Girls With Glasses: The 10 Coolest Nerd Girls

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The nerd girl. An anomaly of nature. Once a rare and unwanted species, the nerd girl was forever being transformed into the so-called “hot girl” in movie after movie after movie. Ya know what!? I liked these girls just fine before they were transformed. Dorothy Parker once famously quipped that “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” What a crock!! I have always actually preferred girls in glasses. Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” video? Yeah, let her dance around on her desk all she wants, but keep the glasses on, baby! Now granted, not all nerd girls wear glasses, and not even every girl on the forthcoming list wear glasses, but it’s still a happy stereotype that I like to keep going on. Nerd girls are the best. Hell, I even went and married one. So, whatchya think about that!?

Anyhoo, here is a list of the coolest (yeah, I said coolest) nerd girls from TV and movies and what have you. And I’d like to give a quick nerdy shout out to Jan Brady, Lisa Simpson, and Willow Rosenberg, for almost making the list. Nonetheless, they are still pretty cool nerd girls, if ya ask me. And also to Allison from The Breakfast Club and Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks. Granted, these ladies may be more freak than geek (pretty much literally in one case), but ya know they’re really nerd girls at heart. Now onto the countdown.

And awaaaaaaay we go…

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10.) Daria Morgendorffer

As the very antithesis of the idiotic Beavis and Butthead, from whence this first nerd girl was spawned, Daria is a smart, acerbic, witty, teenage rabble-rouser, who takes no guff from anyone. Bespectacled (as is the nerdy case more often than not, on the list) and better than everyone else around her, Daria spent five seasons on MTV, and even wore combat boots. See, nerdy AND cool, hence once of the coolest nerd girls around.

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9.) Winnie Cooper

For six seasons on The Wonder Years, Winnie Cooper represented pretty much every young boy’s fantasy girl. Whether you were Kevin’s age when the show was on the air, and therefore saw your Winnie Cooper every day at school, or if you were already an adult, but saw the memories of your school girl crush in Winnie Cooper, this girl was what every red-blooded American school boy wanted. And guess what…the girl’s a nerd on top of all that. Hell, even Danica McKellar herself grew up to be a smokin’ hot math nerd, famous for writing books on math…and being a smokin’ hot nerd girl. But the adult Winnie notwithstanding, the school girl Winnie Cooper will always be every school boy’s not-so-secret crush. Even if she did stop wearing her glasses after the first season.

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8.) Velma Dinkley

Jinkies! Just like when choosing Mary Ann over Ginger (or Bailey over Jennifer, as will be seen a bit later in our countdown) Velma over Daphne is the only reasonable choice on Scooby Doo. Any self-respecting nerd boy has to pick this orange turtleneck-wearing nerd girl over the vapid bimbo known as Daphne. Smart is sexy, brother, and so is that orange turtleneck. Okay, maybe that last one is just me, but I’m sticking to it, dammit!! And ya know what else? Velma always figures out the mysteries too. Cool and nerdy, alright! And she gets to be played by Linda Cardellini in those godawful movie adaptations. See, I knew that freak Lindsay would sneak in here somehow.

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7.) Kaylee Frye

I know, every guy in the world (and most nerd boys) went gaga over Summer Glau’s River, but when it comes to the cool nerd factor, it is Jewel Staite’s Kaywinnet Lee Frye, who is the real life sex symbol of Joss Whedon’s Firefly Universe. She’s dirty, both literally and figuratively, sassy, a brilliant mechanic, often a bit mouthy, but also very sweet and genuine. Yeah, she may not have the glasses so associated with the title and idea of this post, but she is still one of the coolest nerd girls in the galaxy…or any galaxy for that matter.

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6.) Veronica Mars

Kristen Bell is often thought of as the queen of the nerds. From her nerd girl role in the nerdy comedy, Fan Boys, to her frequent appearances at comic-cons (often wearing a Star Wars or superhero t-shirt), Kristen Bell is kind of a big deal in the world of nerddom. But nowhere is she nerdier, and cooler, than in her breakthrough role as Veronica Mars, modern-day Nancy Drew. Nerdy but in the most cool way, both Kristen Bell, and her character of Veronica Mars, are basically any red-blooded nerd boy’s dream girl.

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5.) Dana Scully

Her nerd girl credentials are that she has a bachelor’s degree in physics. Her cool girl credentials are that she is an FBI agent who hunts down aliens and monsters for a living. Played by Gillian Anderson for nine seasons on FOX, as well as in two movies, Scully may have always been the skeptical one of the team, but that was probably just her inherent nerd girl insecurities coming through. That doesn’t stop her from being one of the coolest of nerd girls though. Eventually she did start to believe that the truth was out there, anyway. Oh, and she was a lapsed Catholic girl as well. This doesn’t have anything to do with her nerd girl credentials. I just wanted to imagine her in a Catholic school girl outfit. So there!

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 4.) Bailey Quarters

Most people, and obviously quite silly people at that, would say that Loni Anderson’s Jennifer was the hot number from the classic late seventies sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati, but just like in the tradition of Ginger vs. Mary Ann, any self-respecting nerd girl loving red-blooded American boy (or girl, who am I to judge?) knows damn well that the sexually tension-fueled crux of that show came from the bespectacled nerd girl Bailey Quarters, played by the lovely real life nerd girl Jan Smithers, now retired from show biz. Smart and sexy, Bailey was the ultimate nerd girl of her era. After all, she managed to get Dr. Johnny Fever into bed and even had a someone want to defect from the Soviet Union for her.

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3.) Barbara Gordon

Yeah, she’s a superhero. She’s Batgirl. But that doesn’t mean she can’t also be a nerd girl at heart. I mean come on, the girl has a doctorate in library science. It doesn’t get much nerdier than that. And she’s Batgirl. Did I mention that? It doesn’t get much cooler than that. For a while, after Joker shot and crippled the poor girl, Barbara became known as Oracle, and was the computer genius behind the Birds of Prey, as well as Batman’s go-to girl when he needed the kind of help only a nerd girl could give. So yeah, Barbara Gordon, either in glasses or in her rockin’ bat suit, is one of the coolest nerd girls evah!

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2.) Enid Coleslaw

Now, even though I do love me some superhero comics, and love me some nerdy superheroines (see #3), one of my all-time favourite comic books is Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World. A comic book that is pretty much as far away from the typical superhero comic as one can imagine. Yes, Clowes has done some superhero work in his career, though mostly the tongue-in-cheek variety, but it is his esoteric look at the world that most shapes his comic book oeuvre, and more than any other of his work, it is Ghost World that defines his style, and more than any other character in Ghost World, it is the ultra nerd girl, Enid Coleslaw, who defines the very world of the comic book nerd girl. And she gets to be played by Thora Birch in Terry Zwigoff’s movie adaptation. Jaded and sharp-tongued (and wearing glasses, of course), Enid is what one would call a difficult woman. But who doesn’t like that? Seriously, they are more interesting, as well as cooler and nerdier – and Enid is one of the coolest and nerdiest of ’em all. But she’s still second

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1.) Liz Lemon

As for the number one, the coolest of the coolest nerd girls, we have the wonderful Liz Lemon, head writer of TGS with Tracy Jordan. Otherwise known around these parts as the ultimate nerd girl. From her days anchoring Weekend Update to her work on 30 Rock, the beautiful and bespectacled Tina Fey, is the best of the best, and her role as Liz Lemon is the best of the best of the best. Actually, when I watch Tina as Liz on 30 Rock, I pretty much see, not the hottest and coolest nerd girl out there, but…well, I see me. That’s right kids, the neurotic, binge-eating, pop culture reference dropping, Star Wars lovin’, socially awkward mess-of-a-person, but still with some nerdy charm (if you’re into that sort of thing) Ms. Elizabeth Miervaldis Lemon, is pretty much my female counterpart. So, I suppose, my love for Liz Lemon is actually just some weird ego trip. Oh well, I’m good with that. Blerg.

That’s it gang. See ya ’round the web.

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About Author

Kevyn Knox

Kevyn Knox is a Blogger, Film Historian + Critic, a Comicbook Nerd from waaay back, a lapsed Cartoonist, a wouldbe Novelist, and the Writer of All Things Kevyn. Born and raised in an amusement park (really, he was, we’re not lying about that) Kevyn has spent time as a post-beat poet, a film critic, and that guy in the corner of the party, wearing an argyle sweater vest and a fedora with a Daredevil pin on it, and not talking to anybody. These days he can be found at his renowned blog, appropriately titled All Things Kevyn, a catch-all of pop cultural reference, tackling subjects from cinema to comics to TV to music to video games to pretty much everything and anything else that happens to pop into his head. Oh yeah, and he’s just kookoo for top ten lists.

  • anithri

    Any list with Babs and Kaylee is a good list. But no Hermione Granger?

  • Thanx. As for Hermione, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Potter films, so there’s that.