Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Geek Girls"

Being a nerd or geek used to be an exclusively male domain (at least in the popular imagination). As a recent Newsweek article points out, however, women are making a foray into that social caste. The article is interesting, but it does spend a fair amount of time focusing on this new breed of nerd and their physical appearance. As it turns out, the new geek is not socially awkward but is in fact attractive and self-confident in her embracing of techno-culture. Apparently, her archetype is Tina Fey.

What happens to the more traditional "nerdy" women (or men, for that matter)? Is this just another instance of cultural appropriation by the "in crowd"? or is it really an embrace of nerd culture? Does this mean that social awkwardness and a slightly out-of -the-mainstream appearance won't get you into the nerd clique anymore? Are we going to have to develop a new subcaste for those kids?

As someone who works with kids on a daily basis (as a father and as a teacher), I don't know what to make of the trend. Maybe it's a good thing, but maybe it's absolutely terrible. Maybe the reality lies somewhere in the middle. I feel like my head is ready to explode.

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