From Miss America to Mr. Popo: Exploring Race and Gender Within Nerd-Themed Podcasts

December 2022
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This paper examines public accounts of women and people of color within nerd fandom podcasts. Current sociological literature provides a symbolic interactionist framework for analyzing identity and community within nerd fandom. Social constructionist frameworks provide explanation for gendered social systems and racialization, both of which are clearly visible within nerd fandom.

This study supplements the literature with direct accounts from marginalized nerds via podcast episodes recorded within the preceding five years. Content analysis of twelve episodes from three different podcast series outlined key elements of representation: direct representation (e.g., characters of color in media), indirect representation (e.g., queer- or feminine-coded characters in media), and representation behind the scenes (e.g., writing, directing, and/or producing media). These themes provide critical context as to the experiences of marginalized nerds within nerd fandom.

Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Gender Studies