Nerd Rant!

I have a rant.


When I was a kid, it was an insult. It was cruel. It was mean… and it was intended to be so. Being called a “nerd” was bad.

What was a nerd? There wasn’t a super codified definition… but things like ugly clothes (high waisted pants, suspenders, etc) glasses, liking to read, being into learning and not being into sports / clothes / boys / popular things… that is what could get you called a nerd.

Even today, a google search of “nerd” pulls up mostly conventionally unattractive men in bad glasses and/or with bad teeth.

Again, it was a very intentional insult. the point was to hurt your feelings.

Before going further, I just want to say that I understand kids can be asshats. But if you break it down… some of those nerd things are pretty shity things to get made fun of. Oh, you wear glasses.. let’s mock you for your limited vision! Oh you have outdated clothes… your parents have outdated senses of fashion or maybe you are wearing hand me downs! HAHAHAHAHA

(tiny rant about glasses… glasses do NOT make you smart, weak, or bookish. They literally ONLY mean your eyes are not 20/20. This is a fact people STILL don’t seem to understand.)

Case in point: google image search for “smart girl”… look at how many have on glasses… Good grief.
Also, apparently, smart girls are predominantly young and have brown hair. 

Fast forward a bit. I started hearing people say “Well, Bill Gates is a nerd… and he has money!”
But it was still bad to be a nerd… even as us nerds united and shrugged the taunts off.

Fast farther forward.

Apparently, I am still a nerd. I am a book reading science-loving person who likes to learn. I wear glasses.

Whatever. I have made peace with my nerdy ways. I have nerdy friends. Some of us don’t wear glasses! Most of us wear nice stylish clothes! We like to learn, we enjoy reading and learning… egads… we are nerds! But we have taken the term back. We are Proud of our nerdy ways… we celebrate it with geeky tee shirts and socks, we go on nerd cruises and have nerd meet up groups. Our tastes impact the media, TV shows, movies, and pop culture.

Nerds rule.


This week at Kiddo’s school it is Red Ribbon Week where they learn (“learn is loosely defined in this instance) about the evils of drugs. They are encouraged to dress up every day with some sort of bad pun reference to not doing drugs.

“Lei off drugs! Dress Hawaiian!”
“Team up against drugs! Wear a sports jersey!”
“Sock it to drugs! Wear crazy socks!”

Today it was “Too smart for drugs! Dress like a nerd!”

WTF people.

Nerds are smart… it says so right there in your clever little statement. So.. the kids should dress “smart”? how do you dress “smart”?

Oh, no… you want them to dress like a nerd. Ok.

But… the nerds of today come in ALL iterations. We wear dresses and leggings. We wear business suits. We wear track suits. We wear skirts and blouses. We wear jeans. We wear glasses. We don’t wear glasses. We carry backpacks or briefcases or satchels or purses big enough for our books or our kindles or our tablets.. or maybe we just have the kindle app on our iPhone. We are ethnically diverse. We are as varied as the rainbow and plenty of us are IN the rainbow if you know what I mean. MANY of us are damn sexy. There was even a Huff Po article about how Nerds are the New Sexy.

There is no such thing as a “classic 2017” nerd.

Which means that the “dress like a nerd” thing is a call back to the time before.. the time of high waists, bow ties, glasses, and getting beat up by the jocks. In short, you are calling back to a horrible time in a lot of people’s lives, and not content to simply mock our pain, you are somehow both erasing it and making it into a game… asking the kids to dress up in all the worst stereotypes imaginable. WHEEEE!!!!!!

It’s insensitive.
It’s cruel.

Can you think of another insulting word that they would have kids dress up as… that wouldn’t get a backlash? I’m drawing a blank partly because my feathers are ruffled and partly because in my world insults are things like “you ignorant piece of crap” “you trashcan fire” “you are a racist slimeball”

Dork? Fartknocker? Douche? Hey kids… Keep your body clean and away from drugs! Dress up like a douche!”

(Full disclosure, I would pay to see a bunch of kids dressed up like douches to combat the idea of drugs.)

Little Sally is the second from the left! 

My daughter asked me what a nerd was. I told her about how the word was used and I told her about how it describes almost every adult she knows and loves. Including her daddy who is a scientist.

I told her she could wear whatever she wanted.

She wore a “Future scientist” tee shirt today complete with pic of a girl doing science.

And some douchey kid in her class told her that it didn’t count… that she wasn’t dressed up like a nerd because she wasn’t wearing fake glasses like the others.

She responded that she is a REAL nerd like her mom.. and this kid told her that she wasn’t.

Which… hurt her feelings.


My kid was sad because she was told she wasn’t a nerd.
This whole thing has me so conflicted and upset.
Also.. pretty sure “Lei off drugs, dress Hawaiian” counts as culturally insensitive. Like in a pretty big way.
Ugh Ugh Ugh.
This nerdy mom needs to go lose herself in a good book.
Oh look what just arrived!
I -heart- you, Mike Duncan! 

Published by kayliametcalfe

Queer,loudmouth,skeptical-agnostic-pagan,book addict,coffee lover,wine drinker, SAHM,writer,editor,producer,podcaster. -She/her

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