As a strong, independent woman I’ve come across this problem before. It’s a tempting and seductive mistress. The allure of acting stupid is quite simple: you believe that people will like you more. That’s it folks. No more, no less. Acting dumb is the push up bra of personality disorders; it’s all for show.
We’re all guilty of it. Whether you were fourteen and trying to impress a cute boy at school, or last week when you didn’t correct your boyfriend for his mispronunciation of “omnipotent”. We all hold back out of fear of being socially exiled. I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of being afraid that a guy won’t like me because I didn’t laugh at his painfully unfunny joke. I’m sick of being labeled a “bitch” because I’ll willfully argue my opinion in a debate. I’m just plain tired of it all. So from here on out, I proudly vow to never play dumb. Here’s why:
3. It perpetuates a terrible, ongoing stereotype. For decades women were regarded as nothing more than pretty, little housecats. Quiet and unassuming. Our jobs were to support our husbands during cocktail hour with a giggly, unthreatening presence. Thankfully, however, the days of Betty Draper are long gone. By acting like an opinionless, simpering idiot you’re encouraging a stereotype that generations of women have fought to destroy.
2. I want to be taken seriously. Let’s face it. It’s much easier to not be controversial. By responding to every question with an, “Oh, I don’t know”, coupled with a cute smirk, of course you’re not going to upset anyone. But do they respect you? Probably not. You've put yourself in a very unfortunate situation. At work, people will doubt your intelligence and capability, even if you’re more than competent. With dating, you're building foundation of a relationship on the pretense that you’re just a happy, giggling moron. I mean, of course no one hates a kitten. But no one will ever expect anything from that kitten other than cuteness.
1. Because I’m not dumb. I was raised by two kind, intelligent people. All they’ve ever wanted for me was to have the best opportunities and to better myself. Pretending to be less than I am is not only an insult to me, it’s an insult to them and everything they’ve sacrificed for me. I’m proud when I know the answer to a particularly obscure Jeopardy question. I take it as a huge compliment if anyone ever tells me I’m funny. I’m proud to be smart.
Girls, I hope you follow in suit. I’m sick of watching intelligent women drop 50 IQ points depending on their audience. Trust that whomever you meet in your life, if they’re truly worthy of you, they'll be proud of your brain and your accomplishments. Strive to learn more and always question what you know.
"As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." - Virginia Woolf