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PSA: Nerds Are Not Oppressed

Dear fellow nerds,

Please understand that we are not an oppressed group. There are no institutional or societal systems stacked against us all because we happen to like cartoons and games and fantasy settings a little more than what may considered acceptable for adults.

Please stop comparing someone calling you a dork for playing Magic the Gathering during lunch to systemic racism and sexism. It makes you look bad. It makes us all look bad.

It’s not cute or comparable. Mkay?

I remember having a conversation with one of my very first boyfriends about how someone suggested I change my name when I wanted to enter the job world because nobody would want to hire someone with such an “ethnic sounding name.” My boyfriend compared this to how sometimes people might think he’s weird for being a gamer. I face palmed all the way into another dimension. I know he was well intentioned, but those two things are entirely different. Nobody is going to deny him an opportunity because he plays DnD on the weekends. Nobody even has to KNOW he plays DnD on the weekends. Meanwhile, I will never be able to hide the fact that I’m clearly not anyone’s idea of “all-American.” I can’t hide the fact that I’m a woman, and I shouldn’t have alter my name to be seen as more “hirable.” That’s the result of actual discrimination.

The minor shit I got in high school for being a nerd is nothing compared to the shit I got -and still get- for being a woman, and for being a black woman, at that. There are no long held prejudices and traditions in place that were designed to bring down anyone with a comic book collection. There’s no system or social hierarchy in place that puts people who identify as “nerds” at a disadvantage when looking for jobs, applying for loans, coming forward about sexual abuse, or anything else. Past high school, nobody really gives a shit about how much Skyrim you play.

In fact, in case you legitimately haven’t noticed, being considered “nerdy” is really fucking trendy right now. Game of Thrones is HBO’s most popular series. Shirts with corny shit like “Nerdy and Proud” are flying off the shelves of your local Hot Topic. The gaming industry generates BILLIONS in revenue per year. You’re free now, friends. You’re free. Leave the ghosts of middle school bullies in the past.

If I see one more misguided shit bubble of a human being claim that they are facing actual real oppression and widespread social stigma just because of their love for all things nerdy, I’m gonna just link them to this article so I don’t have to explain it anymore.

**Please share your thoughts below!**

~DeLa Doll
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0 thoughts on “PSA: Nerds Are Not Oppressed

  1. I’m just fangirling it here, but I think you are amazing. Proper ‘opening the doors to a sunny day in Italy’ amazing.

    1. DeLa Doll says:

      I’m honestly super flattered lol Thank you!!!!

  2. Hmmmm you said that you weren’t trying to invalidate others’ experiences but it sure sounds like, it particularly this line>

    “Leave the ghosts of middle school bullies in the past.”

    This is a slightly snide way of saying that whatever these people went through (which as another commenter correctly pointed out, is bullying) is not as important or relevant as “oppression”, a whole other bag of worms. It’s asinine, as though I should say to people with anxiety disorders “yeah okay but you’re not suicidal and so you need to just calm down, because being suicidal is so much more this or that”.

    I don’t think I know anyone who even says that nerds are oppressed. A lot of the people with negative experiences talking about their nerdiness yes, were violently and maliciously bullied in school. And even now, plenty of middle school and high school students commit suicide because of bullying. It is a real problem, but again there are no crusades online for the liberation of nerds. I’ve never seen a single one. I’m sure that most people who were bullied in school or treated badly in the past for being a nerd, are relieved that society has embraced nerd culture. I know that I am. I used to get made fun of for watching star trek, now it’s a blockbuster hit series. Win!

    Basically I think you’re arguing against a case that nobody has ever even made here, and in doing so are coming off quite insensitive with remarks like “leave the past in the past” ….trauma is something that, if we are compassionate humans, we can acknowledge as a burden that sometimes doesn’t stay where it should and causes problems and frustration in the present.

    1. DeLa Doll says:

      Hi! First of all, welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting! Second of all,
      “I don’t think I know anyone who even says that nerds are oppressed”

      And I know plenty, as do many other people. Just because you haven’t personally seen it happening doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

      “Leave the ghosts of middle school bullies in the past” is my way of saying try to move forward and stop allowing things that happened ages ago to negatively affect you on such a massive scale. Is that easier said than done sometimes? Yes. Was it a little snide? Sure. But it was not implying that it’s somehow “less than” oppression. Not sure how you got that. I’m also confused as to why you put “oppression” in parenthesis? And as a suicide survivor, someone who sometimes struggles with anxiety, and a decent human being, your comparison of what you *thought* that line meant to telling someone with anxiety disorder to calm down because suicidal impulses are much worse is really odd, and borderline insensitive.

      I never said bullying wasn’t an issue. My post was specifically addressing the people -who you’ve been fortunate enough to have never encountered- who claim that nerds are an oppressed group in society. I didn’t say that there aren’t also others who happen to be relieved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, though!

      1. Those are not parentheses. They were quotation marks. I can see by your admittal of being snide as well as your tendency to turn everything into a personal attack (I have had many suicide attempts but that was not relative to my statement) that you are not someone interested in insight. You simply want to argue your own point and provoke. I do not find either of those palatable and won’t be continuing the discussion. Good luck.

        1. DeLa Doll says:

          *Quotation marks, my bad! You made a comment to offer your perspective and argue your point. I replied. That’s how a discussion works. For what it’s worth, I didn’t take your comment as a personal attack at all. I want to provoke dialog and discussion…that’s one of the main points of writing for many people. I don’t see how that’s wrong lol You haven’t even bothered to address any of the actual points in my reply, and are instead opting to call me snide and say that I have a tendency to turn everything into a personal attack…instead of addressing my points, you’re just offering your (wildly inaccurate) assessment of me that you gleaned from two blog posts and one comment. I’m not really sure what you wanted or expected, but thanks for the well wishes! <3

  3. Benjamin Herrman says:

    Can being made fun of and beaten up over your nerd shit affect you like any other significant traumatic or shitty thing that occurs in kids’ developmental stages like childhood and adolescence? Yes. If your family makes you the black sheep and you become a socially inept person because of their ridicule then yes, you can become messed up and sidle on up with the “nerds” because misery loves company. Can it be the basis for who you are, your personality’s foundation? Sure.

    But it’s not oppression or racism, institutionalized or societal. Why? For one big fucking reason – no nerd been outcast and killed or received outlandish prejudice for such things which resulted in an entire society bulked up against him.

    Any time a nerd is targeted for some shit, generally it’s sexual orientation, gender, or race involved. The whole “nerd” thing is super in now and now “nerds” are either the majority or at least on par with the “non-nerds.”

    I understand that people can be dramatically affected by stuff like that because I’ll toss it up – my nerdiness really made me a weirdo in my family and that spilled out sort of into the rest of my youth but I chose to get mad and angry about stuff that I felt “wronged” by. But then I grew up and got over it because I could have had it a lot worse.

    LIKE A LOT WORSE.

    Git gud

  4. DeLa Doll says:

    I said my own experiences were “minor shit”
    Never once did I invalidate anyone else’s. I acknowledged and am fully aware that bullying exists. I’m sorry you went through that, but that doesn’t negate the truth of my post. I’m not about to go into detail about the trauma I experienced in high school because that’d be a super shitty trip down memory lane, but yes. I’ve experienced all of those things. Thanks for your contribution!

  5. M. Herbaugh says:

    Question – have you EVER been beat up? Punched in the side of the head repeatedly, kicked in the stomach? Lived every day in fear of when the next attack between classrooms would come? Had a vice principle/principle look at you like a crybaby? This was my life for four years in Georgia in the 80’s, taking regular beatings from rednecks in a society where every teacher had a paddle and was free to hand out corporal punishment for any offense.

    Am I saying I was “oppressed”? No. But this terror, and it was TERROR, was because I was a nerd/geek/dork and the society/establishment did not give crap. FAR from “minor shit”.

  6. Tonya K says:

    People need to learn the definition of words they use. I was made fun of pretty harshly in school for my nerdy interests. Enough to make me cry myself to sleep every night and have suicidal thoughts. But I was being bullied, not oppressed. Both very bad things, but also both very different.

    1. DeLa Doll says:

      Exactly! I was also bullied (for a number of reasons), but there’s a difference between high school bullying and systemic oppression

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