@
Again, I apologized and explained that I wasn’t calling everyone a nerd at all. I am a nerd, I’m proud to be one, I’m not sure why I should hide it in shame. And I ended my reply with, “I understand if no one here identifies as a nerd, however I do personally, which was my point to mentioning it. I just wanted to point out the differences between US fans and UK fans, which I had no clue about until this discussion. I didn’t mean to cause an international incident here!”
After that, the members of the forum decided to avoid me like the plague, because I identified as a nerd. They would make snide comments to me like, “Is that nerdy enough for you, nerd?”, “I guess to you, the Doctor is nerdy”, and things like that whenever I tried to join in within conversations. They were the “cool kids” and associating with me somehow worried them that I’d get some of my nerd cooties on them. u_u
Somehow this happened on a forum full of people who would discuss the many regeneration of The Doctor very seriously, down to the finer details of what he was wearing. Not only that they would recreate those costumes and wear them at Doctor Who conventions!
And yet, because I identifying as a nerd, I didn’t “fit in” with this crowd. It was as if I went to a rib eating event and everyone was eating ribs, but somehow I was a monster for eating the ribs too and not identifying as a vegetarian. Right…. >_>
I shied away from that forum completely, because I didn’t feel welcome there anymore, if I ever did. I wonder why “nerd” is such a dirty term, even though we’re using technology, enjoying the books. movies, and so on by nerds! o_O
Ah, well… this is why I am a hikikomori (hermit), because I just don’t understand humans at all. I do like humans and enjoy trying to observe them in their natural habitats, however I don’t believe that I’ll ever fully understand them. And this is why I happen to love science so much (it’s my second obsession, next to my writing), even though the tools of understanding science was created by humans.
I’m not the brightest bulb on the shelf, however I can understand a complex theory in physics better than I can ever understand most people on any given day. Whatever the case, I will continue to be myself! I do love and appreciate me! ^_^
Well, that’s the end of my long rant. And here’s a list of all of my favorite nerdy channels on Youtube, if you’re interested: One Minute Physics / It’s Okay To Be Smart / PBS Idea Channel / Star Talk Radio / Numberphile / Rhett & Link / and BrainCraft.
Thanks for reading! I leave you now with more LoTR references:
Mornie utulie. Believe and you will find your way! ^_^v