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#1 Posted by Humanity (18148 posts) -

For a while now I've noticed a lot of people have been using the label of "nerd" in a casual or joking manner. The pop-culture shift these days has kind of de-fanged the term from what it was back in the day and everyone seems to be onbaord with it becoming an endearing phrase. The success of Marvel movies and resurgence of Star Wars has helped introduce what would normally be considered "nerdy" hobbies to the mass market. While this is not something I'm losing a ton of sleep over, I somehow am having a hard time making the switch. When I was a kid, middle school or primary school depending on whatever region of the world you're from, liking sci-fi stuff or videogames kind of put a label on you and it wasn't a good one. Being called a nerd back then could be a life ruining experience (in the scope of your life as a child of course) and it could lead to getting seriously ostracized from your peers as the nerdy dork that likes spaceships - as we all know kids can be quite ruthless. Thankfully this never happened to me personally but I had friends that would get shunned and mocked for wearing Star Wars shirts, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I would start to keep those friends at arms length in fear of becoming similarly bullied. This also meant that I had to hold a lot of my hobbies close to the chest, and could only really discuss the stuff with very close friends. Lord forbid you would ever admit to anyone in High School that you liked anime, as that would be equal with accepting a life of solitude until you hit college unless you hung out with the other 3 kids that admitted to this perversion. Simply put being a nerd wasn't a fun thing.

I guess I'm just curious how many people even care anymore? I'm sure most don't or are too young to have any real connection to the word apart from "ancient" movies of kids getting wedgies in the hallways. Personally I'm having a hard time shaking the past, and whenever I do hear someone label someone a nerd it feels awkward. While I do really enjoy Abby on the BestCoast, the way she says "fucking nerds" seems harsh and makes me kind of twitch each and every time. Does anyone care? Is this an old man shaking a fist at nerd clouds thing?

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#2 Edited by nutter (1500 posts) -

80s kid here. A couple of girls in my class called me in 5th grade or so for Star Tropics tips. Different strokes?

EDIT (more time, more context):

I played games but I didn’t wear them on my sleeve too often. I was more about music. I don’t think I had any video game t-shirts or patches or anything. I definately recall having a game related thing or two hung on my wall, but my bedroom wall as a kid was a sea of music with other things sprinkled in (sports, girls, games).

I agree about Abby’s use of the word nerds. It sounds harsh, considering the audience. It doesn’t bug me, personally, but I recognize that someone coming into a community (games), identifying as something else (a comedian), and calling folks a term traditionally meant to cause offense to that very community feels a little tone deaf. I assume “nerds!” is kinda a dated insult and Abby’s too young to appreciate the 80s/90s context.

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#3 Posted by cyberbloke (171 posts) -

I was probably considered a nerd (or geek, as we were known in England) at school in the Eighties, but I don't remember getting teased or ostracised for it.

Although I was into sci-fi and role playing, I was also the school rebel who stood up to the bullying teachers on a daily basis, so I think the two cancelled each other out.

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#4 Posted by BoOzak (2437 posts) -

Did you mean node?

.

.

sorry...

I was born in 1990 and it never bothered me. I got called a nerd a lot which I always thought was weird because I wasnt the brightest kid and I always thought that meant smart or something, dork I guess would be more apt. Either way both insults kind of suck and never really stang.

Drive by nerding can be annoying though, but driving by anyone and shouting anything can be alarming.

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#5 Posted by Hayt (1622 posts) -

Any geeks bothered by being called nerds are actually dweebs.

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#6 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1797 posts) -

I don't really use the word. I call myself a geek all the time however.

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#7 Posted by cikame (2545 posts) -

I was heavily bullied, secondary school in the UK between 2001-2005, i was decently smart and felt ready for exams early on, but then spent years waiting for it getting more and more depressed with the heavy bullying. I didn't care about any of it any more so when it came time to place students into classes based on their ability guess where i ended up, yep, every class i had for the final year or two was full of all my favourite bullies.
I don't know if i'm a nerd, i was tall with an average build, fast runner, decent at sports but detest them as they're full of awful people, didn't wear glasses, not into Star Trek or Star Wars, really my only faults were not talking much and that i played video games, the fact that i played games was often used as an insult and i feel like i might have been one of the last generation of kids that happened to, because when console gaming really exploded into the mainstream in 2005/2006 suddenly all my childhood bullies became gamers... i find it hilarious and very sad at the same time.

I'm 29 now and i'm pretty much the same person now as i was back then, and i still don't know if i'm a nerd, and i still don't know why i was bullied.

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#8 Posted by FacelessVixen (2427 posts) -

I rather be a nerd than a normie. Nerds are awesome. We pretty much run shit these days. Normies are lame and just badly follow everything we do.

But really, as far as insults go when growing up in the 90's and 2000's, being called a homophobic slur whether the word started with an "F" or not was a much bigger issue. "Nerd" kinda took a back seat to that, especially in middle school when most people at my age were into Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! with some Magic The Gathering kids in the mix, and of course the explosion of Shonen Jump and Toonami.

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#9 Posted by Efesell (3993 posts) -

I think I would be taken aback if someone called me that now but mostly from it seeming like such an out of time term these days.

In school I had fortunately(?) decided to mostly ostracize myself before anyone else really could so I don’t have a lot bad experiences to associate.

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#10 Posted by Max_Cherry (1539 posts) -

As someone from the 90’s I still find it to be a little insulting.

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#11 Posted by ShaggE (9123 posts) -

"Nerd" was definitely a bad thing for me growing up, and the mental image that the word brought up was very much Steve Urkel or Lewis from Revenge of the Nerds. I was 100% the class nerd, but I was totally on board when The Change happened and the geeks inherited the earth, and now I hardly associate the word with my childhood. When I do, I find it kind of cute and quaint... my school years were hell, but nostalgia is a hell of a thing. Besides, we're having the last laugh these days, so might as well enjoy it.

And yeah, as FacelessVixen said, by the second half of the 90s, I was getting called far worse than "nerd" (and sadly, I was dishing it out as well... regrets all around). I can't speak to the early 00s, since mine were so unusual that I can't possibly compare the viciousness of my HS years to the norm. Besides, I was in my full-on goth phase by that point and had grown from skinny kid with giant glasses to a rather large, imposing teen with a short fuse, punchy hands, and many spikes adorning my clothes. Now, THOSE years I have zero nostalgia for. We were all awful people, myself included.

That got a bit depressing, so on a happier note, I can still do a mean Urkel impression!

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#12 Edited by liquiddragon (3131 posts) -

Idk why, the term doesn’t bother me. I’ve always identified as a nerd but I just don’t remember ever being that sensitive about that fact. I think maybe as an immigrant and a minority, I maybe have other labels I’m more touchy about.

Being a nerd or what not at least gave me an in on a segment of the culture I can be part of.

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#13 Posted by wjb (2134 posts) -

I grew up liking nerdy things but never cared if people knew about my interests. The only clothing I wore that would give people an idea were band shirts. I didn't have Star Wars or D&D apparel because it didn't suit me despite liking those things. I was bullied sometimes, but average-looking (appearance-wise) where most people didn't notice me.

Nerd means something completely else now for the past 15 years. The culture has changed significantly to a point where everyone claims they are/were a nerd. It's Funko Pops and Big Bang Theory. It's being heavily marketed into buying tons of shit from brands instead of this quaint, genuine lifestyle for a niche audience.

Also, the climate is different. Nerd isn't sympathetic people who are/were bullied because of their character/interests. Nerd, to me now, is complaining about stuff that doesn't matter (Spider-Man puddles) and not caring enough about stuff that does (thinking former Telltale employees should've worked for free to finish Walking Dead's final season; caring more about video games than the treatment of human beings). It's about being needlessly pedantic or obnoxious or even selfish.

Or worse, it's Gamergate. It's harassing the sjw actors for ruining Star Wars. It's "not wanting politics in a game" because a character is trans. It's another e-sports competitor getting in trouble for harassment or using slurs. It's that dumbass gamer Youtuber, Boogie, who recently claimed good things came out of the Holocaust and Anita Sarkieesian should be blamed for Charlottesville. It can be a gateway for something bad, like the alt-right. I've learned that nerds can be just as terrible as anyone else. As much as I moan about being bullied in school, I was a huge asshole who probably hurt others, too.

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#14 Posted by Relkin (1019 posts) -

I got frustrated in high school sometimes, because some of the same kids that gave me shit for talking about Final Fantasy 7 or Star Trek: Voyager in elementary school were raving about how good Halo 3 was in my senior year, and how much they looked forward to seeing that Iron Man movie sometime after graduation. This frustration never really lasted, and returned less and less as time rolled on, for good reason. Like a couple of others have mentioned, there was a transition in the early to mid 2000's where bullies began to focus more on sexual orientation and the like, rather than hobbies; which makes sense, considering how that's the same transitory period where various aspects of "nerd/geek culture" began to become more acceptable. Being on the receiving end of seemingly endless homophobic slurs made the days of being made fun of for playing Pokemon Red seem pretty trivial. Getting just a small fraction of the abuse that various queer folk receive their whole lives helped give me a bit of perspective.

Making fun of someone for their interests still isn't cool, but at this point anything like that just rolls off me. I'm with you that I still perceive "fucking nerds" as a genuine insult when I hear Abby say it, but I know that's not what she means. For her, it's always been just good-natured ribbing, and that's for the best. It's nice to know that some insult that gave me grief at one point has been re-appropriated into something with primarily positive connotations.

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#15 Edited by haneybd87 (258 posts) -

It definitely used to be a negative thing but we’ve taken the word back and now it’s just a lifestyle descriptor.

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#16 Posted by FinalDasa (3152 posts) -

I'll still use it to describe myself, but I've steadily left it behind.

For some, especially the more hardcore types, I'm not nerdy enough. I don't know enough Star Wars trivia, or every Pokemon type advantage, or have read all of Game of Thrones every month. Whereas others look at you and think any knowledge of those things is too much or nerdy/geeky/whatever.

Toss in the crowd you use nerd as a culture or identity and companies who use nerd or gamer as a marketing tool and voluntarily calling myself such a term is very unappealing.

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#17 Edited by LeStephan (1207 posts) -

I never thought a nerd had anything to do with what you do specifically , just how much you are into something. Like, being too much into anything makes you a nerd. If all you talk about is karate you are a karate nerd etc. I guess I'd learned about otakus at a pretty young age though so that may be part of where I got my definition from it. I kinda always saw those as the same thing

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#18 Posted by xanadu (1974 posts) -
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#19 Posted by FrostyRyan (2830 posts) -

It really doesn't mean anything in particular. Me and my friends will be like "shut up, nerd"

Some people describe themselves as nerdy even though they just intake the usual marvel or star wars movies. I don't know. There's no real analysis

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#20 Edited by Onemanarmyy (3939 posts) -

it's not a word that pops up a lot. But when i hear someone talk about how nerdy & geeky they are, i assume they are not super into nerd / geek stuff, but feel weird about having 1 or 2 interests that fit in that group and have to laugh it off a bit. Or they seek a connection, like we are all nerds! But when Marvel movies are mainstream & people get excited about android & iOS updates, pretty much anyone can say it to connect.

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#21 Posted by csl316 (14849 posts) -

I dunno, I have no issue with it. It's descriptive. Like calling someone a jock, or a metalhead, or a goth. It's shorthand for knowing what someone's into.

When I was a kid, being into games or technology would lead to ridicule now and then. Nerd was something hurtful. But with gadgets being such a big part of everyone's life, and with games being openly seen as a legitimate form of entertainment, it's really just a normal thing these days.

So if someone's called a nerd, I know they're into a certain thing but I don't see it as a negative.

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#22 Posted by YI_Orange (1354 posts) -

@wjb said:

Also, the climate is different. Nerd isn't sympathetic people who are/were bullied because of their character/interests. Nerd, to me now, is complaining about stuff that doesn't matter (Spider-Man puddles) and not caring enough about stuff that does (thinking former Telltale employees should've worked for free to finish Walking Dead's final season; caring more about video games than the treatment of human beings). It's about being needlessly pedantic or obnoxious or even selfish.

Or worse, it's Gamergate. It's harassing the sjw actors for ruining Star Wars. It's "not wanting politics in a game" because a character is trans. It's another e-sports competitor getting in trouble for harassment or using slurs. It's that dumbass gamer Youtuber, Boogie, who recently claimed good things came out of the Holocaust and Anita Sarkieesian should be blamed for Charlottesville. It can be a gateway for something bad, like the alt-right. I've learned that nerds can be just as terrible as anyone else. As much as I moan about being bullied in school, I was a huge asshole who probably hurt others, too.

(for context I was born in 91)

I think this is it right here. This is the only context you can genuinely use the term nerd derisively and get away with it. Maybe not the political stuff so much, but pedantry to the point of being an asshole is definitely worthy of a genuine "shut up nerd." Outside of that, calling someone a nerd with the intention of it being an insult because of how they look or what they like or whatever completely benign thing you choose to target says more about you than anyone you could be "insulting." Even growing up you would have episodes of things like The Simpsons where someone tries to "get nerds" and the nerds pretty much never end up the ones looking worse or getting got.

That said, I'll use it plenty and in ways that make Abby's use of it feel completely normal to me. I'll use it as a greeting/farewell ("What's up nerds/later nerds"). Usually these are at either end of a session of Dungeons and Dragons or other roleplaying game. I used to bemoan some friends talking about comic books and I'm sure I used the term "stupid nerds" to express my distaste. Things like this would occur during a night of Magic the Gathering. And of course, here I am posting on a video game forum. Now that I think about it, I think it's used because what else would you use? Dweeb and dork are more playful and endearing, geek doesn't feel like it even has the potential for teeth. Anything more severe than nerds isn't warranted if you're not actually trying to be mean(and in most cases where you would use nerds probably isn't applicable)

I think what it comes down to, is other than the quoted situations, using nerds is like when a cat whacks you without it's claws. It might be attacking in a sense, but it's not really trying to hurt anybody and is more playful than aggressive.

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#24 Posted by TheHT (15723 posts) -

It all comes down to how someone's using it really. If I get the sense someone's using in an effort to actually be insulting, then the problem there is obviously that they're tryina cause some harm, but if they're using it as a term of endearment or just teasing, then whatever.

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#25 Posted by Luchalma (527 posts) -

I'm a 90s kid and I never really had a problem with the word. Things have changed a lot but even as a kid I wore my video gaming and Star Wars and Magic the Gathering on my sleeve and never got any grief. I guess I was lucky in that sense.

But somehow Abby's use of the word always hits my ear wrong. I'm not sure why but it always comes off as mean spirited even though I'm certain it's not.

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#26 Posted by burncoat (515 posts) -
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#27 Posted by DasaKamov (977 posts) -

As the others touched on, the word "nerd" generally hasn't been an insult since the early-mid 1990's, generally. I'd bet real money that this is hugely due to the fact that the internet became something that humans could use to connect to other humans with similar hobbies and passions, regardless of distance -- I remember using Prodigy BBSs to connect to Dungeons-and-Dragons, X-Files and video-games messageboards back in high school in the early 90's. People realized that so-called "nerdy" activities were much more mainstream and shared by a much greater spectrum of people than they may have originally thought.

I'll also note that later waves of Feminism and "grrl power" was instrumental in crushing the negative "nerd" connotation. Women in general suffered from a more negative stereotype with cries of "girls can't read comic books", "girls can't play D&D" and "girls can't play video games" -- but, thanks to a combination of the internet, the popularity of cosplay and the general mainstreaming of the previous-mentioned activities, the term "nerdy chick" has become a pop-culture positive.

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#28 Posted by mems1224 (2427 posts) -

It doesn't bother me at all and I don't think it ever has but Im also pretty hard to offend. I've also never been called a nerd.

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#29 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1111 posts) -

I proudly and openly identified as a nerd in school, because I was a fucking asshole who thought he was better than everyone else. I wore it as a badge to say, "I stand apart from the crowd." It's not really anything I was bullied over, as I had other friends into similar things.

It was utter bullshit. Children are terrible. Their brains are not yet fully developed. That's not an excuse, but I suppose we can all agree here that blanket immunity for the assholes we were in high school is in order.

Ahem. Sorry, got carried away there. Now? As others have mentioned, "nerd" often carries a specific connotation of entitled 30-somethings upset that Ghostbusters has women, furious that Star Wars has a black stormtrooper, and livid that a woman would dare to make a documentary series about the depiction of women in video games. So, the title of "nerd" or "geek" never bothered me as a kid, but nowadays I try to say, "I have nerdy interests," rather than, "I'm a nerd."

Also? World-class athletes play video games, watch anime, play D&D. Gamers work out, run marathons, join the military. I don't know if everyone who watches a Marvel movie would identify as a nerd. I'm sure some wouldn't. Some would. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter. Games are for everyone. Sports are for everyone. Comic books are for everyone. Superhero movies are for everyone. Fuck gatekeepers.

Edit to add: If your experience of being bullied for the things you like has made you not appreciate these words, that is absolutely valid.

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#30 Posted by wollywoo (166 posts) -

The word has obviously been de-fanged, to the point where it seems like almost everybody claims to be a nerd. It's a bit strange to me - like, I don't see anything "nerdy" at all about Star Wars or Marvel. *Everybody* sees those movies. The definition I think of for nerd would have to include some amount of social awkwardness along with the niche interests. But, language changes. Probably best not to think too hard about it.

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#31 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4282 posts) -

I graduated in 2011 and "nerd," in the past decade in my community has never really been a negative connotation at all. When people say nerd it could mean a lot. A nerd for some kind of culture (video games, comics, etc.) or just super interested in education and/or smart. But never as an aggressive or demeaning phrase and it never meant socially awkward. I'd hate to live in a time where "nerd," was so demeaning.

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#32 Posted by inkerman (1518 posts) -

I don't like the word really, because it was used to bully and insult people because of things they liked to do or watch. Every time I hear people say 'nerd culture' or talk about how 'nerds are cool now' and stuff, or that the word has been 'de-fanged' I think it's total bullshit. Enjoying the big budget Marvel movies, or Harry Potter, or playing Fortnite, doesn't make you a 'nerd' in the way the word was used less than a decade ago, and to some extent because of the way people used to be treated, I think it's offensive.

'Nerd culture' isn't mainstream, and the success of those movies and some videogames shouldn't fool people into thinking it is. Most people still can't tell you a single thing about Batman that wasn't in one of the movies, or tell you a single thing about old-school RPGs like Baldur's Gate or what made Street Fighter 2 great. They might go and see the latest Avengers movie, but they probably don't then go home and discuss it on a forum about comic books, or listen to a podcast about how it compares to the comics. That deeper level of interest is still dominated by the people who would be traditionally called 'nerds'. It's more open than it was before, but there's still a big gap.

I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, at all. It's been great that traditionally 'nerdy' things have at least become more mainstream, or at least aren't immediately scoffed at, but given the fact the people who are into comics, old school videogames, Warhammer, whatever, were often labelled as 'nerds' and then ostracised for it, it's just fucked for me that someone who has no interest comics beyond the Marvel movies, or hasn't played a single videogame beyond Madden and Fortnite, can honestly call themselves 'nerds' and that be ok.

Having said all of that, I don't and have never identified as a 'nerd' (but other people have called me that). I don't like labels, and not in a 'rebellious' kind of way. I just like the things I like. I don't need to attach a label to my identity.

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#33 Posted by loafofgame (129 posts) -

@lestephan said:

I never thought a nerd had anything to do with what you do specifically , just how much you are into something. Like, being too much into anything makes you a nerd. If all you talk about is karate you are a karate nerd etc. I guess I'd learned about otakus at a pretty young age though so that may be part of where I got my definition from it. I kinda always saw those as the same thing

This. Whenever your knowledge of or interest in something (ever so slightly) exceeds the knowledge or interest of the people in your immediate surroundings, you will be jokingly labeled a nerd. I don't really remember the term being used in any other way in my particular social context. That said, that context isn't representative at all. I can't even really remember anyone being bullied in middle or high school, but I'm most likely completely wrong there.

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#34 Posted by dudeglove (13574 posts) -

@xanadu: Funny thing about the film Revenge of the Nerds is that said nerds in the film are mostly shitty people - engaging in all sorts of fun japes that would literally land you on the sex offenders register - but then so was the 80s for those types of films.

As for the word, it's kinda all about context or how it's used. Does it feel like I or someone else is being defamed if that word is used? Then yeah, I think it sucks. But thanks to brands like Disney pushing Star Wars and Marvel down your throat, you no longer have to feel bad and are in fact encouraged to reveal your inner nerd, and hopefully your wallet too! So in another sense it's lost all meaning. Thanks, capitalism?

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#35 Edited by Slag (8121 posts) -

The word never had a lot of potency for me. Tbf I think most people considered me a "jock" (if you were using that dichotomy) and I was at a school that valued academic achievement.

I rarely ever hear it used at all in recent years. It feel almost like an old insult now, kinda like "square" but maybe not quite that obsolete yet. "Loser" is another one I don't hear very often anymore.

Just about any word can be turned into a potent insult by a bully though.

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#36 Edited by NTM (11462 posts) -

I don't care. When people call others 'nerds' in certain ways, it's more cringe-worthy than anything. I don't see it as offensive, at least not today. While I don't go around calling myself a nerd or awkwardly revel in it as if it's something that needs to be accepted, I think it's probably an okay way to get across that I like things like video games, sci-fi, etc. so I don't have to go all that deep into it. I was born in 1990 and graduated high school in 2008. In that time span, 'nerd' was never really an offensive term from what I remember. As mentioned above by someone else, homophobic slurs were a bit more serious. I guess it is offensive when someone clearly looks down on someone though. My previous manager had a son that liked Dungeons & Dragons, and my current manager now said they were awkward because them playing D&D was '...nerdy'.

Yes, there was a pause when she called them that. I was just thinking 'well damn, what would you think of me if I told you that I play video games?' I couldn't care less though. I think people of the baby boomer generation are more susceptible to being somewhat of a bully when it comes to nerd culture since they didn't grow up with all of that and probably see a lot of the stuff as a waste of time. And lastly, it's true that people seemingly just don't use nerd in that negative a manner these days; most consider themselves a nerd in some manner even if it doesn't entirely fit the definition. The word can obviously still be offensive, but I don't see it used as much in that way these days. I'm pretty apathetic about it. If someone called me a nerd, I most likely wouldn't be offended.

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#37 Posted by soulcake (2429 posts) -

"Nerd" is up there with "Gamer" there both dumb and generalized. For instance the word nerd reminds me of funko pops and the word gamer reminds me of Jeff Keighley sitting there with his Mountain dew and Doritos double halo XP.

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#38 Edited by BallsLeon (528 posts) -

I despise "nerd" culture. Seems very fake to me. If you have to constantly remind others how much of a nerd you are then maybe you're just a phony.

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#39 Posted by Karwowski (34 posts) -

Nerd, I feel, is still an insult.

During E3 EA, when the host refered to Nerds in the way she did. It felt like an insult.

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#40 Posted by BryanClifford (4 posts) -

I think there are labels that are worse than a nerd

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#41 Posted by mageemagoo (275 posts) -

whats a normie?

I rather be a nerd than a normie. Nerds are awesome. We pretty much run shit these days. Normies are lame and just badly follow everything we do.

But really, as far as insults go when growing up in the 90's and 2000's, being called a homophobic slur whether the word started with an "F" or not was a much bigger issue. "Nerd" kinda took a back seat to that, especially in middle school when most people at my age were into Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! with some Magic The Gathering kids in the mix, and of course the explosion of Shonen Jump and Toonami.

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#42 Posted by Marcsman (3815 posts) -

They're a great candy

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#43 Posted by Ben_H (4151 posts) -

I despise "nerd" culture. Seems very fake to me. If you have to constantly remind others how much of a nerd you are then maybe you're just a phony.

This is my take also.

Also, how being a nerd now seems to be tied to being super materialistic. Every "nerd" Youtube channel seems to now be some person in a room packed to the brim with statues and obscure pop culture items. It's like the implication is that if you don't spend a bunch of money seeing every Marvel movie and buying a bunch of funko pops and stuff like that, then you're not a true nerd.

To me, a person being a nerd used to mean basically that they had certain interests that they were intensely into, often to the detriment to other parts of their lives. But as time has gone on, it's more become a label for being interested in a certain set of topics, often relating to pop culture and science, mixed with a bunch of elitism.

whats a normie?

From what I've seen, it's a derogatory term used to describe people who aren't nerds. As an example, if you've seen The Big Bang Theory, Penny is the character depicted as a "normie", if that makes the concept any clearer. The implication is that normies are people who are better adjusted socially and don't, at least on the surface, have any interests outside of work/school and hanging out with friends/their partner.

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#44 Posted by Casepb (502 posts) -

I get where you're coming from. I grew up in the mid 90s and being called a nerd was definitely an insult then. I was into lots of nerdy things but never talked about them to others unless they mentioned it first. I was rarely called a nerd as an insult because I only talked to others that shared my interests. Then once I got to high school which was 2000, I was more into heavy metal bands and even though I still played lots of video games I always covered that up a bit with bands due to feeling slightly ashamed of being nerdy. I think everyone I knew did the same. We were all secretly big nerds that also loved metal and just showed that more. It's so weird to think about something so long ago.

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#45 Posted by DPXJube (7 posts) -

Nobody means offense by it anymore and like you said has mostly become a term of endearment due to cultural shifts. That being said I do think there should be some care in using it because for many people, me included and some others in the thread; someone coming from a "non-nerdy" background calling people nerds does ring back some very bad memories and while we'll all learn to move on from those things I don't think it should be immediately dismissed as "Oh it doesn't mean anything bad anymore, get with the times grandpa"

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#46 Edited by ChaosOrdeal (43 posts) -

It's insulting. Even now that it's "acceptable" it's still dismissive and reductive, like calling someone a "stoner" or a "bro-dude." I implies that you're one-dimensional, a wimp, and a loser. Sadly, Madison Avenue is trying to get you to proudly self-identify as a "nerd" to get you to buy what is, in most cases, real garbage -- like plastic toys, junk food, and terrible movies.

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#47 Posted by CurseTheseMetalHands (140 posts) -

@humanity said:

While I do really enjoy Abby on the BestCoast, the way she says "fucking nerds" seems harsh and makes me kind of twitch each and every time.

I don't listen to the Beastcast anymore, so I don't have the proper context, but I'm going to say that you put 'fucking' in front of anything and it sounds bad, even if you meant it to sound puckish, it kinda just makes you a come across like a hateful douchenozzle.

If you were hosting a dinner party and your significant other, who was responsible for the meal, asked, "Are any Jews coming?" While maybe not the best phrasing, you'd gather that they're probably concerned with whether or not the meal needs to be kosher. If, however, they asked, "Are any fucking Jews coming?" You probably want to punch that piece of shit in the head and rethink your relationship. Or if you were thinking of getting a new pet, and your significant other asks, "A kitten?" You'd be all, "We're so in sync!" But if they said, "A fucking kitten?" Again, you punch that piece of shit in the head and rethink your relationship. Point is, maybe it's not the term 'nerd' that bothers some people, but the 'fucking' bit that seems to imply at least some level of contempt, disdain, or intolerance.

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#48 Posted by jeffgoldblum (3914 posts) -

Gamers are the true oppressed class! Gamers rise up!

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#49 Posted by Rahf (463 posts) -

To answer the topic title in a survey manner: I don't feel strongly about it either way.

I'm of two minds. There's the connotative qualities many of us apply to the term in a joking manner. I use it all the time to describe someone incredibly passionate about a specific set of activities and hobbies. That's it. If a person might feel slighted or unsure about my use of the term, it's easy enough to adjust tone of voice and intent when addressing them.

I meet people that still see the term as a pejorative, and others that have taken a step beyond and accept that it applies to fandom and enthusiasm. And then there's the capitalization on the aging use of the term-- you know, the one where a nerd is the stereotypical pencil pushing man-boy from the 90s. That just feels out-of-touch.

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#50 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1111 posts) -

@cursethesemetalhands: On a day when people praying at a synagogue were targeted and murdered by a domestic terrorist, this is one hell of a take.