Being called a nerd has become an aspect of personal identity rather than an insult. Nerds have traditionally been characterized by social inadequacy and academic over achievement. Now, however, being a nerd has become a much more positive designation. Calling oneself a nerd within one’s community is more a badge of honor than of shame.
Nerds used to be the ostracized members of society. Now, they’ve formed communities of their own via the internet. Instead of being constantly teased for their unpopular interests, so-called “nerds” can connect with people all over the world who share these same interests. Essentially, the nerds of the world have overcome society’s rejection by creating a new global community of their own. The socially uncomfortable have created an online environment where they can interact exclusively with other nerds, thereby reducing social pressure.
The community of nerds has grown so drastically that the very definition of the term is changing. In common usage, being a nerd doesn’t have much to do with academic achievement anymore. The definition of “nerd” has evolved, so that it is nearly synonymous with “geek”, which typically describes a person who has a very enthusiastic interest in one specific area, such as computers or Star Trek.
Nerds Becoming Mainstream
Nerds have found their home among the fandoms of the world. A fandom is a group of dedicated fans creating a virtual community around a particular book, TV show, movie, video game, or any other topic of collective interest. Fandoms are perfect environments for nerds (and geeks), because they allow fans of a relatively obscure subject interact with other fans. They are able to share their enthusiasm without being judged.
Nerdiness has become so mainstream that the overall popularity of certain TV shows has actually increased. Shows like “Doctor Who”, “Supernatural”, and “Sherlock” are partially fueled by a dedicated fan base of nerds. Their boosted popularity is due to the fact that it has become acceptable to admit that you’re nerdy enough to enjoy these shows. A similar phenomenon has occurred in the world of video games, where it has become perfectly acceptable to play Pokemon games as an adult.
Overall, this change in society has been a positive one. It has allowed the nerds of the world to step up and be themselves, despite what the ‘popular kids’ might think. Calling someone a “nerd” isn’t an insult anymore. It’s just a social category like any other, and it’s been passionately embraced by its members. Now, people are proud to call themselves nerds.