Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Geeks Come Out At Night!

So many geeks so little time!

As black women broaden the scope of what it means to be black women - forcing open the eyes of media and society - we see how different and complex we are as people.

Nerd girls (and ladies) occupy a particular space in our culture. When people think nerd girl, they generally think white girl (when they think of her at all). Historically, 'nerd', especially as it applies to women, was not a positive description. Nerd girls in the main, are thought of as mousey, and smart and boring. No one desired nerd girl, no even nerd boy.

Things change.

Whether through conscious effort or unconscious factors, opinions change. The nerd girl or 'quirky girl' (as she been made-over in the media) is now a viable option as far as social identification goes.

Next up, nerd girls/ladies who happen to be black.

Not the educated, independent woman the media laments about. Well, technically they lament about single, black nerd girls too, but we are not identified as a specific subset. Nerd girls are often not seen and rarely listened to by the media...

And then MSNBC gave MHP a talk show.

Melissa Harris Perry. With a national television show as a platform, MHP is one of many making smart the new 'cool'. As does Professor Blair Kelly. And in empowerment circles I would be remiss if I did not mention Khadija. Smart, incisive, considered, these ladies, dare I say nerd ladies, represent a different way to be a woman and black in this country.

Yes I know I am giving the whole intersection of being a woman and black and smart the short shrift, but the post is merely an introduction.


I cannot say whether the women consider themselves nerds, but smart people are often labeled (and persecuted) for exercising their brain power. The term nerd girl encompasses so many ways of being nerd-like, that it is a mistake to think of a nerd as one thing. Yes, there is diversity in how one can rock your nerd-itude (is that a word)?

Etc...

The blog At the Bar (www.ankhesen.mie.net) does a good job of covering fan-girl culture as it pertains to some black women.

For general geek-i-tude take a look at (www.geekquality.com). They did a great article about Jodie from MTV cartoon series 'Daria' which sparked this very post.

Shanti