It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
For centuries, our society has seen intelligent women as a threat. Despite the monumental changes we’ve seen for improving women’s education, disadvantages are still apparent.
Today, women are equal in almost every sense. Yet so many girls find themselves dumbing themselves down for the attention of boys. The first question that comes to mind is why? Why do girls feel the need to make themselves less intelligent than they are to appease boys?
The easy answer is boys feel intimidated by a smart woman. A girl who is clever threatens his position as the alpha male. To compensate for these boys’ insecurities, girls dumb themselves down.
The harder answer is that society feels intimidated by intelligent women. From birth, young girls watch stories of princesses being rescued by a prince. Fed the illusion that this prince will take care of her. These stories teach young girls that they are not strong enough to care for themselves. If a different story is projected to youth and encouraged young girls to embrace their strengths, the social hierarchy that has been created would topple down.
Another reason girls find themselves undermining themselves is the response they get to their quick wit. The second a girl corrects or out-smarts a boy, he will feel insulted and turn on her. Most likely, he will call her a “nerd” or a “know it all” and will use some type of language like this to belittle her. The negative words that come associated with intelligence force these girls to hide themselves behind another layer of makeup. For once, they feel that their intelligence will bring down their social status, they will attempt to beautify themselves more. This is because society has trained young girls that beauty is all they have to offer.
Looks and brains unfortunately go hand in hand for women. If a girl is not “standardly” beautiful, she is labeled as a nerd. Because what else could a not typically beautiful woman be in this society? Not only that, but her intelligence makes her less desirable to the male audience. This ideology creates a toxic environment.
Society has built an idea that a woman cannot be beautiful and smart. They must be one or the other, and then rejected if she does not fit the mold. It is our responsibility to break this toxic ideology that our society supports. This generation needs to learn that being yourself is the best version of you. To warn our children not to judge others or feel threatened by them. It is time for everyone to understand that there is no standard for a woman or man, simply who they are. Everyone can be beautiful and have intelligence.