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Weird Day

Weird Day

Yesterday was weird. Today is a little weird, but less so.

Warning: Serious topic post below.

I am currently doing a substantive edit of my student note (which is somewhat like a master’s thesis, but for law students). It’s about the legality of preventive strikes on nuclear reactors, to be published this summer.

In between working on this note, I wrote a post about Valentine’s Decorations. I did that all day yesterday: switching back and forth from talking about pink felt hearts and then terrorist acquisition of fissile material. I’m doing the same thing today, but I guess with less of a focus on my love of pink, and more of a focus on my dislike of nuclear weapons.

And then I started wondering, what is going to happen when I am a big kid? What will happen when people google me to see what I have written: a sixty-something page legal article on nuclear weapons and a blog post about how important it is to throw dinner parties? Fortunately, Rachel Weisz, the actress, is usually the first 50 or so hits on google, which provides me with a layer of anonymity, but that could change.

This blog is supposed to be a space for me to do the creative things I love in my spare time, while I pursue a career in international law. And it is that. But I do worry about whether I could ever be taken seriously as a top nuclear negotiator when the person across the table may have seen my blog, and knows that I spent Saturday baking and frosting a cake to look like a dog. Will that hurt my professional persona?

Madeiline Abright. Now I don't know about whether or not she baked, but I do know that she always wore fabulous jewelry and everyone took her seriously.*

And what really gets my goat?! Is that I shouldn’t have to worry if my personal career will be hurt because I like to sew! A man’s career isn’t hurt if someone knows that he likes to make his girlfriend dinner or have nice furniture. Yet, I feel like mine might be impacted by this. Part of me wants to be defiant. To dare people to judge my intelligence based on my looks and pass-times, because I will show them wrong. The other part of me wonders if it wouldn’t be so much easier to conform? To pretend like I don’t like sewing, and embrace the bra-burning feminism of the 70s.

Maybe Golda Meir liked to make a noodle kuggel and feed her kids and grandchildren.

The 70s were a long time ago. Isn’t the idea behind feminism today that it doesn’t matter what life choices you make (whether to be a mom or a business lady), what’s important is that today women actually have that choice?

I once gave a presentation in graduate school about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Afterwards, the woman who was leading the public speaking seminar told me that she didn’t expect anything so serious to come out of my mouth, given my blonde hair and pretty necklace, that maybe I should work on looking more serious. I almost lost it. I felt like she was telling me I had to cut/die my hair and wear a less stylish outfit, just to get my point across. (For the recond: I was wearing a black pencil skirt, rose cami and grey cardigan, with multiple-strand pearl necklace – a completely appropriate business casual outfit.) Like people couldn’t or wouldn’t listen to me because of what I look like?!? A friend of mine said I should have asked her if her girdle was too tight.

Hilary is blonde too! And I know for a fact that she picks modern art out of the State Department art collection to keep her office looking nice.

So here’s a question to you, ladies: To be a leader in a man’s world, do I have to act like a man? Should I worry that all my carefree writings about thrifting/baking/sewing/crafting/decorating are going to hurt my “serious” man’s-world career aspirations? Am I only allowed to wear gray and black and navy from here on out?!

Margaret may have been a man in a man's world, but I feel like she might have had a collection of antique tea cups at home. Or something British like that.

I really hope not. I love doing all those domestic things and wearing pink. And I love writing about those domestic things and my love of pink. And I love writing about the legality of preventive strikes on nuclear reactors in the name of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter? Can’t I love do both?

Elle Woods - Likes dogs, glitter, fashion, and the law. If only there could be a musical montage in my life where I study super hard and graduate head of my law school class!

I want to be defiant. To make it OK for girls to love Hello Kitty (you know who you are 😉 ) and to talk about nuclear weapons with the big boys. So I’m going to keep on blogging. And I will keep on working towards becoming an international leader too. I refuse to let those things be mutually exclusive.

(I) Love (pink and nuclear non-proliferation),


* I saw Madeiline Albright in a bathroom once. She was wearing the most incredible turquoise necklace, earrings, and maybe a bracelet. Love her!

6 responses »

  1. I think you can do everything. And look fantastic at the same time. And if you stop making dog cakes, then I don’t know if I can continue to be your friend, because dog cakes (and pretty much everything else you make) are super awesome.

  2. Thank you for stopping by….I loved your post here. Having burned my bra in the 70’s and being the first female sale executive rep hired within the state of Texas for a national corporation, I can certainly relate to your dilemia. I learned very quickly how to think like a man and act like a man, but I never lost touch with who I was. I was the only married person on the sales force, was certainly the only one that had a child and was told when I got the job to get a lawyer because I would be getting a divorce…..who says that to someone? It was very difficult, but I made it. I am a much tougher person today because of it, but I hold no resentment towards those men…..they still all wanted to sleep with me :), so I guess I was still a “girl” after all, regardless of how I acted or presented myself in their world…lol

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I appreciate that very much. And good for you for standing up for yourself!

  3. Rachel,

    First, I adore reading blogs. Even more, I adore reading blogs of people I know. So your S&A blog (thanks to Google Reader) is in my regular rotation and I enjoy reading your posts. Second, I haven’t been able to shake what you said about the presentation you gave and the response from the woman leading the public speaking seminar. When I think of the people whom I admire–men and women–I realize how dynamic they are, and how their accomplishments and interests contrast any stereotypical paradigms that are hoisted upon them. Also, times are a’changing. With more of our interests and hobbies being shared online, it’s common for people who have serious passions and jobs to also have a blog, or more likely, at least have a Pinterest (look at that, she sure likes kittens!) Ahem. Anyway, more power to you. Keep entertaining, keep liking pink. Keep talking about nukes. Keep surprising people–it’s fun.

    Take care, MT


I love getting your comments. They make me happier than really good carrot cake!

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