I retweeted this tweet the other week from 4H. It linked to an article by PBS NewsHour about telling girls science stories before bedtime instead of fairytales. It reminded me of a Sarah Silverman bit that I saw years ago. Though I can’t remember her words exactly, she said something along the lines of: “Don’t tell girls they can be anything when they grow up. Not because I think that they can’t, but because it wouldn’t have occurred to them otherwise before you said it.” Wow. And that got me thinking…
We should be telling science stories instead of fairytales. Sure, fairytales are cute and nice, and good to listen to once in a while, but they shouldn’t define what a girl thinks of when someone mentions “hero”. Science and reading were encouraged in my household from a young age, and I think that’s because I had an older brother who was obsessed with dinosaurs. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have loved science without a brother – from the get-go, all I ever wanted to be was an astronaut… Or a palaeontologist… Or a professional KLUTZ Kit builder… But I know girls who only want to be the princess in a fairytale. They have no idea what kinds of possibilities are waiting for them!
I read this article almost a year ago on Thought Catalog. It mentions how so many people tell little girls “Wow, your dress is so pretty!” and stop there. It reminds people to go past that – reward girls for their imagination and their intelligence. Ask them about the book they’re reading, or what they’ve learned in school. I try to keep this in the back of my head when I hang out with kids. Books were always the focus for me, and I could not care less about what I was wearing. As a little girl, I was always wondering “Why do you care if my hair is messy?” All I ever wanted to talk about was books – it’s still that way for me!
My love of science has been a part of me my whole life. I would hate for another girl to grow up without this background – even if you hate science, I just want you to know that you are more than just a princess in a fairytale. You are a princess with a brain!
Emma — The Suburban Aggie