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The "Dumbing" Down of Ourselves
Changing how we speak or write depending on the audience.
Yesterday while I was using the instant messenger at work to discuss some work related issues, I discovered that I was editing myself in how I presented my thoughts based upon previous experience with this person. My co-worker is far from being an idiot, but I have discovered that they don't have the same level of vocabulary that I do. So I find myself having to re-think the words I use, and whether or not the other person will understand certain words. This realization then prompted me to remember several conversations I've had over the last 5 or 6 years with various individuals.
One of the conversations I recall came from an online acquaintance, who was having trouble finding the "right" one. He asked me why is it that a lot of women, and according to him, very attractive women, will "dumb" themselves down to try and attract a man. My only explanation is that even in today's modern society women are taught beauty over brains. Not only by their parents, but by society as a whole. If you look at the movies, and television, the women who are considered the beautiful ones aren't usually portrayed as having high intelligence, and those that have the high intelligence are made to look very plain and are usually a bit on the heavier side. So while people are trying to change how women are perceived as objects, Hollywood and other television makers all over the world are doing their best to show that a woman shouldn't show herself to be intelligent if she wants to attract the hot guy.
Then another conversation I had with a female friend we had the same thought patterns, but though our conversation, we came to the conclusion that this strange phenomenon also happened to men. So then we started thinking about mutual people that we knew, both male and female who we knew were very intelligent but when they were around the opposite gender, or same gender depending on their preference, would suddenly turn into airheads. It was quite an eye opening experience, as well as completely entertaining on some twisted level. The entertainment part came from us calling them out on their erratic behavior and asking why they acted that way. The most common answer was that they didn't want to intimidate or turn the person off with showing their intelligence.
On some levels I found that answer appalling and very sad. Even though I don't consider myself exceptionally beautiful, however, I do think I'm above average in looks, but by my saying that people will think I'm conceited. That's just my having confidence in who I am now, five years ago you would not have even heard or seen that thought from me. I may not have always had confidence in my outer appearance, but I've always had confidence in my intelligence. Even while my ex-husband was degrading and belittling my intelligence at home, he would boast about it to others about how he got lucky to have a smart wife. That dichotomy was a bit confusing, but not my issue any longer.
I had the privilege of getting a private school education from first grade up until the middle of 6th grade, and because I have moderate to borderline severe asthma, I had to miss school because of not being able to breathe and at that time the asthma medications were just as bad as the actual condition. Basically, you could breathe but you were so high and doped up you couldn't function. Asthma medications have come a LONG way since then. Because of staying home a lot, I went through all my books, and I even resorted to reading the dictionary. I also had a natural aptitude for language and words that thankfully have stayed with me all these years later. I don't know if it's because I had the privilege of a private school education, or if it's because of my natural ability to learn quickly, or because the love of learning was fostered by both sides of my family, but I have always had a confidence in being the "smart" girl in class.
My family appreciated intelligent women, and wouldn't allow us to act like imbeciles just because there was someone who interested us. We were taught, if they can't appreciate you for who you are, then they don't deserve any of your time. So I was never one of those girls that would act like I don't know something just because it might intimidate someone. I will admit there are times when I am under estimated, I will readily almost haughtily show when I am the one with the superior knowledge on a subject. I don't do it often, usually when I feel passionately about a subject.
My point is that everyone, both men and women, need to start taking care of their inner intelligence, not just the outer beauty because as we all age, beauty can fade if there isn't something on the inside to back it up.