Author Topic: S/O of Parental Criticism Thread: Were you criticized for being a bluestocking?  (Read 7724 times)

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Thipu1

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I was a very early reader.  In the 3rd grade (age 8) when the other kids were in reading lessons, I was sitting in the back of the room with 'A Tale of Two Cities'. 

I also had quite a bad stutter which led some to believe that I was below the average in intelligence. 

It wasn't a good combination.  In 1st grade (age 6), I was bullied by classmates into reading the comics that came with bubble gum.  They couldn't read the comics themselves  and claimed that the teacher demanded that I read them out loud.  When I stuttered, they laughed at me and called me stupid. 

The public library was never much of a problem because I always went with my mother.  If a librarian questioned a book I wanted to check out, Mom was there to approve my choice.  The only
one she ever vetoed was 'Doctor Zhivago'. 

School was a different matter.  In the 8th grade (age 13) our class was moved into the High School.  The librarians there were the bane of my life.  I was constantly told that the books I wanted to read were 'too hard' for me.  The best birthday gift I ever received was an adult public library card at the
age of 12. 

High School wasn't great but, at least, I could check out anything I wanted in the school library.


Piratelvr1121

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I got more criticism from peers than family when it came to my vocabulary and reading.  Reading was strongly encouraged amongst both genders as I was growing up.  I had two bookshelves in my room that were packed full, I had so many books and my dad had built floor to ceiling shelves for our living room, that's how many books were in our family.

The only time I got in trouble for reading was when I was supposed to be doing something else like homework or chores.  Though sometimes my mother would make me put a book down and call a friend cause she was worried I was too much of a loner. 

But as I said in the other thread, a friend of mine, who was very sharp, once accused me of trying to sound smarter than I was by using big words and it would turn boys away.  She dumbed herself down for that very reason and was trying to convince me that was why I had no boyfriends or prospects.  I told her I didn't want a boy who didn't want a smart wife.

And sure enough, I found a guy that does like having a woman with a good vocabulary.  The only thing he ever said though was that when I was a teen, it might have been that my nose was always buried in a book that kept guys from asking. Not so much a matter of not wanting a smart woman so much as it could be taken as a sign of non-interest in anything that wasn't in print.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

jmarvellous

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I was in public school, and I was bullied for a lot of things, but never for being too smart, even when I was considered one of the "smartest kids" and "the smartest girl"! My school was chock-full of smart kids with smart parents who valued smarts.

By the time we got to high school, there was a bit of a class divide on who was math/science smart and who was literature/history smart, and who was creative, and I was definitely more in the latter two groups.

The funny part is that the only times I can remember being mocked for my intelligence were in my math and science classes, where I was on the 'regular' track rather than the advanced one, so I was getting A+s and A's (as opposed to the solid B's I got in advanced math), and answering questions when the other kids didn't get it, or didn't want to look uncool by answering questions aloud. Some boys would flirt with me just so they could try to get answers from me, but it didn't get them very far. One older girl took to calling me "Miss Smartypants," which was kind of hilarious, because she was trying to be venomous, but the name just made us all giggle; we ended up getting along well.

It never really affected my dating life, either, except insofar as I did break up with a few guys when I realized we had nothing to talk about. 

Hmmmmm

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Not criticized by my parents, but a teacher of all things.

In 1976 I was in 6th grade. My Dad was the superintendent for our small town school. One of my 6th grade teachers had to take a leave of absence for the last 4 weeks of the year. They brought in a teacher who had been retired for 15-20 years but who had done some substitute teaching. She wasn't ancient but just hadn't taught full time since the early 1960's. On the last day of school she pulled me aside to inform me I had the highest grade average for the class and warn me that I shouldn't outpace my male classmates as it could cause me to be alienated by the boys as they would feel intimidated. She also noticed that I spent a lot of time afterschool in the public library across the street and it might not be good for my reputation to be seen as too bookish. I shared this hilarious advice with my parents. Dad made sure she was never hired by the school again. My mom took a more "direct" approach with an after church discussion with her that weekend.

In HS, I had a teacher (small town, had him for 3 years in diferent subjects) who always complained that the smart girls dated the dumbest of the guys. He'd just shake his head when he'd see me with my BF who was an average B/C student. But his comments did make me realize that none of us in the top 10% of our class ever dated each other.

Spring Water on Sundays

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The only example that comes to mind in my own life is when I was in early elementary school (maybe 2nd or 3rd grade), I got to skip English class once a week to participate in Enrichment with a few other high achieving students. My best friend was either jealous or didn't understand what Enrichment was about, because she told me it was for stupid kids.  ::)

My husband loves my brain, and he is always proud to tell people that I'm smarter than he is. He says it's one of the things he finds most attractive about me :)

guihong

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I wish I was shocked at the number of us who were put down by teachers and librarians, of all things.

I remembered in fifth grade, we were reading Johnny Tremaine.  The teacher told me, "You ask too many questions!"   And in sixth grade, my English teacher accused me of cheating somehow because I consistently got perfect scores on tests.  That one earned her an earful from my mother.

And it's not just daughters who get put down :(.  I am concerned for my son, who tells me the other kids don't like him because he's so flipping smart.  I tell  him to use his full brainpower, and the kids who don't like him today will come to respect him later.  Or even if they don't, that he's not going to cheat himself to spare someone else's feelings.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 11:39:13 AM by guihong »



magician5

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Just ask famed bluestocking Rebecca Watson http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Watson

If you're an intelligent, articulate woman who won't crawl back into the woodwork when she faces resistance from the men in her field, they'll send an awful lot of flak your way. And, the internet being the "wild west" of maltreatment, the abuse will be both voluminous and vicious.

On the other hand, some men (including me) consider an active mind and an assertive spirit incredibly attractive (I know, I married one).
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

nuit93

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I was a voracious reader as a kid, and this carried with me through high school.  I have a ton of books. 

Mom encouraged this, my teachers encouraged it, the school librarian loved me.  Stepdad was concerned that I'd never have a boyfriend if I was always reading and 'acting smart' (I had to stop talking about what I was learning in school by the time I got to high school because he would complain that I was wasting my time with all that 'academic junk' that would do me no good once I left HS). 

It was a point of contention between him and mom that she expected me to go to college and strongly discouraged high school dating, and he thought I should just get married right out of high school so I could be some other man's problem.


GlitterIsMyDrug

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I've always been lucky with my mom. She's encouraged me to read, think, ask questions, and be smart. In fact when I once worried I wasn't pretty (I was maybe 8) my mom said "Sweetie, you are pretty. But remember, looks are boring. It doesn't take skill to be good looking. Be smart. Smart lasts forever and is actually impressive". She also drilled into my head that normal was boring too. I mean, the woman handed me To Kill a Mockingbird, when I was in 3rd grade. It was one of her favorite books and I was complaining about being bored.

My grandmother is a bit of an odd duck. She likes that I'm educated and will often tell her friend she got the "smart granddaughter" however complained I spent too much time reading and that I didn't need to keep going to school after high school. Very odd mixed message. She herself is very bright, as is my mother, but lacks formal education past 9th or 10th grade (I can't remember which year she quit going). However she's better with computers then I am and can catch onto ideas quickly.

My classmates. Oh, my classmates. Well I was just a walking talking target in school. I was too tall, I developed earlier then the other girls, I was gay, and oh yeah, I was smart. I used to get into trouble for reading ahead of the kids in class. I once had a teacher scold me that my reading ahead made the other kids feel badly about themselves. I asked why that was my problem. Then I got sent to the office. I also hated library time because I was limited to where I could check books out from based on my age. My mother finally sent a letter oking me to read the 7th and 8th grade books (our school was k-8) in 4th grade. Of course I had already read most of them but it was better then what I was "allowed" to read. In high school I just took advanced classes and did a dual enrollment at the community college. The only time I got teased/picked on was by someone who wanted me to do  their homework. When I refused I was teased for being smart. But...but that's why you want me to...never mind.

As an adult, I just surround myself with other smart people and it's a non-issue. We all have areas we know a lot about, so we get together, we talk, we educate each other, it's wonderful.

As for not finding a boy. Well I got told that as well. It was pretty much a non-issue. Turns out girls, are super into smart girls. But I know a lot of smart girls with guys...so clearly it's a non-issue there too. I do think the phrase is the key though, boys don't like smart girls. But men love smart women.

Luci

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Never! My grandmother taught for two years before she was married at 18, they sent my mother through college. My mom taught off and on until I was 10, then went back until she passed away. Dad married another teacher. My other grandparents offered to send all of their 9 children to college. They both had degrees! I was from a large enough school that there were plenty of collegebound kids to be friends with and date.

I met Lucas in college. Our daughter was tops in her class. It never even entered our minds that either of our kids to not get degrees. We would have adjusted, but just didn't think about it. We know tons of uneducated but intelligent, successful people. Our son married a doctor, so I guess he isn't intimidated.

All of our grandchildren are expected to go - tops in their classes. The two oldest are juniors at university, girls.

It was a total shock to me when I found out that one of the top ten students in our class would not be going to college as her father didn't believe in girls getting an education. I often wonder what happened to her.

Venus193

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A good friend of mine went to college despite the sexism in her family.  When she was in junior high she came home with perfect grades and accolades from teachers only to hear her father say "That's nice but brains on a woman is like t---s on a bull.  Useless."

That stands out a lot more in her head than praise for anything she ever did in school.

To this day she actually believes that her intelligence is more of a liability than an asset.  I'm trying to decide whether that conclusion negates intelligence.

Reader

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I was a voracious reader as a kid, and this carried with me through high school.  I have a ton of books. 


That was me too. I remember being 1 of only 2 in my sophomore English class that after finishing reading Native Son by Richard Wright we were given his other book Black Boy to read while the rest of the class caught up.  I'm also a girl who has been asked because of my extensive vocabulary from reading, to explain the word I just used.  I was known by name to the librarians at my town's library.  I would read so much during the summer that one year they allowed me to review a book being considered as an addition. 

cwm

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I was a voracious reader as a kid, and this carried with me through high school.  I have a ton of books. 


That was me too. I remember being 1 of only 2 in my sophomore English class that after finishing reading Native Son by Richard Wright we were given his other book Black Boy to read while the rest of the class caught up.  I'm also a girl who has been asked because of my extensive vocabulary from reading, to explain the word I just used.  I was known by name to the librarians at my town's library.  I would read so much during the summer that one year they allowed me to review a book being considered as an addition.

I would read three or four books in the time our class took to read one. And the ones I read were twice as long each as what we were studying. But I couldn't stand the books we read in school. Probably due to having to dissect them so thoroughly.

There was a project in 12th grade. We had to compare and contrast two existing books, and use existing critical essays to support our positions. Most of my classmates took it on themselves to do modern novels and use book reviews. They struggled with how hard it was to find anything, and how hard it was to finish two 200 page novels in a semester.

I took Lord of the Rings (omnibus) and Chronicles of Narnia (omnibus), threw in as further primary sources The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, compared the Biblical aspects in each of them, and had to cut down my secondary sources from over 50 books published on the subject. I at least skimmed most of those primary sources. Spent entire weekends at the library. Ended up with a two page bibliography and one of the longest senior papers my teacher had seen. And I had cut at least half of it out to get my page count down, too. He said he'd stop reading at 12 pages. If the 12th page ended in the middle of a sentence, he'd consider that the end.

Everyone hated me when I got the highest mark in the entire grade (short of AP and IB courses). All of the teachers pooled to grade the papers, it was something everyone in my grade had to do. And the teachers who hadn't had me before were astounded that I managed to read all of that in nine months, let alone understand it, digest it, and be able to parse it back out coherently.

Two years later my sister did a project on the biblical aspects of Narnia compared to Harry Potter. My old English teacher apparently commented that erudite women didn't seem to run in our family, they just sauntered with long strides.

Sebastienne

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Twice in my teaching career, I received evaluations complaining that I "used too many big words." My teaching career AS A COLLEGE PROFESSOR. Teaching college subjects. With college words. I can't tell you how happy I am to be away from that institution.

Venus193

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I was always at the top of my class in English and related subjects and always above average in math.  I think the most resentment I ever encountered from classmates was in French when I could pronounce everything perfectly.

The only kids who weren't put out by that were the others who could pronounce French perfectly.  With one exception they were all from Italian families.

Pausing to continue after another post:

Twice in my teaching career, I received evaluations complaining that I "used too many big words." My teaching career AS A COLLEGE PROFESSOR. Teaching college subjects. With college words. I can't tell you how happy I am to be away from that institution.

I can't pick my jaw up after that one.