This Made Me Furious (but I can’t remember why)

I ranted my internal monologue to bits on this topic yesterday. Let’s see what comes out now.

Someone I know recently went to an event for single people. It was supposed to be advice workshops, one for each gender. Ironically, she went with a guy, and afterwards they compared notes. The guy came out with one message in his brain: get a smart girl, the smartest you can, and get her quick! “It doesn’t matter if you’ve fancied the girl next door since you were seven; give it a month and you’ll be head over heels for your smart girlfriend.” The guy had asked the speaker if it was fair to ask anyone else out if you were still in love with the girl next door. The answer: “she’ll move you on and make you grow up.”

When I heard this, I smiled. And then I thought about it, and I got angry. For a start, intelligence is zero reflection on what it means to be a good girlfriend. And that got me wondering what the speaker had meant by ‘smart’. Not intellectual credibility, but feminine credibility. The smart women, the good girlfriends, are the ones who know how to satiate masculine vanity. Guys don’t go out looking for clever women—they avoid us! Guys take the hot ones, the ones who’ll use themselves to craft the great illusion. Women pretend that men have the power, hiding their own wiles and caprices and, in the event, giving men the power.

And that leads me to the message in the women’s workshop: be cute, always; make the man feel useful, always; keep him wanting, always. So the women go out worrying about how much make-up they’re wearing and how overt it would be if they bulked it up. They’re completely ignorant of the power they have over men, and what abusing that power does to society.

At first glance the messages in the two workshops seem to be a cross-purposes. It doesn’t take much to realise they’re objectifying and manipulating both genders as much as ever.

(Huh. Last night I ranted in my head for a decent twenty minutes. I should’ve let the muse run its course on paper. Still, please add your own thoughts and you might prompt the rest of mine!)

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3 thoughts on “This Made Me Furious (but I can’t remember why)

  1. A person must first be attracted to the opposite sex, but if their look are all there is to them, then it should be a no go. Their looks will fade and then what will they be left with? Nothing. So, choosing a smart woman isn’t the answer. Choosing the *right* woman is the answer. As for women needing to look cute, yes of course we should take care of ourselves and not let ourselves go. But to place this requirement on a woman does nothing but cause her to constantly critique herself, and can lead to a bad or worse self esteem. A woman needs a man who loves her for her, even in the mornings with no makeup. I don’t wear any anyway, so my husband has never woken up surprised. 🙂

    • Yes, absolutely! There is no concrete way of finding a mate – plus there are studies where a majority of men prefer women who wear no make-up, because they feel they’re being lied to in some way. I guess it’s just good to be aware of the big gender pantomime – the messages the people in my post got don’t seem geared to long-lasting relationships, which is possibly what riles me (and maybe shouldn’t, because, arguably, not everyone wants that).
      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      • As for the cuteness, I agree it’s possible to make the most of ourselves without hinging our self-worth upon how far we succeed. I’m probably overreacting, but what I outlined in the post seems like telling single women in search of partners they can blame their singleness on not looking or acting ‘cute’ enough. So debilitating!

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