As Ariel Levy noted in her Colbert Report appearance earlier this year, our culture is starting to revere the female chauvinistic pig; young girls idolize Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and the media shows very few positive role models for girls - or at least what I would deem positive, showing that you can be both pretty and smart, or that your worth isn't in how small your clothes are and how blonde your hair is.
I don't want to idolize my youth, and say "things were better when..." - after all, I'm sure my parents thought Cyndi Lauper and mid-80s Madonna were as bad as I view Hilton, Lohan and their ilk these days. But I don't remember there being this overwhelming focus on it being bad to be smart, or desirable to be seen as dumb as a post. And I take some relief, today, in noticing via Wil Wheaton's blog, that I'm not the only one who thinks this: Danica McKellar, who some of you might remember as "Winnie" from The Wonder Years, has a new book coming out called Math Doesn't Suck.
CNN is running a short profile on the book, talking about the book and quoting McKellar's motivations for writing it:
The book includes tips to avoid mistakes on homework, ways to overcome test-day anxiety and profiles of three beautiful mathematicians. "I want to tell girls that cute and dumb isn't as good as cute and smart," she said.
I'm not in a position to write a book to inspire girls to be cute and smart. I'm not even in a place right now where I can do any one on one, big sister style participation in a local girl's life. But I am in a position where I can participate in a blog like this - and so I do, and hope that by adding my voice, we are all strengthened.