A number of years ago, I knew a woman who had been the valedictiorian of her high school graduating class. She could be sharp and articulate and has spent most of her adult years in the education field. I knew these things about her but could never reconcile them with her outward demeanor. She often feigned ignorance about subjects I knew she was familiar with and giggled and tossed her hair around in that typical “ditzy” manner. One day she told me, “You know, men don’t like women who are intelligent. They are intimidated and uncomfortable around me so I learned early on that to get a guy’s attention or get a guy to ask me out, I needed to pretend to be dumber than him.” I eventually met her husband and wondered why she would want to marry someone who wasn’t as intelligent as she was.
I hadn’t thought of that conversation for more than 20 years until this morning when I came across a you tube video of three “visionary” high school age girls doing some sort of a skit for a church group. Is pretending to be ditzy part of being a visionary daughter? Or am I missing something? If this had been a role they had been playing, I can understand it. But they were playing themselves and that unnerves me. How is this better than being “monstrous women,” the label given to those who step outside of the patriocentric-appointed sphere for women?
I couldn’t help but think about the discussions we have had here about young women attending college or being educated beyond the high school years. I also was reminded of the aversion many conservative evangelicals have toward women attending seminary or studying theology. I know there are those in the secular world who also struggle with dummied down womanhood and have addressed it. But is there a new trend in some Christian circles for women to hide their intelligence? Is the attitude of the woman in my opening story still prevalent today? Are women willing to pretend to be stupid in order to be pleasing to men? Are they willing to step back because they are being taught that men are the only leaders?