It still amazes me how much gender bias is ingrained in our society. A friend on Facebook, someone my husband and I both knew from our university days, recently commented that my husband is the ‘smartest person I ever met’. This, of course, elicited a snarky comeback from me: ‘You mean you never met me? Pftt!’
But there is more truth in that comeback that many realize. My husband is tops in his field, and no doubt very gifted, but I am no sloucher either. Recently I was conversing with an educational psychologist here in Germany. We were speaking German, and I was explaining to her that my husband is sprachbegabt (linguistically gifted). Without hesitation, she practically shouted back at me, ‘But you are sprachbegabt also!’ You know I had forgotten that about myself. I haven’t had the opportunity to master one area of life over the last 30 years like my husband has, but my abilities remain the same.
The stats of our lives bear witness to that. Our SAT scores were exactly the same. I had a slightly higher GPA than he did in College, and I did two majors and a minor in three years. Every now and then I remind him of this. Keeps him humble. We discovered recently that our IQ scores are only a few points apart. I will never be able to play Chopin like he can, but he will never be able to do fouette turns on pointe like I could when we met (sadly that is an ability one loses with age)! He is an extrovert, and has the amazing ability to recall facts very quickly. Being an introvert myself, speed at recall is not my thing. I can create quickly. I can walk into a kitchen, take whatever I find in the pantry or fridge and make a very nice meal out of it. I can be financially creative also, and have managed household finances in three countries, finding ways to allow gifted hubby to forward his career. This is why I have as my line of work on Facebook: Team Stuckenbruck, Project Manager.
One time when I was a senior in High School, I had taken a test to show what area of work I should pursue as a career. The first career listed was chemical engineering. My father, who was himself a chemical engineer, about fell off his chair laughing and snorting that his ‘artsy-fartsy ballerina daughter’ would have that as her first option. Keeping a straight face, I reminded him that I was ‘the daughter of the father’ AND that I had scored in the top 10% on the National Chemistry Exam. He stopped laughing and apologized.
Not too long ago, orchestras decided to conduct auditions so as to remove gender bias. The prospective members would play their instruments behind a curtain. The orchestra directors were astonished by the number of women they had chosen based solely on the sound that was produced.
My dear male friends, please be careful who you say is the smartest person you ever met. You may very well be married to her!