I’ve lost count of all the chicks on TV who’ve been falling for their bosses in recent years. They can be secretaries, seconds-in-command or servants, but all they really want is to be under a good man. Take it both ways.
In Are Men Necessary?, Maureen O’Dowd mentions a number of movies with the same theme. I don’t even have to describe what goes on, because the titles paint it so clearly: Shopgirl and Maid in Manhattan, to name two. The fantasy, as she puts it, is “the allure of a woman who takes care of your kids without the attendant nagging and demands of a wife”.
And it’s not slow progress: it’s actually a decline from the time when romances between equals – Hepburn and Tracy, Bogart and Bacall, etc. – dominated the screens.
But it’s not just in movies. If the researchers and anecdotal stories Dowd quotes are at all accurate – and they certainly match what I’ve observed in Los Angeles – men will date any woman, but when it comes to settling down, most of them prefer someone less successful, and in particular someone who’s demonstrated it by working under them. Women, conversely, don’t show a preference either way.
Perhaps the most appalling study Dowd quotes is:
A simultaneous report by researchers at four British universities indicated that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high IQ hampers a woman’s change to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in IQ; for woman, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.
Remember when moms taught their daughters to giggle, blink stupidly a lot, laugh at all his jokes and say, “Oh, gosh, you’re so clever!” – then, once he’s landed, you can outthink him behind his back to your heart’s content, and the poor stupid creature will never know? Did our culture create male paranoia about female intelligence, or are men so insecure that it’s an evolutionary trait for them to fear smart women?
In either case, we can count on TV to keep perpetuating the divide. Absolutely perfect women will keep taking their rightful place underneath men who are their inferiors in every way except rank or status, and the men who watch and buy into this shit will continue to fear real life women who expect their intelligence to be appreciated and rewarded exactly as much as a man’s.