It’s not their fault. No, really. They are victims of society’s expectations of them.
Before you prematurely rip me a new one in the comments section, this article isn’t really about my viewpoint on why women are stupid. This is my viewpoint on why women are often stereotyped like children, dependent and helpless and hapless (and, well, cluelessly stupid), long after they’ve proven themselves otherwise in their adult lives.
This is something that we needs to be addressed to and apologized for by a man, because there have been so many recent issues that have unintentionally estranged women from men within social media like the #yesallwomen debate and persistent, borderline-inflammatory tirades about modern day feminism (oh, and MRM… I didn’t forget about you, ya filthy assholes). These debates and talking points usually start off with the best of intentions, and have a lot of good momentum going for them, but the demonizers and the trolls and partisans come out and make the whole thing into a shit-storm that needs to be plowed through in order to find original, constructive criticism. So, I’m here to attempt to bridge the gender gap for open conversation. Let’s start with the basics.
Why are women sometimes perceived as helpless, and why is it a societal expectation for women to be submissive and dependent? This is an important issue to address and fix, because the more men stereotype women as child-like, the less likely they are to take a conversation with a woman seriously, much less enter a respectful debate with them. This is, of course, a sweeping generalization. Not everyone feels this way about women, that they are child-like. But, there is a undoubtedly level of submissiveness (and quiet acceptance of this) amongst women that is unspoken and expected within our society… why do you think that over “60% of sexual assault are not reported to the police”? (If you want to get really angry, read the whole sheet of statistics here.) Why are teenybopper pornos and doggystyle positions so popular on your favorite NSFW site? Because women are the perceived underdogs (pun not intended). They are seen by some (Men’s Right’s Movement included, but only in their corrupted groupthink) as someone to be helped and talked down to, someone to “open [life’s] olive jars for” and to be pried open in a more sinister way, and God forbid they go out and have opinions for themselves. Some men even make satire out of feminism. To a tiny extent, this poking may be justified, because feminazism is alive and well and it’s best to fight dogma with a hearty laugh. But, most of the time, that same poking is saying that ‘women are incapable of making coherent arguments’, or, at its worst ‘they are making that shit up because they can.’
This whole women-as-helpless idea stems from a paradigm that runs rampant in our society – in psychology, it is known as the Madonna-Whore complex. I have explained this theory to many of my friends that have asked me why the women they ask out reject them. They usually attribute it to one of two things – she is a prude, or she is a stuck-up bitch (albeit a very hot one). Don’t believe me? Just ask a guy friend about the women that they’ve been talking to recently, including those that are in a sexual relationship. He will probably say one of three things: “she is just so nice and inexperienced – I think I intimidate her”, or some variation of “she’s a freak in the bed, but I don’t think I could settle down with her”, or “yup, she is marriage material”. There will be the occasional free thinker that tells you about how awesome her personality is, but for the most part, all of the above are the predominant male modes of thinking in terms of men relating to women.
Now, I’ll bet you’re wondering what this has to do with the woman-as-dependent stereotype. Just bear with me here.
The Madonna-Whore complex, that I explain to all my hapless friends, is best summarized like this: a man sometimes “categorizes women into two groups: women he can admire and women he finds sexually attractive; the former he loves, the latter he devalues.” I have read on other publications that this paradigm also includes a third category – the wife – someone that a man could marry and pop out a few babies with. Do you notice a common theme here? All of these categories are completely man-centric, revolving around sex and what women have to offer them in that department (be it sexual virtue in the form of abstinence in the case of the Madonna; guiltless, objectified sex in the case of the whore; or sex resulting in children, in the case of the wife). There are no categories for “woman whose intelligence greatly surpasses my own” or “woman who has an awesome job that I wish I had”. And the sad part? Many men that I have explained this theory to don’t even blink an eye when I explain this to them. Many of them agree that that’s how they view women – every woman – from coworkers to girlfriends to mere acquaintances.
So, it would make sense that many men rationalize that subconscious categorization with yet another stereotype – that women are dependent and can’t think for themselves. That way, they can keep seeing women as an extension of themselves and their sexuality without feeling guilty. Men need for women to be objectified, to be submissive, to be helpless and clueless and incapable, so men can keep living with their dichotomous delusions that women are nothing more than their potential for procreation (hi, MRM).
What can we do about it? Make some douchebags self-aware about their pathological thought processes instead of letting them get away with being implicitly sexist (including that guy at your work that’s always saying, “Chyeahh, I can say she has a hot ass, but that doesn’t make me sexist”). And then, we can go from there in declaring war on who is really stupid. Oh, and in case you’re wondering why I chose an infuriating title, it’s so that every scumbag who Googles this question will see this as a top result, and maybe might become a little more self-aware.