Harvard is about to have it’s first female President. I heard an interview with her where she said the one thing that she has always had to fight against was other women telling her that even wanting her dreams was inappropriate. She talked about her grandmother ruling the family with an iron fist but everyone pretending that it was grandma’s boys who were in charge. She talked of her mother telling her that is was such a bad thing that she was smart since it would be wasted on her and it was too bad that her brothers weren’t brighter since they would have to support families. Now it’s true that she grew up in the 50’s and 60’s but I remember hearing a lot of these same things as late and the mid to late 1980’s and I’m running into it again in my master’s program. You realize that my slot could have gone to a young man who needs the degree to support a family. I love to shoot back that if it weren’t for me in this program, it wouldn’t have the accreditation needed for any student to be attending it, male or female, so be glad I’m in class.
Do you still hear some of these things – – that it’s bad for a girl to be smart? That reading too much will make you unpopular? That you should never score higher than the guys in anything but especially not math or science? That wanting a higher position at work is “unladylike”? Do you hear them from other women? Why do women feel the need to discourage each other? Is the cattiness part of our natures or is it trained into us?