aka YA Literature

Monday, July 30, 2007

Nerd Roundup

I was thinking I don't have a lot to blog about this week, but then all these nerd-related things have been popping up. The NYT Magazine had a story about "What is a nerd?" I was talking to my coworker about it, and in true nerd fashion, she went to the OED to look up the origin of "nerd." It wasn't too helpful, so that sent me to the Internet, which inevitably took me to Wikipedia. The Wikipedia page had all kinds of interesting info about nerds that kept me entertained for about 15 minutes. For instance, did you know that Spain celebrates Nerd Pride Day?

And what, other than Nerdfighting, does all of this have to do with YA lit? Well, Danica McKellar has a new book for teen girls called Math Doesn't Suck. Do you know/remember who Danica McKellar is? She played Winnie on "The Wonder Years." And she's 32! She's actually older than me! Do teen girls even know who she is? Now, I have not read the book, but I've looked at several descriptions, and I'm torn. On the one hand, I think it's great that she is elevating both the importance of intellect and mathematics for girls.* I like the message that, "Being good at math is cool. And not only that, it can help them get what they want out of life." On the other hand, it seems so cheap and stereotypical. As the Newsweek article asks, "Is it necessary to teach a girl about ratios, for instance, by asking her to figure out how much lip gloss she owns compared with her sister?" And is this even a really realistic or important question? I don't know. I am impressed that McKellar has a theorem named after her(!), and if nothing else, she seems like a good role model.

* On Danica's website, she has a page called "Do You Hide Your Smarts (Especially Around Guys)?" Now, I am wondering how many girls do this. I think I might have done this in middle school some with guys who weren't all that smart. But by the time I was in high school, (a) I was only interested in dating guys who were smart, (b) I was mostly in classes with other students who were smart, and (c) if anything, I was all about coming across as smart as possible and not looking stupid. I remember being very competetive with my guy friends in terms of intellect and grades. I was very satisfied, for example, when I earned the Government AP Medal for highest average and my friend, Jason, got the certificate. Hah! (Of course, I'm single, so maybe this is what I should have been/be doing.)


Holly said...

I went through a stage where I acted really ditzy. Seriously ditzy. I feel ashamed just thinking about it. Now I miss my brains :(

Sheryl said...

Okay, I saw this on Meg Cabot's blog and it was just too perfect. Emma Watson is intelligent, competetive, and a feminist! Love her.

"'There are too many stupid girls in the media. Hermione's not scared to be clever. I think sometimes really smart girls dumb themselves down a bit, and that's bad.'"