Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Bright Girl List

Via Sadie at Jezebel, Heidi Grant has a theory about Bright Girls:
Bright Girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up; the higher the girls' IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel. In fact, the straight-A girls showed the most helpless responses. Bright boys, on the other hand, saw the difficult material as a challenge, and found it energizing. They were more likely to redouble their efforts rather than give up.


Are there things you decided long ago that you could never be good at? Skills you believed you would never possess? If the list is a long one, you were probably one of the Bright Girls.
Ugh, I really hate it when theories explaining sexism or gender differences ring totally true to my own experience. Therefore, here's a list of things I gave up on being good at pretty early in life.
  1. Playing piano. (Let's face it. I really hated practicing.)
  2. Playing clarinet. (Same reason.)
  3. Playing alto saxophone. (Don't worry, I'm getting to non-musical related things soon.)
  4. Math. Like tons of other girls, I was really good at math throughout high school, but then when I fit my three years of requirements, I stopped instead of going for pre-calc even though my geometry teacher encouraged me to pursue a career in math. I guess I believed the stereotypes.
  5. Cooking. Well, at least this was true for a long time. Because cooking was something that women were supposed to be good at it, I stayed away for a long time.
  6. Video games. I always got really frustrated that I wasn't good at these right away. I guess I missed that you have to spend hours and hours on this to get better at it.
  7. Fashion. Same with shopping. I hated it as a kid and have only gotten to like it marginally more as I get older, thanks mostly to online shopping. I find going to stores tiresome and I'm not particularly fashionable.
  8. Economics. It took one class in college to convince me I was no good at this. Do I get points for listening to the Planet Money podcast?
This list could be much longer, but I'm going to avoid going down that ego-stripping path. The point is, women seem to judge themselves much more harshly than men do. Or at least, I find that anecdotally true.

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