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Idiot Nerd Girl is an advice animal image macro series featuring a photo of a teenage girl wearing thick rimmed glasses with the word “NERD” written on the palm of her left hand. The upper caption often contains references to “geek culture” while the bottom caption demonstrates a lack of knowledge or expertise in the subject. The series bears many similarities to the Technologically Impaired Duck and Musically Oblivious 8th Grader advice animals.
While the definitive source of the image is unknown, an unedited version of the photo was posted on the Gaia Online Forums (shown below, left) on May 8th, 2010, making another appearance in a comment on Fark that June. On September 12th, 2010, the earliest known instance of the advice animal version was posted to the single topic “Idiot Nerd Girl” single topic Tumblr with the caption “Self-proclaimed title of ‘Nerd’ / What is World of Warcraft?” (shown below, right).
On January 21st, 2011, FunnyJunk user samansa submitted an Idiot Nerd Girl image macro with the caption “I love back to the future! / what the hell is a gigawatt?” (shown below, left). On June 20th, an anonymous Canvas user posted an image macro with the caption “My favorite superhero? / probably X-Man, Hugh Jackman is sooooo hot” (shown below, right). Two days later, the Canvas Blog published the top ten images from the thread in a post titled “/nerdcore.”
On July 6th, the viral content site BuzzFeed featured a compilation of notable examples in a post titled “The Best of the Idiot Nerd Girl Meme.” On November 11th, the web culture blog UpRoxx posted an article titled “Meme Watch: Idiot Nerd Girl Is Less Nerd Than Idiot, But 100% Annoying,” which compared the series to a supercut of “Hot Women Pandering to Nerds”:
On February 9th, 2012, the Internet humor blog Smosh published a round-up of Idiot Nerd Girl instances. As of September 2012, a Idiot Nerd Girl Facebook fan page has 387 likes, the Memegenerator page has 670 instances and the Quickmeme page has more than 7100 submissions.
On July 27th, 2012, Feminspire published an article titled “Nerd Girls are Real Nerds Too! (and Why This Meme Sucks)” criticizing the image macro series as a reinforcement of an emerging stereotype that girls only enjoy activities or media deemed “nerdy” in order to attract men, whereas men are rarely critiqued for their participation in the nerd subculture. On August 20th, 2012, Dark Horse Comics editor Rachel Edidin began posting Idiot Nerd Girl images on Twitter with captions that alternatively portray the character as an authentic geek girl who is often misinterpreted as an impostor, in similar vein of the Misunderstood Douchebag series. Several of her followers chimed in and two days later, Edidin posted a series of ten Idiot Nerd Girl images to her Tumblr.
A week after the blog post went up, Edidin wrote an editorial post for Feminspire explaining her stance on reclaiming the macro series and noting that her Tumblr photoset gained 4000 notes in the first week, yielding an additional 60 pages of such instances on Quickmeme. The next day, The Mary Sue picked up on Eddin’s reclamation campaign, followed by the science and skepticism blog SkepChick and comic critics’ blog Escher Girls. On September 2nd, these subverted instances of the Idiot Nerd Girl series were featured on Bust Magazine’s blog, with Comics Beat, the Atlantic and the Daily Dot discussing Eddin’s project during the following two weeks.
Search query volume rose in September of 2010, the same month the original Tumblr was created.
Escher Girls – Just a Quick Updated About the “Idiot Nerd Girl” Meme