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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Women don’t have to play dumb

Females on campus shouldn’t be shy about showing off their intelligence.

Last Saturday, as I was flipping through channels instead of braving the intense windiness outside, I realized âÄî via Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club and the many entries in the Real Housewives series âÄî how much of television is based on women acting immaturely to get attention.  Why? Because people like to watch women play dumb. 

A New York Times article published last year pointed out a key dilemma facing empowered, career-oriented women looking for relationships: their intellect.  One investment banker who was interviewed simply stated, âÄúSuccess is not sexy.âÄù  The former head of GermanyâÄôs had her own comments about what attracts partners: âÄúMen donâÄôt want successful women, men want to be admired.âÄù

Since Title IX came into effect in the early âÄô70s, many would say the atmosphere for women in higher education has only grown more accepting.  In todayâÄôs college environment, however, women still struggle to rise above a bulky cloud of domesticity.  I have many friends tell me they feel uncomfortable sharing their majors with new acquaintances âÄî especially potential partners âÄî for fear men will be turned off or intimidated by their scholarship.

We live in a conflicted environment; women strive to excel in classes and slash stereotypes with professionalism and aggressive careers, while subconsciously and simultaneously reinforcing those stereotypes by allowing themselves to be shy or self-conscious about their intelligence. 

In a school as diverse and socially conscious as ours, insecurities like these shouldnâÄôt be able to re-spawn. You shouldnâÄôt have to change who you are to feel accepted. So,women of the University, flash your GPAs and flaunt your triple majors; force men to respect women based on her intelligence, and not on her ability to play dumb.


Cassandra Sundaram welcomes comments at [email protected].

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