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Wow! It’s Wednesday! Raising Intelligent Girls

gracieblythereadingThe number 2 entry on the list of things that have been keeping me up at night is the “how to raise Bettty to be an intelligent child issue.”

Now I’ve heard a lot of people say that they wouldn’t want to raise kids in Los Angeles. For the most part, I disagree with that sentiment. I was raised in St. Louis and what I mostly remember is being bored. All the frickin’ time. I used to dread summer, because there was so little to do. I look forward to camp, but that was only 2 weeks of the year. For a while there was daycare, but the only thing more boring than sitting at home with your little sister in my opinion was being forced to play inane games and sing all day. By the end of the summer, I would be sick of it all. Sick of the park, sick of reading books all day, sick of TV, sick of summer Bible school, sick of it all. The school year was a relief.

There is so much to do in Los Angeles and so many cultural opportunities, I can’t imagine that it would be more terrible to raise a kid here than in some sleepy suburb — and I’m fairly certain that it will be easier to entertain them with the beaches and the parks and loads upon loads of interesting summer day school options. I’m actually a little jealous of how interesting Betty’s childhood will be.

But then there’s the intelligence question. I think it’s unfair to slam Los Angeles for not valuing intelligence. It’s fairly obvious by now that most cities don’t hold intelligence in high regard. Look at our educational system. However, I do think that this city might value beauty and money over intelligence and that really concerns me.

What to do if Betty turns out to be more interested in her appearance than in actually getting an education? As far as women are concerned, the big stars of this city are actresses and at times it feels like the main female concern in Los Angeles is being thin and pretty — in that order.

Also, I’ve noticed lately that there are fewer examples of intelligent women in general. While we praise President Obama for his gravitas and intelligence, we seem more impressed with Michelle Obama’s high-fashion makeover than we do with her considerable brains. Beauty and the Beast remains one of my favorite films of all time, but nowadays I can’t imagine Disney making a movie about a girl whose favorite past time is reading now. Actually I can’t imagine any studio making any kind of movie or TV show about a woman or girl who values reading or even education.

CH and I can set a good example by turning off the TV and reading to them and in front of them and by encouraging them to learn new things, but we can’t keep outside influences out of my life. I have heard and witnessed so many stories of intelligent girls thrown off course by boys and worse, the need for attention, that I really don’t know what I’ll do if Betty starts choosing primping and dating over studying — actually, I do know what I’ll do. I’ll lay down the law. Education comes first, blah, blah, blah. But children are their own people. You can’t make them value everything that you value. Still, on a harsher note, I don’t really feel like putting 18 good years into raising a vapid adult.

So if you have any suggestions about raising girls to value intelligence and education over looks in a country that often doesn’t seem to appreciate those qualities in their female citizens, please share. Meanwhile, here’s a chilling Jezebel article about how many girls are going out of their way to hide that they’re smart, while the ones who don’t hide it are often slammed in the media.


blythe doll credit: Sewpixie [seriously, click on the link to see the rest of her stuff. it’s SO good!]