Do Pretty Women Play The Ditz To Seem More Universally Likable?

agynessdeynstupidAgyness Deyn, the hipster supermodel who is best known for prancing around New York dressed like a messy toddler, has given what one would hope was her most stoned interview to the New York Times. While the article centers mostly around Deyn’s future career as a supermodel/actress/whatever, Deyn peppers the interview with her vague, sometimes bizarre insights and answers to some of the simplest questions. She ends sentences with questions and drops more “likes” than a 16-year-old Californian teenager (oddly, “likes” and “ums” are usually omitted from interview dialogue, which makes the inclusion of them in Deyn’s interview…peculiar). The interviewer, Cintra Wilson, notes that she finds Deyn’s lack of depth common in most young famous women she interviews–not because they are dumb but because they use faux-stupidity to protect themselves from ruining their “brand:”

[Deyn] comes off as genuinely sweet, sunny and slightly dim, her punkette look the thinnest candy coating over an interior filled primarily with airy, whipped pink goo and nuvo-hippie, gestalt-y wow-ness. But this dimness, I suspect, is strategic. I’ve seen this before; actresses sometimes evade answering questions by obfuscating them in colorful fogs of positive nonsense. It is understandable: actual information limits the ability to be all things to all people, so vagaries protect the brand. But they also result in puzzling answers to relatively simple questions.

We’ve all heard of “playing dumb,” but it is interesting that Wilson credits a particular form of ditziness with just women. Maybe Wilson is just trying to be kind to Deyn, who may have just been nervous or–as previously mentioned–high as a kite. (To be fair, I’ve read plenty of interviews with Deyn and she has never come off quite as shallow and strange as she did in this interview.) However, we have seen some female actresses who claim to “speak their mind” and consider themselves smart get some pretty harsh reactions (however justified those reactions may be) from the public when they start breaking down the PR filter. On the other hand, public ditzes like Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag are more famous for being hated than having a brand that anyone would ostensibly want to buy from. So, is it true that women (particularly pretty women) put on a dumb act in order to make themselves more universally appealing? And if so, why?

I’m sure there are a few feminists who are getting ready to shout: “It’s the patriarchy, stupid!” Well, maybe it is! Maybe dumb pretty women are easier to tolerate and pose less of a threat to our society. We don’t have to worry about Agyness Deyn possessing a soul or having informed opinions because she is essentially a well-dressed hanger with a blonde pixie cut. It goes along with another stereotype in our society that women who are interested in clothes and fashion are stupid. That is certainly one misogynistic stereotype that I see some self-proclaimed feminists encouraging. Surely a girl who likes clothes wouldn’t be able to be interested in anything of substance, right?

Maybe stupid women are easier to dismiss when they get in the way. It was certainly easy for everyone to jump on the bandwagon and assume that Sarah Palin (or Sotomayor) was dumb. So, if women supposedly use vapidness as a crutch to protect themselves from criticism, why is stupidity such an easy thing to criticize women for? When put in real, adult situations, I know (or rather, hope) that the last thing women want to be considered is “sweet but dumb.” That isn’t to say that I haven’t known some girls who have tried to act like an air head to seem more likable, but those type of girls usually prove themselves to be well, genuinely dumb, in the end.

I can’t say what the reason behind Deyn’s slightly loopy interview was, but if she was using ditziness as a way to get out of oversharing or putting herself up for criticism that is just, well, dumb.



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46 thoughts on “Do Pretty Women Play The Ditz To Seem More Universally Likable?

  1. What guy actually LIKES stupid girls? Guys like to FUCK stupid girls because they don’t think the girl is clever enough to remember his phone number and bitch him into doing things for her. Guys WANT smart and mature girls.

    Maybe this girl IS just dumb? I don’t know who she is (and she ain’t that pretty so she certainly don’t have THAT to lean on), so I couldn’t tell you what her IQ is or what grades she got in school. I know that Sarah Palin is pretty dumb.

    But really, us smart AND pretty girls get more attention, trust me.

    • Amen to that! I do not understand why a woman would enjoy being thought of as pretty but as dumb as a box of rocks. I just can’t fathom being in that situation myself.

      I’ve had guys tell me over the years that they didn’t want to ask me out because I “intimidated” them due to my intellect, my vocabulary, etc. It never bothered me much.

      I’m lucky my fiance isn’t easily intimidated, I guess.

      • They’ll probably be only intimidated if they are significantly less intelligent than you, I find. My boyfriend loves it, as does my most recent ex. Even random flings liked that I had a brain and a personality. Pretty faces are pretty, but they aren’t that interesting.

        • Tell me about it. I never dated in HS and more than once I was told it was because I was too smart. I remember one time I was talking to a guy that I liked, not the smartest guy but he was wicked funny and cute. We got to talking about college and he was saying all his applications had been rejected and I suggested a school that had a reputation for accepting everyone. We were getting on great till I told him what school I was going to (one consistently at the top of the league tables) and he freaked, apparently didn’t think that a fellow pseudo-goth could have brains. We still spoke after that but just in class because he just put me in the ‘too smart to hang out with’ box in his head.

          My husband and I are pretty balanced though. He’s smart but not as near my intelligence level. He does however have a much stronger work ethic than me so we wound up with the same degree from the same school. Also it doesn’t intimidate him in the slightest. If he feels that I’m being too much of a smartass he just starts talking computers because it’s the one area where he know way more than me ;-)

        • Ha, you just described me and my boyfriend! I like to think that I am just naturally smarter and more knowledgeable than he is, but he’s no dumb ape….he’s pretty clever, and is as hardworking as I am lazy. ;)

          I always hated guys (and girls) like your high school friend. I didn’t run across many in high school, as I went to a competitive one, but in grade school, it was annoying to be told snottily ‘stop using big words’ every time I spoke in a complex sentence or used a word longer than two syllables. Or you know, actually enjoyed reading books. Then again, these are people who think the cleverest insult to give to a person named ‘Sydney’ was ‘Spitney’ (and that was through like fifth grade), so really, who’d want to deal with that, even if they did like you despite being smart and icky?

        • Spitney? Lol! I never had the privilege of being called that.

          I always got called “Sydney, Australia”. Or “Melbourne” (as in Melbourne, Australia). The more creative ones called me “Mooloolaba” (another Aussie city).

        • I did get Sydney, Australia quite a lot in third grade, as we did a ‘unit’ on Australia, then again just when the Summer Olympics were in Sydney. But I don’t think my classmates were that clever, certainly not clever enough to think up Melbourne. In fact, it kind of irks me: people always mispronounce my name as ‘Cindy,’ or spell it wrong (I’m sure you know the insane ways people spell it), so in high school, I had taken to saying ‘Sydney, like Australia, spelled the same, not like the Brady’ to anyone who tried to pronounce or spell my name. Then somehow in college, I realized a lot people don’t know Sydney, Australia exists (I always say thins like ‘what, weren’t you like eleven when the Olympics were there? You know where Beijing is, don’t you?’). So now I have to spell it. >.>

          On that topic, it makes quite a conversation piece to be named Sydney when first meeting random Australian men. If you ever have the urge to do such a thing.

        • Don’t see any more evidence for that.

          Lisa, this hate party is really annoying. You don’t know me, or my IQ, or my self-esteem. I get pissed off at things, but frankly, someone who goes around telling people that they HATE faceless avatars on the internet for not stroking the egos of overweight women or for daring to disagree with their opinion on some other stupid topic REALLY has no place to lecture anyone on self-esteem or ESPECIALLY intelligence.

          Though I suppose you’d like to go on to maturity next?

        • Mmm, nope. I think there are two other Sydneys on here though….I never thought it was a popular name before I was born, or around the same time. Most people I know named Sydney are in the 4 to 12 years range….

        • Says the woman who explicitly said previously that she ‘really hated me’ for reasons I can’t recall, but probably weren’t all that serious.

      • Have you ever noticed that people who scream they are smarter than everyone else usually are only in the 120 IQ range? That, and they have really low self esteem.

        • I have noticed that the people who rant on about others IQ measurements usually don’t test well on IQ tests and don’t really understand what it means.

        • Yah, Rhonda. I tested at 70– you have no idea how long it takes me to read through some of these blogs…

          Lawd have mercy! Uppity, uppity, uppity!

        • Have you noticed that people who tend to go out of their way to base other people’s ‘intelligence’ on IQ tests are usually not clever enough to realize that that is not the only, nor NEARLY the most accurate manner of judging someone’s intelligence?

    • I agree with your post, but being the petty gossip-blog-reader I am, I have to mention, I personally think she is quite attractive…
      Everyone, continue on with your intelligent discussion!

  2. I think it’s a weird sort of anti-intellectualism. Intelligence isn’t really conducive to having a good time (apparently). And you know what it’s all about, right? P-A-R-T-Y! *irony*
    I don’t know, I think a lot of girls just assume that showing they have a brain repels men. Like you said, it’s…well, stupid.

  3. I don’t understand people. Why the hell would you want to act like an idiot? People like that annoy me. I can’t be around people who dumb themselves down just to be liked.

    Screw what the world thinks of you. It’s none of your business what others think about you. It’s all of your business what you think of yourself.
    You must have low self-esteem to want to dumb yourself down. I don’t know any self-respecting woman who would do such a thing to herself.

    If a man is “repelled” by your intelligence then screw him. He’s probably too dimwitted to understand you, and you don’t deserve a man like that.

    Only wimps afraid to confront themselves (and others) dumb themselves down. It’s a form of “running away”. At least that’s how I view it.

    • Agreed.

      I can’t even be around dumb people (whether they’re pretending or not). I enjoy having intelligent conversations with people. I like to surround myself with people that I can learn from, not idiotic superficial people.

      • Exactly!
        If you can’t learn from people then they won’t help you improve as a human being–and isn’t that one of the many things a meaningful friendship / partnership should have? People teach street-smarts, book-smarts and/or common-sense.
        Without that, relationships are less meaningful and can grow highly annoying because interactions are limited to stupidity.

  4. I have no idea why she would do this, except maybe to appear non-threatening, completely non-intimidating, or because she is lazy and doesn’t want to think through the stuff she says. Never dumb yourself down so people will like you. If they can’t appreciate you as a smart girl, then they aren’t worth your time. Wise up, Agyness, we know you’re better than that.

  5. Sometimes I find myself falling into the trap of talking ‘dumb’ around a guy I like. A male friend and I sort of discussed it and I realized why I was answering questions like i didn’t really understand: Because I was afraid to look dumb.

    For instance, we were discussing motorcycles. My knowledge of this subject is a good deal more than many women my age (college) but I don’t consider myself to be as well versed as I would like. So, when I talk about it, I dumb myself down because I’m afraid of making a mistake and looking like a moron. I’d like to keep the conversation in the ‘safe zone.’

    Now, when I’m around any other guy friends, I will spout off ‘knowledge’ even though I’m not entirely sure if its 100% correct or not. I’m not worried about them judging me if I am wrong or not because I don’t care about impressing them.

    Obviously, I am not (really) consciously aware that I’m doing this. Its just a defense mechanism. One that I would like to fix.

  6. I think some women play dumb because of pressure from other people. Maybe they are not strong enough or self confident enough to stand up for themselves, and its just easier to act stupid so no one expects more from them, or they try very hard to be non confrontational.

    I was in a situation several years ago where I was verbally attacked (in my opinion) by a guy at a party for showing that I had a vocabulary that consists of words that have more than one syllable. No, I wasn’t showing off or bragging, just having a normal conversation.

    I guess the “appropriate” (and easier/more socially correct)response would have been to giggle and roll my eyes, but I stood up for myself, and everyone was shocked. I wasn’t close with any of these people, and I have not hung out with them since, though a few made comments to me about how surprised they were to see a girl risk being labeled as a bitch. Certainly that guy thought I was a bitch.

  7. I think men ARE intimidated by intelligent women, sometimes. Or maybe just young men.

    Before we moved away to uni, my friend who is super-intelligent would act really dumb when we were out… I’m the complete opposite: I’m opinionated and I HATE being patronised or viewed as less intelligent than anybody. Guess who got all the male attention?

    Of course, it could just be that she’s more attractive than me…

    Although it’s interesting that she’s never found anything substantial and lasting, whereas as soon as I met my boyfriend we were pretty much set :)

  8. hmm, this is interesting because I see it all the time in college and I saw it in high school. Apparently the trend is hitting high school girls hard as well.

    My ex-girlfriend and I are both very intelligent (and still best friends). She knows more about some things than I such as more Shakespeare, various forms of literature, poetry and the like. I know more about politics, film, psychology, science, technology.

    However, I crave a girl who is intelligent because its always sexy and awesome to be able to learn new things from the person you like to look at :) Personally, a girl is a lot better looking when they’re intelligent. I don’t know how that works but it certainly does for me. A plain looking girl can be beautiful (physically) when something smart comes out of their mouth.

    Its apparently very very difficult to find a girl who is smart and knows it and wears it well. Too many girls play the stupid card thinking its what the guy wants.

    And hell if a guy is intimidated by a smart girl he really needs to GET SMARTER!!!!

  9. I know a girl who does exactly this. I KNOW that she’s smart but when it comes to social situations she definitely plays the “dumb blonde” card. She gets laughs, but I don’t think she realizes these aren’t the type of laughs one would want. She gets invited places often, but she gets talked about more than almost anyone else I know as soon as she leaves the room.

    So I guess this “dumb blonde card” is serving its purpose for her right now. But I don’t think she’d use it if she knew what was actually going on.

    I don’t know if I’m alone on this, but I actually WANT people to know what my brain is capable of. I have a serious boyfriend and am not out to sleep with guys. I DO however waht what this one girl does not have….RESPECT and FRIENDSHIP.

  10. I don’t think some things are being taken into perspective. If you’ve actually heard Agyness talk before, you know that she has a heavy accent and says “like” a lot when she’s trying to find words.

    She was talking to another women also so I don’t know how that would contribute to your argument.

    Moreover, she is gorgeous! She is one of the top supermodels right now…

      • British people do have accents you know. She’s got a pretty thick Manchester accent. Understandable to most people but still pretty thick.

        • Mancuanian accents aren’t really that thick… She could be Geordie, or West Country, or Scottish.

          I don’t understand why having a heavy Manc accent would make her use ‘like’ when searching for words… That, to me, implied that English wasn’t her first language. Just to explain why I felt it necessary to point out that she’s a Brit.

  11. Just a random thought: if men are so intimidated, why is there such a fetish for schoolgirls, teachers, sexy scientists, librarians, and vaguely bookish looking women in glasses and meganekko? Or is this just guys I know? Because it’s nearly all of them.

    • Because those women are unattainable. It’s not a very good fantasy if you can go out and just grab the women off the street so many men fantasize about women who are too beautiful or too smart or too sexy; women who are just too good for them in their minds.

  12. I do agree some of them like them stupid (and blond?)
    An intelligent and independent woman is to much of a risk, a challenge to their intelligente or a threat to their male insecurities

  13. It’s pretty naive to assume that because someone doesn’t act like, or talk like they’re an intellectual that they aren’t smart. Once I read a quote from Goldie Hahn along the lines of ” I am a deep person with a light personality.” Nothing wrong with that.

  14. On camera, it might be different. But in real life, attractive women have a lot on their minds. Neurons do fire fast, but they too have a limit, and stress is a definite factor. Attractive women are under constant stress. They are worried about being harrassed, but also how to keep attractive, a vicious cycle. They can hardly sit in class without having both kinds of thinking on their mind, as well as other thoughts that are introduced, distracted, and/or rooted from the past. All that plus having to actually learn the new material being taught in the class itself? I don’t think men in prison do well academically in a class they might be taking. The military does try to train you with distractions and stressloads of negative treatment during the attempt of you trying to accomplish a task, but that is to put up with warzone situations.

    Maybe it is a warzone out there for attractive women. Maybe the Islams do have it right… but take it to the extremes…. cover the women, and have same-gender classrooms, with male teachers teaching in a different room, via a telecommunications device.

    You might think, well, as long as the attractive women are not being taken hostage, or something drastic, why should they stress? Well, they don’t like being grey harassed either, and don’t know exactly what is coming, meanwhile the harasser is trying to get the most he can out of what he can get away with. This includes talk, minor touch, look, “accidental” brush, or other grey areas. And these “minor” things are what attractive women are stressing about as well. They don’t think, Oh I’m so glad I didn’t get taken, I should be grateful for what didn’t happen to me. No, they would rather not put up with any of that at all. Radial distance is the key.

    No excuses, –double motivation– oh I was going down that shopping isle anyway, to pick up that product, BS…. come back another time. While you were lying to yourself, she was stressing over reality.

    Too much brain activity is being used up for for survival needs, that they simply just do not have enough time for the gentleman you in their thoughts.

    Men have the power of physical ability over women, but women have the psychological power of disappearance over men. All she has to do is disappear, and that will cut deeper than a dagger, if a man had some emotion involved along with the physical, in the “relationship” whatever level it was.

    And that disappearance can make a man go crazy, even make him do things that make himself look like a dumb donkey. Who’s the smarter one now?

    Well, unfortunately the stalker doesn’t care about smartness. Being a stalker shows no sign of intelligence whatsoever needless to say and whatever caused one to resort to stalking didn’t come from an intelligent situation to begin with.

  15. I don’t consider myself that pretty and even I sometimes play dumb. I’m a project manager, managing mostly men, and sometimes its much easier to get men to do things by appealing to their sense of chivalry. Yes, you can use dumbness to protect and enhance your “brand”..especially if you are a model. Intelligence is hard to brand because its not easily reducible to soundbites…If i were a model, i would certainly build my image around a certain easily recognizable stereotype..(waif, rock star, wild child, etc ).

  16. I just hope the Briarwood Bay people know what is about to haeppn to them. Now why do you think the homeowners Association is pushing this ????????? Drrrrrrr Duhhhhhhhh He wants to clean up the area crime wise, and residential lots. Coffee City is already in trouble for not enforcing fire ordinances with the State. They are coming to straighten City Hall out. The cost to homeowners in BB is going to be high if you are not in compliance. Also the septic problem is going to be a big issue. You BB residents better wake up fast before it is to late. YOU CANNOT AFFORD WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. I can only speak for myself on this one but I will not offer any help to this area because you people did it to yourself by following your leader over there. Believe me he has motives. Good Luck !!

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