Upon learning what school I go to, people will often remark, “Wow, you girls get a lot of work, don’t you?” Or: “Oh I know that school; it’s the one where the most meaningful relationship a girl has is with her textbooks and computer.” Usually, I smile and laugh, mostly amused. But one day, after telling a woman where I go to school, I received a slightly more scathing remark: “That’s where girls are so obsessed with being focused they pop Adderall like there’s no tomorrow!” Needless to say, this comment was a bit of a shock. My initial thoughts speculated as to just where she had acquired her crackpot information and whether or not she had hit her head earlier that morning. Regardless of what may or may not be true, what she said made me think: what do outsiders really think of Marlborough girls?
It is unquestionable that Marlborough girls are well known. Whether because of the School’s academically rigorous education or various successes in sports and debates, you can count on the name ringing a bell. But under what pretense? Marlborough is highly sought after. In 2006, 1,000 girls applied for 100 spots available for the Class of 2012 and would likely have fought tooth and nail to be accepted.
More surprisingly to me, faculty positions are also sought after. When speaking with a group of teachers who work at schools across Los Angeles, a family friend of mine discovered that many of them had Marlborough as a first choice for teaching opportunities. Chief attractions seem to be not only the opportunity to teach at such a prestigious school but also the diligent reputation of the students. Marlborough is usually smiled upon by adults and is viewed as a high-caliber school with dedicated, independent, and intelligent students.
Despite all this, students from other schools tend to have mixed feelings about Violets, most (from what I have gathered) negative. In short, Marlborough girls are known throughout the student world as weird, rich, prudish snobs who eat monstrously and get everything they want because their parents are CEOs. Granted, there are girls attending Marlborough who are privileged and who may or may not be prudes and snobs. But we definitely aren’t defined by such characteristics. Sure, we work hard, but could it be that we are more than our workload and family’s money? Marlborough fosters strong, independent young women capable of making their own choices, regardless of what is socially expected. By making individual choices that aren’t necessarily “popular,” many girls are viewed as weird or socially incapable when they really aren’t.
Instead of taking such perceptions negatively, I think that girls should simply be aware that these opinions exist. We should go above and beyond to show that such stereotypes don’t define us, through our own personal success, and take into account that everyone has the freedom of having her own thoughts, whether entirely true or untrue.