πŸ€“ Nerd Emoji: Breaking The Stereotype Of Online Intellectuals

Written by: Kaira
Modified: Jan 23, 2023

People use the 🤓 Nerd emoji or the 🤓 Nerd Face emoji for reasons other than its intended representation. When you hear the word “nerd,” you automatically think of an intelligent yet socially awkward person. However, the demeaning definition doesn’t indicate what a “nerd” looks like. Students who excel in their studies often end up wearing glasses at a young age due to constant reading. This led to the stereotype of people wearing glasses after getting branded as nerds or geeks. With this, students who fit the description usually become victims of bullying.

Aside from the nerd stereotype, the nerd emoji faced backlash for supposedly promoting Anti-Asian Racism. Some platforms that offer the glasses-wearing smiley designed it with a bucktooth. These details fit the common stereotype of how Asians look when studying in American schools. Additionally, its yellow skin further implies its possible link to Anti-Asian Racism. To avoid controversy, some platforms revamped their versions and replaced the mouth’s features. They also took out the buckteeth altogether.

Smiley emoji of nerd friend

Image from Adobe Stock

Despite all the controversy surrounding the emoji, some people came up with a way to use it positively. Those who join fandoms use the nerd emoji to promote the subjects and topics they admire. Because of its link to pop culture, embraced the Geek emoji with pride and confidence. Now, people discuss their love for books, films, and other media without shame. Later on, we’ll delve into the history and meaning of the “nerd” term and how it incites both goofiness and intellect today. Learn the best ways to use the smiley with glasses and break the stereotype of online intellectuals.


🤓 Nerd Emoji: Meaning, History, And Link With Anti-Asian Stereotypes

Nerd Emoji, Nerd Face Emoji

Developers created the 🤓 Nerd Face emoji with the smart-look stereotype in mind. As mentioned, some platforms went overboard and added buckteeth details to their renditions. Thankfully, a majority of emoji keyboards removed the offending detail in recent versions. Its common feature includes the thick-rimmed glasses worn by a grinning yellow smiley.

The overall design decision for the glasses-wearing emoji seemed harmless at first. Several platforms followed suit with the proposed yellow smiley with buckteeth. However, the finalized release backfired because of the stereotypical features. The initial nerd face emoji appeared in Unicode Version 8.0 and Emoji Version 1.0 in 2015. Users quickly linked it to Anti-Asian Racism due to the icon’s yellow skin and buckteeth. Unfortunately, these features triggered the ongoing hate against intellectual Asians who excel in their studies. Nowadays, more people treat Asian Americans equally due to several Anti-Racism movements. Despite this, some people took advantage of the misunderstood emoji and used it to bully those who fit the stereotype.

To avoid hate speech, emoji developers refuse to design anything related to a single race or origin. They also attempted to offer more equal options by releasing different skin tones for some emojis. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop cruel users from finding other ways to insult Asians or smart individuals. The usage of the nerd emoji also skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes. They also add the 🦠 Microbe emoji to incite hate over the Coronavirus disease’s place of origin.


Depicting The Smart Emoji’s Nerdy Look Across Platforms

Earlier, we discussed how some platforms chose to change their versions of the nerd face emoji. This revamping was meant to alleviate the controversy that followed the icon’s release. Originally, most developers followed the proposed design that displayed a yellow bucktoothed smiley wearing thick-rimmed glasses. Those who opted to avoid the controversy redesigned their versions and removed the offensive buckteeth. Because of this, the nerd emoji appears differently across all platforms.

nerd emoji on different platforms

Major platforms like Apple, Samsung, and Twitter kept their initial design for the nerd emoji. Despite the backlash, the emoji keyboards from these platforms made no changes to their versions of the glasses-wearing smiley. For example, Apple’s nerd face emoji appears with thick-rimmed glasses that don’t extend to the smiley’s ear. Their design can be compared to Twitter’s two-dimensional rendition. However, the two platforms’ difference lies in the detail of the icon’s glasses. Meanwhile, Window’s version looks like a smiley wearing the classic eyeglasses disguise. Some may find it surprising but their version does not include a nose. However, it looks like it’s wearing one at a distance.

The known emoji keyboards that changed their versions of the nerd face emoji include Google, Facebook, and JoyPixels. They did a complete revamp of their versions after taking out the offensive buckteeth. Facebook’s version depicts a seemingly shy nerd with dark-blue round glasses. Elsewhere, Google designed their nerd face emoji with a huge open-mouthed grin and square thick-rimmed glasses. Lastly, JoyPixels based their rendition on a different nerd stereotype – metal braces.


Including The Nerd Emoji In Messages Or Online Posts

Nerd Emoji Options, Nerd Emoji

Image from Adobe Stock

To avoid controversy, people usually use the nerd emoji with a different meaning in mind. The concept of geeking out or being part of fandoms is now more accepted than before. You can profess your undying love or rant about things you hate about films, TV shows, comics, etc. Some people use it to tell jokes or share things that they’re currently obsessing over. To help you use this emoji, we came up with some combinations you can send to your friends or loved ones.

​🤓​👨‍🏫​📚​ – Let’s study!

🤓📚🏙​‍🌃🎓 – I need to cram my schoolwork all day and night to graduate.

⚡️🤓🪄🧙 – Harry Potter

​🤓📖📚 – Bookworm or Booklover

​🎮🤓🖥 – Gamer or Gaming Expert

🎬📽🤓 – Film Expert or Movie Buff

🤓🎶🎵🎼🎹 – Music Expert

​🤓​♟️​ – Want to play chess?


Background Behind The Nerd Face Emoji And Nerd Memes

Nerd Meme, Computer Nerd Meme

Image from Imgflip Meme Generator

Unbeknownst to many, the nerd emoji would not have existed if it wasn’t for a Dr. Seuss book. In ” If I Ran the Zoo,” a creature called “nerd” looks nothing like the stereotype we know. Between 1950-1951, the word eventually became slang for a drip or a square, meaning old-fashioned individuals. People from the United States eventually picked up the term around the 1960s. Back then, they also used the alternative spelling, “nurd.”

Around 2005, one of the oldest nerd memes went viral. Because of this, the term “nerd” took on a whole different meaning. The man’s appearance in the meme led people to associate his looks with those dubbed as nerds or geeks. Afterward, people who fit the nerd stereotype automatically became targets for bullying. Most of them fall under the description of young Asian Americans. This then goes back to our earlier discussion about the offensive effect of the nerd face emoji.


Using The Dorky Emoji And The Goofy Emoji In Pop Culture

Nerd Emoji Emotions, Nerd Emoji

Image from Adobe Stock

People sometimes refer to the nerd emoji as the Dorky or Goofy emoji due to its features. Westerners also tend to discriminate or judge people who wear glasses. Glasses-wearing individuals often get bullied because of their exceptional intellect. Their smart answers and reputation often come out as a threat to athletes or jocks. You can compare the whole situation to common middle school or high school comedies. Plus, chick flicks or romantic comedies usually follow these types of storylines.

With the trend of emojis, users often come up with combinations that best describe certain films. When it comes to rom-com topics, the nerd emoji often pops out due to the beloved nerd-turned-beauty makeover plot twist. We compiled a few movies that fit well with the nerd face emoji transformation.

👩‍🦳😈👜🤓💁‍♀️📚 – The Devil Wears Prada

🤓👸🐈📔 – The Princess Diaries

🤓👩👩‍❤️‍👨💒👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👨‍👩‍👧👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding

🏠🤓👱‍♀️🐇 – House Bunny

💋🚫🤓👸 – Never Been Kissed


Understanding The Geeky Glasses Emoji’s Link To Intelligence And Bullying

Cheerful Nerdy Man, Cheerful Nerd

Image from Adobe Stock

Several studies came up with theories linking intelligence to people wearing glasses. A study from the Nature Communications journal concluded that wearing glasses makes one smarter. It’s not entirely about poor eyesight as well. Donning these spectacles also show signs of preventing some risky health risks such as angina, depression, etc. Despite this, those who feel inferior to them often assert dominance with violence and bullying.

The nerd emoji’s release faced a lot of backlash due to its link to bullying. Some claim that the availability of the 👓 Glasses emoji is more than enough to represent glasses-wearing individuals. Plus, the bucktoothed or braces-wearing details just make things worse. Common school protocols and dress codes discourage people from going through the makeovers we see in movies. No, they can’t wear makeup and some suffer from allergic reactions due to wearing contact lenses. School life serves as a dark past to a lot of people. The nerd emoji symbolizes the physical insecurities that former students hoped to forget. However, those who disagree encourage others to turn terms like “nerd” or “geek” from insults into compliments. Thanks to the acceptance of equality, more people are less ashamed of sharing their love for “nerdy” hobbies. 


Conclusion: The Negative And Positive Impact Of The Nerd Emoji

Animated Brain with Lightbulb, brain illustration

Image from Adobe Stock

The nerd emoji’s release sparked more backlash than positive reviews. Nowadays, more people promote equality and fight against any type of bullying. That includes people who fit the nerd stereotype. The overall design of the glasses-wearing icon may trigger dark memories for those who experienced bullying. It may also appear negatively in some chats due to its goofy disposition. Additionally, we earlier discussed the emoji’s link to Anti-Asian hate. 

Despite the controversy, some people use the nerd emoji to express their love for some topics. However, the attempts of making the nerd emoji positive don’t sit right with other people. Because of all this, we strongly suggest that you use this emoji with caution. Some may associate it with being part of fandoms. For others, it might make them recall something they wanted to forget.