Y’all, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cutesy dumbass model of American femininity. And, fuck me, I wish I knew more about math, because clearly cutesy and dumbass are two independent variables, but that are somehow interlinked.
Let me try to articulate that. First, you have the cutesy factor. Women as a group are supposed to be good looking, but ‘good looking’ is defined in a very specific way–young, thin but round, bright eyes, shiny hair on their heads but otherwise mostly hairless–sexy but sexy according to a specific set of cultural expectations. And all women are kind of assumed to be aiming for that standard of cutesiness and so are open to public judgement about whether they are reaching it.
Then you have the dumbass factor, which I think is pretty self-explanatory. Women as a group are supposed to be stupid.
Now, of course, individual, particular women aren’t always cutesy dumbasses and don’t want to be perceived as cutesy dumbasses (though, I would argue that we’d rather be seen as cutesy than dumbass, because being cutesy is much more valuable culturally than being a dumbass). But I think we all, from time to time, feel like we’re running into the unspoken expectation that we will, when it comes down to it, behave as cutesy dumbasses.
But it seems, too, like there’s some kind of relationship between cutesy and dumbass. If you are very cutesy, it’s assumed that you are a dumbass. If you’re not a dumbass, people are surprised if you’re cutesy.
So, maybe “dumbass” is the cost of “cutesy.” If you’re going to fit into that specific cultural aesthetic mode–which is highly desirable–the price you pay is that you’re perceived of as a dumbass*. This works to explain, too, why men date beautiful idiots. The cultural assumption is that beauty and brains don’t often go together and that beauty is highly desirable. So, if a guy can get a beautiful girl, the cost is that she’s kind of an idiot.
Okay, so lets set aside religious virginity.
My question for you is this: How wrapped up in the “cutesy dumbass” paradigm is our national quest to push for abstinance-only sex ed?
Realistically, one could be educated about all aspects of sex, from how to do it, how to keep yourself safe from pregnancy and disease while doing it, etc. and one could still make the decision to either remain a virgin or to abstain from further sex until one is old enough or married or whatever.
In the real world, “knowledge of sex” doesn’t equal “go forth and immediately have sex.”
So, why are we pushing an agenda of “teach them nothing except not to do it”?
I wonder if it’s because we believe that “dumbass” equals “cutesy”? So, if a girl wants to remain attractive to a potential husband, she must not know too much.
Do you get what I’m saying? I think religious prohibitions against premarital sex are wrapped up in issues of purity. But our cultural prohibitions against sex seem much more wrapped up in how we’ve conflated dumbassedness with attractiveness.
*Which, if you think about it, explains Candi Lynn, the Hooter’s Chick from last week and her claim of feminism. She wants to claim to be a feminist because she feels that she’s every day challenging the idea that cutesy women are dumbasses. Hmm. Maybe that is a feminist project, a little.