I've been thinking about nudity all week. You know, because that's what I'm supposed to be writing about... How do I feel about nudity? How do I feel about being naked? How do I feel about other people being naked? Am I ashamed to be naked?
It turns out, I'm not sure how I feel. So I've spent some time this week trying to wrap my head around it all.
Only then this article came along and completely derailed my train of thought.
For those disinclined to read the mother-long article in its entirety, I've plucked out some interesting quotes.
'"Men", he explained, "prefer women who seem malleable and awed". He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there's one thing men fear, it's a woman who uses her critical faculties'.
'The aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men'.
'The rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child. For men, the reverse is true'.
'Researchers at four British universities indicated that a high IQ hampers a woman's chance to marry, while it is a plus for men'.
'In this retro world, a woman must play hard to get but stay soft as a kitten. And avoid sarcasm. Altogether'.
Her point is not that equality is not a thing to be grasped. Women can be confident, strong, intelligent, witty, powerful, successful, independent, and wealthy. Rather her point is that such women have a more difficult time finding a mate than do their softer, more stereotypically feminine counter-parts.
Thus far, I've encountered two different schools of thought rebutting the article.
First, women in my church have been discussing the article. Their argument likely won't surprise any of you who are (or ever have been) part of the Christian community. It will probably come as something of a shock (and perhaps even an offence) to those of you without much experience with Christians. The gist of it is that as Christians we're meant to be free of such crap.
Hypothetically speaking, I agree. The behaviours described in the article are a result of mankind's fallen nature, something we should not be bound to. The idea is that only in Christ are we free to be the people we were meant to be.
We — all of us — are unique and we were created to be so. As Christians we should celebrate and embrace that.
We should, but in practice it just doesn't always look that way. In fact, the conduct described in the article is far more prevalent within the Church than without.
It shouldn't be, but it is.
The second rebuttal I found was one written by the brilliantly funny and just plain brilliant Hot Librarian. She entirely disagreed with the article. She says that in spite of the obvious fact that she is smart, strong and sarcastic, men continue to hit on her all the time. Her post makes for a great read; however, in my opinion, she missed the point of the article.
I don't believe Dowd was attempting to communicate that because she is an intellectual, influencial, indominatable woman, men do not find her attractive. It was that because she is all of those things she has had a hard time finding a mate.
And I get that. Like THL, I get hit on a fair amount. But that's the thing: I get hit on. That's not the same as saying that I get asked out all the time or that lots of men are interested in me. I am competent, confident and capable, and men respond to that. Some men like that sort of thing; they're just not looking for wives.
The type of man who shows an interest in me generally makes it abundantly clear that he's not looking for a relationship, just sex. And maybe that's the thing about being an intelligent and independent woman; men assume we just don't need or want a mate. [Silly boys, if only they knew...]
My conclusion? Be who you are. But be prepared for the consequences.