Geek Chic

Traditionally, we used to think that geeks lived an alternative life, one of escapism. However, mathletes, science geeks and chess enthusiasts have undergone a social change know as ‘coolification’ (Raewyn Campbell 2012).

Our highly digitized and convergent culture has seen a transformation in the way we perceive ‘nerdism’ a culture now known as a ‘nerd centric pop culture landscape’ (Raewyn Campbell 2012). We can determine that there are multiple reasons why we have endorsed the ‘dudgeon and dragon’s’ freaks into our culture, the most prominent being the power of Hollywood, together with online content such as YouTube, Facebook and forums.

Our perception of geeks and nerds has been shaped by the perceptions of Hollywood’s elite directors and actors alike. The ‘nerd market’ has been highly endorsed by Hollywood due to the newfound notion that income is directly proportional to nerds. They are also “inspirational consumers” (Henry Jenkins) and cheap promoters. Nowadays almost every TV show, movie or novel has a character with ‘nerd’ qualities, such as CSI, Bones, Big Bang Theory, Touch, Castle to name a few on my TV guide as I write.

Moreover this can also lead us to question, is it cool to be awkward? An American comedy ‘New Girl’, takes the audience on a journey, through Jess’s awkward life. We delve into her nerdy style and witness social awkwardness taken to the next level, making Sheldon Cooper look socially ummm what’s the word… COOL! This hit show is awkward yet successful, check it out here.

During the final year of high school I participated in what the students called ‘nerd day’, (much to our educators dismay). My Principal even went to great lengths to ‘protect’ the nerds at our school by threating to cancel the dress up day if we didn’t rename it to ‘academic day’. As I reflect on my Principal’s perception of nerds, I have come to understand that there are conflicting perspectives on how nerds are perceived in society today. The fact that nerds are engaging in new forms of social media such as Video blogging, means that the once anonymous nerds, can now extrapolate their identity through irony and self reflectivity, buying into the politics of plausibility, which gains them social acceptance. Did you hear that Mr. Hollywood, they want to be heard, they are proud to a Nerd?

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About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
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