oh god you jump me with this question.
I think the dark side applies similarly to nerd girls and guys, but it’s usually never discussed about girls—which I’ll get to later.
The dark side of nerddom starts with an overblown sense of superiority paired with crippling insecurity. Brains over brawn, anti-popularity, anti-extroversion, anti-feminine, anti-anything threatening what they like. There are the socially awkward who make excuses for their awkwardness rather than attempt to fix it; social skills are important, you shouldn’t be proud of lacking them. Then there are introverts who make it everyone else’s responsibility to mind their shyness and don’t ever consider extrovert needs. Obsessive fans who aggressively push Doctor Who to their friends and being offended when their friends—gasp—don’t share their tastes, and then get super elitist about watching quality British programming.
There is a difference between “being true to yourself” and “not being an ass.” Unless you’re in a restrictive environment, you’re probably not bullied because you like weird things—it’s because you’re annoying and judgmental and maybe a bully yourself.
Now a tangent on nerd girl representation:
Nerd girls, specifically, fascinate me because they’re relatively new to the mainstream. Fandom communities have never been so big. Industries are finally paying a little attention to them. Everyone is still struggling to define them.
I think nerd girls have a harder time finding their identity because they’re pretty much tossed a single archetype: smart introverts. Portrayed as bookish, morally superior, always correct, insecure about their appearance/femininity. Oops, I described Hermione. There is much more to Hermione, but that part of her doesn’t get discussed which is the problem—we don’t discuss smart girls’ flaws. We don’t explore their arrogance, their obsessions, their other insecurities… largely because many smart girls are a male-fantasy version of the nerd girl (not only is she smart and virtuous, she grows up beautiful). Movie!Hermione definitely falls under this, and the downplaying of her flaws was intentional. Another problem is that great female characters may exist but we need to analyze them the way we analyze male characters, not just as “strong” or “female," because the majority of discussion around good female characters centers on how they’re good female role models.
And that just isn’t equivalent.
Besides, I might’ve grown up less of a little snot if there were more varied nerds on TV.