“Is this chicken or is this fish? I know it’s tuna. But it says chicken.” With this statement, Jessica Simpson propelled herself into the highest levels of celebrity through her ability to display her lack of common sense. Women all over the United States marvel at how a woman so highly sexualized in our culture can at times seem so unintelligent. Is intelligence a detriment to being considered an attractive woman? Is Jessica Simpson really what men want?
Recent studies seem to point in that direction. One study done at the University on undergraduate students found that men are more likely to choose partners with subordinate careers for dating and long-term relationships.
The study also found that women showed no significant preference for men based on their relative career dominance for short or long-term investments. The study cited the evolutionary development of the male desire for certainty about paternity as the reason for choosing subordinate partners they could more easily control.
In an even more eyebrow-raising study, four British universities found that for every 16 point increase in IQ, the rate of marriage went up 40 percent for men, while for women the rate of marriage went down by 35 percent. What exactly do these studies tell us about the way society functions?
For most women, the results of these studies resound with familiarity. It simply confirms what many women have suspected for quite a while. With over 57 percent of Bachelor of Arts degrees recipients being women, the ratio of success bound men and women is changing.
Still, women shouldn’t be so quick to adopt the phrase “Oh my gawd” and put that high-pitched giggle. Do all men really prefer a woman inferior to them? There is no clear answer to this question, because it obviously differs for each person.
The survey shows that some men feel that their masculinity is being threatened by a strong woman. However, there are those who might appreciate the company of a woman who’s equally if not more successful than themselves.
Crystal Steffen, a physician at Resurrection Hospital in Chicago, has had experience with both types of men. “I was planning on marrying somebody else before I met my current husband, when I announced I was going to med school, he was upset. We broke up soon after,” Steffen said.
Not too long after, she met her current husband who she says likes and appreciates her success. “Pursuing medicine helped me weed out the bad seeds.” In correlation with the University study, it does seem that women with high goals become more picky on who they date to avoid this very problem.
It should be noted that the survey, while highly regarded, may not be divulging the whole truth. A more successful woman might find it beneficial to be brighter.
Still, some women have indeed found that intelligence and confidence are beneficial. Michigan alum Catherine Yu comments, “When you are doing something you love and are doing it well, you are confident about your place in the world. Confidence is attractive in any person.” In other words, having a flourishing career is not always a hindrance to a woman’s personal life.
Women are aware that they don’t have to pretend to be Jessica Simpson. Finding the balance between a professional life and a personal life can be tricky, but it is apparent that many women want to work at it.
Nobody wants to lose sight of their passion, whatever it may be. Through her experience, Yu has noted that “I pursue my career because I have always wanted to be great at what I do. I don’t think that the goal of life is to be simply happy, but rather to be fulfilled.”
Additionally, Stephen M. Ross School of Business professor Katherine Burson has realized her success in the workplace has brought her other sources of happiness. “I know that whatever happens, my future depends on my abilities, aspirations and decisions. That is incredibly liberating,” Burson said.