Friday, July 1, 2011

Smart and Pretty

I have been thinking a lot the past few days about this article from the Huffington Post that circulated around facebook the first of the weeks and our lives with Adelaide.  

When she was born the gifts and packages came pouring in.  Truly we were overwhelmed with generosity.  We averaged a package a day for the first 2 months of little miss's life and have only now slowed to two or three a week.  Needless to say I am still working on thank you's but all of this is probably topic for another post.  Anyhow, one of the gifts that we received in the mail was this adorable pink onesie with a peace sign on it made of organic, fair trade cotton from a friend of mine and fellow feminist from grad school.  The card enclosed said "congratulations on the birth of Adelaide!  I know we were taught in school that pink is bad for little girls and all that stuff but this so darn cute!"

Around the second week Adelaide was at home, I was in her room talking to her while changing her and getting her dressed when I saw my mother in the doorway sort of smiling.  I asked what was up and she said "I love it!" "Love what?" I asked.  From the time Adelaide was born I have said, "You are so pretty and so smart, because you can be both, baby."  My mom had caught me in one of these pep talks.  And like the author suggests in the Huffington Post article, we make as big a deal out of our cute tutus and pink peace sign onesies as we do how much we like to read around here.  Even at nearly 3 months.

There are very clear and specific moments in my life that I can pick out where I was treated like an idiot because I was perceived to be pretty and well the person I had encountered couldn't possibly fathom that you could be both attractive and smart.  If it weren't for my mother affirming and encouraging my love for books, my early and slightly weird for my age interest in documentaries and for the crazy rule in our house that you could only watch a half hour of TV a day unless it was a news show (yes, I was a 10 year old 60 Minutes and Dateline junkie...this was all before cable and the 24 hour news channels so it only really bought you an extra hour a day) who knows if I would have had the insight about myself to know I was both smart and pretty when I encountered people who wanted to minimize my intellegance and the courage to stand up to them and insist that I did indeed need to be taken seriously.  

I appreciated the article, but what I appreciated most was the wide span of women on facebook who shared it--not just my explicitly feminist friends from grad school, but mothers, daughters, dads, pastors and friends.  It gives me hope.  

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