“Growing up, I was never bullied or given the cold shoulder for being a girl, or for being smart. I remember my school reports were always a celebration at home. My father was super proud of me and my friends never felt threatened or jealous. They were super intelligent as well and did not need to feel threatened in any way. Yes, I was nicknamed “Bacillus” by my mates in the first year of secondary school, but even that was justified as starting at the early age of 9, I was the smallest in the entire school and still cried over everything.
I grew up with the mentality that being intelligent was a good thing – a strength that would endear people to me. It never occurred to me that it would instead be a sort of hindrance, when it came to dating.
I have come to realize that although most men cite intelligence as one of the top qualities they look for in a woman, they can’t handle a living, breathing intelligent woman staring them in the face. They call themselves “Sapiosexuals” but in reality, they are only attracted to the intelligent woman when there is a psychological or physical distance between them.
Because culture and society has conditioned men to feel superior, they cannot really abide a woman with a competitive edge – a woman who actually has interesting perspectives and opinions that either challenge or extend their own. God forbid that the woman corrects them, upstages them or worse, make them feel worthless. They would rather pass this intelligent woman up for someone with far less mental wattage.
Of course, my intention is not to markdown women who aren’t intellectually inclined or suggest that one type of woman is superior to another. Obviously different qualities make different women unique in their own ways, and that is great. My beef, however, is that “smart” or “intelligent” is considered a debilitating affliction or objectionable quality in a woman (which ultimately, does put one type of woman down). If a woman seems too smart or accomplished, she is seen as intimidating or emasculating and typecast as “non-dating material”. If she is witty and competitive, automatically she is considered challenging and overbearing. And while most intelligent women aren’t pretentious or egotistical about it, many times men assume they are.
But why is this?
I got the opinion of three male friends. The first who I consider very brainy, argued that intelligent women are go-getters, they are controlling and intense, so when dating they come off as desperate, domineering and almost belligerent. And while these traits are not necessarily bad, they go against the grain of natural sexual tension and attraction that men thrive on. Again, men are disinterested in women who have a potential to be competitive and controlling romantically.
The second, on the other hand, blatantly said that ‘dumb’ girls were just cuter as they called to the protective instincts of the guy. It is clear to the guy that she needs him and she makes him feel like his life is purposeful. Also, she is not as difficult as intelligent women who required the man to put in a lot of work and effort in the relationship.
The third friend, in addition, defended the stance that men date less intelligent women, not because they want women to be dumb but rather because they want women who will not challenge their priorities, but will instead rearrange theirs (the women) own priorities to conform to or be compatible with the men’s.
Clearly, the problem lies in the fact that men feel that smart women threaten their masculinity in some form or the other. But shouldn’t keeping up with an intelligent woman, rather than expecting her to dumb herself down be much more invigorating for the male? Why should a woman have to compromise on her intelligence just to fit a certain mould?
Written by: Nkem Ndem, a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for online writing(web content and blog) and editing, screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and reviews. She has since worked with Jumia, SpiceTV Africa, Bella Naija and Glam Africa. Check out her Instagram: @kem_dem, twitter: @ndemv and snapchat:@ndemv. Email: email@example.com
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