How do girls impress boys? Well, duh. They fake being, if not stupid, then at least less intelligent than they actually are. So claims a new study from the University of Warwick in England.
According to an article in Science Daily, around the time when puberty sets in, girls learn to downplay their smarts in order to win over boys. Yes, even now, in the year 2014.
"There are very strong pressures in society that dictate what is a proper man and a proper woman," argues sociologist Dr Maria do Mar Pereira, who observed a class of kids at a Lisbon school for a three-month period.
"Young people try to adapt their behaviour according to these pressures to fit into society," says Dr Pereira. "One of the pressures is that young men must be more dominant—cleverer, stronger, taller, funnier—than young women, and that being in a relationship with a woman who is more intelligent will undermine their masculinity."
In addition to downplaying their intelligence, girls disengaged from hobbies and sports that seem "unfeminine" and resisted the urge to speak out against harassment.
A worrying and deeply problematic social pattern, says Dr Pereira, who urges parents and educators to "promote ideas about gender which are less rigid, and recognize there are many ways of being a man and a woman."
Dr Pereira's research has been published in a book entitled, Doing Gender in the Playground: The Negotiation of Gender and Sexuality in Schools.
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