Girls can be pretty and brilliant

Casey Dower

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Even though women are told that they can be anything they want to be, the common impression is that women shouldn’t be smart.  Though times have changed, there are still those who believe it is unattractive to be smart.

 

Throughout the years and up until recently, girls never needed to worry about education because they had domestic responsibilities to worry about.  Women had three jobs: get married, have children, take care of the family.  In modern-day media and throughout history, girls are depicted as only caring about getting married, going as far as quitting college and going home to start their lives while their husbands work.

 

In the book and in the movie, “The Help”, a young girl named Skeeter lived with one of her best friends in college. Her best friend, Hilly, left halfway through college to get married, while Skeeter stayed in college to get her degree. When Skeeter graduated, her mother kept nagging her to get married before she worried about a job.

 

When I was little, I can remember my grandmother telling me that her father always thought that college was never a place for girls and that she had to take care of her family instead of working. And she did exactly that. My mother told me that my grandmother was a stay-at-home mom until my mother, the youngest of two children, was out of grade school and into high school.

 

Why, as a society, are we impressing this belief onto young girls? I’ve always believed that I wasn’t good at math. My family has told me that my struggle with math is because I’m a girl, and girls aren’t supposed to be good at math.  However, in recent studies and interviews done on students, girls are getting better grades than boys in all subjects, and more and more girls than ever before are getting math and engineering degrees.

 

In 2014, Verizon released a video that expressed common things that girls are told through their lives, like “Don’t get your dress dirty,” and “Why don’t you let your brother handle it?” The video starts with a little girl, who is curious and wants to understand the world around her. As the video goes on, you watch as the social standards for girls–nails painted and makeup on–take over, and she doesn’t want anything to do with things that aren’t girly.

 

But why? How do girls benefit from being told that they can do whatever they want only to have it covered up with not being allowed to get dirty or letting men handle the heavy machinery?

 

If you’re going to tell me that I can do whatever I want, then leave it at that. Because it makes no sense to force a standard on me that totally contradicts what has been said before. I can be whatever I want. That means I’ll have to get my dress dirty. That means I’ll have to handle heavy machinery.

 

Girls do not need to be soft and delicate to be what they want. And we should be happy with who we are if we want to be these people, the people who make discoveries and go into space and understand the world and universe we live in.

 

Because yes, we will have to get dirty. We can be pretty and we can be brilliant.  

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