Being a geek, or a nerd, or whatever you’re supposed to call them these days; seems like a pretty okay life. The stereotypes that accompany being lumped into a large pool of people who aren’t actually all the same however, aren’t always quite as nice. Television and Hollywood have also not been helpful as to clarify these myths. Let’s dive into the myths and reality surrounding being a nerd, and where we need to line out some home truths.
Myth #1: Although Geeks are Smart, they have no Common Sense
This is probably the one that stands up the least of all four I am going to dive into in this article. Because of TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, and many other programs which center around smart yet socially inept and common-sense lacking nerds and geniuses; this has become a common train of thought. However, in reality, there really isn’t that much truth to this. I was a bookworm (geek, definitely) as a kid, and I still grew up living a normal life. The only sliver of truth to this myth is that nerds and geeks will likely have less knowledge of common and popular interests, such as sports, celebrities, or branded clothing, for example.
Myth #2: Geeks Lack Social Skills & Interpersonal Senses
This is another myth that has been around for a while because of Television programs and Hollywood perpetration. It has also been so popular because often the irregular nerds that get the spotlight may lack social skills for another reason such as learning difficulties or being on the autism spectrum, for example. This is portrayed on TV a lot, and although it is definitely valid; it does not mean that everyone who is smart has no social skill capability. Although geeky games and hobbies are sometimes strange or unpopular, it is assumed that geeks have no social interaction. However, this is by no stretch the case at all. Games are social activities, and most have to be played with other people. As well as this, there are conventions where geeks all meet up to intermingle. So this one is for the most part, a myth.
Myth #3: Geeks Can’t Be Hot and are Always Unattractive
When you think of a geek or a nerd, the picture you get in your head probably isn’t the captain of the football team, is it? It’s probably a skinny short kid with glasses and acne. As kids, this is what we grew up to think a geek looked like. The geek ‘image’ has always been a perception of ugly and nothing special to look at. This perception may come from the fact that geeky hobbies aren’t always centered around getting fit and looking good, but the perception does take that thought a bit too far. Geeks don’t all look the same! There are people in Hollywood who are extremely attractive, but actually have a geeky side too.
Myth #4: Nerd & Geek Culture is Inherently Sexist
This is probably the most perpetrated myth surrounding geek culture, and although it does have some tangible weight as to where it comes from, it is not entirely true. I would still class it as a myth. The stereotype is simple: fantasy and science fiction, video games, and anime all seem to sexualise women and make them seem more as objects than heroines or important to storylines. However, that has not been the case in recent years. This is again, a myth that has been heavily perpetrated by Hollywood as nerds seem not to be able to do anything but stare at a woman when she walks by.
Although I cannot deny that there has been some sexism in the geek world, I would say that there has been a vast improvement in the inclusion and equality drive over the recent decade or so as progression has been made. Female characters, although there may be a slight lack, have always played important and crucial roles in the stories that they are a part of. And although this is not a justification, the geek world probably just adapted the sexism they saw in the world around them, until very recently when we have begun to see changes. This is the only myth that I would say has an element of truth to it of the four.
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