This study, about how Americans discourage the highest level of math genius, is far more interesting than all the ink we waste on the differences between boys’ and girls’ math skills. To me, this is the great American tradition of anti-intellectualism at its worst. My guess, of course, is that the lower you go on the socio-economic scale, the more pervasive these ideas are.
I had friends stomp on my report cards. Me and other smart working class kids weren’t exactly encouraged. I feel very lucky that my emotional needs to be smart outweighed all the discouraging influences; as with other kids from big families, being smart got me attention from my teachers, attention that was a little lacking at home. Because otherwise, being good at math came with major social stigma, and most of the young women I’ve met at colleges seem to have developed a reflexive “fuck you, I can do math” kind of attitude that keeps them safe.
That they should need it is the sore point. We celebrate athletic prowess, the people who make the top 1%, but not in intellectual arenas. Oh, this country. Maybe having an actual smart guy for president will change that & start to filter down, & kids might want to grow up to be something other than an NBA star.
De-gendering this stuff really points up actual real problems that need to be dealt with.
(h/t to Lena for sending me the article)