When I was dating, I tempered how much of my intellect I would reveal, in much the same way some women measure how much of their sexuality to share, depending on how the date progressed. Just as I knew that a man had asked me out because he found me physically attractive, he would also be measuring exactly how smart I was as the night progressed. In my experience, if I revealed too much of my intellect too fast, I would often not be invited out a second time. I found that men desired a woman who was smart enough to carry on a conversation to their taste but certainly never wanted her intellect to exceed their own. So, just as many women are careful not to slip and have sex on a first date, I would be careful not to slip and reveal the extent of my intellect until I knew what I was dealing with, how much I wanted him and what he could handle.
Wanting to be Wanted, but at What Price?
Ultimately, would he be enough? It was a delicate balance because I wanted to be wanted, yearned for love and yet had experienced nothing worse than dating someone of intellectual inferiority. Nothing.
The Supposed Smarter Sex
I often hear men joke that women are the smarter sex. Their wives are the “brains behind the operation.” As they toss it out with a laugh, I often wonder, what if this is actually true? I am unaware of any studies providing factual proof, but in my experience, considering the depth, insight and intuition many women possess, along with their intelligence, it seems a likely possibility. I have to ask myself, what lies behind these jokes? How do these men actually feel about the women in their lives perhaps being more intelligent than they are, whether in their homes, the workplace, or their lives? I suspect it probable that some men harbor latent, lurking resentment.
My daughter’s favorite characters are the Disney Princesses and the Barbie Fairies, all of whom much to my horror have unrealistically, physically perfect, adult bodies. They all have long legs, tiny waists, big breasts and perfect faces. When my daughter was three, she cried consistently because she wanted long, voluminous hair like the Disney Princesses she loved. I immediately cut my unconventionally curly hair short like my daughter’s in an attempt to prove to her that women can be beautiful in many forms. Distraught, I knew that my three-year old daughter had already been brainwashed into believing in the false standard of beauty we all strive for in our culture and wondered who determines this standard.
Hollywood and corporate culture ultimately create these characters and images in our society, determining how a woman should appear to be considered beautiful, and it is very specific: skinny, big breasts, long legs, long hair, perfectly symmetrical faces with pretty, delicate, flawless features, specifically formulaic with no variance.
As We Fought…
Interestingly, over the years as women have fought for and gained their independence in the workplace and society, the ideal of what constitutes female beauty has been whittled away to such a narrow description, it is virtually impossible to obtain. Is this coincidence or blatant retribution?
My son, on the other hand, is given characters to idolize, such as talking cars, stuffed toys, and a young, purple boy with a penchant for science experimentation. I have encountered no character that encourages my son to question his physical appearance.
Let’s Get Real, Shall We?
I imagine these corporate men joking about their intellectually superior wives. Slyly, cutely admitting to how much more intellectually evolved the female is than the male as they sketch the next Disney Princess, a woman who looks like no woman I have met. I have yet to encounter a living, breathing woman with a heart pumping blood through her veins that looked like either a Disney Princess or a Barbie Doll.
So, perhaps these men have found a way to exercise their subconscious frustration. Perhaps if women are the smarter sex, they do not find it so cute and funny underneath the cheery veneer because the men in Hollywood and Corporate America have done a brilliant job of finding a way to keep us tightly leashed on a continuum as we enjoy our hard-earned supposed equality.
The Trickiest of Tricks…
And the corporate women executives, where are they among the madness? Why aren’t they fighting this travesty? Perhaps they are healing from their boob jobs. Women all over our country are scrambling around, trying to meet a standard of beauty that is impossible to meet. Corporate women and housewives alike are starving themselves, chastising themselves and going under the knife, all in an attempt to achieve the impossible, a standard and expectation set primarily by men that we simply cannot meet as it is a falsehood. A lie. A trick.
So as we fall for this bullshit, I pose the question, how smart are we really ladies?