Curls and Intelligence

oddityofwingsoddityofwings Posts: 1,261Registered Users
I ran across a strange reaction to my new-found curliness yesterday. One of my friends said I had 'gone girly' and she was actually slightly worried by this apparent change in demeanor, the implication being that I would turn into a girly ditz and was no longer capable - or certainly no longer *looked* capable* - of the academic work I've built my life around. It wasn't curl bashing - she said it looked very nice, but she was more or less non-plussed by it all.

Now I'm aware that curls look slightly more feminine, and anyone who shows an interest in body care products (particularly in academics) beyond basic cleansing properties is looked at like they've grown a second head, but I was not expecting this reaction. Has anyone else had a similar reaction - noticing an implication from people you work with that the curls are 'very nice' but see it somehow as something that someone in your profession 'shouldn't be worried about', that for someone of your apparent intelligence and interest in 'higher' things, things like hair and so forth should be considered absolute base interests?

My reaction was to say that it made me happy, kept me out of trouble, and was giving me a chance to do some 'applied chemistry' - but I still got the feeling she felt I was wasting time and energy that could be otherwise used in research and the like. :sad7:

I suspect it's more of an arts-specific problem; in the sciences I'm sure others would geek out over the chemistry involved.
3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

Favourites:love5::
CJ Curl Theory, Curl Rehab, Smoothing, Curl Fix, Daily Fix, CCCC, CIAB, CQ, SSCC, MC shampoo, Inecto Pure Coconut Oil, CP luscious curl creme (summer), DB Pumpkin Seed (summer), FD/MT, JCWDT, JCTS

American literature PhD student in the UK... :study:

Comments

  • desert flowerdesert flower Posts: 188Registered Users
    I really think this is yet another gendered issue - women can be attractive or we can be smart...but somehow, the idea that we can be both seems to shock people. I am an academic too and know that it does apply to men and women but I do think there is more pressure on women to "look smart" and not "too feminine."

    To me, this is one of the major themes in today's feminist movement. For women to have real independence, we should be able to wear our clothes, hair and makeup however we want AND still get respect for our brains. We shouldn't have to be men to get respect. Some of the most intelligent and powerful women in ancient history were also known for their beauty - Cleopatra and a bunch of biblical figures to start with.

    I love make-up, hair, clothes and jewelery. I always have and can get completely ready, shower to door, in 30 minutes, fully made up, so it really isn't wasting my time. Still, there are women in my field who look at me and make snide remarks about how much extra time I have to "partake in such trivial activities" (actual words) and how other doctoral students simply don't have that time because they are too busy.

    I say, you should feel great that you can pull off being smart and feminine. Anyone who says otherwise is jealous!
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,999Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I had the same experience in a research organization. Disdainful remarks implying that intelligent women are "too busy doing important work" to bother with hair/appearance etc. Cartoons were put up on the mirror in the ladies room making fun of women who didn't fit the severe mold that was the norm where I worked.
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • oddityofwingsoddityofwings Posts: 1,261Registered Users
    I really think this is yet another gendered issue - women can be attractive or we can be smart...but somehow, the idea that we can be both seems to shock people. I am an academic too and know that it does apply to men and women but I do think there is more pressure on women to "look smart" and not "too feminine."

    To me, this is one of the major themes in today's feminist movement. For women to have real independence, we should be able to wear our clothes, hair and makeup however we want AND still get respect for our brains. We shouldn't have to be men to get respect. Some of the most intelligent and powerful women in ancient history were also known for their beauty - Cleopatra and a bunch of biblical figures to start with.

    I love make-up, hair, clothes and jewelery. I always have and can get completely ready, shower to door, in 30 minutes, fully made up, so it really isn't wasting my time. Still, there are women in my field who look at me and make snide remarks about how much extra time I have to "partake in such trivial activities" (actual words) and how other doctoral students simply don't have that time because they are too busy.

    I say, you should feel great that you can pull off being smart and feminine. Anyone who says otherwise is jealous!

    The bolded bit is exactly how it felt. Amusingly enough, I spend less time on my hair now than I did before learning how to take care of it properly. Even though plopping can take a while to dry my hair in this climate, I can still do work while my head's wrapped in a towel (early mornings are a different story). By 'being girly', as she put it, I'm actually freeing up more time to do work. :-)
    3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

    Favourites:love5::
    CJ Curl Theory, Curl Rehab, Smoothing, Curl Fix, Daily Fix, CCCC, CIAB, CQ, SSCC, MC shampoo, Inecto Pure Coconut Oil, CP luscious curl creme (summer), DB Pumpkin Seed (summer), FD/MT, JCWDT, JCTS

    American literature PhD student in the UK... :study:
  • oddityofwingsoddityofwings Posts: 1,261Registered Users
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Cartoons were put up on the mirror in the ladies room making fun of women who didn't fit the severe mold that was the norm where I worked.

    That's utterly cruel. I assume doing the opposite would have been unacceptable?
    3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

    Favourites:love5::
    CJ Curl Theory, Curl Rehab, Smoothing, Curl Fix, Daily Fix, CCCC, CIAB, CQ, SSCC, MC shampoo, Inecto Pure Coconut Oil, CP luscious curl creme (summer), DB Pumpkin Seed (summer), FD/MT, JCWDT, JCTS

    American literature PhD student in the UK... :study:
  • desert flowerdesert flower Posts: 188Registered Users
    By 'being girly', as she put it, I'm actually freeing up more time to do work.


    Exactly! "Girly" women often have a set routine. We know exactly what to do to get it right...not that it didn't take a ton of practice, but still...haha! I know that if I am happy with how I look, my mind can be free to work.
  • desert flowerdesert flower Posts: 188Registered Users
    curlypearl wrote: »
    I had the same experience in a research organization. Disdainful remarks implying that intelligent women are "too busy doing important work" to bother with hair/appearance etc. Cartoons were put up on the mirror in the ladies room making fun of women who didn't fit the severe mold that was the norm where I worked.


    That is horrible!! The irony is that these "smart women" are too dense to realize that physical attractiveness and intelligence are not mutually exclusive.

    I just keep trying to remind myself that these women were probably made to feel bad by "the pretty girls" while they were growing up and now this is their revenge...beware when the oppressed becomes the oppressor...
  • notyouraveragecurlnotyouraveragecurl Posts: 193Registered Users
    Ugh. How pathetic.

    I myself am in the psychoneuroendocrinology field and of course when I decided to stop ironing and pulling my hair back everyone was aaaaall up in arms about the way I look.

    Not to give the impression that I'm arrogant, but I find myself to be an attractive and dare I say sexy young woman and as a result I feel I'm treated like I'm "some sort of bimbo who sleeps around" (my friend's thoughts exactly when she first met me...she has obviously since then reneged her judgement of me :D).

    Granted, we're all guilty of it. I myself was at a cocktail party recently and saw this tiny little platinum blonde young woman with a hot pink dress on. She looked like a Playboy Bunny, I kid you not--not that her dress was too short or too low cut, she just had that particular look. So, of course, everyone avoided her, wondering whose date she was, etc., etc., and why in the world someone "like her" would be in a scientific convention of sorts.

    Turns out she's a rocket scientist.

    A prodigal rocket scientist with three PhD's before 30. Needless to say, we were all very humbled. After wards, though, we chatted and she ended up being very humourous about the situation, saying that she poked fun at herself all the time for that and got a tramp stamp of a physics equation tattooed on her lower back as a sort of statement.

    She is one of my very dear friends now. :)

    I guess the way I've come to see it is that it's all about attitude. Still doesn't stop it from being annoying from time to time, though!
    There is a phenomenal amount of beauty in self-acceptance. <3
  • crwrittcrwritt Posts: 705Registered Users
    It sounds like some people are stuck in an antiquated, prejudiced and fascist way of thinking.
    Beauty is as beauty does, and if there's a brilliant mind and sincere work ethic tucked inside that cute outfit and bouncy head of curls, then they had better not be so quick to judge.
  • oddityofwingsoddityofwings Posts: 1,261Registered Users
    I think notyouraveragecurl has hit the nail on the head (who also has an awesome sounding speciality!): looks and intelligence don't remotely go hand in hand. Normally it's the o-so-ellusive female geek who decides she likes looking nice who has the problem, but there's also a similar problem from the other angle: the incredibly bright woman who is a bit dumpy and hasn't figured out what to do with her body or hair or anything yet. It's worse if she's shy - because then people assume she's a slob and a bit stupid. This used to be me - which probably why people are reacting so strangely to me taking an active interest in my appearance.

    Interestingly, though this is mostly a feminist issue, it does happen with men. When I began my PhD, I lived in a house with a guy who was about as gorgeous as they come. He was the epitome of the social Brit - always out drinking, cavorting, and so forth. Worked on his muscles night and day. I asssumed he was some sort of pys-ed grad student, or a lab monkey at best. Turned out he was post-doctoral researcher in evolutionary biology with an IQ in the stratosphere. Who knew?
    3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

    Favourites:love5::
    CJ Curl Theory, Curl Rehab, Smoothing, Curl Fix, Daily Fix, CCCC, CIAB, CQ, SSCC, MC shampoo, Inecto Pure Coconut Oil, CP luscious curl creme (summer), DB Pumpkin Seed (summer), FD/MT, JCWDT, JCTS

    American literature PhD student in the UK... :study:
  • mrl234mrl234 Posts: 548Registered Users
    I have a couple conflicting perspectives on this too - I'm bisexual and pretty girly, especially compared to other women who like women, and there have been a lot of lesbian/bi women who make unpleasant assumptions about me based on my femininity - that I'm dumb, weak, and/or just trying to please men. It's weird because on one hand, women are rewarded for being girly and attractive, but on the other hand, they're stereotyped negatively for being so. I've gotten that kind of reaction both with curls and with straightened hair.

    However, if anything, I think I get less now than because my natural hair looks, well, more natural as opposed to actively flat-ironed and such. I live and go to school in a very liberal area where there are a lot of hippie-ish women and also a lot of ethnic diversity so there's more acceptance of natural beauty and lots of who wear their hair naturally curly, kinky, and wavy that live here. Wearing your hair naturally is seen by a good number of people here as a sign that you accept your natural beauty, and people have more often made weird comments to me about how I shouldn't straighten my hair on the very rare days that I do.
    :happy10:
    fia 2C/3A-F-iii, sensitive to some proteins
    CGish since 10-16-08
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    Olive oil DTs, honey rinses in the summer :)
  • PrettyMedusaPrettyMedusa Posts: 619Registered Users
    I. get. this. all. the. time.

    Which is not to say that I am conceited, but after several long hard years of work (i.e., getting over the fact that I grew up with people telling me I was both stupid and ugly, although NEITHER was even REMOTELY the case), I love myself. I accept myself. I think I'm beautiful. Lord help me, I think I'm the whole package! And I embrace and love and recognize and yearn for that sort of unapologetic, sparkling, candid realization in other women.

    I'm in the arts field, so I don't feel that I run into these stereotypes very much. However, I did start out my undergrad years as an astrophysics major and even worked in the lab of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. I felt like I was on a clear trajectory, but the fates wouldn't have it. As much as I still love cosmology and mathematics, there were a number of reasons I eventually switched majors. I do, however, remember being told that my curls were distracting and being pooh-poohed by the few other women in the department who--rather than seeking solidarity--seemed to form a negative opinion of me from the very outset. Not saying I was a prize at the age of 19, but a lot of the insults were targeted at being "frivolous," "overly feminine," "too concerned with her appearance," "undisciplined," "all over the place." Even though I was assisting considerably with some of the most complicated research in the field of cosmology on the planet.

    Many years later, I'm happy with my curls. I'm happy with my smarts. I'm happy being gah-geous! And never for a moment have I stopped to think that any of these are mutually exclusive. :cheers:
    Fine, porous 3a with some 3b...
    Co-wash: Suave Tropicals Coconut Conditioner (with shampoo bars 2x a month) Rinse-out: L'oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss Leave-in: Lustrasilk Styling: CK, Pink Boots, KCCC, AOMM, HESMU, BRHG, CJ Aloe Fix Gel Post-Styling: Apply product to wet hair, scrunch out water with Curls Like Us, diffuse for 5-7 minutes Treatments: Vatika coconut oil, Kama Brahmi oil
  • wild~hairwild~hair Posts: 9,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Not being in academia, science or any of that, I can't really relate. I'm in graphic design and self-expression is considered appropriate and even encouraged. Nobody's ever given me grief about my hair.

    But I do have a friend who was in engineering for many years, and while not curly, she is a blonde. Turns out in order to land a lucrative position at an engineering firm a while back, she found it necessary to dye her naturally pale blonde hair a mousy brown.

    She got the position, then let her hair go back to its natural color. I always thought that was a slightly funny but mostly sad story.
  • Robin-in-FLRobin-in-FL Posts: 1,731Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I am in business world, and out here I have not found this prejudice, we have different predjudice... In decreasing order of acceptability:

    Well put together with some makeup and hair organized into some sort of style, is most accepted.
    "Office bimbo" look is accepted without comment if you are competent at your job.
    If you want to look frumpy or disorganized you better be Really Really Good at what you do.

    So I guess it's the inverse of the academic world? I think the underlying logic is if you can take care of your look you are more likely to be able to take care of your work, sort of an impression of competence.
    2c / C / iii (FIA)
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    Henna!
  • Morgan_AdcockMorgan_Adcock Posts: 2,573Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Gee, how is letting your hair do its thing negative to people who think you shouldn't worry about more than basic cleanliness? Does she have a clue how time consuming it is to straighten curly hair? Even from Day 1, going CG was less bother than other options from my POV.
    Peace,
    Morgan

    Baby Fine 3B, low porosity, normal density and elasticity
    CGing since July 2008
  • oddityofwingsoddityofwings Posts: 1,261Registered Users
    Gee, how is letting your hair do its thing negative to people who think you shouldn't worry about more than basic cleanliness? Does she have a clue how time consuming it is to straighten curly hair? Even from Day 1, going CG was less bother than other options from my POV.

    I think it might be more that it's considered a distraction - anything more than throwing it up in a pony tail is considered 'more trouble than it's worth,' best I can tell. I think there is also a certain amount of misunderstanding on the part of others - that curly hair is somehow harder to take care of/more time consuming than straight hair. I think people forget that for some people, curly and bouncy what their hair does without much extra work at all. If anything, as we've said already, it's easier than dealing with straight hair (with personal variation, of course - I can't seem to go more than 36 hours between washes and my hair takes ages to dry regardless of what I do to it).
    3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

    Favourites:love5::
    CJ Curl Theory, Curl Rehab, Smoothing, Curl Fix, Daily Fix, CCCC, CIAB, CQ, SSCC, MC shampoo, Inecto Pure Coconut Oil, CP luscious curl creme (summer), DB Pumpkin Seed (summer), FD/MT, JCWDT, JCTS

    American literature PhD student in the UK... :study:
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,999Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    curlypearl wrote: »
    Cartoons were put up on the mirror in the ladies room making fun of women who didn't fit the severe mold that was the norm where I worked.

    That's utterly cruel. I assume doing the opposite would have been unacceptable?

    The media being what it is, I don't think I could find many cartoon examples that were the opposite. Nice thought though!
    2/c Coarse hair med. density.
    Highly porous. Color over grey.
    I love all the Curl Junkie products. Still experimenting with gels and curl creams. Still hoping for 2nd day hair....
    Every day is a gift :flower:
  • CurlyEyesCurlyEyes Posts: 2,983Registered Users
    it's pretty effed up that we're felt like we have to choose between being feminine and being smart; because that's what it comes down to. I am a girly girl and apparently come off as a ditz, as most people think I am quite the idiot. I was talking to a teacher and mentioned that I'm in this orginization-type thing for 'overacheivers' at my school, and his mouth dropped open in shock.

    that's not exactly a good feeling.
    made up of 98.822% silliness!!

    beautiful_wonderful_fabulous_jade_antm.gif
  • Paul TownsendPaul Townsend Posts: 56Registered Users
    The brain works better with the better natural insulation, tell 'em. :lol:

    I'm a paid-up card-carrying member of Mensa so I can speak with experience when I say there's a definite link between curls and intelligence.
  • AngularScienceAngularScience Posts: 844Registered Users
    Maybe it's a disconnect between generations or something that varies from school to school, but at my university (I'm a biology student on track for medical school), at the girls at least don't mind curls. Most say that girls that wear their hair curly a lot spend more time on their studies, since most people have waves/curls and straightening it would require an immense time commitment.

    As for beauty, I'm not particularly pretty so I have no experience in that respect, but I know one sorority girl who is not only model-gorgeous, but sweet and a pretty good chemical engineer! Lookism is common, but when we are open to people, we can overcome this inclination.
  • Morgan_AdcockMorgan_Adcock Posts: 2,573Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I could be wrong, but I think there's probably an erroneous assumption on many people's parts that hair is straight by default, therefore if you have curls, it's because you put them there, which equates to wasting time on frivolities among academia, and/or bad taste (because the person making the judgement doesn't like curls in general, or your curls in particular) on your part. IMO neither is a particularly intelligent assumption, so, like so many other judgements, it says much more about the person who makes it than about the person who's being judged.
    Peace,
    Morgan

    Baby Fine 3B, low porosity, normal density and elasticity
    CGing since July 2008
  • Cristinabel7Cristinabel7 Posts: 74Registered Users
    Note, I have only read your first post to this thread, but here are my two cents...

    I think that is silly! It is SMART to take care of yourself, in my opinion, and certainly, spending some time making sure you are doing things correctly is additionally intelligent and perfectly healthy.

    I am in the International Baccalaureate program at my school, and most of the girls are quite "girly", and all of us are in the top %10 of our school. It's definitely no "proof", but it certainly cancels out the statement that girly girls are not as intelligent as those who aren't.

    Hate to say it, but maybe she is jealous?
    Experimenting w/CG May 09
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  • onethousandcurlsonethousandcurls Posts: 1,118Registered Users
    I think putting down those who take the time to look good, especially in academic and professional settings, makes those bullies feel better about not "worrying" about themselves in that way. Or, they're probably just plain 'ole jealous about being what they perceive as being less attractive.

    It's so ridiculous that bullies don't end with high school.
    3b/c, CG 9/18/08
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    Currently: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Herbal Essences Set Me Up gel (summer only), Boots Curl Creme (winter only)
  • oddityofwingsoddityofwings Posts: 1,261Registered Users
    Cristinabel7 - I think she was jealous to a point. Though she has since expressed that she really likes how I look with my hair properly curly, so perhaps it was just a shock (I used to just wear my brushed out, poofy hair in a ponytail everyday) to see me doing this. I occasionally get ribbed for my attempts to find better/cheaper (or more cost-effective) products. For example, I had been hoping to go to London and see if I could get hold of some AOHR (smell it, anyway, see if I can take the fragrance), since there aren't any nearby stores that carry it. That plan fell through (unexpected teaching - yay!), so I have had to find a way to the only stockist in Norfolk, who's in Attleborough. The conversation on the phone went:

    Me: How do you get to Attleborough?
    Her: Bus 13. Why do you want to go to Attleborough?
    Me: *mumble mumble*
    Her: Sorry?
    Me: Hair goop.
    Her: I swear, you are getting SO girly!

    Of course, she is currently on a crusade to get holes put in my ears, so she has no room to talk. ;-)
    3b/c. Fine, med-high porosity, normal elasticity. Hair loves oils in summer, protein in winter. Constantly battling the hard water monster.

    Favourites:love5::
    CJ Curl Theory, Curl Rehab, Smoothing, Curl Fix, Daily Fix, CCCC, CIAB, CQ, SSCC, MC shampoo, Inecto Pure Coconut Oil, CP luscious curl creme (summer), DB Pumpkin Seed (summer), FD/MT, JCWDT, JCTS

    American literature PhD student in the UK... :study:
  • WavyAngieWavyAngie Posts: 44Registered Users
    I want to start off by saying that I love PrettyMedusa's quote "I love myself. I accept myself. I think I'm beautiful. Lord help me, I think I'm the whole package!" Words for all of us to live by, lol.

    I'm not an academic (yet), but many of the most intelligent people I know are some of the prettiest I know as well. I think that, in general, people who criticize people who are intelligent and attractive are just struggling with the knowledge that the other person manages to be both, while they are only one. I think it boils down to jealousy. If someone is really intelligent, their appearance won't prevent that from shining through and it's disappointing to me that more people don't realize that.

    (Disclaimer: I know it's bad to stereotype others, and I try really hard to avoid it. The following comment is meant to be taken in an "in theory" way.) I would be more inclined to think people with super straight hair are less on top of things intelligence-wise than someone with curly hair. After all, I know how much of a struggle the person with curly hair has or had at some point with their hair. And you have to be pretty intelligent to understand the chemistry in hair products as well. How often do you hear girls with straight hair discussing chemical properties of ingredients in their hair products?
    I have fine, 2c hair with normal porosity (I think.... :) ).

    Currently, I'm using Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut (co-wash), LVPNG (regular conditioner), Giovanni Direct Leave-In, and HETT (gel). Every now and then (once a week or so, whenever my hair needs it) I use GTTT shampoo. I've had good success with plopping and pixie curling, but my hair dries best if I shower and then sleep on it. My hair does NOT like honey.

    I've been CG since June 29th, 2009.

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