Nerds now

The first documented use of the word Nerd is in the 1950 Dr. Seuss story, If I Ran the Zoo, in which a boy named Gerald McGrew made a large number of delightfully extravagant claims as to what he would do, if he were in charge at the zoo. Among these was that he would bring a creature known as a Nerd from the land of Ka-Troo. The accompanying illustration showed a grumpy humanoid with unruly hair and sideburns, wearing a black T-shirt.But since then so  many thing got changed and word nerd become more complex  people identified as nerds became popular over the last decade and were suddenly tolerated by outsiders. This change of society’s perception has three reasons; first, the definition of the term “nerd” has changed in a positive way, second, the nerd culture became an essential part of our everyday life, and third, the successful American media featured nerds heavily in globally watched TV series, movies and played video games.

Firstly, a reason for nerds’ sudden popularity lies in the positively altered definition of the term “nerd”. It changed from the old nerd picture of a socially-impaired person to an ordinary, acceptable human. Before the decade, nerds were seen as “machine like and socially awkward” .The reason for this lies in their enthusiasm towards technology and knowledge rather than emotional and physical interactions. Therefore, they enjoy studying, “getting A’s in school” and playing with machines more than seeking for emotional relationship. Non-nerds were confused by nerds’ logic and rational communication and their misunderstanding of humor and feelings. Therefore, most nerds cannot understand jokes, which were considered as normal and cool, about or between people.In addition nerds were society’s outsiders and perfect bully victims. The image of the “ultimate male” pictured an athletic man with physical exertion. Surfers, cowboys, and basketball players were “the heroes of American popular culture”, not nerds with their underweight body, big glasses, and shirts of video game characters. Nerds were seen as ugly boys who are unpopular with women .Essentially, in the last decade, nerds were just “uncool” and “creepy”.

In contrast, nerds nowadays are seen as ordinary humans with a fanatical interest in a subject or several subjects. They interact in groups and have fashionable clothes.for example I can mention a few characters in different well known movies like on last James bond movie there is character that helps James bond through earphone or in movie harry potter the character Hermoine or Harry himself  .This obsessive interest can be broad but generally lies in technology and the idea of “precision” .However, many people do not mind this anymore and do not call them machine like. They can understand this passion as they are interested in technology, as well. The rise of computers and smartphones made almost everyone a technology user and let them understand why technology is attractive. Moreover, all people including nerds inform themselves about the same technology which leads to conversation topics that were not found before. Although some nerds are shy, they can talk passionately about their hobbies and passions. Now they have the opportunity to talk to “ordinary” people, too. The image of a social loner has been altered, as well, as nerds typically gather in groups now and celebrate their interests. One can see this group movement, for example, in the countless websites divorced to “nerdy” interests such as manga, comics, and technology. Also, the group movement is evident in the multiply societies at universities and in the enormous commercial conventions like the “Comic-Con” or “gamescom”, which attract thousands of visitors each year. also, the “nerd” style with large glasses and video game character T-shirts inspired some designers such as Carmen Marc Valvo to create clothes collections to reflect on it. These clothes are quite profitable which imbues companies to invest in it. One example for this would be the popular website, which only sells “nerdy” clothes and other gadgets with much success. So the clothes and accessories of nerds became fashionable and attractive for everyone. Therefore, nerds are a part of the society today and are accepted with their unique lifestyle and attitude.


Secondly, over the last decade the nerd culture became an essential part of human’s everyday life. Technology, science, and “nerdy” interests dominate the modern world. Technology is accepted and appreciated today by nearly anyone. Moreover, in everyone’s life one can find technology. Smartphones, computers, TVs, MP3 players, microwaves, cars and plenty more technical instruments are the life partners of humans. This technology is used without any thoughts. In other words, “the technology associated with nerds is now seen as hip”. The pessimism towards technology is gone, now humans are dependent on it. Especially younger generations cannot imagine living without the new technology anymore

Beside this, “nerdy interests” strike more attention nowadays. In the past, comics were seen as nerdy art and books. Moreover, the audience was considered as children or nerds. No “normal” teen or adult would read them. However, this audience profile changed due to the commercially successful comic movie adaptions such as “The Dark Knight”, “Iron Man”, and “Hulk”. In addition, the recent movie “Marvel’s The Avengers” demonstrated impressively that a comic movie adaption can attract millions of people and achieve record sales globally. As it was just released in America, one can expect way more sales and breakthrough records (Marvel 2012). Because of these movies, adults gained more interest in comics and are willing to read them. In this manner, not only nerds and children are reading comics, but also ordinary adults.

Another nerdy interest, which is accepted all over, is the allure of fantasy and science fiction. Nearly everyone is fascinated by the supernatural, but due to the technology pessimism in the past nobody wanted to hear or talk about it. However, as comics such as “X-Men” and “Marvel’s The Avengers” as well as movies like “Star Wars”, “E.T.”, and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” were successful, the general audience wanted to read and see more fantasy and science fiction work, not only nerds. In addition, theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are based on the fantastic and science fiction theme and are enjoyed by their visitors. In this manner, the nerdy interests that isolated the nerds from the society became an essential part of it. Moreover, these interests influence society’s life in significant ways.


In conclusion, I would say that I’ve learned from my own experiences that it’s incredibly important to read in between the lines of fads or trends. We are a society just looking at the outliers of a cultural trend because they attract the most attention and we accept the easily from my research on how nerds are portrayed in popular culture articles, videos and blogs I would say that overall, society as a whole, has made the effort to explore and show all the aspects of being nerd, although stereotypical nerds make up the majority of the group. I would also state that it is a good thing that this new picture of nerds is replacing other outdated portrayal. I consider myself one of these people and wish I could see myself more and better in popular culture



This entry was posted in Winter 2015 by Amir. Bookmark the permalink.

About Amir

I'm 21 yeas old it has been year that i immigrated here ,when i was 17 i traveled from my home town Tehran "iran" to Malaysia .i have learned English there for one year and went to college right after .currently I am doing bio informatics doing my second year .

5 thoughts on “Nerds now

  1. I find it interesting that you also wrote about nerds. I focused specifically on how female nerds are portrayed. While you make some interesting points, you also state that nerds are accepted, and that they wear fashionable clothes. I don’t know how many nerds you have met in America, but I still experience the opposite. People think I’m weird, I own tons of graphic tees, and my friends are the same.

  2. I think i’m weird too that is what make me and you unique and this uniqueness is becoming a trend ,and also i beleive how you see yourself in society people will view you the same i have not read your essay yet but i’m really curious to see your points of view on this matter .and thanks for you comment

  3. Amir,
    Your view of nerds is interesting and the evolution of how the idea of nerds has changed over the past few decades is unique. Whereas nerds were strange and outcast, more recently you view them as social heroes connected to technology and advancement. So Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Jobs were all nerds who are now heroes because they dared to be different.

  4. Amir,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper and how nerds are portrayed in media. Many nerds have become heroes in their society after being strange in the first place. I like the idea you mentioned about the new generation cannot live without the new technology. I like the way your paper is going and good luck.

  5. i appreciate both faisal and zach for your comments and reading my essay , im happy that i could portray positive side of being nerd glad you find it interesting

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