I wouldn’t normally have had an opportunity to catch this show, and frankly I didn’t even know it existed! But Meredith Vieira somewhat spoke on her show about what we were just discussing about guys not liking smart girls.
Well, let’s not give her more credit than she deserves. She, in what I guess is her version of the View‘s Hot Topic segment, mentioned a young woman who thought she was too pretty to be taken seriously. It’s just another symptom of that whole “guys being afraid of smart girls” thing. Seeing as it seems to be the most relevant thing on Meredith’s show, let’s give it a look and see what she had to say…
I love how to have a more diverse panel, she’s added Lance Bass from… which boy band was it? N’Sync? Backstreet Boys? One of those.
Yeah, because he’s SO relevant in today’s world!
It’s interesting to me how many of the daytime talk shows are trying to copy the format of The View.
Bear with me for a little bit, because it does have some bearing on what we’re talking about, but it’s also a little scary to me how everything has to be the same; we recently read something about that very thing in my class in our discussion of Fahrenheit 451.
The format for a talk show seems to be moving in the direction of a panel, and has been for a little while now. The View was the first. You have to have a journalist, Barbara Walters; an African American woman, Star Jones was first and now it’s Whoopi Goldberg; a handful of other minorities represented, like Joy Behar represents the Jewish minority, Lisa Ling represents the Asians, Rosie Perez for the Hispanic/Latina community; a conservative woman like Elizabeth Hasselbeck; and recently they’ve added an LGBTQ component which gets lots of representation with Rosie O’Donnell and Raven-Symone’.
I don’t know exactly who all Meredith has on her show, but she had been a journalist, and Lance covers her LGBTQ component, plus adds some more diversity as he is male! Something that The View tends to not include.
But I could go on all day about the Talk Show format. Especially since there are so many of them now, and they’re all either a single person, like my favorite: the Wendy Williams Show, or they’re trying to copy The View. The Chew, a talk show centered on food with chefs on the panel instead of just women, and The Real, with all minority women on the panel, are the first that come to mind, but I’m sure there are more…
And now, to the point: Can a smart girl feel discriminated against because she’s too pretty?
First of all, I think that’s definitely a thing.
Then again, my views on the Smart Girl thing caused a fight with me and the Boy (I know, I know, save your lectures) because he equated it to the same kind of argument as the “Nice Guy” argument. We had to have a huge debate about why the Nice Guy argument is steeped in male privilege because it comes from the idea that a woman NEEDS a man, and therefor these guys feel entitled which causes them a great deal of ire when a woman turns them down.
His point was that I am a smart girl, and I feel a wee bit entitled where he’s concerned, but it’s not based in any sort of centuries driven privilege; it stems from my belief that he did me terribly wrong in the past and from time to time strings me along, giving me hope that maybe we can get back to a positive place, and then slams me emotionally into the dirt, does a Mexican hat dance on my feelings, and then makes me feel guilty for having feelings at all.
He doesn’t see the difference…
Or he didn’t see the difference. He might have by now, but now we’re both pouting about how we fight too much, still. Him because he thinks I just pick fights out of nowhere, and me because I feel justified when I get upset because we’re repeating old things because he brings old shit up again… Even though he doesn’t always realize it.
It bothers me that I feel like I have to repeat myself because he just doesn’t get it.
He’ll apologize, and then less than 24 hours later, he’ll say something about what we just discussed and that he had just apologized for. And then I feel obligated to explain it to him AGAIN, because I keep thinking that eventually it will sink in and he’ll realize what he’s doing.
And… I’m off topic again.
Back to the poor woman who feels like people only see her looks.
I feel like it’s a topic that needs to be discussed. It can be a serious issue. Men are visual creatures. That’s not me excusing male behavior, but it’s a pretty well known fact that men respond to visual stimuli first. It’s the reason why the porn industry is so huge! Men are visually motivated.
So it seems very likely (and I myself have experienced it to a point) that when a man makes a decision based on how you look, that becomes who you are to him.
They don’t seem to be able to overcome that.
They end up saying things like “You’re too pretty to be single…” I’m pretty sure they think this is a compliment, but as many of them also mean it to be “You’re too pretty to be smart,” or “You’re too pretty to want a career,” or any other various outdated, 1950’s ideas, it’s not really a compliment.
In my Tinder adventures (first date’s tonight, by the way; I’ll keep you posted), I’ve had at least 3 guys ask me “why is someone as pretty as you single?”
I refrained from telling them that all my pics were old, or that I just look better in pics than I do in person, or that I’m a little bit strange.
Or that I’ve been holding out for the crazy situation with the Boy to get to a truly resolved place. Looks like that’s NEVER going to happen until one of us is dead from a brain aneurysm, but whatever.
Telling a girl she’s too pretty to do anything is steeped in that same male privilege based idea that women need a man. It suggests that because a girl is pretty, she can get any guy she wants, and therefor shouldn’t have to want for anything.
One of the first reviews I ever did on this blog, the main character was going through that. She had been a beauty queen, and her mother pushed the idea that being pretty meant she didn’t have to do anything, but then when things got…difficult for her and her family, she turned to prostitution to help pay the bills. “You’re too pretty to be smart,” means you’re destined to some form of prostitution to make it in the world.
I mean, let’s be honest, trophy wives and mistresses, that’s what they are. They are using their looks and their bodies to get a man to pay their way in the world. Sounds like a form of prostitution to me…
The same thing could be said of dating in general… to a point.
I don’t always make the man pay for me. In fact, I try to pay for the guy after a certain number of dates…if I can…
But even I’m guilty of the sexist double standard a bit. If a man ASKS me to pay, or TELLS me I’m going to get the next round, or something, I decide he’s not worth it. Even for all my belief in equality, I still think that it’s nice for the man to want to spoil me a little.
Obviously we’re still a long way from completely doing away with that particular double standard.
In the meantime, we have to accept that judging people based on their looks IS a form of discrimination.
In the clip from the Meredith show, Tamaneika Saunders gets very loud about how this isn’t an issue. How this girl who feels put upon because she’s pretty should shut her mouth because she’s capitalizing on her looks and she shouldn’t complain.
Let’s move right past how that completely proves the prostitution point, or how the rest of the panel jumps onto the prostitution bandwagon by the end. Seriously, they all tell her to use her beauty… Use it for what?
Not to mention that they say she should use her talents, but that was the problem! The girl was complaining that no one recognizes her talents just because of her beauty… How did they miss the point?
Anyway, let’s talk,instead, about the moment when she is about to jump down the other panelist’s throat because she drops the D word:
Lilliana Vasquez points out that judging someone on their outsides, instead of their merit as a person, is discrimination. And Ms. Saunders, who was all self-righteous about promoting the idea of capitalizing on those looks, gets even louder about, let’s not diminish actual discrimination…
I’m assuming she means racial discrimination, which for whatever reason, seems to trump all other forms of discrimination. All. The. Time.
Am I saying racism isn’t still around? No, I’m not. But judging a woman based on her beauty level, IS a form of sexual discrimination. Telling a girl she’s too pretty to do something promotes the idea that all women are prostitutes using their looks for money of some sort. Specifically telling her she’s too pretty to be smart promotes the idea that women are not inherently smart, and somehow gives men a justification to be afraid of smart girls.
We would never tell a man that was smart that he was too smart to be attractive. Or tell an attractive guy that he was too attractive to be smart. Why is it acceptable to tell women that?
Seriously, imagine telling Tony Stark to dumb it down…
Instead he gets all the girls he wants.
And if you’re still convinced that it’s not as important as racial discrimination, just remember, there was a time when African American people were also told that they couldn’t be smart. That was why desegregation of schools was so important, wasn’t it? The Black Community wanted to ensure that their youth could be as educated as the White Community, while the racists were telling them that they lacked the ability to grasp the same concepts?
One of the whole justifications for slavery was that Black people were lower on the evolutionary ladder and therefor weren’t smart enough to take care of themselves. They needed White people to show them how to be civilized, or some such nonsense.
It’s ignorant and it’s ugly, but it is what people used to think. And just as we know better now, we should be able to recognize that pretty women can be smart, too.
Judging a person by their outside is never okay. And we need to stop trying to outdo each other about who’s been put upon the most. Just treat each other like people, and watch how much better things turn out.