You remember a few weeks back I was waxing poetical about the reality show King of the Nerds, correct? Well, the finale was last week, and it was honestly shocking how it played out.
The original group was 11 people, total, with five women. The final five contestants were comprised of just one guy and four girls. So the ladies hung in there until darn near the end. The final three, in fact, were all girls. The contestant that won the most one-on-one elimination challenges was also a girl. So the show had a very girl-powery message: Girls are smart, too. And competitive. And winners.
Or was it? All throughout the season, the girls were not chosen to go into the one-on-one competitions because no one–including the other girls–thought they were a threat. By the time they realized that Genevieve was a serious problem, she had already won two of the elimination challenges and ended up winning a third. She eventually went all the way to the final two. Time and again, the male contestants were targeted, because of course they’re smarter and more dangerous to everyone’s end game. Of course.
At the finale, one contestant had proven her mastery of all things geek and the other contestant talked about how she had come to “accept herself” during her time in the house. In nerd culture, where things are often very analytical as opposed to emotional, the outcome seemed like a sure thing … until it wasn’t. It ended up being something of a landslide in less predictable direction.
I suppose Celeste’s speech resonated with nerds on a personal level. And, yet, must we always resort back to identifying women with crying and emotions? Even amongst nerds, can we not logically evaluate two people and determine whose actual performance was better? Maybe it’s because I’m something of a nerd myself, and I tend to deal in black-and-white, but Genevieve outshone Celeste by so much it was unbelievable. And she still lost by three votes.
All told, the message King of the Nerds sent me was that, regardless of your brains or accomplishments, people will respond more favorably if you act weak and cry. You know, because you’re a girl.
You can contact Krista, the author of this post, at firstname.lastname@example.org.