a person with glasses and suit

How the Geeks and Nerds Are Misrepresented on Media

Two of the most influential media platforms throughout history are television and film. They are so influential that they can teach the viewers a life lesson or two. They can even change the way people perceive things. Television and film also make people have different takes on issues. But there’s one thing that’s being talked about a lot concerning these forms of media. That is representation.

There are tons of discussions about the representation of several minorities in television and film. The importance of representation in media is undeniable, especially for the younger ones. Seeing someone like you on TV and cinema can make you feel like you exist, but that’s only the bare minimum. If you have to represent a group of people, you have to do it right.

This may sound satirical, but one great example of misrepresentation is when TV shows and films include nerdy or geeky characters. These people are almost always incorrectly represented. Here are the pieces of evidence that prove why you can say that geeks and nerds are misrepresented in media.

They’re Indistinguishable

Just like any subcultures, nerds and geeks have differences. What happens is their characteristics overlap. That’s because of stereotypical writing of characters that are supposed to represent the two different subcultures. To be clear, nerds are intelligent but single-minded people. Meanwhile, geeks are people who have excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity. That’s according to Dictionary.com. These two groups of people may share similarities, but they can also display many differences. This is what most television shows and movies don’t get. Writers always think that nerds and geeks are interchangeable. This is actually the root cause for many representation mistakes for these groups of people.

Cliche Look

While it may be how the nerd and geek characters were written, the costume department can also be blamed. If you’re watching a television show or a film, you can immediately tell who the nerds and geeks are. That’s only based on how the media portrayed characters like them over the years. They always have the weirdest fashion sense when they could dress normally. Some have outrageous braces when they could just go to a good dentist and get invisible braces. Betty Suarez from “Ugly Betty” and Steve Urkel from “Family Matters” both have these, the specs. The way you can easily distinguish them as nerds or geeks just because of the way they’re clothed is stereotypical costuming.

Written as Romantically Desperate

white roses

Because of their projected “weirdness,” nerds and geeks are always shown as people who find it hard to build romantic relationships. They’re always portrayed as people who always fall for someone much hotter than them. A perfect example of this is Leonard Hofstadter of “The Big Bang Theory.” In the series, he falls in love with Penny, an aspiring actress who lives in the room across from their apartment. But Leonard had actually gone through a lot before he ended up with Penny. The premise is somewhat funny—a nerd falling in love with a hyper-attractive woman. But the nerds and geeks in real life must be so tired of seeing this trope.

Show Antisocial Behavior

Not all nerds and geeks are antisocial. They may form a group that they consider their safe space. But they can also be friendly with others outside that circle. How do you think some of the most established nerds and geeks become successful? Of course, they had to interact with people and do business with clients. They also had to lead meetings and conferences. It would have been the opposite if all nerds and geeks were shy and antisocial. Nerds and geeks are some of the most intelligent people in school or at work. That makes some people want to be friends with them.

Uninterested in Anything but Their Passion

The media has portrayed nerds and geeks as people who only do things they want. They seem to be stubborn about doing something they don’t like unless they’re pressured and persuaded. But that’s not true at all. Nerds and geeks are just like any other people. Some like to swim, while others like sports. Some even like hanging out with friends and doing karaoke. It’s just that they have a taste for subject matters that don’t usually spark interest with most people. That’s what they’re known for, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have other hobbies that most people love.

This may not be as big as other issues on media representation. But it would be nice if television shows and films could come up with an accurate portrayal of nerds and geeks. That would be more interesting to watch.

About The Author