Gender Equality on ‘King of the Nerds’

“King of the Nerds” is a new show on TBS that pits nerds and geeks against each other in a competitive environment. The show represents geeks and nerds in a positive light while still showcasing moments of severe awkwardness and genuine nerd humor.

Genders of Teammates
The show participants (a.k.a. nerds) are evenly split – roughly half are male, half are female. Additionally, the hosts and participants actually don’t make mention of gender as an issue. I wonder if they did in the raw footage. If I was cast on such a show, I’d be pleasantly surprised to see other female nerds on the show and would probably comment on it. The fact that it isn’t an actual issue or point to note is:

  • Positive – it reinforces the gender equality.
  • Negative – gender in geek culture is still an issue, but the show isn’t verbally recognizing it.

Although the show doesn’t offer commentary on the issue, it does provide focus – on the competition. Additionally. two of the comic book experts featured on the show are female. This area of geek interest is one frequently closed to females.

Show Name
The name of the show is “King of the Nerds,” and it seems to embrace the fact that a member of either gender could hold that title. This gender-neutral use of the word ‘king’ is not unlike the use of terms such as:

  • Actor (actor/actress)
  • Flight attendant (steward/stewardess)
  • Server (waiter/waitress)

Gender-Biased Language
While participants on the show use adult language, as of Ep. 2, there is no gender-biased language against females. Male contestant Virgil was repeatedly called a ‘dick,’ and although several women exhibited extremely competitive behavior, no equivalent terminology was used.

When members of either gender discuss their competitive natures, only the male contestants are called out on it using gender-biased language. Alana is simply called “unconstructive.”

Appearance
The contestants appear in all shapes and sizes and multiple races are represented as well. Both male and female contestants support form-fitting costumes (bodice, bikini-style outfit, bodysuit) but the judges and contestants are not shown making specific comments about the contestants’ bodies.

Of course, not everyone agrees with my positive assessment of the show. I’m willing to overlook other issues due to the fact that the show represents nerds positively (and accurately). I was expecting one or two ‘token’ female contestants, and tuned in to find that gender was a non-issue in the show.*

*Disclaimer: This blog written after viewing Ep. 1 and 2 only.

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About Tara M. Clapper 269 Articles
Tara is a lifelong geek and the founder and publisher of The Geek Initiative. Her interests were forged in an early appreciation for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Jurassic Park," and many historical fiction and fantasy novels. Tara is a game designer, LARPer, and frequent convention attendee. The author of over 1,000 individual blogs, her content has been featured on HelloGiggles, nordiclarp.org, LARPing.org, and The Billfold. She holds a B.A. in English from McDaniel College and has attended many events as press (including New York Comic Con). Tara has a professional background in marketing and publishing. She lives in the Philadelphia area. A Marvel fan, her favorite superhero is undoubtedly Thor. View her portfolio at: tmc.pressfolios.com.

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