These authors are all voicing something I have struggled with myself -- the perceived conflict between being smart and capable, and being interested in subjects like fashion. I recommend all three reads, but in case you're not a link-clicker: all three authors have traditionally successful careers (a professor, an acclaimed novelist, and a White House staffer) and all three also have a love for fashion. They have taken to the internet to defend, explain, even encourage smart women with a love for couture and design... sadly but truly, this defense is totally necessary in this day and age.
Mastromonaco writes, "Is it so inconceivable that a smart, accomplished woman would have both the latest issue of the Economist and the second season of “The Mindy Project” downloaded on her iPad? Sorry, but modern women see no contradiction there." -- and not do we not see a contradiction, may I add, but neither do we see a problem with it.
|Mindy is a smart AND stylish doctor|
All three authors identify that women often cover up or downplay their "silly" passions. I am often hung up on wondering just how much I can expose my interests in fashion and design without coming off as silly or materialistic. Especially when meeting new people, I tend to play down these interests for fear that people will get the wrong impression of me. Recently having dinner with a new set of friends, I got a little too excited about the idea of Celebrity Fantasy Draft -- and my boyfriend later mentioned that I might have come off more ditzy than I actually am. Mike knows that in addition to reading US Weekly, I read the Huffington Post and the WSJ... but our new friends might not. Mike knows that I worship Virgnia Woolf, love to attend seminars at museums, and did a pretty good job keeping up with my classmates at Yale for that matter... but I agree with him -- looking back, our new friends might have walked away with the wrong impression of me after I spent a little bit too long talking about Lupita's style.
Even as young people, we already know that there are certain things that are "appropriate" to discuss or "worthy" of talking about... and fashion / design / celebrity are not some of them -- at least not to dwell on. But for those of us who think of fashion as art, who enjoy a shopping trip on a day off, who keep slightly-secret blogs where they can celebrate these things -- we learn to repress them, or at least acknowledge that we should we ashamed of these interests on some level.
My geniusly successful grandmother has always told her granddaughters: "You are beautiful and brilliant" -- those two words, repeated over and over: beautiful AND brilliant. These words, from a groundbreaking judge who loves her drawer of Hermes scarves, have always helped me to appreciate all sides of myself. I was warmed to read the stories from three very smart women, whose love for fashion has also been passed down generationally and who have been brave enough to embrace and share this passion with us. I can only hope the stigma continues to fade...
Do others out there share this same struggle and insecurity? have you read the articles, and what did you think?