Love & Relationships

Published on November 20th, 2010 | by thevyne


Pretty Up, Dumb Down

Pretty up and dumb down. Have you heard of that expression before? It’s the notion that women should highlight their looks and downplay their intelligence in order to find a man. I know lots of professional women with advanced degrees and career success and they (or I should say “we”) often get told that the reason we’re single is because our intelligence is intimidating to men. This explanation was always puzzling to me considering I could name several guy friends of mine, also very well educated, who say they value the intelligence of a woman. Even in my own dating life I don’t recall any of my “ex’s” displaying any outward signs of being “intimidated” by my intelligence. However, just the other day I came across a study published by the Quarterly Journal of Economics, in association with Columbia University, Harvard and MIT that actually gave me a bit of a different perspective.

A scientific study titled, “Gender Differences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment” came up with some interesting and statistically significant findings regarding mate selection. The study was designed such that the researchers were able to directly observe individual decisions. What they found was that men placed more value on physical appearance than women (e.g. “pretty up”) and that “men do not value women’s intelligence or ambition when it exceeds their own” (e.g. “dumb down”).

Now I’m not one for just going off and believing everything that I read but you have to admit, this “pretty up dumb down” expression seems to be more than just a notion. This is not to say that ALL smart women will have trouble finding a mate but if the findings of this survey are even partially true, it may be the explanation for why so many smart women are indeed having a hard time finding a mate. Then the question becomes, if having a mate is important to you, what do you do with this information? Do you stick to the “take me as I am” philosophy or do you strategically “pretty it up and dumb down?”

Vyne readers, you tell us, what do you think about the expression “pretty up dumb down” and would or have you ever done it?

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5 Responses to Pretty Up, Dumb Down

  1. Cheryl says:

    I think the statement “pretty up dumb down” devalues women as only something to look at. There are many extremely intelligent Black women who are self-assured and so comfortable in “their skin” that any deserving male would be very fortunate to have them take a second look at him. A woman who is intelligent has the wherewithal not to waste her time on anyone who devalues her ability to communicate effectively, carry herself with panache and understand what she has going for herself. This intelligent woman is one who waits for the man who will honor her for who she is – a phenomonal woman!!

  2. Cheryl says:

    Oops! That should have been “phenomenal”!

  3. Gigi says:

    I tried once, it didn’t workout well. It was inauthentic version of myself and we both knew it.
    I’ve come to realize that if just being me is not good enough, than he’s not worth my time.
    And just as a side not, I wouldn’t want any potential Mr. Right (for me) to be anyone other than his authentic self.

  4. JC says:

    I think smart accomplished women think that people will like us more because of our accomplishments and in that spirit of being driven, hardworking and ambitious we don’t realize that maybe we are not as much fun as the bimbos? We approach dating like a job interview. Also some smart women are above “playing the game” as we think its beneath us (and it is). I guess what I would say is if you don’t want to be single, learn to be cunning. Sly, not crazy like a fox. People want to date people who make them feel good about themselves. Keep it simple (which smart girls don’t!)

  5. Carol says:

    If he’s a man worth salt. He will value a smart and strong woman, who will always have his back. From a woman with 40 years of experience.

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