Brainy Girls Finish Last

I read Maureen Dowd’s article from this weekend yesterday, and it’s still bumping around in my head, making me want to talk about it with everyone. Probably this is because I got to the end and instead of feeling some sense of resolution, some deeper understanding of why feminism is such a bad word these days (identified solely with the sort of views you find on I Blame the Patriarchy [1]), I wound up feeling depressed at the recollection that it’s much, much easier to get people to show interest in you if you take your clothes off than if you try to impress them with your interesting ideas and hobbies (having weirdo interests like economics doesn’t help, of course). I did a stint of personal ad writing and answering a couple of years ago that bore this out well, but the even easier demonstration is to wear a low cut top and push up bra to the next event you attend and see how many more people are interested in meeting you, and whether you can get the same mileage out of wandering around in a turtleneck with a copy of Das Kapital. Or even The Great Gatsby or something. [2]

Which I guess could mean that all the skanky trendy clothing of the last few years is just pragmatism.

I have a pretty decent workplace, which doesn’t make me feel oppressed at all, and a super neat boyfriend who likes to talk with me about all sorts of interesting stuff, so day to day life is pretty good. I just feel really uncomfortable with the idea that lots of women come against that big flashing sign, the one that says you’ll get farther if you’re sexy than if you’re smart, and decide they’d rather take the path of least resistance. Because doesn’t that encourage everyone to see it as the default?

This is the sort of post that never gets me much sympathy, if anyone even responds, so it probably won’t do much for my desire for a good discussion. Likely responses: “What are you talking about? Women get to do whatever they want.” “Men are oppressed too! We don’t get any clothing choices at all!” “What’s wrong with wanting to be sexy?” (absolutely nothing… as long as it’s not mandatory.)

And now I’m going for a walk while there’s still a break from the pouring rain we had all morning.

[1] A blog I hoped I’d like for about five seconds before I realized it just grossed me out.

[2] There are exceptions. Notably, my mom attracted the attention of my stepfather by studying for the actuarial exam on the train to work. He was quite interested in getting to know that woman with all the math books.

One response to “Brainy Girls Finish Last

  1. Isaac Laquedem

    Have you read John T. Molloy’s book, “Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others”? The sexy approach will get the short-term male interest — that’s why the species is still here — but in general men marry women who have more than just appearance to recommend them. Even if men don’t come across as believing this, they do (in general) agree with Judy Sheindlin’s book title, “Beauty Fades — Dumb is Forever.”