According to what society has deemed the definition of nerdy (smart, obsessive, socially awkward), I’m your standard nerd. I love anime, I’d cosplay if I could find a friend who’d do it with me, I’m pretty dang awkward, I regularly engage in debates over which comic book universe is superior (DC), and watching The Flash is the high point of my week. So taking all that into consideration, I wonder why I constantly feel the need to prove just how nerdy I am.
Growing up I was a book nerd and no one ever let me forget it. Every moment of the day I had my nose between the pages of my latest fantasy or sci-fi obsession. I was teased, but I kept on reading because it was what I loved to do! As I grew older my interests expanded into anime, comic book heroes and Korean culture. Once again, to the general public I was seen as a complete weirdo. I never felt like I fit in so I turned to the internet, where I could talk to other like-minded people.
One day I finally decided to step away from the laptop, creep out of isolation and turn to my fellow nerdy brethren IRL. I thought I’d find a group of girls (and guys) that I’d immediately click with, and soon enough we’d be holding hands and skipping into the sunset together. Well, that didn’t quite work out. Time and time again I was completely dismissed. Whether it was being ignored at a meetup, or being scoffed at for preferring dubs over subs (hey, I like multi-tasking as I watch!). Apparently I’m just not nerdy enough. Why? Well I have a theory:
- I’m Black
Yes it’s 2015 and it’s still hard for people to accept the fact that Black people have varied interests and identities beyond Hip Hop and BET.
- I’m a woman
Sexism amongst the “nerd community” is pretty well known. Women are usually seen as posers, or fishing for compliments when they express their love for all things nerdy.
- I love fashion and beauty
I think people expect nerds to be dowdy, and unkempt. That is definitely not the case! Nerds can be chic, nerds can be cute, and nerds can be fashionable. Newsflash! You don’t have to give up one identity to maintain another.
I know I shouldn’t feel the need to prove myself, but being told that you belong in a certain box, and having other people in that box reject you kind of sucks. Maybe one day I’ll achieve my #squadgoals and find a group of fab Black women in real life who share my excitement for Cowboy Bebop and Comic-Con. But until then, I’ll keep on proudly waving my nerd flag, on and offline!
Jacque Amadi is a former fashion entrepreneur and currently teaches young women how to start selling online– on a budget, of course. She blogs about small business solutions and online marketing over at Jacque of All Trades!