The Rise of Female Nerd-Powerment


By: Angela Russo (@NerdGirlForever)

In the past, girls who had nerd passion were frequently made fun of and felt the need to remain closeted. Myths abounded that girls don’t like video games, sci-fi, and action movies, or that in order to qualify as worthy, something had to fall into a specific genre. There was a lot of stereo-typing out there implying girls can’t truly be nerds or that shows targeted to or featuring women aren’t nerd-worthy. Fortunately, those days are beginning to fade into the past. Nerd sites like Geek and Sundry and Nerd HQ have played no small role in this, embracing content created by and often tailored to women. Nerd HQ also memorably held “Conversations With Badass Women” panels two years running that featured both traditional and new wave nerd speakers. With the rise and evolution of nerdom and the popularity of cosplay, women are encouraged to embrace their nerdom more and more every day. This is further supported by the increased development of shows featuring strong female leads.

Once Upon a Time

I can’t think of a show more suited to start the female nerd-powerment list than this magical ABC fantasy. The series is chock-full of powerful female characters, and offers one of the most heart-felt genuine portrayals of the emotional journey and the good vs. evil controversy. Once Upon a Time caters to literary nerds, sci-fi buffs, and fantasy fans as its episodes draw from diverse sources of inspiration. Instead of the classic masculine warrior-prince coming in to save the day at the last minute, the majority of all cataclysmic battles are fought and won by brave female figures. The show likes to turn fairytales inside out and take a more badass perspective on the women of fairytales, legend, and mythology.

The Librarians

Much like Once Upon a Time, The Librarians appeals to various sects of nerdom. The series has not one but two epically powerful women in its central cast of characters. Prominently featured, Colonel Eve Baird is a commanding combat expert serving as the guardian of the Librarians. She is beyond a doubt one of the most kickass, no-nonsense mentors a girl could ever have. Working alongside the formidable guardian, Cassandra Killian’s talent for mathemagics is unparalleled. Every member of the Library staff is passionate to their core, but Cassandra is truly the embodiment of the modern nerd, with a quirky girly style, and a multifaceted hunger for all things scientific, mathematical, and mesmerizingly magical. Stay tuned for my weekly reviews of season four this fall only on Nerd HQ!

Jane The Virgin

This hilarious telenovela parody fits firmly into a niche-nerdom very popular among lady nerds like Felicia Day — the romance novel. Fun-fact: Day hosts an extremely successful web-series and book club on Geek and Sundry for the romance-novel nerdom. Jane Villanueva is a powerful example of a literary-nerd who works towards achieving her dreams to become a published author. Her passionate journey through the creative process is extremely relatable to any creative writing junkie. The show explores countless literary devices, storytelling themes, styles, and clichés amidst the framework of its dramatic parody concept. In spite of the vastly comedic nature of the show, the series explores deep issues in an immensely respectful way, and preaches very positive messages empowering women to own who they are and go for their dreams. Whoever said girly can’t be nerdy?


Female superheroes are starting to gain a little momentum, but they’re still sadly few and far between in comparison to timeless classics like Spider-Man, Batman, Arrow, or The Flash. Supergirl is the first to be featured in the DC lineup on the CW. One of the most relatable things about Supergirl is its attention to Kara’s vulnerable honest human struggles. She may have superpowers, but navigating life and love is no easier as a result. Much like Jane the Virgin, the series is full of confident women supporting each other in the journey of life. Supergirl is ideal for sci-fi and DC nerds, featuring an ongoing interplanetary battle against various hostile factions, alien and human alike. The show is an artful balance of a young woman’s journalistic passion and journey of self-discovery with classic superhero meets sci-fi antics.

Wonder Woman

This movie is by far the most crucial contributor to the rise of female nerd-powerment. The messages in the film encompass everything near and dear to nerd girls everywhere. Wonder Woman has expert tactical military knowledge, combat training, and fearless warrior prowess and needs no validation in her abilities. She has an incredibly strong sense of purpose and identity. Diana Prince feels no need to hide her skills and instead puts them to use serving the well-being of others. She is there to be a beacon of a loving compassionate mindset, and a fierce defender of hope, harboring an unrelenting belief in the good that resides in every single person. As Sameer says to Diana, “Everyone is fighting their own battles.” For us nerd girls one battle is to be as fearlessly confident in our own nerdom as Diana is in her identity as the daughter of Themyscira…to be seen, recognized, and respected for our nerdtastic passions no matter what they may be.

When it comes to girls who are nerds, Wil Wheaton said it best:

“It’s not about what you love, it’s about how you love it. There’s going to be things in your life that you love and…it can be anything from science…to fashion design, it doesn’t matter what it is…The defining characteristic of us (nerds) that ties us all together is that we love things. Some of us love Firefly and Game of Thrones or anime…but some of us love completely different things…Don’t let anyone tell you that that thing you love is a thing you can’t love. Don’t ever let anyone tell you…that you have to love this or that because you’re a girl. You find the things that you love and love them the most that you can.” – Wil Wheaton at Calgary Comic Expo, 2013

From nerd sites, series, and movies, to the community at large, the Nerdolution is a strong unit-ing force. The true world of nerdom is a safe place free of discrimination or limitations on what you can or cannot be a nerd for — nerdom is multifaceted and infinite. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girly-girl like Jane, a tomboy like Emma, or anything in between. Be who you are and own what you love without fear of judgment. If something inspires, uplifts, or connects to you on some fundamental level then that’s your nerd. So let your nerd flag fly! Be proud of your nerdom in all its passionate beautiful glory. Nerd long and prosper!

    One Comment

  1. MaryJuly 12th, 2017 at 8:39 am

    This is a great article! I didn’t see it on Facebook though. Will it be put up later? It’s easier for me to follow posts through Facebook

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