How to dress like a nerd as a girl

I have been pleasantly surprised to find that wikihow changed an article after I blogged about it. So thank you wikihow for acknowledging that this article was pretty insulting. However, it still remains pretty insulting. A for effort, F for actually addressing what was wrong with this article in the first place.

For context, the original article described how to be and dress like a nerd. The key messages being: If you want people to know you are a ‘true thinker’, you need to…

  • go easy on the makeup,
  • not wear anything so coordinated that it looks like you spent time putting it together,
  • and finally (the cherry on top of the cake) wash your hair because “being nerdy does not mean being unhygienic”.

Thanks for the clarification, I was unsure of whether hygiene should be part of my look… But now, thank goodness for this article, I know it should be. Can someone please explain how a tap works though? I’ve never had a shower before…

Now the updated article has made an effort to address this, by focusing the fashion side of nerdiness. There is something fundamentally wrong with it though, because being a nerd is about being smart and knowledgeable in a subject, not about putting on a costume. There is a reason why this pic went viral:


It challenges all the stereotypes we are brought up to associate with being smart and being a woman. The two of which are always perceived as being in opposition. This article feeds into these constructs. It wants women to feel the need to dress like this to feel intelligent:

Sorry  princess diaries, but c’mon! Stereotype much?

Am I being harsh? I don’t know, but you can judge for yourselves based on some examples taken straight from the new ‘improved’ article:

  • Nerds are ‘shy and easily embarrassed. If you want to develop a flushed look to help with your nerd costume, add a heavy layer of blush to your cheeks’.
  • ‘Apply powder foundation to achieve a pale appearance. Many people feel nerds look pale, as they spend a lot of time indoors’. Now let’s not even go into the racial implications of putting on white face.

And of course back there with the hygiene/messiness stereotype:

  • ‘If you mess your makeup up a bit, don’t worry. Makeup that’s somewhat smeared may actually help with the nerd look

Yes, you read that correct. Nerdy women look like this:


Not like this:


So thank you wikihow for taking a step in the right direction, but there’s still some way to go! We believe in you, you can do it!


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