As BWE’s resident Angry Pointer-Outer That Super Hot Actresses Aren’t F***ing Nerds, I am obligated to call everyone’s attention to the latest perpetrator, one Anne Hathaway.
To be clear, I don’t dislike Anne Hathaway, and I’m not totally sure why she’s the latest celeb to slip into that “60% Of My Female Friends Randomly Hate Her” Zone (previously the “ScarJo Zone”). But on last night’s Daily Show episode, Hathaway became the latest very attractive actress to attempt to appear self-deprecating and down-to-earth by co-opting the (now basically meaningless) term “nerd,” opening her interview with this crowd-pandering exchange:
Hathaway: [Gesturing to crowd] So these are the nerds? [Referencing a “nerd” joke Jon Stewart made earlier in the ep]
Hathaway: My people!!! [More cheering]
Stewart: …How are you doing? So when you say ‘nerds,’ what would you consider nerdly pursuits, do you have nerdly pursuits?
Hathaway: I’m a Scrabble fiend. [ED NOTE: I stupidly originally thought she said “Travel Fiend,” which was way more confusing – this made more sense]
Stewart: Ok. [Interview continues.]
Boom! There you have it. She may LOOK like a super hot, super popular movie star, but on the inside, she is ALLLL NERDDDD. How do we know this? She likes the obscure, super-losery game of Scrabble.
After the jump, let’s go back and beat the ol’ nerdy dead horse:
Red Shirt Question Guy is a nerd. Rapping Klingon is a nerd. People Who Buy Star Trek Medical Officer Portraits are nerds.
While I don’t question Hathaway’s genuine affinity for Scrabble, actual ‘nerdiness’ implies being in some sort of moderately-outcasted cultural position or pursuing interests within that outcasted cultural position, and often uniting within that community based on a unified shunning from mainstream / popular society. It does not mean “being above-averagely interested in a common thing.” It also doesn’t mean “liking Star Wars,” “liking Lord Of The Rings,” “liking the Spider-Man movies,” or any other of a million completely universally accepted endeavors which do not in any way alienate a person from the majority of the population. On the contrary, a person who doesn’t like any of those things — or who doesn’t possess any slightly-intense interests — is inherently way more unusual than someone who does.
But here’s the one simple fact that these “I’m a nerd” actresses so often ignore: This isn’t an either/or scenario. You can be a likable person without being a nerd. Pandering to a nerdy fanbase by calling yourself a “nerd” when you’re clearly a hot, popular actress is far more dishonest and unnecessary than just not mentioning it and having a pleasant, thoughtful, sane interview. It’s basically a corollary to Paul Tompkins’ “Actresses Who Claim They Used To Be Tomboys Growing Up” Theory, where attractive people act like any admission that they were attractive in high school or ever aware of their attractiveness makes them instantly come off as extremely arrogant (when, in fact, the opposite is true).
Sure, the nerds in the Daily Show crowd are wooing, but that’s just what crowds do — none of them honestly believe for one second that high school Anne Hathaway was constantly having her homemade chain mail satchel of 20-sided-dice swiped by bullies who played keepaway then stuffed her into a locker. She and Tron Guy both fall under the same “nerd” category about as broadly as they both fall into the same “human beings” category.
Anne Hathaway, you are a hot actress. You enjoy a word game. That’s completely fine. Please accept this fact in future interviews or I’ll be forced to join that 60% of my female friends in their odd disliking of you. Most of them are SUPER NERDS, for the record — they enjoy those nerdy, niche Batman films.
(H/T to our friend Eric Cunningham for being on nerd alert. Also thanks to several commenters for instantly correcting the “Travel” thing, and doing so in a way less insulting fashion than I clearly deserved for jumping that gun.)