“Girls are trained to say, ‘I wrote this, but it’s probably really stupid.’ Well, no, you wouldn’t write a novel if you thought it was really stupid. Men are much more comfortable going, ‘I wrote this book because I have a unique perspective that the world needs to hear.’ Girls are taught from the age of seven that if you get a compliment, you don’t go, ‘Thank you’, you go, ‘No, you’re insane.’”—
is she quoting a tumblr statistic? I mean, who teaches these girls these things? And at precisely age 7 no less! I must not have been paying attention when they were doing this shit in second grade. Maybe the teachers pulled the girls aside to explain that to them out of earshot of us male super-beings. Or maybe because I was in Puerto Rico, the privilege fairy never visited. But by the time I was in school in NY, it was pretty much the girls who were getting the good grades and attention. Hmm… Maybe that’s what parents did when I wasn’t looking, they’d go: “You’re worthless because you’re a girl. You tell people that they’re insane if they compliment you! You’re a piece of shit, you walking vagina!” Totally must have missed that.
I guess everyone’s experience of growing up as a woman is different. I feel Lena on this one. Not only did I absorb, through the culture that I grew up in, that my value lay primarily in my appearance (And, for the record, I don’t think a girl having the guts to show her “unattractive, overweight” body on television is a mark of someone with low self esteem. And shame on you, by the way) and not in my intellect, I also learned that a “lady” is humble. To “graciously accept a compliment” is to gently turn it down. As an example, think of that scene from Mean Girls when Regina compliments Cady, a girl who has had no exposure to American Girl Culture. ’Wow, you’re like, really pretty.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘So, you agree?’ ‘What?’ ‘You think you’re really pretty.’ Cady was clearly expected to disagree. Because that’s what girls are supposed to do. I’m not sure at what age it starts. Could be seven (the example Lena arbitrarily chose, you nit-pickers) could be earlier, could be later, but it’s there and I felt it and still feel it.
“You have until the hour you die to do everything you’ve ever really wanted to do and say everything you’ve ever really wanted to say. It sounds less fair when you get older.”—I Wrote This For You: The Eventual Ghost