Geek vs. Nerd isn’t even the real question

This began as a comment on I Can’t Decide If I’m A Nerd Or A Geek; Maybe It’s The Gender Bias

My husband got his father to paint a Seussian nerd on the high chair he built for our child, so in our house there was never any question.  It’s practically our family crest.  But although I became quite proficient on the Apple Lisa at a film company I worked at back in the day, it was only after I was given a domain name for mothers day that i myself embraced my inner nerd.

I guess my problem with the infographic is that it appears to have been created by marketing hipsters, not actual nerds *or* geeks, because to my mind a lot of their points are incorrect.  Then of course, at this point I may well be a nerd. Personally, I totally agree with your comment on the teeth thing, which seems to imply that parents who can’t afford orthodonture are condemning their kids to looking like this.  As far as the Mac versus IBM argument goes… if using a Mac makes you a geek, then that implies the smartest tech folk are not geeks, because they are unwilling to give up the freedom to tinker,

Then, too, I am put off by labelling. I find it rather liberating to see women excluded from this stereotypical labelling.  I myself don’t call anyone “nerds” or “geeks” (although I have had characters consider the question).  Once upon a time some Hollywood people too lazy to do any actual research labelled computer criminals as hackers.  Most of the smartest tech folk I know self identify as “hackers” in the non-criminal sense.  There is a huge difference between the labels people choose for themselves and those decided by outsiders.

Recently I saw a picture of Snoop Dogg cooking with Martha Steward captioned “Stereotyoes Matter ~ and only one of them is a convicted felon.”   And since I saw it on Facebook, I couldn’t possibly be a nerd, a geek or even a hacker.

Geeks vs Nerds

5 thoughts on “Geek vs. Nerd isn’t even the real question

  1. I saw this poster on a friend’s Pinterest board. I agree with you: it’s so wrong!

    I do see a difference between the terms “geek” and “nerd,” but it’s only in that being a geek is about being extremely enthusiastic about something, while being a “nerd” is about being extremely knowledgeable about something.

    As in a Lord of the Rings geek loves Lord of the Rings; while a Lord of the Rings nerd know things about Lord of the Rings most fans don’t even know.

    Geeks and nerds tend to have the same interests. You can be a tech geek (I am), but you can also be a tech nerd (sadly, I’m not that knowledgeable). I’m a book nerd, because I know a lot about books and writing. I’m also a book geek, because I love books with a passion. I’m also both a comics geek and a comics nerd. And I love Nerdcore almost to the point of geekiness (but not quite).

    I think being knowledgeable and enthusiastic are wonderful traits, so I’m a proud nerd and a proud geek. We should ALL be. The world would be a better place if we could all unabashedly embrace our passions. Nerds and geeks rule!

  2. Thanks for giving such a perfect explanation of the different meanings of the words, Shevi. The second paragraph of your comment does a better job than their entire ginormous “infographic” :)

    [And my nerd husband points out further that an infographic ought to be effective without having to read the words….]

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Laurel :) Thanks for continuing the conversation!

    I agree with you about the creators of the infographic being marketing hipsters, but the info for the graphic was pulled from somewhere. And while labels are not important to me, the whole thing makes me uncomfortable with the lack of recognizing women as part of these (however entwined) communities. And that’s rather my point.

    Ultimately, many of the problems with this infographic actually mirror what’s wrong the culture itself.

    How can we encourage women to profit from so-called geek and nerd professions (such as math, science, technology), to be proud of their brainy activities when the female-dominated professions of librarians, for example, are so dismissed? Why would women even to pursue such fields when they are so dismissed — and even are treated as sexist toys or gifts — in the culture?

    • Difficult questions, Deanna. I rather think that what we need is equality. The culture is made up of people, and so we are the ones who have to make changes.

      I was horrified to see the house league soccer league we were with for years decided to segregate the genders for the kids younger than mine. This was apparently decided to protect the little girls from having to interact with the boys. This seems the opposite direction we need to be going. Nothing motivates gender co-operation more than sharing goals

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