As the Stepford Wives movie graced theatres across America, Hey U.G.L.Y. and CollegeBounds CB Teen magazine were busy surveying teens to see if they were Stepford Teens. The survey sought to find out if young women felt the need to dumb themselves down to be more attractive to men.
The first question asked: Have they ever pretended they didn't know something that they knew so a guy wouldn't feel intimidated? Results showed 65% said rarely or never, 26% said sometimes, and 9% said often/always to the dumbing
down question. According to Hey U G L Y, the nonprofit that helps
teens counter bullying, eating disorders, violence, substance
abuse and suicide, the results are good news/bad news. That more than half the young women surveyed rarely or never pretend they don't know something is good news. But the fact that 35 % of young women admit that they do pretend they don't know something, believing a guy will be intimidated by their knowledge ... that number is too high. Culturally, we need to impress upon our young women that knowledge is power, that their intellect is a gift, and that in order to reach their full potential, they have to let go of stereotypes and the need to please.
The second question asked if teen girls had ever tried to hide their intelligence for fear that a guy would lose interest if he saw the real you? 83% of the teenage girls said rarely or never, 9% said sometimes, 8% said often/always. Seventeen percent of the young women surveyed believe that the "real" them, the "smart" them, would turn a guy off. If these young women believe they need to hide who they are to be attractive to a guy, they are robbing themselves of their potential.
Gina LaGuardia, editor-in-chief of CB Teen, is proud of the surveys consensus, as she feels it ignited thought and illuminated the importance of self-esteem issues. "Our young women surfers were able to examine the value of self-worth, and the consequences that result within one's own heart in instances where they have hidden their intelligence and ambition for appearances." By the very nature of their ambitions, says LaGuardia, the majority of today's college-bound teens are well-equipped in the self-esteem department, specifically when it comes to asserting their independence and intelligence. "Our goal at The CollegeBound
Network is to continue to encourage that outlook. The higher the
level of learning, the higher their level of worth."
Rieva Lesonsky, who was editorial director of
Entrepreneur magazine, which regularly featured women and teen
entrepreneurs, believes, men who are intimidated by successful
women are men who aren't worth being around. When I was a
little kid (around 12) I knew everything there was to know
about the NY Yankees. I remember a boy telling me that it was
"cool" that I knew so much about the team (more than him) and I
think I somehow subconsciously decided then never to pretend to
know less than I do."