In an op-ed by Carol Costello on CNN’s website the question is raised about whether a female would rather be smart or sexy – and it’s an interesting question.
When you look at a lot of female role models that are in the spotlight it has to be acknowledged that they are famous mostly because of how they look. Actresses, models, musicians – very few are unattractive or what might be called “unconventional looking” (a polite way of saying not a sex bomb). Absolutely many of them could also be extremely intelligent, as well, but that’s not what they’re famous for. It’s not why Maxim and People dedicate entire issues to who are the sexiest among them.
When you ask young women about females they’d like to emanate, you don’t get many people saying Eileen Pollack, Marie Currie or Rosalind Franklin. They probably don’t even know who those women are. But they do know who Gisele Bündchen is or Jennifer Lawrence are.
Young women are especially prone to think of beauty as more important than brains. From the time you first start watching television, playing video games, or listening to music you get inundated with images of women that make you want to be pretty. Women literally change their bodies with plastic surgery to try and have features directly drawn from the famous, beautiful women we see on televisions and the internet.
I am sure if you ask a man whether he would honestly want someone sexy or someone smart you’d get a mixed bag of answers. Smart is sexy, some might say. Or why can’t they want both? Or, plenty of sexy people have brains. But to easily influenced women and adolescents in particular the question seems more of an “either or” situation. Do little girls think they can be both?
The article brings up the Big Bang Theory, which actually has women characters who are scientists and incredibly intelligent. But who really wants to be Amy or Bernadette? Penny is sexy, uneducated and gets the guy who isn’t Howard or Sheldon (let’s face it – those guys would make very irritating boyfriends).
All my life I have seen women choose between sexy and smart. It became especially noticeable in high school. Some of my closest friends dumbed themselves down for male attention or their boyfriends. Heaven forbid you be smarter than your boyfriend. And really let’s be honest here – the geeky (codeword for smart) girls never got that much attention from the hot guys that only dated the popular girls.
So, an interesting question it poses.