Thursday, September 24, 2009

Notes on eminent women

Taken from a biographical study of 30 “eminent women,” as described in chapter 4 of Smart Girls. While I don't particularly agree with her selections—not a huge fan of Gertrude Stein and Margret Mead—the results are interesting.

Eminent women had not necessarily had
-Consistent/good parenting—often at least one parent was absent or irresponsible
-Recognition of their talents in childhood
-A good education—many had spotty educations and many preformed well only in their specialties

Eminent women had had
-Time alone
-Voracious reading
-A sense of being different or special
-Individualized instruction
-Same sex education
-Difficult Adolescence
-Separateness and the ability to avoid confluence—strong sense of individual identity and goals, rather than identifying as relationship
-Taking existential responsibility for self—identify self as someone working on something, rather than as relationship
-Love through work--”first you must find your work; then you will find your love.”
-Refusal to acknowledge the limitations of gender
-Thorns and shells
-Integration of roles
-Ability to fall in love with an idea


N said...

What does "thorns and shells" mean?

Makayla said...

So where do you come down? I mean, what do you think about it? Which of these things seem good or bad or helpful or unhelpful to you?

Day said...

N: it means they had trouble with people, either coming off as abrasive/prickly, or putting up a lot of shields and being very distant.

Makayla: Over all, I found the list to be encouraging. I don't know that I would call any of it bad--more, it's just some tertiary evidence about what would help if one wants to get certain things done. My favorite part was seeing that things which I had previously regarded as potential handicaps (like having trouble with people, and having had unusually difficult teen years) are sometimes part of a pattern for something good.