Are Nerds the New Americans?

The definition of what Americans look like has changed over time. Nonetheless, because of historical figures and the media, Americans still tend to be characterized as accomplished white males. However, even white males can face discrimination. In Stuart Edge’s social experiment, a nerd (a socially constructed identity based on interests and looks) asks girls innocent questions until another, more “masculine” man approaches and makes fun of the nerd.

Because the nerd does not fit the standards of what Americans look like, he is singled out and mocked for his differences, such as his glasses or his word choice. This can also be seen in various movies and television shows, especially when comparing the reception towards nerds versus superheroes. Interestingly, the girls (in this case, the experiment’s subjects) come to the nerd’s defense even if it means going against the opinion of the other man. By accepting the nerd as he is, these girls are helping to redefine what Americans really are: diverse, varied, and unique.

In a time when fitness and looks are important in defining masculinity, is it possible for males that have “nerdy” traits to be considered attractive?


How YouTube Mocks Hegemony

Hegemony is influence exerted by a group over another group, thus making certain ideas dominant without the need for coercion. The satirical YouTube video, “The Rules of Racism,” featuring Lilly Singh and Ryan Higa, portrays stereotypes about two races (Chinese and Indian) through insults when both actors fight over a parking spot.

Hegemony involves generalizations about each racial group that are spread by other groups in order to categorize each group. For example, Singh’s character argues that Chinese people are poor drivers. She assumes that her racial group (Indian) is superior over the Chinese, and therefore she spreads the stereotype about them being bad drivers. While this is not true for many people of Chinese descent, there is still a general understanding and consensus that they do not drive well, hence allowing for hegemony.

How can people effectively use counterhegemony to get rid of stereotypes about different races?