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Old 06-29-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
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The Era of Women Playing Dumb For Men Has Ended

This was published a few months ago in the Atlantic but articles about it keep popping up in different places and slightly different context so I re-read it and thought people here might find it interesting or have comments (don't we always?).

Full article: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/enter...s-ended/48618/

Quote:
Women who fear they'll never find a husband because they're "too smart," "too well educated," "intimidating," or "too successful" should stop being afraid—in fact, we'd argue they shouldn't have been afraid in the first place. Stephanie Coontz, author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, writes in the New York Times that the commonly held belief that well-educated women have a harder time with marital prospects -- not only because men might consider such women "too smart," but also because the pool of better-educated men to cull from was so small -- is no longer a valid cultural reality. Coontz writes, "That may have been the case in the past, but no longer. For a woman seeking a satisfying relationship as well as a secure economic future, there has never been a better time to be or become highly educated."

...

Educated women have experienced less of the marriage slip that's occurred as overall rates have fallen, and educated women are less likely to divorce, even as they marry later. "As a result, by age 30, and especially at ages 35 and 40, college-educated women are significantly more likely to be married than any other group." The icing on the cake: If they don't marry, they'll still statistically, by and large, live longer and healthier lives than their less-educated sisters.

...

Instead of "marrying up" or "marrying down," then -- gross terms, really -- maybe we're simply, suddenly, marrying people who pair well with our individual wants and needs, or who complete an overall marital unit, each bringing something to the table as opposed to simply fulfilling desires for a mate that have been societally prescribed. Which would be progress, certainly.

...

But maybe this is a natural consequence of a society that's marrying later, thereby losing some of the innocence and unrealistic expectations of, say, the 20-year-old bride or groom -- and gaining the things that come with marrying later, like independence, careers, and fully formed individual selves and opinions. As well as an understanding of who we really want to marry, should we decide to couple at all.
I think it's interesting but I do tend to agree with the last couple of paragraphs more. I don't think that there is a causation between higher education and a happy marriage, I just think that a lot of it has to do with those couples who marry later and therefore bias the sample a bit. They are older, more certain of what they want from life and from a mate, more established, etc so I am not surprised that the divorce rates among them are that much lower. I know from personal experience, as one half of a couple in their (very) early 30s, it is a much different situation when we get married than it was for some of my friends who did it 10 years ago. We go into it without debt, with all our respective degrees finished, established careers and high salaries, no real financial constraints (ok, well we aren't the 1% but we don't really lack for anything as far as comfortable living goes), having seen the world, together and separately and having gotten that sense of adventure, partying in young age and so on out of our systems, etc.

I really doubt that multiple degrees in and of themselves make it more likely that a woman will marry, and marry at her level, whatever that really means, because I see it in a lot of ways as also making things harder. For example, if you meet someone in your 30s, you are both already set in your ways, and much less likely to compromise than someone who is 18 or 20. You also have established lifestyles and patterns and so on. So I'm just not sure that I buy their primary hypothesis.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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There are also many people who aren't in the bets of financial circumstances even though they're older, and age of course doesn't always correlate with whatever the maturities are that make for a successful relationship or marriage.

As far as playing dumb and playing down your intelligence, I am happy to be able to say that I've never done that for those reasons. I've made some poor decisions and judgments, but that's about other things clouding your intelligence. I don't know how many people are into someone with brains as their number one priority, but hopefully it's more than it used to be. Of course it's about a balance of that with other qualities.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
As far as playing dumb and playing down your intelligence, I am happy to be able to say that I've never done that for those reasons. I've made some poor decisions and judgments, but that's about other things clouding your intelligence.
I think we can all relate to that. When I think back to some of the ways in which I made a fool of myself back when I was in my early 20s, yowza. Live and learn!
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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I wonder if men ever play dumb, does that ever even have to come into play?
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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The mean age of my fiance and I is 23.5 (he's 5 years older) and we're not in debt, we're very comfortable. The only debt we have would be student loans, the house, and a car loan that's going to be paid off before the end of the year anyway (within 12 months of getting the car). We own a house, have good credit, and never feel stressed about money. I agree with what MrsSpringsteen said about age not guaranteeing something like financial comfort or knowing what you want in a relationship.

I know plenty of people who met their wives/husbands in college and started dating then. Some dated for ten years before getting married, others got married outside of college. Neither option seems better than the other, just different. I disagree with the idea that you can't know who you want to be with until you're 30, if that's the case, you honestly just haven't met a compatible person yet.

The pastor who was married for 40 years and had a degree in counseling had told me another bit of advice: that being young had benefits over being older. He told me that often times he'd counsel a couple in their 30s or 40s, and those people had become inflexible and set in their ways. Rather than growing together, they grew as individuals before getting married and that resulted in two people that weren't willing to bend to make a relationship work. Obviously there are standards and you shouldn't let anyone walk all over you, but many people who have spent their 20s being independent and focusing on their career never spent that time learning how to compromise for a significant other. When you're thirty you really start to know what direction you want to go in life and become more inflexible about changing that direction. Sometimes this can result in you dating a person that feels differently about direction than you do, and when you get married you run into walls regarding future plans. If you've spent your twenties growing together as a team (married or unmarried) you (hopefully) are more likely to have a plan that works for the both of you rather than two of you having very different ideas about what you want in life.

So knowing what you want in life is both a blessing and a curse. I've been told that in marriage communication is one of the most important things ever. Lack of communication and teamwork can result in a couple that married early making plans on their own without consulting their spouse and then suddenly a few years in they realize that one wants kids and the other doesn't, or some other deal breaker. That's when the marriage "fails". One could argue that since you are constantly in a state of change, putting off marriage just doesn't make sense. Yes, when you are thirty you have more solid beliefs than when you were 20, but when you're 40 you have different beliefs from when you're 30. You are ever changing. In ten years a lot changes about a person regardless of how old they are. .

But that's getting off topic. I think it's awesome that we live in a world where women aren't dumbing themselves down for significant others anymore. At the same time though, college statistics could be skewed because so many people are going to college and getting degrees these days. The ones who haven't done that are usually people in the poverty level who cannot afford it and thus make other, less wise decisions in their lives. Growing up I lived very close to a town where less than 30% of the people in that high school went off to any sort of college, and I can say that even if they had gone to college... it really wouldn't have made them smart successful individuals. They got a bad hand from the beginning in terms of pre-college education and living in a horrible town.

I think we're just becoming more accepting of a woman being independent.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
I wonder if men ever play dumb, does that ever even have to come into play?
Unfortunately not. It's OK for a man to be intelligent and have multiple degrees, even in this day and age. There are still plenty of guys who prefer their women to be less intelligent than they are.

As for waiting until your 30s to get married, I think that really is best. Not only do you know what you want and more steady in life, but you are also stronger. I'm sure a lot of us women are more willing to say no to a guy about certain things because we are more confident and like ourselves more in our 30+ ages than when we were in our early 20s. At least, that is my experience.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #7
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Yeah, I can't even imagine myself married by the time I'm 30. I do have debts, I am not even close to having a financially stable life. I want to wait until I'm much more settled with that before I even think about marriage (or children). And if/when I do decide to go back to school, I'd like to get a bit of that under my belt, at least.

I agree with the whole thing about being set in one's ways being a problem, though. I really like my alone time, I really like the idea of being able to do what I want to do, and there would be times, if I get married, where I won't get that.

As for playing dumb, I hate it when women do that. I don't know which I find more depressing-a woman who actually is dumb and doesn't bother to change that, or a woman who plays dumb when we all know she's not. And if a guy doesn't support women being intelligent and thinking for themselves and such, then he's not worth my time.

Actually, my issue is that I find myself attracted to incredibly intelligent guys (well-read, worldly, that sort of thing), and my fear is always that I'm not smart enough for them.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:14 PM   #8
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If women, en large, have decided to give themselves permission to be intelligent, that's great. Really brilliant - I welcome this. I really do, not least because it will hopefully enrich my cultural life.

I blame a lot of the very obvious dumbing down we have seen in the mass media in recent years on the mass media attempting to cater to womens' tastes, or, to be strictly accurate, marketeers' ideas of what womens' tastes represent - soap operas, celebrity culture, reality shows, all that crapola. Guys certainly aren't into that stuff - we like violence, death, sport, sex. We don't like having our tv screens filled with mushy sentimental bullshit.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
I wonder if men ever play dumb, does that ever even have to come into play?
Yes it certainly comes into play. I've pretended to be less intelligent than I am and pretended to be into celebrity culture to impress a girl, for example. Most guys have.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:52 PM   #10
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I blame a lot of the very obvious dumbing down we have seen in the mass media in recent years on the mass media attempting to cater to womens' tastes, or, to be strictly accurate, marketeers' ideas of what womens' tastes represent - soap operas, celebrity culture, reality shows, all that crapola. Guys certainly aren't into that stuff - we like violence, death, sport, sex. We don't like having our tv screens filled with mushy sentimental bullshit.
I hate reality shows! Working with women who only talk about Big Brother is a pet peeve.

Please more smart women with good taste!
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:08 AM   #11
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^ I don't know. Most of the people I follow on Twitter are other writers/journos, and they all live-tweet shows like MasterChef, The Voice, etc.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:38 AM   #12
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I also know men who watch mind-numbingly stupid stuff, too. Plus, there's the whole phenomenon of "hate-watching" a show, be it a soap or a reality series or whatever, and both genders are guilty of that. I don't think what you watch is automatically proof of your intelligence or lack thereof. Sometimes people just like to watch goofy, silly programming for whatever reason.

I do think the media desperately needs more examples of intelligent women out there, though, be it on TV or in movies or whatever. Way, WAY too many examples of women getting famous for playing dumb.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:52 AM   #13
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Guys certainly aren't into that stuff - we like violence, death, sport, sex.
This kind of stuff can be just as dumb as soap operas, celebrity culture and reality shows

Not to say that the things above can't be dumb, but sometimes I think that they're looked down on much more than similarly dumb things that appeal to guys.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:00 AM   #14
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Marriage rarely works either so way so why bother in the first place?
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:21 AM   #15
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Marriage rarely works either so way so why bother in the first place?
You live in a very black-and-white world, don't you?
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