A blurb in today's article on women in the unicameral, or the lack thereof...
A 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center showed higher numbers of 2,250 Americans surveyed believed women were superior to men in character traits they value in political leaders. They said women were more honest, intelligent, compassionate, outgoing and creative when it came to leadership. On intelligence, 43 percent said men and women were equal, 38 percent said women were smarter and 14 percent said men were smarter.
Some might see this stat as a sign that feminism has gone too far, that attitudes towards gender have jumped over the point of fairness and straight into the realm of reverse discrimination. But what this survey actually displays is the old feminist trope that 'patriarchy hurts men too.' It shows that feminism hasn't gone far enough in breaking down the nonsense that American men believe about ourselves.
Women have more freedom to outwardly appear intelligent, openly thoughtful and ambivalent, whereas men are taught that reaching a conclusion for its own sake, and then manfully standing behind it, is far more important than the process of reaching that conclusion. To value the thought process is necessarily to confess to vulnerability and weakness. To acknowledge fallible judgment and the possibility of being wrong is to acknowledge the possibility of being hurt by the consequences of being wrong. This is blasphemy to our masculine ideal. The true man is not only perfectly strong but perfect strength, unstoppable for as long as he simply and sincerely believes in his rightness.
Now obviously the idea that thought itself is unmanly can lead men to do inconceivably stupid things, and it is in fact the main culprit behind every one of humanity's all-time dumbest decisions. So naturally women in authority who aren't burdened by this trope are going to look much smarter than men who are. Still I reckon that many of the thirty eight percent who told the Pew Center that women were more intelligent than men will still vote for a tough decisive man they can have a beer with.