Saturday, April 07, 2007

Posted by Hannah

The NYT article on the horrors of the pressures on upper middle class girls can be look at in a variety of different ways. I don't think it's right to dismiss it entirely, as the gendered expectations and challenges faced by our "elite" are important to understand, even if they don't always exactly inspire our sympathies. Still, the final post on a comment thread provides some useful perspective:
I am originally from a small town in Michigan but now am a junior at a college in Manhattan. I was not blessed with the funds to pursue an unlimited amount of extra-curricular activities, nor did I attend a public school loaded with opportunities. I am pleased with my choice of university and it took a lot of hard work to get here (on scholarship), but there is no possible way I could have gotten into an Ivy League school or any of the other schools these girls consider “the best.” Although I admire their dedication, they seem like the kind of “perfect” girls I loathed in high school. I’ll break it down this way: while perfect girls got to attend youth group, play tennis, take AP classes (my school only offered two), be in the student government, plan proms and get straight A’s, since the age of 15 I had to balance a full-time job with classes and a disruptive, sometimes violent family life. I have always been an advanced reader and writer and I believe my “passion” is what, ultimately, got me into college, but I had neither the time, money or resources to match these girls’ standards. And since moving to New York, I have realized that compared to the VAST majority of girls (and boys) in the world, I had it easy. Frankly, upon reading that one of the girls only (gasp!) got into Smith, it took all my strength not to laugh. It was a great article, but perhaps the Times should write a few stories about those amazing girls who aren’t lucky enough to get into Smith. Thankfully I’m no longer a senior in high school and I don’t have to watch scores of personality-challenged, lily-white rich kids ship off to Harvard like calves to the slaughter. I’m proud that I not only worked hard in high school, but managed to maintain a sense of myself. So now I can concentrate on what I want to do, even though I’m not at a brand-name university.