Smart People or Sexy People?

17 May

There has been some press recently (or not so recently I guess) about whether women are funny.

Two and a Half Men co-creator Lee Aronsohn complains that…well, basically he just makes women feel like our only redeeming qualities are named Tits and Ass:

Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods. … [W]e’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.

When in truth about 40% of TV characters are female (and I presume that includes Barney’s one night stands, and the percentage of female writers is even lower than that.

“True gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.”
My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.”

– Lucy, When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege.

So when Smart Actress People are portrayed as Sexy People I can’t help but feel like the message we’re getting is ‘Well, whatever talent you have… you’re still just the sexy people performing your sexiness for me.’  And the fact that they’re smart or funny pales in comparison to how good they can look in a garter belt.

It almost feels deliberately like some guy was intimidated by how smart and funny these talented actresses are and said, ‘let’s make them all naked and vulnerable’.  That’ll be sufficiently humbling.

Not like that’s a new concept.  Being an ‘attractive woman’ for quite some time has meant making yourself appear sufficiently vulnerable, whether it means dressing in nothing but bedsheets or hiding your head behind your shoulder.

Women aren’t just sexy, they aren’t just the sex class.  They’re just as likely to be smart as any man.  They’re just as likely to be funny as any man.

So get over it already.

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