Saturday, March 25, 2006

Is the intelligent woman an image in existance?

Simone De Beauvoir - The Second Sex

The Concepts:
Both sexes need each other, but we need each other for different reasons, those different reasons extend out of biology and culture.  This is where the truth ends and the false value judgments begin. Men and women form a whole. Men are.  Women are the other; whatever is left over in a whole.  

It is easy for women to accept the position of a thing.  It comes with the benefit of physical security and all the major decisions taken care of.  

What would happen if women were offered the same freedoms as men?  

Women can use their sex appeal to gain power over men, but it isn’t a lasting power and it isn’t equality.  It is becoming a thing.

Have things gotten better for women?  They have, it isn’t all the way there, but it is getting there.  Women are able to live in Canada without getting married, they can have jobs and property and everything else that is essential to living.  The space has been created for adventurous women to live their lives.  

But then there is culture, even though there is a space for women to live their lives it is still a man’s world.  A couple month’s ago McLean’s Magazine had a women in a bar flashing, the title read something like “Since when did women become chauvinistic pigs?”  Then there was the red mile, why did women expose themselves to celebrate?  Men sure didn’t take their clothes off, and if they did there wasn’t a group of women crowding around him to hoot n’ holla.  

I think the intellectual image is still a male image.  If a girl is smart she is extremely introverted.  Smart and beautiful and opinionated and well read just don’t go together as an image.  I think there are women like that, but opinions are tucked out of sight.  A friend once told me that her mom told her not to be so opinionated because then she wouldn’t get a husband.  She shrugged it off, but it is a cliché that we shrug off and laugh about even though it contains too much truth.  I am not sure about this point though, I guess I should ask some girls to comment.  

I think that intelligent is definitely an image a guy can buy into (The tweed jacket and glasses and button up shirts with the shoulder bag).  Does the same image exist for girls, and is it a cool image?  Pls. comment.

I guess the whole direction I am going with this is that women aren’t encouraged to be the philosopher types.  They aren’t supposed to be into high culture (unless it is dance or opera or ballet).  But discussing morality, or how society should be run is “the man’s domain.”  Even if careers have been opened up to women the world of Plato and Aristotle hasn’t.   That is reserved for after dinner brandy and cigars in the drawing room.  (Read: rich white men are all that matter, everyone else is immanent as de Beauvoir would say).  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Gopher,

Interesting comments, very observant actually.

As a woman I struggle with intelligence being a part of my image. I struggle with my self-image. At times I know I am a smart person, but self-doubt often prevails and I go back to relying on external validation, i.e. grades, to assure me that I am 'smart'.
I also struggle with feelings of insecurity surrounding my external image- I want people to know I am smart, however I feel typecast from the start as someone who does not have much to offer on the way of serious subject matter. Perhaps I bring those judgments upon myself by the way I dress and act, or by the people I associate with. Why, however, must I change who I am, so as to be judged in a way that reflects another aspect of who I am- that is, an intelligent person.
Often times, if I see a beautiful female I assume she is not brilliant. If anyone should know this assumption is founded in no truth whatsoever, it is me, who has stunning friends (by our cultural standards) that are engineers, dentists, honours students and lawyers to be. I think you are correct when you say the two images just do not go together, even if we know better.

Do men encounter the same dilemma? I think so, just not to the same extent. I think men are judged initially, just as women are. However, if they prove themselves to be an intelligent person people drop their original assumptions and acknowledge them from that point on as someone who is smart. Women on the other hand, constantly have to prove themselves to new people, and to the same people that they are smart. Maybe if women chose not to wear make-up, or concern themselves with their superficial external appearance, we wouldn't be constantly judge for being someone of a superficial, shallow nature. Of course I am guilty of this preoccupation. I however know that my image as a woman must start from within. When I gain confidence with my self-image and knowing from within that I am an intelligent person, then either the image I give off to others will follow in suit, or it won't- but I just won't give a damn.
Transcendence is a hard thing to achieve. I don't think it's fair to say men have achieved this state and women for the most part have not. Maybe that was the case 50 years ago. Today, we must look at individuals on an individual basis. Yes women are limited by their biology, by being the sex who gives childbirth. Women however, are at an advantage by this aspect, since they have a bond with their child no man will ever experience. That bond is not limiting. Stereotypes aren't limiting either, they are only if we make them so.

~A Voice for Women