So this morning, a bit bleary eyed and still half asleep, I came across an article written in The Independent titled 'What Men Really Think Of Intelligent Women'... Now in my 'I haven't had nearly enough coffee for the world' state, I scoffed and got angry with The Independent for that headline. Because that headline is on Twitter. Millions of young girls are also on Twitter, and most of them are on their way to school. So we couldn't have blamed them for reading that on the bus and thinking 'hell, there's no point being smart if no one will ever find me attractive, I'm going to play Doodle-Jump today instead of learning...'
Since my coffee I have calmed down and having read the article I am less angry with The Independent. So I ought to apologise for my ranty tweet at 8am this morning. Anyhow, let me share with you their findings...
A study carried out by researchers at University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University and University of Texas Austin, that is due to be published in November's edition of "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin' reports that men "showed less attraction toward women who outsmarted them..."
Apparently men are attracted to the idea of dating intelligent women but don't actually like the reality of it, it was ultimately concluded that men find dating intelligent women intimidating and that actually men's attraction to certain traits in women can be directly affected by how realistic a romantic prospect their potential love is.
So, the study was broken into two parts.
Firstly, 105 men were read a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who either outperformed or underperformed them in a Maths or English course and were then made to imagine them as a romantic partner.
The men ranked women who outsourced them as a more desirable partner, the study saying that "men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more intelligence than themselves."
However the second part of the study showed that when men were asked if they would date such a woman in real life, it showed that the men got cold feet.
"[Men faced in this real life scenario] distanced themselves more from her, tended to rate her as less attractive, and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her"
So basically, the authors of the study say they may need to perform more tests to really prove this but they really believe that "feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men's decreased attraction toward women who outperformed them"
So what have I learnt?
1) I HATE STUDIES.
2) Men don't like to feel inferior.
Which is really really annoying. I feel like the researchers of this study have simply walked into a Year 8 classroom and have quizzed the boys with their pencils up their noses.
Although I can believe the results, I don't want to read them! I just can't imagine this study being done the other way around. It seems to be giving men a power to make a decision that really ought to be made by both parties. Perhaps it's pointless to reverse this study, because of course us girls want to be with clever men. Much too often girls are told to work hard so that they can grow up to marry a brain surgeon, I mean, God forbid we work hard to actually be the brain surgeons, but the point is, we're told that we want to attract a smart man, and we do.
And really, gone are the days when women should be seen and not heard so when men take us home to meet their parents, or take us out to work dinners, they don't want a girl that can't work out the capital of Scotland. So with this in mind, this study ought not to have even been done, let alone have shown these results! Just as us girls wants a smart man to challenge them and keep us intersted, surely men don't want to sit and crack a million jokes that are going straight over the head of their ditzy girlfriends because they'll get bored?
No one likes an idiot. But I am worried that studies like these will create tonnes of idiots. And not just the girls playing doodle jump in the back of the class, also the boys flicking bogies at one another, because it once again suggests to boys that they get their pickings, smart, dumb, doesn't matter, you can choose! It feels like us girls haven't got a say in it, that we're just sitting in an exam hall, waiting for potential love interests to mark our papers before making their selection.
Ultimately in the real world, when you find the right girl, if they're smarter than you, but you love her, you get over it. Much like if she were taller than you, or slimmer, not only is it something she can't control but it's all part of HER and ought to be celebrated. Yes in a study you're looking at numbers, you're living in fantasy land, but in real life it doesn't work like that. No one's A Level results are printed on their heads for all to see and generally a first date doesn't entail a General Knowledge quiz.
My boyfriend always tells me that I'm smarter than him, he says it's one of the things he loves most about me, yet I didn't do very well in school because I'm not particularly 'paper smart', we've been together nearly three years and he only just found out this weekend that he did better than me at A Level. Because in real life, in our real lives, it never came up because it never seemed to matter. We're in a relationship, not a competition.
When I asked him what he thought of this he said: "we are a new generation, we are not the generation of old, where wives and girlfriends stood in a kitchen, where education was swapped for fairy liquid, how bloody boring would their conversations have been been when Mr Jones came home to Mrs Jones every evening. Having an intelligent girlfriend firstly makes me proud, I can stand up and say THAT'S my girl, so no, her intelligence definitely doesn't immasuclate me, she interests me."
And that's what a real man is, in a real relationship. Apart from anything, who are any of us to disparage learning? Or being clever? Or working hard? Be as smart as you can be girls, and boys, swallow your pride or just piss off.