Nerd Jealousy

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The geek gets the girl in “Revenge of the Nerds”
Are nerds jealous of or seek vengeance against beautiful people?

People who know me well know how much of a nerd I am. Not quite a Sheldon, but surprisingly close. I mentioned to someone yesterday afternoon that there is scientific evidence that there is a form of discrimination in place, against people who are not "beautiful". The person I mentioned this to floored me when they replied "maybe there is discrimination in the other direction as well, in the form of jealousy".

Of course, I can only speak for myself and people I know well, but let me tell you - there is very little or no jealousy by nerds against the "beautiful people", beyond the childish schoolyard antics of children. We do not want to be like them. In fact, we kid of feel sorry for them. We feel that it is sad that they need to use their superficial beauty and enhanced social skills to compensate for their lack of intelligence and/or lack of creativity. We feel sad for the obvious emptiness they have within, despite their incessant efforts to prove to the outside world that they don't. In a sense, there is no need for apply themselves to rigorous methodology if they can achieve things using a superficial facade, by networking with the correct people or by simply taking the product of others' labour, often claiming it as their own as if they were entitled to it. These people are not sophisticated. They are just infantile bullies who would do anything to “win the game”.

We do sometimes feel some resentment that we are used by some non-nerds to further their means and not appreciated for what we are, but we certainly do not wish to become hollow, empty souls like them.  We very much enjoy and protect the richness of our personal philosophy, beliefs and interactions and sharing these with other like-minded people. We do not wish to participate in the world in which having a relationship with people is simply about using them and accepting that they will attempt to use you.

If we are not seen as weak and willing to be manipulated, we are seen as jealous and eager to take over or get some sort of revenge. Both of these perceptions could not be further from the truth. Movie depictions of nerds do not help. Get a grip - imagining that someone is jealous, then using this fabrication as a justification for using them and hurting them preemptively is silly and infantile. So is expecting someone to accept that he is inferior to you when there is no evidence at all to support it. Maybe you should instead take to heart the golden rule - treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. It is one of the fundamentals of all morals and ethics, just like "if you take something, you must give something back".

Nerds can take some solace that it is largely due to their efforts that society continues to function in some sort of ethical manner. Despite some having obvious social awkwardness, there are many more nerds than there are non-nerds in the world. It's just that sometimes empty vessels make the most noise.


1. Biddle, Jeff, & Hamermesh, Daniel. (1994) Beauty and the Labor Market The American Economic Review. 84(5) p 1186

2. Biddle & Hamermesh. Beauty and the Labor Market. p 1186

3. Biddle, Jeff, & Hamermesh, Daniel. (1998) "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination." pp. 185 – 187

4. Seligman, Daniel. (1996) "Lucky Lookers." Fortune. 133(3). pp117-119. In ABI/Inform Database, Ovid.

5. Laabs, Jennifer J. (1995 Dec.) Does Image Matter? Personnel Journal. 74(12). pp48 – 53. In ABI/Inform Database, Ovid.

© Steven and Andrea Kazoullis 2014