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A study published last week by the University of Buffalo includes findings that claim that when “a woman’s goal is to be romantically desirable, she distances herself from academic majors and activities related to science, technology, engineering and math.” Now, I’m sat on the fence here on whether I should find this interesting and relevant, or downright ridiculous. As an English Literature major myself, I can definitely report that (as you probably either know or would expect) that in my lectures the sea of female faces hugely overwhelms the male population, to the point of me and my flatmate thinking males non-existent in our first eager lecture of note-taking and er, talent-spotting.
However, I find it difficult to believe that, as the study would suggest, the majority of the girls are here only for the maintenance of an image that is soft, romantic, and feminine, for the benefit of future love interests who enquire about what they have a degree in.
On my part at least, as I’m sure is true for the huge majority, I study English simply because I am better at it than Maths or Science. After struggling through a Chemistry A-Level, I concluded for once and for all that I just don’t have the logic or the memory for that kind of subject. However in that classroom the genders seemed balanced, and many of my female scientist-friends went on to study sciences at university level, and yes, some have managed to go against all odds and acquire boyfriends, although probably through extensive lying and covering up of where their intellect lies.
I am not disputing the study; as far as I’m aware it was carried out on a fair sample. However I think that it seems hugely old-fashioned for women to still be so intrinsically ruled by their romantic aspirations, over the aspirations to build spaceships and cure disease. It seems much more convincing to me that, as I mentioned above, it is more to do with the way our minds work and how we follow our strengths. Or maybe women are just more inclined to adopt the sexy-librarian persona over the sexy-doctor. And honestly, I am not really sure my arts degree does me all that many favours in terms of my love life. Indeed, it would seem that the ubiquitous humanities-mocking of my ‘degree in reading books’, comes more from men than women. Unless they’re just flirting, of course.