Monday, February 07, 2005

Aren't the 50s over yet?

Can't believe I didn't notice when it came out (I was overseas...) but anyway the Guardian has another piece of filler fluff out entitled "Why brainy women stay single". Well I'm sitting here, there's an old letter from MENSA in my drawer, that clearly says my IQ is 156, a bunch of flowers that I've had to stick into the caffetiere cos I'm out of vases on one side of my desk and a box of heart-shaped soft-centre choccies with an early Valentine's card on the other. So I guess it must be my job to say SOMETHING about the subject (or perhaps I'll just eat some more choccies first!).

Now firstly the article itself is by Margaret Cook - a woman famous purely for having been married to a little ugly bloke with an important job (Robin Cook), and having been ditched by him when he ran off with another woman. Surely the survey of views fielded by the paper should include some sample of women with successful relationships or women who prefer or enjoy being single too?

Secondly the "headline" statistic is that "each 16-point IQ increase relates to a 40% drop in marriage likelihood". statistically this cannot be true across the full IQ spectrum. If 100% of women with an IQ of 68 or less get married, then at IQ of 84, 60% get married, at IQ 100 it's 36%, IQ 116 it's 22%, IQ 132 it's 13%, IQ 148 it's 8%, IQ 164 it's 5%,... and if you're smart enough to work out the numbers this far presumably you are a confirmed spinster by now!

Now, here are some reasons why it might not be such a good idea to take the numbers at face value:

1) Maybe some of the smart women get married older. Perhaps because they're having careers first.
2) Maybe some smart women are more cautious about making marriage commitments. Maybe even smart men stupidly rush into promises they can't necessarily keep.
3) Maybe some smart women have renounced the out-of-date religious and social constructs of marriage and are having their own relationships on their own terms.
4) Maybe some smart women are able to earn their own money and survive financially without men, and maybe they want to do that.
5) Maybe some smart women are choosing not to have children, since they know how much this will damage their career.
6) Maybe some smart women are having relationships with not-so-smart men, but avoiding marriage to avoid losing half their savings, etc. in the divorce courts.
7) Maybe some smart women are lesbians.
8) Maybe some smart women are just happy single, or (shock horror) happy having short-term relationships and casual, debauched sex...!

Here are some "explanations" put forward by the various articles on the subject - and some comments on what's wrong with them:

1) "A chap with a high IQ is going to get a demanding job that is going to take up a lot of his energy and time. In many ways he wants a woman who is an old-fashioned wife and looks after the home". Is home-making and child-raising an easy job, well-suited to persons of low IQ?
2) "Women want independence but we are all hard-wired into wanting to be into relationships". Hard-wired by who? Despite the best efforts of the deeply sexist press and media industry, some of us like our independence.
3) "
It is true that men do not want women more intelligent than themselves. It bolsters their position if their partner is not too challenging". Well it may be true of SOME men, others may not need their position bolstering and may even enjoy the company of intelligent women.
4) "
They [men] retain their sexiness well into middle or even late life, because they do not rely simply on film-star good looks and a muscular physique". Hold on, this is a different arguement about attractiveness relative to age. If women are only attractive for about six months (tosh!) while men are attractive into their 80s then there must be loads more attractive guys around than girls. So even the unattractive girls should be able to bag one... go figure...
5) "
in Love Actually, Hugh Grant's suave prime minister finds a soulmate in Martine McCutcheon's comely tea-lady, while Colin Firth plays a writer who falls for a Portuguese woman. Knowing no English she cannot answer back". That's a film! It's not true...
6) "No man likes his wife to earn more than he does". Says who? "Darling, I love you, lets get married", "I have to tell you something", "What is it darling?", "I'm rich", "Oh no, how awful",... pur-lease. Any guy who can't deal with women who earn more than them should seek therapy now, not to mention penis enlargement drugs.

And finally here are three sides to the story which the journalism on the subject hasn't really covered:

1) Less intelligent men also showed up as being less likely to marry. Maybe we should be worried about these men, since they have no partner to look after them and with their low intelligence levels may find it difficult to get a decent job.
2) If true, shouldn't we be addressing why men are so insecure that they have to seek out less intelligent women than themselves?
3) Given that statistically single women and married men are happier than than the other two groups, maybe the way things are shifting is great news for us girls and bad news for the boys!

Then again (pause to eat another choccie) maybe its just that in my case my cracking tits and arse make up for my vile and off-putting intellectual personality! We may never know....

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