Nerds are Misrepresented in Popular Culture


By Jonah Wolmark

imagesWhen you think of the stereotypical nerd, you probably think of Steve Urkel or some character from The Big Bang Theory. This is terrible. Most people have an extremely incorrect view of what a nerd is, and my goal is to fix that.

Nerds are not all knowledgeable about everything nerdy. I personally have next to no knowledge of most comic books and anime, yet I am great with computers. I have friends that are the exact opposite. Most of my friends have never played more than one game of Dungeons and Dragons, if any at all. Not all nerds hate sports. In fact, many are good at them. These are just a fraction of the misconceptions that can be dispelled in just a sentence.

There are many different subgroups in nerd culture; not every nerd likes all nerdy things. There are computer nerds, like me, who know much more about computers than the average person. There are RPG nerds, who spend their time LARPing or playing tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder. There are comic book nerds, who quite simply read comic books. There are literary nerds who appreciate reading and such. There are other nerds that enjoy other aspects of education. And even though there are all of these groups and more, most nerds fall under more than one.

They way the Big Bang Theory portrays nerds is very disheartening to me. They over exaggerate everything, most of the references are either incorrect or unreasonable, and they follow the untrue nerd stereotypes like a bible. A lot of the humour that involves the character Sheldon is making fun of severe mental illness, which is disgusting. The characters try to be part of every nerd subgroup out there, which makes them unrealistic. I’ve heard this show described on the internet as “Nerd Blackface.” Unfortunately, this is not too much of an exaggeration.