I’m a woman with a good amount of male friends. Perhaps it’s because I’ve entered a rather male dominated discipline, and only eight women sit in our class of around 40. I get along with my guy friends; we’re a close knit group of friends.
For the most part, it doesn’t bother me that I am often the only woman in the room. I hold my own in projects, exams, and heated debates.
However, over the years I have also learned to accept that as close as we may be, my male colleagues and friends will never understand the fear and uncertainty that comes behind being the lone woman in a male dominated world.
There is a constant nagging insecurity in the back of mind, a little voice that implants the thought that perhaps I am not as interesting, smart, witty, or humorous as I think I am.
That my male friends and peers choose to be friendly because there is some underlying motive to bed me.
I do not think that it is narcissistic to realize that one is conventionally attractive or at least, not unattractive to the men around her. It is a sad thought that appearance might just trump all the other wonderful qualities she might possess. It is depressing and demeaning to think that my appearance is the only quality someone might notice.
A close girl friend summed up the experience of what it’s like to date as a model. Some of the men she went on dates with have tuned out her deep analysis of the current state of international affairs, having only one comment after she had demonstrated wit, humor, and a sound knowledge of politics:
“You’re so hot.”
As in, not “your intelligence is very attractive to me” or “I like that you’re into yoga” but simply more along the lines of “your physical beauty is very attractive.” I do not think that women are ungrateful of the compliments that we often receive for our aesthetics like some of my male friends may believe. Rather, I think we are tired of being seen as ONLY being pretty.
That we cannot also be equally intelligent or funny or ambitious in our professional lives.
Although I am not nearly as pretty as my friend and am most certainly not in the modeling industry, I do not think I’m alone when I say that the words that come out of my mouth have been ignored or dismissed so that the guy can focus more on my lips.
I have been cut off in the midst of explaining my political views by a forced kiss, which may seem romantic in movies but only ends up coming across as insulting. It only reinforces the idea that he really wasn’t listening to anything that I was saying.
He was only waiting for a moment to turn on the sexual heat.
So when my male friends complain about attractive girls having an unfair advantage, I want to remind them that it is a double edged sword. While they may have guys offering them free drinks, they also often go unheard on the issues that really matter to them.
Pretty girls can be more than just pretty, but their other qualities are often lost on the people around them. Their worth lies in their personality rather than the physical beauty that they were merely born with. So I urge both women and men everywhere to try and dispel the age old archetype of the dumb pretty girl and the ugly nerd.