“Girls have four general ways in which they can react to the cultural pressures to abandon the self. They can conform, withdraw, be depressed, or get angry. The best way for girls to productively fight back is for them to explore and begin to understand the effects of American culture on their lives. Intelligent resistance keeps the true self alive.”Reviving Ophelia
by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.

Oooh. Pretty

I have never taken a women’s studies course. I have never joined a feminist group. I reject the notion that all men are responsible for the unjust actions of some men. I continue to think Beethoven was a good composer and Shakespeare was a good writer; if some woman’s talents were ignored at the same time theirs were celebrated, it doesn’t change the quality of their work.

But as the mother of two daughters I still worry about gender differences and what it will mean to them. “In early adolescence,” writes Dr. Pipher, “studies show that girls' IQ scores drop and their math and science scores plummet. They lose their resiliency and optimism and become less curious and inclined to take risks.”

It’s hard to stay a smart girl. It takes guts and determination. A recent study showed a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise. Standing up to those expectations will not be easy for my daughters.

Of course, men feel the same pressure to downplay their intelligence. A good argument could be made that Bush was elected on an anti-intellectual platform. But that’s a blog for another day…
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