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!