Mayim Bialik, who in addition to being Blossom is also a) a series regular on Big Bang Theory and b) a neuroscientist, was interviewed recently about the social constructs of being a girl and being a nerd.
First, Bialik on finding good clothes:
And I don’t mean to sound like an elitist when it comes to being a female geek. I was talking with a girlfriend of mine about clothing and there used to be a very specific way that we nerd girls would dress. Now, you can go to your local Urban Outfitters and find the stuff we used to go digging through thrift stores for to hone that perfect look.
Then, Bialik on being an outcast:
If you get very specific about more of the elitist intellectual aspects of geekdom, I think that there are parts that will always be preserved, but I think that there has been a definite – I don’t want to say watering down – but a definite commercialization of some of the aspects that I used to feel set me apart.
So, liking the Violent Femmes is high school was so rebellious, they were naughty and they cursed and who could imagine liking the Violent Femmes? And then, they had a top 20 hit, and everyone was singing Violent Femmes. Part of this geekdom isn’t exclusivity, it’s an identification with being different from mainstream culture. And for me, it was alienating and still is to a certain extent, but there’s a power in that exclusivity in that you make your own club.
Preach on, sister. We went from being outcasts in high school to being considered cool, and you know what changed? Not us. Keep reading to hear more smart stuff from Bialik and Kary Byron from Mythbusters about what it’s like to be constantly called out as either being too authentic or not authentic enough. Just a lovely read.