Drabble 6 – Bluestocking

Drabble 6 – Bluestocking

Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

There’s been a blog post sitting in my drafts for over a week now. It’s not particularly inflammatory, I just hesitate to post it because it’s on the personal side and I also worry that it sounds a bit like I’m trying too hard to be smart.

always feel like I’m trying too hard to be smart. I played dumb in class to avoid accusations of being a teacher’s pet. I worry that my writing sounds too much like purple prose even though I’ll praise Angela Carter to the heavens. Don’t use too big a word or you’re trying too hard, don’t describe things or you’re trying too hard, don’t even try because you’re trying too hard.

Forget that. I’ll try too hard if I want to. I’ll tattoo Angela Carter on my bicep and imagine that every time I think I’m too anything she’s whispering, “So fucking what?” into my ear.

Here’s something writer William Hazlitt, considered the greatest art critic of his age, had to say about women who were too intelligent:

“The bluestocking is the most odious character in society…she sinks wherever she is placed, like the yolk of an egg, to the bottom, and carries the filth with her.”

Nice. Here’s to carrying the filth with us everywhere we go. Anyway, here’s a drabble.


(noun: exactly what it sounds like – read more here)

a derisive term for an educated, intellectual woman (they probably didn’t wear blue stockings, but isn’t the idea of a secret society of intellectual women who identify each other by stocking color romantic?)

It’s difficult to discuss literature with a corset cutting off circulation, so they wear their simple dresses, simple shoes, simple stockings. They’ve been called ugly, uppity, unnatural, all for wanting a little knowledge—it’s woman’s original sin, after all.

But no matter, there’s a thousand lives to live in a thousand different stories, and pleasant conversation to boot. If they pass another woman on the street with a flash of blue around her ankles, they know that she’s one of them, a secret carrier of knowledge, a traitor to the good name of her gender. They like it that way.

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