The Valuing of STEM Over Liberal Arts Majors is Internalized Misogyny
Let’s just think of who got the building blocks and who got the baby dolls
So, I get it. You’re smart, mathematically inclined and probably a gifted kid who didn’t let the overwhelming societal pressure to succeed cause them to spiral into a world of anxiety and upset, but not all of us can be like that! I for one enjoy stringing together pretty words to create something that gives me a bit of a writer’s superiority complex and makes you feel something. That is where my inclination lies.
Now, should I be admitting on a public platform that it takes me a second too long to do basic addition in my head and that the moment I finished the math requirements for my major, I would decidedly never be doing math again unless life depended on it? Probably not.
But like most things, I can find a way to blame mine and other women’s lacking desire to be STEM majors – or in my case, involved with math at all – on the hearty, good-old boys club called the patriarchy.
It is the age-old tale of our societal structure—which places a heavy emphasis on its male preference—lending a hand to negative implications for women in every sphere.
When we were little, we were led into aisles glittering pink with toys that not-so-subtly told us to value our beauty above all else and forced us into the role of little miss Suzy homemaker. Meanwhile, the “boys” aisle was lined with primary-colored building blocks, toolkits, and vastly more educational material.
Regardless, as a child I was fully convinced that it was a universal truth that girls were obviously better and smarter than boys. But as I aged up, it became clear that this was not the case.
What happened to “girls go to college to get more knowledge, and boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider?”
I’ll tell you what happened: the patriarchy provided its favorite children with the fundamentals needed to be prepared for roles as future scientists, doctors, and mathematicians and gave girls baby dolls and a crippling lack of confidence.
Some women can overcome this disadvantage. Though others aren’t willing to endure the tech-bros that fill a majority of seats at the table.
And that too should be okay. I applaud women in STEM because they are paving the way, becoming the change, and likely suffering through mansplaining while doing so. But that doesn’t mean women in more stereotypically feminine majors or fields are any less valuable.
So next time you give a liberal arts major a look that reads as – have fun finding a job with that degree – or ask, “oh, are you going to apply to law school?” Maybe just... don’t.
Jillian Rodriguez is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. You can find her sat in her bedroom under a mirrorball listening to Taylor Swift, sipping Dunkin’ iced coffee, and contemplating which seemingly mundane moments from life to add to her many drafts; maybe you’ll show up in her writing one day. You can reach her at @jillygabrielle on Instagram for more info.