And what, other than Nerdfighting, does all of this have to do with YA lit? Well, Danica McKellar has a new book for teen girls called Math Doesn't Suck. Do you know/remember who Danica McKellar is? She played Winnie on "The Wonder Years." And she's 32! She's actually older than me! Do teen girls even know who she is? Now, I have not read the book, but I've looked at several descriptions, and I'm torn. On the one hand, I think it's great that she is elevating both the importance of intellect and mathematics for girls.* I like the message that, "Being good at math is cool. And not only that, it can help them get what they want out of life." On the other hand, it seems so cheap and stereotypical. As the Newsweek article asks, "Is it necessary to teach a girl about ratios, for instance, by asking her to figure out how much lip gloss she owns compared with her sister?" And is this even a really realistic or important question? I don't know. I am impressed that McKellar has a theorem named after her(!), and if nothing else, she seems like a good role model.
* On Danica's website, she has a page called "Do You Hide Your Smarts (Especially Around Guys)?" Now, I am wondering how many girls do this. I think I might have done this in middle school some with guys who weren't all that smart. But by the time I was in high school, (a) I was only interested in dating guys who were smart, (b) I was mostly in classes with other students who were smart, and (c) if anything, I was all about coming across as smart as possible and not looking stupid. I remember being very competetive with my guy friends in terms of intellect and grades. I was very satisfied, for example, when I earned the Government AP Medal for highest average and my friend, Jason, got the certificate. Hah! (Of course, I'm single, so maybe this is what I should have been/be doing.)