Giving Nerds a Makeover? Expanding on Body Image

It’s a funny thing, when you see a person that – with a little effort and know how – could easily become much more noticeable … in a good way.

You know what I’m talking about, right? All the time, I see people at my school that neglect their bodies and their looks. It feels strange to imagine what I might look like if I totally didn’t care about looks.

Now, here’s my take on body image. There are two extreme dichotomies when it comes to body image:

  1. Those who couldn’t care less – They think it’s entirely superficial to have any sort of concern about what you look like. These are the ones that tend to wear simplistic, comfortable, casual clothes. They lean towards easy, carefree hairstyles, use generic brands of shampoo, and/or own about 5 pairs of shoes (max). Why would they live like this? Perhaps because they value something such as personality more. I’m just guessing, since I don’t entirely agree with Type 1.

And then, there are:

  1. Those whose first priority is lookin’ good: They explore endless fashion articles and clothing websites, searching for the hottest trends, the newest looks. Their inbox might be full of emails with subjects such as: “50% OFF TODAY ONLY!” or “FREE SHIPPING THROUGH THURSDAY!” or maybe even “SECRET SALE STARTS TODAY!” Even in barely exciting settings like school or work, they will strut the latest fashions, wanting to look good, at whatever expense. They spend money or time perfecting themselves, going to nail salons, getting their bodies waxed, eyebrows plucked, whatever the case might be. Their closet is colorful and vast, and they spend more time picking out their next day’s outfit, than keeping up on international news, or preparing the next day’s lunch. Who knows why they do it? I have a vague idea, but I can only reach a general conclusion, as I don’t totally fit into Type 2  as well.

AND THEN THERE WAS ME. I tend to be right in the middle. While looks definitely do matter, I am also known for going “naked-faced” into public, skipping makeup and tight, edgy clothes if I don’t have time, yet still receiving emails with sale-related headlines. I personally think that you should always look your best, but that you don’t always need makeup or trendy clothes to achieve that look.

If I were the head of a big company (if only!), and was faced with picking between two people of equal skill for the same position, I would choose the person with better looks. I’m not (that) superficial, I PROMISE! It’s just that I’d like to see as beautiful faces as possible, without compromising quality of work.

So – back to the idea of giving a nerd a makeover:

When I see a “nerd” in the hallways at school, I am immediately overwhelmed with pity, for their deteriorating style choices and sub par hairstyle. (Type 2)

THEN – I realize how incredibly superficial I’m being! This so-called nerd that we, the general public of America, tend to terrorize and bully so often, is going to receive a better education than I am, because while I’m busy debating over a skirt or shorts the next day, they are reviewing those last details on the next day’s test that will guarantee them a high score, while I will be the one receiving a SUB PAR GRADE. (Type 1)

But then I always have strange fantasies where I imagine the nerd in a gorgeous outfit, with shiny silky stylish hair, subtle but beautiful makeup, flashing a fabulous smile…and I suddenly have an urge to drop out of school and become a personal stylist for nerds nationwide. Sigh, if only dreams did come true!

So, “nerds” of America – I SALUTE YOU! Thanks for keeping us sane! For reminding me that looks may be desired, but they certainly aren’t everything! And for making me learn (the hard way) that having a trendy outfit isn’t going to get me that last A+ to secure my chemistry grade!

Indeed, I’m glad I’m right in the middle between Types 1 & 2, keeping a stable equilibrium between two different types of crazy. Here’s hoping that I can maintain a great, positive body image that helps sustain my self-esteem, yet still value personality and knowledge just a teensy bit more.

Body image – it’s a strange and intriguing concept, no? What’s your take on it?


  1. Pingback: Personality cannot be photoshopped | Never Stationary
  2. tfaswift

    Hi there catdiggedydog, this is a really interesting post. Body image is something that fascinates me, more from the perspective of changing body images over time, and how the idea of “beauty” keeps changing (you’re probably a bit young to be into that right now). And also I feel much compassion towards women and girls who have low self-esteem due to a low self body image. But what I find most interesting about your post is your desire to “help” girls who don’t know, or don’t want to, make the best of what they’ve got. If they don’t want to, fair enough. But some girls would like to look better and don’t know how.

    I think it’s nice that you actually want to help other girls to look more pretty! That’s pretty rare. Most girls and women are *so* competitive that they don’t want to create even more pretty girls to compete with! But you don’t have any competition in your mind; there doesn’t seem to be any jealousy. You must be very self-assured and have a great level of self-esteem which is really refreshing.

    Maybe you should just let yourself go nerdy for a while, get amazing grades, and become a cosmetic surgeon! I’ve known a few women who’ve made the decision to get their nose done, or their ears, or a little nip tuck around the eyes or chin (when they’re getting older) and it makes such a difference to their self-esteem. Plus you’d make loads of money.

    Of course, some people don’t believe that surgery is ever the way to go, and I don’t know what your views are on that, but there are loads of jobs where you could put your interest to use. Bobi Brown is a great example. If you have the talent to back it up, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t follow your dream. I’ve always believed that people should “do what they are”, i.e. choose a job that comes naturally to you and that you love. Work should never feel like work. Anyway, interesting post! :-)


Share your opinion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s