Friday, 15 April 2011
Let's put connotations aside for a second. According to Merriam-Webster's definition of a nerd, we come to: "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits."
But, in this denotative case, I will rally against this bastion of American lexicography to proffer an unstylish, unattractive, and socially inept thesis: more women should be nerds.
I am an investor in the principles of feminism or womanism or equality or whatever you want to call it. That is to say, I believe in the apparently still radical belief that women should hold equal stature in our eyes. We can reasonably believe that women can succeed in politics, academics, art, and finances - to name a few things - on the same level as men. The sky's the limit, minus the TV ratings between the NBA and WNBA. (Bottom line: fewer lay-ups, more 360 tomahawk jams.)
But, with all this theoretical mumbo-jumbo, I don't really see a whole lot of equality in action. I don't see women asking guys out. I see women expecting to be picked up in the guy's car. I don't see women jumping to pay for their own drinks. (In some cases, my ultimately undying apathy can commiserate. If there's anything I love, it's free drinks.) Perhaps most disturbingly, I see some quasi-intellectual attempts to rationale an excuse for utter subservient behavior. (Evolution is a scientific theory, not a social death sentence.) Are we as a society giving up so lowly to sink to Vichy womanhood? (Oh, I went there.) I certainly hear more stories of women giving up their jobs to move in with a guy who has little to no career in mind than the other way around. WTF, mate?
It is unflappably difficult to be a woman in the modern world. Feminism is being shucked and devoured by its own proponents for its failure to de-radicalize its image. Marketing is everything, after all. Then, on the outside, traditionalists wantonly wail against the notion that men don't need to necessarily run the world - that equality might really exist. Rock and a hard place? I think so.
So, I say, ladies, for the sake of us all, take up the burdens of the world and be a damn nerd.
It is surely unstylish to bark confidence like a .50 cal, but it's what we need right now. It is certainly unattractive to the baseline of American sexual politics to get what you want when you want it on your terms. It is socially inept to ask for numbers and stand above the bullshit games. For all those workers, mothers, and artists, small personal changes over a wide population can really make a difference.
But the fact of the matter is that I just don't find those old-fashioned gals up to par any more. In a post-punk, post-postmodern, post-post world, I want more and I want a woman who wants more. I don't want to date someone who isn't going to push themselves to be the most creative, most intelligent, wisest person they can be - and that sort of fury and passion requires a world without glass ceilings. If this garners slander or the rigors of flippant ignorance-mongering, then I guess I'm asking for Supergirl. But what the hell kind of world do we live in if we can't read the comics and want to believe something in them is true?
To live the life of our theories - to build lives together on these intellectual foundations - is to touch on the joys of having intelligence in the first place. In Cyrano de Bergerac, Rostand throws out a gem to us all through the titular character: "But one does not fight because there is hope of winning! No! ... no! ... it is much finer to fight when it is no use!" At the very least, we have the benefit of some use, which is just a little ole thing like advancing the species.
There is only the consolation of a score of failures ahead for any woman willing to believe that she can follow her own pursuits, and equally a measure of failures for men looking for the same. It's a Sisyphean feat to say the least. But, I think, that sort of struggle is what makes any measure of being a human in love worth it.
After all these years of so-called sexual revolution, do you take feminism/womanism/equality to heart in your relationships? Do you buck the trend?