Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Holiday Gifting for Geeky Girls

I admit upfront, I'm the relative most likely to be groaned at over the solstice holidays, as I default to practical rather than fashionable gifts. Try as I might, when out shopping, I drift past the trendy stuff right into the 'ooh look, a car safety kit!' every time. And then I wrap them in re-usable shopping bags and/or trash bags (my family thought this was deplorable until they acknowledged the trash bags could be used to clean up all the festive wrapping debris as we went. Hence I am SMRT. Boring but SMRT).

That bias and the idea that geeky is 'a feature not a bug' leads me to suggesting a couple of gifting ideas that might interest girls of today and help them build 'community' that was lacking in my (pre-cable tv, let alone before the internets aka the PaleoRollingStones Age) day.

First, CAGIS. Started by an adolescent girl, the "Canadian Association of Girls In Science" is growing across the country and has a definite online community for those in more rural areas.

Second, (and what would geeks be without enough books to add several R-factors of insulation to a residence) "Math Doesn't Suck" by Danica McKellar.

Yeah, I know, a *math* book. What sort of grinch am I? All I can say is math underpins all the other sciences, especially when you start into formulas. It's the intellectual fulcrum upon which you can lever the world (and cosmos) - and we're still being told that women can't do it because they're women (except of course when we're being told that girls are 'outdoing' boys in school because boys are being tortured by having to 'submisively' pay attention to instructors - never mind that when it was boys only in historical schools, they had to 'submissively' pay attention to the 10th factor /rant)

Now, I'm biased again because I would have killed for better math instruction in high school. I know my math skills fell off once we hit formulas and the available teachers were...not helpful. Head pats do not an intellect make.

For bonus feminazi points, this is not only a 'how-to' book but the offer of a kewl role model to girls at the vulnerable phase of adolescence where the social bombardment to defer to boys is amped to 11. The math tutoring in the book certainly can help boys as well, so long as they're not dissuaded from accepting a woman's story and authority on the subject.

So, anyway, a couple of (I hope you will thank me later) grrl power gifts available out there. Any other suggestions from the DJ! crew?

(edited for archimedean references. math might be the fulcrum upon which you use the lever of science to move the world.)

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