Archetypes, although sometimes confused with stereotypes, are two different things. Archetypes are everywhere we look, and in every part of our lives whether we know it or not. Being a girl in the creative field, there are a bunch of archetypes that go along with it, where people can tend to put you in a box and assume things about you when they find out what your interests are. Once people find out that I’m a digital media major, they automatically assume I know everything about technology. They think I can fix their computer or their phone or their printer. The thing about me being a DMer is that I like the design aspects, and am actually pretty bad at the technical side of things for the most part. There’s a certain assumption that if you do anything with computers, you’re a geek. I’ll admit, I geek out pretty hard over certain things, but computers aren’t typically one of those things.
Geeks are a common archetype that tv shows and movies love to portray. They’re funny, and they add a lot of interesting conversations with the so-called “normal” characters. When I think of geeks in television, my mind automatically goes to The Big Bang Theory. Basically, every main character (with the exception Penny) is a geek. Of course, everyone knows the main character that is the geekiest is Sheldon Cooper. He is a theoretical physicist who is extremely intelligent, but somehow still lacks common sense. There’s a specific scene that I think of when I think of how out of touch with reality Sheldon actually is. He is trying to comfort a friend but is completely at a loss for what his role should actually be. He offers a hot beverage not because that’s what he wants to do, but because he was taught that’s how he should react when one of his friends needs comforting. Sheldon is the type of person that sees everything as black and white. He’s very analytical and sees everything in a very simple way. He doesn’t understand emotion or sarcasm or anything that a normal person should be able to sense.
Geeks have the archetypes and assumptions that they are like Sheldon, although probably most on a much smaller scale. Geeks love to get new technology and be able to hack things to make it exactly the way they want it to be. They play video games and they love to spend hours and hours on their laptops. It’s a common misconception that geeks are primarily male, and that’s how they tend to be represented in media. Of course, there are women geeks, but they just aren’t portrayed as much. In The Big Bang Theory, Amy and Bernadette are both geeks, but they are outnumbered 2:4 with the male nerds in the show. I know plenty of women that are just as geeky as a lot of men that I know, they just typically aren’t as outright with the geeky things they do.
Since archetypes are based on repeated behaviors, it’s typically pretty easy to pick out who is a “nerd“. We as humans study people’s behaviors and try to figure them out based on what we see. This can be a good thing to help us understand the people around us, but sometimes jumping to those conclusions can put someone in a box and make it so you believe some incorrect assumptions. Just because someone works in IT doesn’t mean they do all the other archetypes associated with geeks like playing video games or watching Anime, but it also doesn’t mean they don’t do those things. Archetypes, although helpful sometimes, can be misconceived and incorrect so you have to be careful when believing everything that you assume to be true.