Why is it that when one of the girls who partakes in the normal activities of a 20 something fashionista that she is unable to share her other passions of politics, history and languages, without her peer group thinking that she has had a nervous breakdown over some buffoon of a man. For far too long women and people in general have been pigeon holed into three groups. The ‘beautiful people’ these are the individuals who spend hours grooming themselves and are generally found in trendy bars along the waterfront in the metropolises of your local town or city, the ‘alternatives’, and then the ‘intellectuals’ of who allow themselves to indulge in reading books, attending museums and visiting historical sites.
Of course it doesn’t help that there aren’t currently any diva female MP’s or scientists in order to break this misconception of an intelligent woman. The assumption is that the female literati wear their hair scraped up, no make-up, flat shoes and an unfashionable suit of some kind. For decades it has been thought that if you are a woman you are either beautiful or intelligent. The idea being that if you are fortunate enough to be beautiful you will be able to float through life with great ease, and if you are not, you will have to study hard in order to get a high powered job and achieve the same status in life. This is not true, it is possible to fanaticize about the shoe sale at Kurt Geiger while also reading a book about the effects of communism in China!
We are living in a world obsessed with celebrities and aesthetic beauty with the majority of 20 something’s mirroring this world. From what Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing, to using the same toothpaste as Cameron Diaz to get those beautiful American nashers. By doing all of this the individual believes that they are propelled into the aspirational world of the celeb. They possibly even believe that they achieve the same status as these incredibly glamorous women within their own social network. The only problem with this is that we never see pictures of Sarah Jessica Parker reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Brief History of Everything’. I’m not saying that the gorgeous celebrities don’t actually read intellectual books nor have an interest in current affairs, just that the media don’t feel the need to show this side of the celebrities to us. Yes, we have all seen images and articles of celebrities supporting charities by donating money etc, but what we do not read about is a celebrity attending their local book club.
Then there is the other side of the coin, where it is thought that intelligent people or anyone who has an interest in anything that doesn’t fit into the norm is likely to be boring. The norm obviously being binge drinking at the weekends or playing Nintendo Wii until the early hours of the morning. Why can’t we be part of both the glitterati and the literati? Why is it that we have to choose one or the other, and therefore forever be categorized as either dumb and stylish, or frumpy and boring?
When talking to a group of singles they were asked to describe their perfect partner. The guys answered with the usual list of aesthetic attributes, whereas the ladies listed sense of humour and a successful career as their biggest turn on’s. For some reason it has been socialised into us that it is ok for men to have both intelligence and looks, whereas women are supposed to look pretty and smile.
However, it’s not just the fifties mentality and sexism between men and women, but also a generation thing. Unfortunately if you were born in the late 70’s onwards then popularity is often gauged by the clothes you wear and the phones you buy, not by the books you read. In fact there seems to be a new ‘ism’ in town, intellectualism. Closet thinkers are too scared to ‘come out and be proud’ in fear that their gal pals will not think of them as the total babes that they are anymore. Why can’t we all be accepted for who we are? Without having to worry about whether you can wear a Mac lipstick and go to an evening class on Philosophy at the same time without confusing our peers of our identity. Well ladies it’s time to come out of the closet and embrace your inner intellectual.