Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Looks

Miss Scarlett* has a post about the worst parts of graduate school. When I read this, I felt
-attacked
-defensive
-angry
-hurt
-self-pitying
in not-quite that order.

I am from the generation of women who, if we weren't cute, and we weren't popular, and we weren't usual girly-girls, we could "make up for" these failings by being smart. And most -- almost all, in fact -- smart girls in my cohort were, in fact, not cute, not usual girly-girls, and not at all involved in fashion.

I accepted this role. No, I embraced this role with utter relief. I am not fashionably-figured. I have no idea how to wear "nice clothes" because the only nice clothes I see are those worn by toothpicks of alarming height. I tried to wear makeup when I was in high school, but I have clogged tear ducts: my eyes constantly water, and I would've looked like a racoon after about 30 minutes.** I hate having makeup on my face because I'm not used to having anything there. I have poor posture from hiding away from people, trying to not be noticed.

Miss Scarlett is representative of a new generation of smart women. They are fashionable; they are comfortable with being feminine; they are pretty; they are popular. I am glad for them; they know how to combine being feminine with being smart. They can be people instead of just brains.

Nonetheless. I hate and resent the fact that I now have to unlearn a lifetime of habits in order to fairly compete with them for the few jobs that are out there.***

*Look! I figured out how to link to people, without the button-crutch!
**My mom was very sympathetic and even took me to a doctor to see how this could be fixed, but I chickened out of the procedure.
***When I learned today was blog-against-sexism, I thought this might fit. But I can't figure out how. Am I suffering from the repercussions of the sexist attitude that women can't be smart? Or are we all suffering from the sexist attitude that women have to be pretty? and if so, how does that fit in with the fact that most male academics are taking better care of their looks also? So maybe it doesn't.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

I think your post fits in blog against sexism day. I do think it's a problem that female academics are judged more harshly on their appearance than male ones. I've read and seen work from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching that has shown that students and colleagues judge female profs and TAs on looks, but not male ones. I've read stuff in the Chron that has implied this to be the case on the job market as well.

It's true men are taking better care of themselves now. But that just means they're taking on some of our oppressions, not that our oppressions are being relaxed.

10:41 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:25 PM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

Wow, "anonymous," you're a jerk. What a shame. Go troll somewhere else.

I'm not clear on why you think you have the right to write so cruelly and uselessly. Something hit a nerve with her, and clearly something hit a nerve with you. Why you would begrudge another woman her opinion and feelings? Ceresina did nothing of the sort to Miss Scarlett, she went back to her own blog space to clear her own feelings. So what's up with the useless cattiness? How are female academics ever going to take over if you're going to behave that way?

1:08 PM EST  
Blogger Dustino Bambino said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:15 PM EST  

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