If You’re a Woman, You Can’t Be Attractive AND Smart?

In an effort to stop thinking about such maddening things as the health care “debate” and the attempt to kill a public option that would make health care more affordable, not to mention the absolutely stoopid (yes, stoopid) talk about Obama as a “communist Nazi”, I went and saw a movie with my son. And have been dwelling on something that bothered me from Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs.

At first, I found it interesting that Sam Sparks would say something smart, and then back-track to something vapid. Having seen this many times as smart women dumbed it down for fear of rejection by men who don’t want smart and thoughtful (solution: look for a man who wants smart and thoughtful), I found it an interesting look at a very real conundrum for many women. And the idea that the image-obsessed media won’t even listen to her unless she’s “cute and perky” is one that deserves exploration. Unfortunately, we discover that as Sam decides to let her inner-nerd re-emerge, it becomes apparent that she can’t be both attractive and smart. No, in order to truly “be herself”, Sam has to change her look. Smart girls can’t be pretty.

Although I guess there is an argument for different kinds beauty. Flint does say that, with her nerd look, Sam is now beautiful.

But it still bothers me a bit. I like to think I’m reasonably intelligent (and not just because my test scores say so), and while I may not be a hottie, I don’t think I’m totally unattractive. Anyway, the idea that a woman has to look a certain way in order to be viewed as smart does annoy me. And it annoys me that for some reason we like to think that beautiful people must be less intelligent. Is it part of some vast insecurity that we have as a society? I don’t really have the answer. All I know is that it bothered me a little bit to see it on screen.

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3 thoughts on “If You’re a Woman, You Can’t Be Attractive AND Smart?”

  1. Perhaps smart AND pretty is more rare in our society because though you might be able to find lots of smart women you can’t that many that media and general society label “pretty”. I think what your argument leads to – in my mind – is the injustice that it takes people who look like movie stars and models to be “pretty” or “beautiful”. This then means a size 4 waist and a face that should be in beauty magazines. Personlly I think there are many smart AND pretty women but some people at Vogue may not agree they are pretty.

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