Monday, 24 October 2011

Why You Should Love Your Stereotype (If It's As Cool As Mine)


Nerd a pretty common word with vivid connotations. I thought I'd avoid the Nerd vs Geek vs Dork debate, since all of them were pretty interchangeable at my school and I fit all three.

Basically, all three denote an obsession or passion that overshadows permissible social conduct. It could be math, fantasy, sci-fi, books, writing, art, animals, anything. The term 'nerd' generally applies to people who obsess of things out of the mainstream, because to obsess about puppies or certain popular television shows is permissible social conduct.

Obsessing about the latest Dragon Age expansion pack? Not so much.

There are a lot of stereotypes in the world, which we pretty much all know. Anyone who ever took a quiz on quizilla or facebook or myspace (depending on your generation) knows that classification is a must in our society. "You have a green spirit," or "Your Personality Color is Pink" can often translate to "You're a nature geek," or "You're a prep!"

In our culture, the only acceptable solution to stereotypes is to run away from them. "Don't classify me, man!" which has given rise to dozens of sub-cultures that, in the end, really only stereotype the people in them (hipsters, for example).

But is running from stereotype the right decision?

Once I embraced my status as a 'nerd', I was free. In a paradoxical way, when I had settled into my niche, I could travel outside it without being labeled. When I tried dance, sports, clubs, mall-hopping (that phase didn't last long), no one thought anything about it. I knew I was a nerd, I loved being a nerd, and no matter what I looked like on the outside, at the end of the day, I was still a nerd.

Not that you can't change your stereotype. You just don't have to. Nerds can be jocks, skaters can be ballerinas, musicians can be preps.

Maybe the world would be more ideal without stereotypes, but we're stuck with them for now. Why not embrace it?
Though, to be fair, we can't all be as cool as nerds. :)





17 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

Fun post! And to be fair, no we can't. :)

I suppose I fell under "jock" in high school, though I don't know if I saw myself that way. Which begs the question . . . which stereotype do you really fit in? The one you see yourself in? Or the one others see you in?

Lisa Aldin said...

Good post! By The Way - I saw you won an awesome prize pack on Shannon's blog! CONGRATS!

Lisa Gail Green said...

OMG I love that quote from John Green. Must be the last name. He he he. Embrace your nerdiness. I love it! And I"ll join in.

Lauren W. said...

Love this post! Not sure if I ever really fit into a stereotype. I sort of had something in common with all the different groups and spent my time in each one. Nerds are definitely the most interesting. Probably why I love the movie Napoleon Dynamite so much.

"Deb: What are you drawing?

Napoleon Dynamite: A liger.

Deb: What's a liger?

Napoleon Dynamite: It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic."

L.G.Smith said...

So true!! I'm a geek and I know it. So what. I love what I love. I pity the poor mainstreamers who watch top ten shows on television and buy what the commercials tell them to.

Christina Lee said...

Right on! I like that you said, "because to obsess about puppies or certain popular television shows is permissible social conduct." Doesn't seem "right"!

Carrie Butler said...

A quote from Mr. Nerdfighter himself? That's awesome! :D

The Golden Eagle said...

Love that quote. :) And I have to say, I laughed a bit at the first picture . . .

Hooray for nerds!

Lynda R Young said...

Love the quote. I embrace my geekiness and enjoy life because of that acceptance.

Nancy Thompson said...

I have no idea what I am. I move between stereotypes. I guess I'm a wysiwyg.

Jennifer Hillier said...

That's a great quote! And for what it's worth, I adore nerds.

Talli Roland said...

Embracing a stereotype to a point is fine, I guess. But what about 'dumb blonde'? Or something hurtful? I think there is a point where you need to speak up.

I do see what you're saying about freedom, though!

Sangu said...

Love the John Green image! I think stereotypes can be useful - but also hurtful - so I guess there's a line somewhere between what you should and shouldn't accept and be proud of :-)

Jenna Cooper said...

I've always embraced my nerd. Which made me confused when other people tried to be popular...I didn't get why they wouldn't embrace their nerd, too.

Mark Noce said...

Lol:) I work in the tech industry, so people are pretty proud to identify as nerds. Even my wife proudly proclaims herself as such:)

Laila Knight said...

Nope, never a nerd. Always a visionary. :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Wonderful! I hadn't seen that John Green quote before, thank you!