STRONG WOMEN PREFER STRONG PERSONALITIES

Published:  12:19 AM, 11 September 2018

Breaking the pseudo-gender dynamics of "dating"

Breaking the pseudo-gender dynamics of

Dating advice is usually a much gendered field. In one chauvinist site, men are to be weary of female intellectuals. Now, now - there is a difference between female intellectuals and 'intelligent' women. Intellectual women are women who are usually feminists and are, and I am quoting here, "sluts." 

I am not joking; that is exactly what the site exclaimed intellectual women were in their basest forms. Now, there are 'intelligent' women: women who know their "biological nature" even at the age of 23 and have the social intelligence to know man-woman gender dynamic differences. 

The 'intelligent' woman knows her "sexual value" goes down with the more men she has sex with. Well, many so-called intellectual men were really into promiscuity and had different kinds of sexual habits. Far from being questioned on chastity I think it has added to their charm. 

Well, think about fictional agent, James Bond. Some of Bond's characteristics are based on his writer and in every new movie he always has a different girl. Forget monogamy: it seems to Bond a mission and a girl is correlated.  Yet, Bond is considered an intelligent, intellectual, multifaceted agent. I don't see him being told that his "sexual value" is going down.

I have heard of stupid articles like this before where men think that a women's "sexual value" or something is going down because of how many partners she had. The world is filled with this imbalance. Miserable men love to comment on the romantic and sexual histories of other women. 

The truth is they are just jealous. These sorts of men do love to think of women as objects and they are just like that auntie or someone who you know, who are seething when they see you buy that lamp from that nifty market in Gulshan. 

Those aunties and these weird men have much in common because at the end of the day they are treating owning objects as a form of social status. The only difference is that those aunties know that which they covet is an immaterial object. 

Objectification of women is nothing new but it always amuses me to see it take a whole new level of stupid. Someone, somewhere will be writing this article on women's "biological roles" and think that he is such a genius. Well, he is just another snob manufactured in the factory of patriarchy.

While reading the chauvinistic man's article I was wondering how he knew so many "slutty intellectual" women. Surely, he did confess that he was attempting to romance them but was horrified that they were not the virgins he so wanted them to be. It is safe to assume there is nothing virginal about him either and for a man who seems to hold upright the values of monogamy he sure does not practice what he preaches. 

I am pretty sure there isn't more of a monogamous bone in his body than a 70 year old bachelor.  Yet, I cannot solely blame this man for his views. Some of these views are so ingrained and enmeshed in societies that their ridiculousness is taken as the barest form of wisdom. 

As Emily Dickinson expertly stated in one of her poems: "Much Madness is divinest Sense -/To a discerning Eye -/Much Sense - the starkest Madness -/'Tis the Majority/In this, as all, prevail -/Assent - and you are sane -/Demur - you're straightway dangerous -/And handled with a Chain -"

Imran Amrani of the Guardian writes a column where she talks of getting lessons from wise women. In one article titled, "I rely on the lessons passed down to me by strong women" she talks about her maternal grandmother, who is English, as she comes from a mixed ancestry of English and Algerian heritages. 

Her grandmother told her:" Date someone you can read the weekend paper with. At the time I was 18, dating a boy who wasn't as curious about the world as I was. She was nudging me out of my comfort zone towards someone who could challenge me. For Nana, love is a heated discussion about politics over breakfast.

And she's right. After all, your newspaper reveals your values, and if you don't share those, then you're fighting a losing battle.The irony of me writing about this in a weekend paper isn't lost on me, and I probably wouldn't be doing that if I'd stayed with that boy. So thanks for the advice, Nana. Happy to pay it forward."

I think many of us liked Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast is because Belle was able to argue with the Beast-Prince on many things. He showed her that her intellectualism and intelligence were appreciated. Whereas Belle showed him that his emotions, expressed healthily, his compassion, curiosity, innocence and empathy were also highly appreciated. They were each other equals in many ways. 

Their relationship was mostly non-gender normative. The Beast-Prince did not want Belle to only be a wife or a mother. He has no interests in her "biological value" or how many romances she had in the past nor was Belle only thinking of the Beast-Prince as a spoiled brat. 

The Beast-Prince is interested in Belle because she is knowledgeable and because she has an even temper but a passion to be more learned.  Yes, the tale does have its flaws but as Lindsey Ellis eloquently dissected in her Youtube video, the animated classic had much more to offer than the 2017 live-action remake. 

Belle and the Beast-Prince were both curious of many things together and that is why we support them as a couple, despite some of the other problems of fairy tales. In a gender normative setting I think the male individual is meant to chase and pursue the 'object' of his affections. 

The pursued 'object' is a female individual who is meant to be "not easy" and "chaste" nor else her "biological value" will go down.  Now the problem with this script is that it reads like an awful game of ludo rather than someone actually talking about feelings, desires, ambitions or even long-term commitments.  

In fact, it reminds me of the Joker's and Batman's "relationship" in DC comics, which isn't necessarily queer but it is the relationship between a hero and a nemesis. They have so many feuds and statements with Joker always taunting Batman to kill him instead of hurting him so badly he needs to be sent to the ICU. 

I think dating itself, despite being straight or queer, follows many gendered scripts and it is about time we get rid of many of them. I don't think intellectual women have a problem with monogamy or even becoming mothers but one has to look at South Asian families to get some gist of the situation. 

If the prospective bride is overqualified than the prospective groom the nuptials are but shelved dreams. We inherently look at men at breadwinners but aside that we do not like to pair qualified men with qualified women. We like women to be beautiful objects. 

That lamp auntie brings out and shows you and if she gives your permission, you can touch it. Men are meant to wear down a 'trophy bride' and so the chase is a game because after you win ludo and "eat all your opponents"  and score all your pieces "home" it means you won the game. 

Ultimately, how does this benefit women and/or men? After you beaten this elusive game and bagged the trophy wife, then what? Maybe, there are new games to play but your wife wasn't just a game piece or trophy. I mean I don't think you are supposed to have a conjugal life with ludo pieces. Soon, you get dissatisfied with each other and think you want a "new ludo board." 

I think if we all treated each other as people we could talk with and we could share a lot of ourselves with, be intimate and vulnerable, and not play games, we would be happier as people and couples. We would be better adjusted physically, mentally and emotionally. We wouldn't think of "biological values" and "sexual values" but shared values and beliefs. 

And Amrani's grandmother is right, reading a newspaper intelligently, having opinions and talking about them shares a lot about the chemistry, love and respect two people may have for each other. Having kids is not always an expression of love. If that were the case I think no child would ever be born into this world. 

I think that is why strong women prefer strong personalities; someone they can live and explore the world with. You see young girls get attracted to the "bad boy" stereotype. I don't think they wish to date a delinquent or be treated badly but they hope the "bad boy" is open-minded. 

As for "nice guys" I can tell right now that not all nice guys are really "nice." Many women have had a lot of bad experiences with so-called nice guys. You will see some nice guys pretending to like what you like or trying to get in your good books but snap if you do something they don't like. 

This can be as simple as talking about a movie or a topic they think you have no "intelligence" to talk about. So, Amrani's grandmother is further right. Someone who can't even accept your views and critiques about Beauty and the Beast would probably not be a pillar of support when the other things come. 

So, let unbridled intellects grow and challenge the gender roles and rules. The right person will challenge things with you. They will follow you into battle, no matter what. They may even start some battles of their own you are willing to follow. As they say, every big journey starts with a small step. 


The writer is a Copy Editor at the Asian Age

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