As I’ve grown up, I’ve found that there are still many men who are made uncomfortable by intelligent women. One of the quickest ways to scare off a large number of men on a dating site is to tell them that you are a woman with a Ph.D. Other female friends with doctorates have experienced the same. There are men out there who are sapiosexuals, and these are the men I tend to seek out. They are attracted to women who are intelligent and not afraid to show it. Likewise, I am drawn to intelligent men. I want someone who can keep up with me in conversation and discussion. Both of the men whom I have been in love with had doctorates. That’s not to say I wouldn’t date a guy without an advanced degree or even a college degree at all, but I find intelligence incredibly attractive, and I want a partner who feels the same.
Last night, I was watching The Bachelor in Paradise (and yes, you may question my intelligence for doing so!). The Bachelor franchise is my only “reality” television indulgence. This season, there is a man named Joe Bailey who was also on the last season of The Bachelorette. I had a hard time understanding why Kaitlyn Bristowe, the bachelorette, was so attracted to him. To me, he was playing up the stereotype of a Kentucky hillbilly, right down to bringing a bottle of moonshine along with him to give to Bristowe. She really seemed to adore him, or at least making out with him. On Bachelor in Paradise, though, Bailey has demonstrated some very narcissistic tendencies as he emotionally manipulated one woman to advance in the “game” aspect of the reality show. When one of the other men on the show, J.J. Lane, a man who tends to get himself in trouble almost every time he opens his mouth, confronted Bailey about having deceived the woman in question, a very disjointed and pointless argument ensued. Along the way, Bailey insulted Lane by saying he has a sister who is more intelligent than Lane.
Whoa. Really? It’s the year 2015 and a man is going to insult another man on national television by implying that being dumber than a woman is a terrible thing? Things like this shock me, though they really shouldn’t given the number of insecure men I’ve met in my life who have been intimidated by my intelligence. However, I would hope by now that our society would understand that men and women are equal. Clearly our nation doesn’t completely comprehend this concept as women are still blamed for being raped by men, women are seen as being at fault for unwanted pregnancies even though it takes two to tango, and wages for women lag significantly behind. The fact that anyone could still generally assume that all women are less intelligent than all men is really a sad but telling state of affairs.
I have often felt sorry for my poor kids for the educational standards in our family. Even though my kids will only be the third generation of our family to go to college, they’ve got a precedent of a lot of doctorates in the family. Among my ex-husband’s and my siblings and their partners as well as us, there are six Ph.D.s, two M.D.s, one D.O., one terminal master’s and one terminal bachelor’s degree. Three of the Ph.D.s and both of the M.D.s are women. The one thing that my kids will never doubt is that women and men are both intelligent. We may have different innate areas where we are stronger and fields of study that we prefer, but women are not stupid, and insulting women’s intelligence is never acceptable.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC