Why (Almost) Everyone Loves Amy Schneider

I was so disappointed when Amy Schneider’s historic Jeopardy run came to an end this past Wednesday night when she lost her 41st game. I’d been enjoying the show immensely and was having a great time watching her dominate the matches, right from the start. What surprised me was how many other people shared my exact feelings.

I was reading a Twitter feed that started with the New York Times announcing that Amy’s run was finally over. This was re-tweeted by none other than Padma Lakshmi, who added a comment, saying that Amy is “an icon, she’s a legend, and she IS the moment,” to which Amy replied, “OMG!!!!! I can’t believe my life right now.”

These tweets were followed by an almost unending list of comments, all of them from people telling Amy how much they loved her and missed her and wanted only good things in the future for her. People really love her, and it got me thinking.

Photographer: Brett Jordan | Source: Unsplash

Amy Schneider is authentic and vulnerable

What is it about Amy Schneider that has endeared her to so many Jeopardy watchers and has made fans of so many others? Well, she’s friendly, open, and vulnerable. She’s utterly authentic, never trying to be anything she’s not. She loves her girlfriend, her mother, her cat, and she lets everyone know it.

She’s also gutsy, funny, sweet, nerdy, grateful, inclusive, and warm. She has quirky mannerisms and good humour. She’s not arrogant, imposing, aggressive, divisive, condescending, or bitter. She accepted her loss without complaining and she praised the person who beat her while asking people to support him.

In a time when opinions often matter more than facts, Jeopardy is ultimately a game of facts with Amy demonstrating a tremendous mastery of them. She made knowing the facts seem cool again. She also made kindness and politeness cool again.

Photographer: Ralph (Ravi) Kayden | Source: Unsplash

She represents qualities we didn’t realize we’ve been longing for

Amy Schneider represents traits that we didn’t realize until now that we missed: she’s humble, courteous, thoughtful, and caring. She wants the best for everyone. What a refreshing change from what we usually see on TV these days.

Reality TV and divisive politics have made behaving badly the norm, these days. We’ve become so inured to horrible behaviour that oftentimes, we barely react when we see another reality show contestant, politician, or social media influencer saying or doing something utterly egregious.

People with broad platforms, such as podcasters and radio hosts, think nothing of spouting absurd opinions while viciously trolling those who speak the truth. They bash science and promote conspiracy theories. They brag about their material possessions, showing off their wealth and fame as though these things in any way indicated their worth.

And then there’s Amy Schneider. Unabashedly smart, unashamed of her prodigious knowledge base, and always conducting herself impeccably. She has poise, she has grace, she has class. She has exemplified the kind of person we’ve been missing in the media, these last few years.

Photographer: Joe Ciciarelli | Source: Unsplash

It’s still not cool to be seen as an openly-smart woman

Another thing we love about Amy is how brilliant she is. Even in 2022, it is still not considered cool for a woman to be openly smart. Who knows? It might be just as radical for a woman to come out as intelligent and fact-based, these days, as it is to come out as trans like Amy.

Her being trans is great for representation and to show everyone that absolutely, there’s a place for trans people in society. Her being a smart woman, proud of her intellectual prowess, well, that’s ground-breaking!

As much as we need representation for the trans community, we need it just as much for smart women, and for kind, polite people in general.

The fact that Amy embodies so many of the things that we need to see more of these days is why, I believe, almost everyone loves her so much.

Photographer: Towfiqu barbhuiya | Source: Unsplash

Amy Schneider is a really smart, really kind woman

She recently tweeted that she wanted to “thank all the people who have taken the time, during this busy holiday season, to reach out and explain to me that, actually, I’m a man. Every single one of you is the first person to ever make that very clever point, which had never once before crossed my mind.”

That is the epitome of Amy Schneider. Funny, sarcastic but in the sweetest way, and naturally, whip-smart. She is clever enough not to argue with these people or to engage with them in their ignorance. She merely acknowledges their remarks and destroys them with her absolutely brilliant retort.

Of course, there will always be those narrow-minded, rigid, closed-off individuals who insist that being trans is not a thing. But these are the same type of people as those who’d say that women shouldn’t go out to work because we weren’t “emotionally stable” enough to hold a job.

These are the same type of people as those who’d say that women shouldn’t have the right to vote, because we aren’t capable of comprehending the nuances of politics. These are the same type of individuals who think that “conversion therapy” is an appropriate way of responding to a gay child.

Photographer: Hannah Busing | Source: Unsplash

Amy Schneider is out there, living her best life, showing the world that being a super-smart, super-kind, super-classy woman is the coolest thing, ever.

Most of us adore her for it. And for those who can’t get past the fact that she’s trans, or for those who can’t get over the fact that the world is celebrating an intelligent woman, well, they’re just missing out on being part of the best fan club, ever.

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