Growing up, I occasionally heard some oldster complaining that "the system" had coopted his favorite singer (Willy Nelson), favorite music style (rock), or favorite movement (grunge). I shrugged, not paying it much mind.
But then the world went geek crazy.
Growing up a girl geek, even in the latter half of the 2oth Century, was not fun. Boys were afraid to date you (being smart and tall used to be a liability, believe it or not!). Some teachers would underestimate you. My mom, rest her soul, had to go to city hall and argue to get me into algebra. I'm still not sure why. She just shook her head and said, "don't let it bother you."
Well, if I couldn't be popular, at least I could be exclusive. A niche or artisanal flavor of woman, if you will.
But the culture has caught up with me. Sort of. Geek chic is in: Lena Dunham plays a character on Girls who flaunts her geekitude. There are mainstream T.V. shows about freakishly smart, socially awkward people--and even if these characters are played for laughs, it's nice to see a little of myself up there on the little screen. It only took a season or two before they introduced smart women on one of the shows.
My question for the new year: is America finally ready to think outside the box? Trust intellectuals and their annoying theories and contrary suggestions? Will the next generation of girls stop slipping down the intellectual slopes of adolescence and succeed alongside their brothers in math and science? I sure hope so--and my nieces lead me to believe it's true. They're so much more comfortable in their skin than I was at their age. Brava! Here's to a year of thinking outside the box, and solving problems instead of just complaining about them.
P.S. I'm currently away from home, thinking outside the box in isolated Pipes Canyon. Six days with no cell or landline and only on-again, off-again wifi access, in order to finish my novel. Down in the high desert, there's nary a box in sight! Just bobcats, birds, and blessed quiet. Thanks to some wonderful friends and my brilliant niece, I've found a way to fix the broken first third of my novel. Lucky for me, my friends and relatives know how to think outside the box too!!!!