Caution: The author of this article is a nerd.
‘People are prettiest when they talk about something they really love with passion in their eyes’K.V.H
Mind you, we, at The Web Capitals, have no regard for superficial beauty. You can be passionate about travelling, music, video games, and many other wonderful things. Have you ever thought, why can’t you passionately be a nerd? You can; be your geekiest, dorkiest, and nerdiest ‘you’ because ‘you’ are wonderful.
I deserve to be celebrated too!-the author, herself.
There is a group of people who admire the studious, and then a group of people who criticize them. The former usually comprises parents and the latter comprises peers with differing interests. It’s about time that we established that nerds ‘choose’ to be studious, studying is either the bridge that connects them to their goals and dreams, or just happens to be their ‘area of interest’. Because you furnish an escape through the music you make when I don’t like my life too much, I will celebrate you by doing what I do best, making technology that you can use to create and share what you do best. So, maybe, celebrate me too?
Don’t Overwhelm Me with Your Expectations, Let Me Enjoy Being ‘Me’
The impression of nerds and how others treat them has a lot to do with whether or how much parents prioritize the academic success of their children over other things. Parents that channel into their kids the perception that ‘ideal kids’ are studious, leave their kids with a hunch of expectations. These include expecting kids to be studious, have good grades, and thrive academically, even if it’s at the price of sacrificing their own interests. The kids are left with two options. They can either conform or not conform to these expectations. While the former may result in kids never completely enjoying what they do and cause them to hold grudges against their parents in the long-run, the latter can cause them to feel that they are inadequate in the eyes of their parents and create cognitive dissonance (mental discomfort) towards studies and the studious, aka ‘nerds’.
Cry for Validation
When kids sense dissatisfaction in their parents due to their decision to defy the previously mentioned expectations, they suffer from a frustration of feeling less about themselves that transcends into bullying. These kids go to school and mistreat the ‘ideal kids’ in a desperate effort to manifest that even though they are different, they are not only just as good as, but better than what their parents would like them to be. Their superior attitude towards others is a reflection of how they want to see themselves. Also, how they want others to see them; a result of their own self-esteem issues. The lack of attention, acceptance, and validation from parents makes kids resort to bullying as a channel for getting attention and covering for a low sense of self-worth.
Prejudice, Payback and Rebellion
Remember the cognitive dissonance that we mentioned earlier in this article? No matter what these kids do, nothing seems to make their parents as happy as studying would. In such circumstances, these kids may develop a vindication that the entire being and existence of ‘ideal kids’ is the root of their problems at home. Nerd shaming is part of their rebellion against the negligence and criticism that they face at home for not being studious. Bullying is their way of getting back at the world for the circumstances they are put in regularly.
Responsible Parenting Is the Key
In my opinion, parents should be accountable for their actions as should kids. Both groups need to be aware of the impacts of their behaviour. Bullying gives kids a sense of regaining control, attention, pleasure, and acceptance that they are either deprived of in other phases or aspects of life or want in their lives as a result of an invalidly glorified perception of power, popularity, entertainment and being a certain way. Being informed about concepts of making a life, living and things that truly matter, will develop a sense of responsibility within a child and enable them to analyse the feasibility and value of their decisions. Society needs to acknowledge and value all kinds of interests. As parts of society, parents and educators need to normalize and facilitate that kids can thrive in all fields. AND not be a nerd.
Nerd or not, as long as one is passionate and hardworking, they will create value for the society and environment no matter what fields they pursue, isn’t that all that should matter? As long as the love that your child feels towards something doesn’t hurt anyone and is organic, healthy, and ethical, there really isn’t much else to worry about.
Here’s to the ones who didn’t give in to peer pressure, the ones who kept doing what they loved no matter what expectations people had from them, and the ones who made a point of not hurting anyone no matter what. Here’s to the nerds, the athletes, the artists, and… well, we don’t like labels anyway! Here’s to you!