Monday, June 17, 2013

On Dumb Culture

Now, I'm generally not a fan of calling attention to people with rocks for brains, mostly because I think stupid people get too much attention anyway.  However, in the aftermath of a stunningly incoherent speech about women, education, men's inherent leadership role, and job creation from Miss Utah in the Miss Universe pageant and the incredibly disheartening news that Sarah Palin will be entering the network news circuit as a political commentator (admittedly on Fox News, but that's still more viewers than she should be getting), I need to speak up.

I am all for female role models.  We definitely need more of them.

But, for the love of all that is good in this world and for the sake of creating a better future for the next few generations of girls, can we please stop treating ignorant, uneducated women as something endearing or desirable?

We have a culture that says that women are bad at math and science, despite repeated studies that show that the gap in performance occurs over time, as girls LEARN they aren't supposed to be good at math and science.  We discourage women from entering leadership roles, and those who do are often met with sexism and criticism of their mental and emotional capabilities in their role.  And, despite the continued push for empowering female education, we still hear things like "My boyfriend thinks I'm too smart for him" (vlogbrothers video) or "'If smart guys like dumb girls and dumb guys like dumb girls, what do smart girls get?' 'Cats, mostly'" (Modern Family).

Glamourizing and promoting the idea that it's "cute" for a woman to be ditzy or ignorant makes intelligent girls feel like their intelligence is a hindrance -- something to be ashamed of and hidden if they ever want to be loved or taken seriously.  But what good does it do for society to teach half the population that, if they're good at something, they should try and hide it?

Ignorance isn't cute.  It isn't funny.  It's sad, it's an insult to our education system, and it's really bad for the way girls see themselves.

Angrily yours,
Rachel Leigh

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