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View Diary: Why pretty girls should join math teams (34 comments)

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  •  Critical mass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, kyril, kurt

    is also a factor. It is much harder to be the only girl, or the only boy, in an activity than it is to be part of a reasonably sized minority.

    •  Values; softball vs. cheerleading; my niece. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AverageJoe42, kyril

      My niece played softball in elementary school and junior high. She was pretty good at it and seemed to be having fun.

      But when she got to high school and the hormones were really kicking in, she decided to give up softball and take up cheerleading.

      This got her in with a whole different crowd of girls--worried about social status to a toxic degree. Gotta have the right clothes, the right makeup, the right car, go to the right parties, have the right boyfriend...and of course, the right friends. With threatened ostracism if you don't conform to the social expectations of the right people.

      My niece is now 27. Through a great combination of good luck and making better choices, her head is now in a much better place. She has a master's in psychology, is a practicing child & adolescent therapist, and thinking about going for her Ph.D. She now shakes her head at her old friends--so many eating disorders, failed marriages, substance problems, etc. She could've ended up there.

      When an attractive girl says the math team is too geeky, that's a red flag. Yes, it's tough being an adolescent--I remember, and I sympathize. But that's a Teachable Moment, when a parent-uncle-teacher or some other trusted adult needs to point out that the girl is making a value choice--she's deciding to derive her opinion of herself from the opinions of people who buy into rat-race values, instead of from her and her friends' and teammates' work and accomplishments.

      I wish I had spoken up to my niece, about 13 years ago. I thank God she's turned out OK despite my failure to do so.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:54:33 PM PST

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      •  Either that or the "they're too geeky" ... (0+ / 0-)

        (or whatever) is really an excuse to avoid a competition in which the person believes they're outmatched and can't win.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:04:23 PM PST

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        •  She was doing well with softball. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't recall her team winning the championship or anything like that. But they were good enough, and she was good enough.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:54:11 PM PST

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      •  While that is possible (0+ / 0-)

        and Neuroptimalian's "deflection" suggestion is possible, a third possibility is that the girl is afraid of how she'd be treated in an all-male space (especially a team environment). I bet she wouldn't join the football team, either, and I bet they're not "too geeky."

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:23:41 AM PST

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        •  The softball league was all-girl. (0+ / 0-)

          I suppose that might've been the time jokes were going around about lesbians playing softball, which could play on a 14-year-old's insecurities. Still--value choice--do you give in to your insecurities, or surmount them?

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:51:27 PM PST

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