We’ve all seen it: The girl who bats her eyes and plays dumb to get the guy. It makes some of us cringe. I once watched a friend morph into a wide-eyed coy toy in the presence of an attractive man, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This typically smart, pretty girl suddenly didn’t know the answer to one plus one because she wanted to impress a guy. What’s up with that?
It can’t be denied that some guys like stupid girls. They’re shallow. They want one thing, and it doesn’t involve a brain. They’re arrogant and don’t like to be challenged. They want their women to shut up and look pretty. They don’t want a partner; they want an arm ornament. Men like this aren’t real men. They’re pigs.
Most men, though, aren’t like that and want more from the girls they date. If you asked them, they’d tell you they don’t really like the dumb ones. They want more. They want smart. So why do girls continue to play dumb, even with guys who aren’t shallow? I think there are two reasons.
Two Theories About Girls Who Play Dumb
The first is the most obvious. While it seems like the girl is demeaning herself by playing dumb, she’s really the one in control. She’s acting, not letting the guy see her true self because she wants to lull him into a sense of dominance. She’s stroking his ego and distracting him with her looks.
Men, even the ones with depth, can fall for physical allurements (sorry, guys, but you know it’s true). Women know this, and if they want to attract a man, they will focus on the physical and downplay the intellectual.
Women who do this will let men think they’re in control when really she is the one pulling the levers. All she has to do is play dumb to hook him. Once he’s hooked, she’s got him where she wants him. Her playacting is merely bait. Women like this are inauthentic and unserious. It would be a good thing if men avoided them like the plague (or the STDs). If you don’t, if you fall for the glittery, shiny object, you’ll regret it.
The second reason is more philosophical and has to do with the natural interactions between men and women. While they want equal partners, there is a natural disposition in men to want to be dominant, to be the strong leader, and to be the protector. I’ll go ahead and use the antiquated term: most men, deep down, appreciate a woman who is submissive. They don’t want to be constantly challenged. They value deference.
I know many of you are starting to squirm, but hear me out. The term “submissive” has been completely mangled by both religious extremists and radical feminists. The religious extremists believe submission means a woman can never be equal to a man or share authority with him because the woman is somehow morally and even intellectually flawed.
That’s the extreme view, and yes, it is real in certain circles—and not just Christian ones. The worst religion when it comes to oppressing women is fundamental Islam, where women aren’t allowed to drive, go to school, or be seen in public without a covering.
A Healthy Concept of Submission
Whatever the variety, any religion that relegates women to a lesser status is extreme and perverts a healthy concept of submission. Anyone who sees submission only through the lens of authoritarianism and tyranny hasn’t a clue about what real submission or even love is.
On the other side are the radical feminists who not only think women are the same as men—as if they’re interchangeable—but they really think women are superior. In their world, patriarchy is the root of all evil, and the less women have to do with men, the better. These are the feminists who think a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. She doesn’t need him. If anything, she should dominate him.
The irony is these women who think they are so independent of men are the most dependent on the state (and the men that govern it). They think they’ve broken free of the patriarchal cage, but they aren’t free at all. They’ve just exchanged one captor for another.
These women hear the term submission and automatically picture religious extremists who treat women like they’re second-class citizens. Submission is an evil word because, to them, it presupposes that women are stupid, incapable, and inept. To even utter the term is to say a woman can’t go to the bathroom without a man holding her hand.
Truth Is Difficult to Disentangle
The radical feminist considers any woman who puts the needs of a man over her own needs, submits to his will out of love and respect, or recognizes his strength as something to be relied on as a violation of the sisterhood. They’re traitors to the cause of equality.
This view of submission has highly influenced our culture. Just look at the reaction career women often have to women who stay at home raising four, five, or (God forbid!) six children. They look down on them as if these stay-at-home moms don’t have a brain cell in their heads. It’s assumed that demure or submissive or even humble equals dumb.
On the flip side, too many stay-at-home moms assume women who work don’t submit to their husbands or show them deference. They make wrong judgments and fail to see the many ways the working woman shows her husband respect and relies on his strength.
Radical feminists, however, don’t even want to think in those terms. They would like to imagine that we’re all perfectly equal and submission should be relegated to the annals of a dark and oppressive history. But nature has a way of forcing us to deal with reality—the reality that men and women are different and that men have a natural and healthy inclination to protect, lead, and be a provider.
Likewise, women have a natural inclination to depend on men (look at how they flock to the state when they don’t have a man in their lives). Women do want a man they can depend on. I wrote about this at Ricochet few years ago in “My Knight in Shining Armor—Women Do Need Men,” describing how I learned in my own life the value of depending on a man and how we learn much about this value from our fathers.
When Men Don’t Protect Women
In aiming to be true to ourselves as human beings, the fact is men want a woman to be dependent on them in some ways, not because she is incapable or because he’s an authoritarian jerk, but because she is vulnerable in a way men are not. He cares for her. He instinctively wants to protect her. Men still want, even if they don’t express it, to be chivalrous.
The problem is too many men either take the Neanderthal approach of religious extremists and dominate women in the worst way (even to the point of abuse), preferring stupid girls so they can use them to meet their physical needs. Or men have bought the feminist egalitarian bull that men and women are the same. They don’t feel like they need to help women—it’s every man for himself. Since women are basically acting like men anyway, the adage fits.
As a result, many men today don’t value women as the “softer sex.” They don’t stand up for a woman when she leaves the table, open a car door, or show her the respect she deserves. Even worse, as we have seen recently, they expect women to take the bullets for them in times of war—all in the name of equality.
But this notion of equality is a lie. Try as we might, we can’t deny who we are. Women will still like being dependent on men and, yes, even submit to them in areas of their strength. Men will still want to lead, to be the protector, and to provide for the woman he loves. These feelings are natural and good. Every individual needs to work out how this bears out in everyday life, but to deny the essential impulses is to bury your head in the sand.
Neither Extreme Is Healthy
We see something of this dynamic in the girl playing dumb in the dating scene. She believes that appealing to a man’s sense of leadership involves lessening herself as a woman. She plays dumb. She thinks this is what the man will find attractive. But this is a false notion and plays into the distorted thinking of the religious extremists and the radical feminists—both of whom equate submission with ineptitude.
The answer to this male-female dynamic is not for women to act like she-dudes, bullying men and challenging them with their superior intellect (which is what they assume). I cringe just as much when I see a woman turning into a harsh “I am woman hear me roar” butch (often with lipstick and glittering eyes). It is unsettling, and I see it all the time. These are not just Alpha women. They’re women who have bought into the idea that they have to act just like men to be valued and respected.
During dating or any interaction between the sexes, both the dumb act and the she-dude act are unacceptable. Both deny nature. Both disrupt relationships. Both undermine a healthy and vibrant society.
The healthy path for relationships and society where men and women are living optimally is to recognize our strengths and weaknesses according to our sex. We are not the same. Men have strengths and abilities women don’t have. Women have strengths and abilities men don’t have. Because men are physically stronger and don’t bear children, they have the capacity to care for women in a way that enhances the relationship.
This doesn’t mean women are weak, and they’re certainly not stupid. This doesn’t mean women can’t do many of the same tasks in life that men do. They can. But there is a beautiful complementary relationship between the two that we should honor and respect.
Just Don’t Play Dumb
So, what does this mean for dating? Ladies, don’t play dumb. That’s not what a real man wants. That’s not who you are. That’s not what it means to show deference to a man. Be yourself. Be smart. But be humble and respectful to him. Let him lead, not because he’s more intelligent or capable, but because you respect his strength as a man.
Likewise, ladies, you don’t need to be a dominant bullish Amazon woman to prove your worth, either. If a man likes that, then so be it. I wish him well in finding his man parts at some point in his life. The point is you can be a strong, intelligent, capable woman but still remain humble and meek.
There is no shame in relying on a man to protect you, or even finding pleasure in him offering you his hand to help you from the car. And, please, let him open the door for you. If he doesn’t, wait for him to do it. Our feminized culture has told him he shouldn’t. Let’s help remind him that he should.