Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blue Stockings and Candy Stripe Knee Socks

The term blue stocking referred to an educated, intellectual woman.  It originated with the Blue Stocking Society back in 1750s England.  This group, headed by Helen Montagu, wa a group that admitted both men and women and discussed intellectual topics, as opposed to the usual gossip and drinking of most.  The origin of the term apparently came from the members' proclivities to wear blue woolen worsted stockings instead of silk ones.

Anyway, the term blue stocking carries with it a negative connotation that has lived on to this day.  I guess it's the adult equivalent to girl nerd or girl geek.  It's based on the implicit assumption that an intellectually-curious woman is an anomaly, if not a total abomination!  In my opinion, this is not the most socially adaptive way to function.  Thinkers and fine minds are, unfortunately, still at  premium.  Any society that minimizes the use of possible brainpower of 50% of its population is self-handicapping itself stupidly.*  Literally.

However, it is also not the best thing for bright girls and women to be shoehorned into the exclusively brainy role.  The fact is, we're not just thinking beings; we're also feeling and sensitive ones.  We have our minimum requirements for self-esteem support, to be noticed, and oxytocin release.

In short, appreciate our minds; but also appreciate it that we have nice legs!  Our wearing candy stripe knee socks is a way of calling attention to them!  As a matter of fact, candy stripe knee socks can reflect your moods or be obtained in the school colors of your choice! 

*This is also an argument against the "dumb blonde" stereotype that some people mistakenly console themselves with.  However, I'm reminded of La Rochefoucauld's maxim that "The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it."  At the very least, it reduces certain expectations and raises others.


Mike said...

There's nothing wrong with the blue stocking picture no matter what it's supposed to connotate.

Bilbo said...

You probably know the story of glamorous Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, who was actually a very brilliant thinker who came up with the concept of spread-spectrum radio communications during the Second World War. This basic concept is what makes the cell phones and GPS units we use today possible. You can read her story in the book "Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World," by Richard Rhodes. I have no idea what color stockings she wore, but I'm sure it didn't matter.

Duckbutt said...

I agree; it's not wise to discount intellectualism in half of the population. Either half.

Meredith said...

Very good post! Worth it for a high school class to read.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I'd love to be able to get away with funky stuff like that, but even when I was thinner I only managed to look marginally ridiculous.

However I am a card carrying blue stocking by the British Regency definition.

bakku-shan said...

I love candy stripes!