Author Topic: S/O of Parental Criticism Thread: Were you criticized for being a bluestocking?  (Read 7143 times)

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GlitterIsMyDrug

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I tend to gravitate toward the smart people in a crowd.  I love a stimulating and challenging conversation.  The upside is that nobody accuses me of being smart, because they're all smarter than me.

There are different types of smart people, though.  There are smart people who seek to find a common ground with people of different intelligence levels, and smart people who like to subtly or not-so-subtly remind you that they're smarter than you.  The smartest people I know are also gifted with the ability to hold a conversation with anyone, without making the other person uncomfortable. On the other hand, I have worked with people who come off as pretentious.  It's hard to explain.  I suppose it's like a wealthy person who treats everyone as a worthy companion, vs. a wealthy person who sneers at people who aren't wearing name brands.

I completely agree. There are some smart people I can't stand to be around. I'm always reminded of Legally Blonde when Elle tries to join the study group and they say it's a "smart people" thing. Hi, she got into Harvard Law School. She had 4.0 at UCLA. That's actually a hard school to get into. We've established she's smart. She's a smart person. Yes, she like pink, and fashion and is a friendly person. That doesn't make her dumb. That makes her lovely to be around! She brought baked goods! I would've studied with her! I feel like Elle a lot.

I strive to be someone who can make anyone, regardless of education/money/background feel comfortable and welcomed. This goal has lead to me having a varitey of friends with unique backgrounds and views on life. It's fantastic!

Outdoor Girl

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My Dad was told his whole school career that he was dumb.  He still thinks he's dumb.  Dad, you are not dumb; you are dyslexic!  Took us a long time to figure it out.  But to be able to get an English degree, without reading a single book, in night school, while teaching full time?  YOU ARE NOT DUMB.  You dummy.   ;D

He never discouraged me from reading, though.  In fact, he fed my habit.  He would buy me all sorts of Scholastic books; I'd get 10 or so in my stocking every Christmas.

My brother does make some comments about how smart I am - he's smart, too, but didn't get the marks because of an undiagnosed learning disability.  If he had gotten the help that my nephews are getting in university, I have no doubt that his marks would have been 10% higher than what they were.  But he is much more savvy at dealing with people than I am.  Which is why he's a manager and I'm a peon.  I don't have the patience to deal with the BS, though, so I don't really want to be a manager.  I have a steel trap of a mind for trivia; he won't play trivia games with me any more because I usually win.  But said skill does make me popular in bars with my friends.   :)
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

GlitterIsMyDrug

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If my father had anything to say about it, I never would never have gone to College.  I was to be graduated from High School, (to please my mother),  marry a son of a friend of his from the loading dock, move into a double-wide and happily pop out plenty of children. 

Thank the Deity I received five scholarships that paid for everything including textbooks and money for trips home at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

My mother put only one restriction on my College education. I could not sell my text books at the end of term.  I had to bring them home with my class notes.  During the day, she'd study while I was at my summer job.  In the evening, we'd sit down around the kitchen table and discuss history, political science, literature or whatever else I had been taking in the last semester.

After the first term,  it dawned on me that I was giving my mother a College education.  After that, I made sure to take good notes and keep my books in excellent condition.  Mom was smart and asked the sort of questions my professors at school wanted me to ask.  I learned to be more assertive in class because Mom depended on me and I had to be able to answer her. 

It may sound strange but it was a great mother-daughter bonding experience.

 :'( Seriously sweetest thing I've read all day!

My continuing my education and telling my mom how I was often the youngest in class, or that there were a lot of people close to her age in my classes, really pushed her to go back and get her BA (now she's getting her Masters, cause she's awesome). She kept thinking she was "too old". She got an AA the year I finished high school because she was working for the community colleges (so she got free school, so did I!), but then she was "too old" and it'd "take too long" to get what she wanted. She had wanted to be counselor for years, but someone once told her it'd take at least 10 years of school (and if she wanted to psychiatrist they'd be correct) so she figured she could never get and she kept saying, "it'll take 10 years", so finally one day I used logic that had once been applied to me and said "Mom, in 10 years, if you don't go to school, how old will you be?" and she tells me, so then I said "Ok, and in 10 years, if you do go to school, how old will you be?"...same number. Well then...why not go to school?

Venus193

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Quote
I was reading Ben Hur when I was eight. I'm not above average intelligence, maths has always eluded me, but both parents encouraged any and all pursuit of knowledge. There was never any suggestion that I shouldn't learn or better myself just because I was female.

This bugs me.  Math and science -- which are now being promoted at the expense of the liberal arts -- are not the only measure of intelligence.  Nor are they the only worthy use of it.

I was a decent math student but was never in love with it.  Literature, writing, and the arts were always my strengths.  People should be encouraged to direct their intelligence to what moves them and not to what someone else wants them to.

kherbert05

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Sometimes I worry that in my family we do the reverse and shortchange the guys. In my Grandparents' and parents' generations the women were more likely to be
1. Sent to University
2. Get advanced degrees
3. Go work outside of the country

My BIL once commented "I guess we spent the day with Aunt Kimbee" when Loren met him at the door to explain that Giraffes were herbivores, had flat teeth, and their vertebrae are This (display of hands) big that is why they can eat leaves off the tops of trees. She was 2 1/2 yo. (He has no problem with smart women - he just thought it funny he could tell if I was babysitting or his mother from the topic of conversation Loren would greet him with.)

Dad called me Mr. Spock because I was very logical. Actually that was my biggest problem with Cousin C (we fought like cats and dogs for years) she didn't make sense to me.

In 2nd grade I insisted that I had to finish this huge reader they sent home in 1 week. Mom knew that was wrong, and was worried I wasn't reading 'good' books instead of this step up from see jane run basel book. So she took me to a meeting with Mrs. Blue (real name). Mrs. Blue told me I didn't have to read the book in 1 week. I stomped my foot and said yes I do. Mrs. Blue, bless her, asked why. I told them well last year I finished the stupid books so Mrs. Mahoney let me get real books from the library. If I read a book a week, then by Christmas you will have to let me read real books. Mrs. Blue took the basel reader away - and walked us down to the library and let me check out "real books"

5th grade Mrs. Lincoln   had us build electrical circuits as a project. She had a group of us explain our projects. Each of the other kids broke down and admitted that their parents had paid someone to make their project. I was able to explain everything on the board parallel circuits and series circuits. But I broke down crying that I had cheated also
1. Dad had cut the board using the circular saw because I wasn't allowed to use it.
2. Dad had done the soldering because I couldn't get it to do right and Dad was afraid I would burn myself (I have fine motor control problems)
3. The motor we bought at the hobby store was broken and Frank, my cousin who is an engineer, fixed it.

Mrs. Lincoln told me that wasn't cheating and I got like a 120% grade.

In HS - classmates didn't tease me. They threatened to beat me senseless because I "blew the curve" in an "easy curve" class. (I and another freshman got 100  on a test. the next highest grade was a 60. If we had earned similar grades the teacher would have added 40 points to everyone's grades in a "straight curve" not a bell curve) This big intimidating senior football player told us to stay put at dismissal. He explained to the teacher why announcing we had earned 100's was a bad idea. Then he walked me to the pick up area and waited till Mom got there and drove the boy home. Word on high came down that he would "take care" of anyone that tried to harm either one of us.  We didn't have any more problems and that teacher stopped curving grades and expected people to be able to score high on her test.

University - laughed in the face of a professor who tried to convince me I had been taught that scientist were all men. Every scientist I knew growing up was a woman (Mom and all her friends from work)
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

*inviteseller

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I am a smart nerd and I have been told to dumb it down.  I have heard the lines "men won't like a smart woman" and "when you outsmart men in the business world you won't get anywhere" but I was also raised by my father who wanted only the best for us academically.   I was reading at 4, always was ahead of my class mates (altho I had a few teachers try to hold me down  >:( ).  My ex husband hatedhatedhated the fact that I was smarter than him..I really tried not to be overbearing about it but I would try to engage him in conversations about world events, politics, literature..and he would glaze over.  His mother said to me I acted all 'stuck up' because I liked to 'act' so smart, but education was not the  priority for their family as it was for mine.  My SO of 10 years was on the same level as me..we could talk about any subject, from the most intelligent conversations to Sponge Bob and it was great to finally find someone who could talk to me on the same level without anyone floundering to keep up or someone having to dumb it down. 

My 7 yr old DD is extremely intelligent (scarily so) and is reading at a much higher level than her classmates and is being targeted by some kids because she aces all subjects, all tests.  I feel that her teacher this year is not challenging her enough and I am dreading a meeting coming up about it.  I don't want to be SS mom bragging and asking for special treatment but I hate to see my DD lose her love of learning by being held back to keep up with the rest of the class.

WillyNilly

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I truly believe there is a fundamental difference in being educated and being intelligent. Ok yes it takes a certain level of intelligence to absorb and understand education, but true intelligence to me is the ability to understand when to use the education. Being well read and having a large vocabulary doesn't make you smart, smart is knowing when its a better idea to use common words and layman's terms.

I never wanted to be in the advanced classes at school; I preferred being a big fish in a small pond. And as such I learned early on, on my own to dumb things down. I wanted to take it easy in school and coast - much easier to do in regular classes! It drove my parents nuts though, they expected me to strive towards educational excellence.

I remember in 8th grade I took the NYC test for specialized high schools (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech). When the results came in the students who took the tests were pulled out of class to the hallway. One boy looked at me and sneered "what are you doing out here? You're not smart!" I was the only student to make it into all 3 schools.

flickan

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I never wanted to be in the advanced classes at school; I preferred being a big fish in a small pond. And as such I learned early on, on my own to dumb things down. I wanted to take it easy in school and coast - much easier to do in regular classes! It drove my parents nuts though, they expected me to strive towards educational excellence.

This was my life too.  I hated being the underachiever in a classroom full of bright driven people because competition turned me off so much.  It was too stressful.  I much preferred being a smart kid in an average class and not having to work for anything.  I didn't get me through college but it got me pretty far.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 09:21:15 PM by flickan »

Elfmama

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I've lived with this my entire life.  It was a source of much stress when I was growing up because we were always moving so I was always the new kid.  Combine glasses, braces and an educational aptitude that was usually far above most of my classmates with that and I was the target for either a) bullying or b) kids trying to get me to do their work for them. 
A lot of a), often caused by refusing b).  I could have written this, minus the braces. In elementary school, my classmates thought I was weird because I knew how to read before I started school, and by the end of kindergarten was reading fluently and well above grade level.  Kindergarten then was ABCs, colors, shapes, all the sort of thing they teach now in nursery school.  They only started to teach actual reading in first grade, and then it was sight-reading, not phonics.  Teach a child that this shape means "cat" but not that C says "k" and A says "aa" and T says "t", and he's lost when you ask him what C A R  or C A T T L E means.  Even as late as junior high my classmates were. Reading. One. Word. At. A. Time.  It HURT to hear them read aloud.  I wouldn't be surprised if most of them read their last book in high school.  We left that town when I was in 8th grade, and I'd read through all of the children's books that interested me, most of the YA, and was making inroads on the adult fiction.  It upset the old lady librarian greatly that I wasn't reading "suitable" books, by which she meant girls' books about wanting to be ballerinas or nurses or some other suitable female profession.  The children's section was segregated into "girls' books" or "boys' books," with only a few books deemed suitable for everyone.  All the good stuff like SF was in the boys' section!   

As an adult, no one has ever criticized what I read and how much I read, with the exception of the librarian at a small US military base in Italy where I found myself stuck for 2 1/2 interminable years.  He thought I ought to be content to read the generous selection of Harlequin Romances that had been ordered specifically for dependent wives, and not be bothering him for ILLs from other base libraries.  ::)  And raiding the books meant for the guys wasn't in the cards either, because most of them were secret agent series with names like "The Terminator" or "The Executioner" or "The Exterminator."  I survived on care packages from my mother and sister. 

What's fun is watching someone come into the house who isn't familiar with our personal library.  "Did you guys read all of those books?"  And DH laughs and says "That's only about half of them.  The rest are upstairs." There are 1988 books in the inventory, and I know that we've probably missed a few.  Every time we moved, the moving company was told to bring 40 (or 50, 60, 70...) book boxes, and someone looked at that and obviously thought "They can't possibly mean 40 (50, 60, 70...) book boxes!  Sam must have misheard them.  They meant 14 (15, 16, 17...)"  And when they got to the house and looked at the library, someone went back to the warehouse and brought the rest of the book boxes that they were TOLD to bring.   
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Elfmama

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When I was in elementary school I was always reading at least four years above average levels.  My vocabulary was always more sophisticated than than that of 95% of my classmates.  I was always being told "Don't use words nobody else knows" by classmates whose grades were below mine.

The messages that Scarlett O'Hara got came later.

I never bought what this notion was selling.  A man who falls for a dumb act can't be very intelligent or confident and that is not a man worthy of my respect or my time.

What truly blows my mind is that so many women fall for this.  I wonder what happens to them in the long term?  Do they play dumb until after the officiant says "I now pronounce you husband and wife" and what happens then or do they continue to play dumb to appease the weak self-esteem of their husbands (or others)?  Do any of you know an example of this?
Well, there was a similar conversation in GWTW.  And Mammy said "Men 'spects dey wives to have sense." 
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gmatoy

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If my father had anything to say about it, I never would never have gone to College.  I was to be graduated from High School, (to please my mother),  marry a son of a friend of his from the loading dock, move into a double-wide and happily pop out plenty of children. 

Thank the Deity I received five scholarships that paid for everything including textbooks and money for trips home at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

My mother put only one restriction on my College education. I could not sell my text books at the end of term.  I had to bring them home with my class notes.  During the day, she'd study while I was at my summer job.  In the evening, we'd sit down around the kitchen table and discuss history, political science, literature or whatever else I had been taking in the last semester.

After the first term,  it dawned on me that I was giving my mother a College education.  After that, I made sure to take good notes and keep my books in excellent condition.  Mom was smart and asked the sort of questions my professors at school wanted me to ask.  I learned to be more assertive in class because Mom depended on me and I had to be able to answer her. 

It may sound strange but it was a great mother-daughter bonding experience.

This made me cry! (In a good way!)

Venus193

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I remember that conversation Scarlett had with Mammy.  I'm sure even Mammy was aware of the ridiculousness of the situation.

gmatoy

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I remember in 8th grade I took the NYC test for specialized high schools (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech). When the results came in the students who took the tests were pulled out of class to the hallway. One boy looked at me and sneered "what are you doing out here? You're not smart!" I was the only student to make it into all 3 schools.

My BIL went to Brooklyn Tec and my DH went to Stuyvesant. I was the first girl in my family to graduate from high school. When we met (while in the Army) DH was a college grad and I had only a high school education.

I graduated from college 30 years and 1 day after my high school graduation. While I was going to college, my DH kept talking about how smart I was! Finally I asked him if he hadn't known that already. His reply? "How could I know that? You either didn't know or didn't believe it yourself!"

Umm, no. I knew but didn't have any proof except for my ridiculously high scores on my Army entrance tests.

When I was going to college, my daughter finished high school and went on to college. I feel like it was something I had to do to be sure that my daughter knew how much I valued education.

ammyd

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My parents were great about it and always encouraged me to read and learn. I actually had a teacher who criticized me and actually kept me from the enrichment program since you had to have the scores and a teacher recommendation my first year.

I have always been a fast reader who didn't just skim it I just absorbed the information and locked it in my brain. She'd never believe I read and understood our assignments and would make me read and re-read them until the rest of the class finally got done. Never mind my mom loves to tell the story of how I knew and used the word rotund when I was three the teacher never would believe that I wasn't an idiot.

 My only problem were being fidgety, terrible math skills(now we know it's likely dyscalculia) and horrible handwriting, like really horrible. I was in the fifth or sixth grade before it was legible to everyone.

I was so stressed and anxious from her constantly picking on me that I was sick every day before school because I knew I'd have to face her. She really crushed my love of school and it never fully recovered.

Tini

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Like I said in the original thread, my mom was of the opinion that I should not 'let it hang out' so much that I was clever because it would put boys off.

Her whole attitude was really weird. On the one hand she always said that if her girls (there's four of us) had the smarts for it she would make sure we'd get an education (and three of us did A-levels, I've got a first in maths and my youngest sister has a doctorate in geology), on the other hand she made me going to university as unpleasant for me as you could imagine. She is terrible at empathy and one of those people who'll do pretty awful things if she's convinced that it is the right thing to do. I was the first person in our entire family to go to uni, ever, and that makes it much harder and more frightening. I really did not know what to expect. I'd also been bullied badly in school for being clever, so I was still very  bruised emotionally and, well, a bit otherworldly.

And then my mother told me that they would not support me financially, although they could have well afforded it. Even a hundred bucks a month (and I must have cost them more while I was at home) was too much. Yet they still got the local equivalent of child benefit (a universal benefit all parents get) for me. This did not change when my health took a bad turn. I was actually misdiagnosed with cancer at one point. For six weeks I thought I had a tumor on my adrenal cortex, but then it turned out to be a mistake and all I had was PCOS. I had to go to hospital for the first time in my life an no-one came to visit. I really thought they were going to let me go through chemo and whatever was to come on my own - not once did they say, 'we'll be there'.

She later told me that she did not give me any money on purpose. She thought I should be forced to work on the side so I'd get 'some different ideas in my head', whatever that is supposed to mean.

On the other hand our house was full of books, and if one of her kids asked a question and she didn't know, she'd pull out a book and look it up.

And yet again, I got crappy craft kits for christmas or some stupid stuff like 'mix your own perfume' and my brother got a physics experimentation kit I would have killed for. My interest in astronomy was thoroughly mocked. She kept on pushing me into languages.

Small wonder I never finished my first attempt at a degree (or, indeed, my second). I just did not feel like I was supposed to be there or be a success at anything. And she was soooo disappointed in me.

It wasn't until I was in my early fourties and in another country, happily married and with two lovely children that I finally went back to university and got the degree I should have had twenty years ago. The older I got and the more I compared the way I raise my kids and how much I love them to how she treated me, the less I understand her.