The Nerd (adjective: nerdy), is a descriptive word to identify a person who is overly intelligent, obsessive, and/or lacking social skills. Typically this individual may spend outrageous amount of time on obscure, unpopular, non-mainstream activities or culture. Also, generally speaking the topics usually have a highly technical theme or relating to fantasy and fiction. A typical nerd has the Aesthetic of overly sized glasses, goofy but somewhat professional fashion, and a feebly physique.
Urkel from Family Matters is an excellent example of your typical nerd: Bad at sports, obsessed with comic books, and has a general lack of social skills.
As a student in the engineering school, I know the nerd culture all too well. But it has definitely evolve over the last few decades from its creation. Dr. Seuss actually coined the term in his 1950’s book, If I Ran the Zoo, it was used to describe a strange, grumpy zoo creature.
The perception of the nerd was described as a geeky, weak, loser like individual. They may have been running NASA, creating fabulous science, helping make fiction and movie magic, but they were not considered “cool”. The cultural reputation of nerds remained unchanged up until about the 1980’s. Movies and televisions shows like Revenge Of The Nerds, Airplane, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, made headway for nerd culture to be accepted by the mainstream population. Things really started to progress for nerd aesthetics during the rise of the home computer and world wide web (internet).
The aesthetic for nerds being geeky, big glasses, fashion stunted individuals was fading away fast, and being replaced with professional, creative forward thinkers (I would argue they still don’t have the best fashion sense, but nerds are improving). A whole new industry of advance software and technologies was being created by nerds like Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Yelp, Tesla, Space-X, and a ton more were changing the way we live. Nerd aesthetics has become a center point in today’s American culture. I believe the show, Silicon Valley, represents the new group of nerds today, plus a few eccentric billionaires. On the other hand the popular sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, illustrates the classic nerd. To conclude, the nerd aesthetic is different for every generation, it really just needs a few obsessed individuals to keep it alive.
All images taken from: Google Images