Thinking About Women

Monday, May 09, 2011

Lisa Bloom, legal analyst and author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, wonders why women are better educated than ever and more celebrity-obsessed.

Event: You can meet Lisa in person at Barnes and Noble on 82 street Thursday June 2 at 7PM.

Barnes and Noble on 82nd street
Thursday June 2nd at 7PM
Q & A with Jeffrey To


Lisa Bloom

Comments [25]

The fact that most Americans only speak English and see no need to learn another language is probably the best indicator of ours being a dumbed down society, but Ms. Bloom correctly points out others. As a father of a young girl I feel compelled to get a copy of the book and share its insights with as many parents as possible. Now all we need is someone to address the male waste land issues.There is so much talk these days about American Exceptionalism, but most of the exceptional things about this country that I see are of the type addressed by Ms. Bloom. So when are we going to release our inner Newton Minnow and address the "vast wasteland" of commercial television?

May. 09 2011 05:27 PM

To the last caller, I really want to reiterate that smart girls are, in the long run, at an advantage. Smart guys may seem hard to find, but my many male friends at top-tier universities have been interested fairly exclusively in smart, informed girls. I can say I've been at a loss to find *girls* who appreciate current events, etc due precisely to the issue this segment discussed.

However, I have a problem with Ms. Bloom's premise that women are the primary/sole victims of the culture of stupidity. Why are our school days so short? We NEED daylight time for sports, without which boys are somehow less. I certainly recognize these gender achievement gaps, however identifying their origin as innate rather than hunting for the cause is crazy. When we identify such racial gaps, we rightfully work to improve their education rather than turn to an outdated bias. Let's extend half our nation's youth the same reasonableness.

May. 09 2011 11:15 AM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

Great segment! Important discussion - buying the book NOW. (Maybe I'll put a copy at my favorite nail salon and balance all the junk reading they stock.) This "girl" is well groomed AND well informed.(Thanks to NPR, WNYC, etc.!)

No apologies here.

May. 09 2011 11:14 AM

Sometimes, as a man, I feel that women do not take responsibility for this situation. Certainly men are responsible as well, but the solution is going to require women to make conscious decisions to change their behavior.

Take something as simple as heels. Don't get me wrong, they're hot, but wearing heels essentially sends the message, "I don't need to be prepared to do _any_ significant physical labor." This of course is not limited to shoes, but hundreds of other fashion choices. You might think this is frivolous, but the origins are deep, sometimes subtle and are not completely independent of attraction and mating strategies.

May. 09 2011 11:12 AM

You keep using the word "smart." What do you mean by this? Clever? High IQ? Educated? Having "good sense?" "Insightful?" You have to define your terms before this discussion makes any sense.

May. 09 2011 11:06 AM
Bee from Whitehouse, NJ

I busy, I teach dance on top of working full time. I would love to read books, I make up for this ignorance by just listening to npr at my office job, in the car, in the morning.

My Grandma asked who cooks once, and I answered neither, we do take out. We have no time. Who cleans: well that's mainly my Husband. I've just given up in doing house work!

I married my husband for two things. He found me impressively knowledgable. I found him impressivley open minded to share thoughts on all levels from politics to food.

The one thing I don't care to remember, are things you can look up such as the names of the 9 supreme court justices. However I do care for the decisions they make, and how it will effect us.

May. 09 2011 11:04 AM
Rick from Manhattan

It seems to me that this really is a male problem, and I cite the comments of the young lady afraid to be too smart on a date. Much has been said about how education is failing boys. We need to smarten up the guys and the girls will not be so afraid. It usually takes two to have a conversation, and girls and guys like to be with each other. It would be wise to raise the level generally.

May. 09 2011 11:03 AM
Dr. Scyatta Wallace from NY, NY

Great conversation. I work with teen girls on self-esteem building and leadership development. They are in great need of more women and men as role models and teachers of life skills. That is the foundation to getting them to believe that they can be and want to be smart.

May. 09 2011 11:01 AM
John A.

Good idea for a book. Lisa is obviously writing from experience ("Straight Talk for Women...") and I hope she can apply it to any American, male+female, in time. Too much entertainment everywhere is part of the cause.

May. 09 2011 11:00 AM
Edward from NJ

@Marc from Brooklyn: "Who are these males who don't care for smart women?"

I'm going to say that they're dumb males who don't care for smart people in general.

May. 09 2011 11:00 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What I want to know is, how do I *avoid* knowing the tabloid crap? It's in my face any time I go out of the house or watch TV (OK, some of the latter is parodies), Part of the problem is that to know the important stuff, you have to actively look for it, but the dumb stuff comes to us whether we want it or not.

May. 09 2011 10:58 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Who are these males who don't care for smart women? There is nothing less attractive than a dumb broad. Frankly, brains are sexy. So to the young women out there, I say get smart, stay smart, and don't be afraid of looking smart. It's very attractive.

That being said, knowing the political minutia of the day does not constitute prima facia proof of intelligence or thoughtfulness. Politics can be every bit as shallow a pursuit as any other. There's a whole universe of knowledge out there, and politics is hardly the most important chunk of it.

May. 09 2011 10:57 AM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

Actually, I was raised in a family that would look at thinking and asking questions as a terrible thing. I was constantly denigrated by my family as they would always ask me why I couldn't just be like everybody else. My intelligence embarrassed them.

By the grace of God, I married a genius that appreciates that I think. He and I can have extraordinary debates and hold our own opinions as we are able to understand what each other is saying. It's awesome.

Yeah, Lisa, it is disturbing.

May. 09 2011 10:57 AM
Joel from Washington Heights-Inwood

What I always think when i hear these arguments, is, "When exactly were things ever not like this? When were the majority of Americans able to name the Supreme Court justices? When did the majority of Americans have a dog-eared book on their nightstand?" Let me just apologize to Ms. Bloom for having to live in a world where some people, unlike her, don't like to read books. We all just can't be as curious as you, sorry. If we live in a culture that deliberately tells women to avoid intellectualism, fair enough, criticize that. But that the majority of people in this city or this nation don't subscribe to upper-middle-class values shouldn't be held against them.

May. 09 2011 10:57 AM
Neighbor from Manhattan

Why is WNYC worried about this? You should be celebrating it. The uninformed youth are the reason why Obama is president. They are the reason why progressive policies are so pervasive.

Its fascinating how liberals constantly preach about equality and unity and here we have a liberal commentator talking about "my people" and "killing the boys." Hypocrisy at its best.

May. 09 2011 10:53 AM
Neighbor from Manhattan

Why is WNYC worried about this? You should be celebrating it. The uninformed youth are the reason why Obama is president. They are the reason why inherently unsuccessful progressive policies are so pervasive.

Its fascinating how liberals constantly preach about equality and unity and here we have a liberal commentator talking about "my people" and "killing the boys." Hypocrisy at its best.

May. 09 2011 10:53 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo !!
This society is dumbed down and a big fault is the decline of university standards (....teaching soap operas as drama courses) and the leakage into general culture Males need to turn off ESPN!.

May. 09 2011 10:53 AM
jmurphy from long island

I think the most important point of this conversation is how the US does not measure up to other countries.

It goes to show you how superficial chants of "USA! USA!" are - they are based on superficiality and misplaced pride.

As a society, we are the most shallow country there is. We need a wake up call as to what is really important in life.

May. 09 2011 10:52 AM
Sharon Kaufman from New York

I appreciate what Lisa Bloom is saying - but, sadly, I find most men under the age of 50 know as little about current events as the women. They don't read books, or pay attention to news. Even the men cannot name the supreme Court Justices

May. 09 2011 10:51 AM
Smokey from LES

You are absolutely correct! But I think our politics is so corrupt that it discourages us from getting involved because we're always outspent by those who can afford to buy our politicians.

May. 09 2011 10:49 AM

The book Backlash by Susan Faludi should be mandatory reading in high school - for girls and boys.

May. 09 2011 10:48 AM
Ex-Boyfriend of a Woman Who Sounds Like This

Based on a cursory glance of this topic, I am pretty sure I once had a relationship with one of these women. She was a very smart young woman who had a budding career but she deferred any sense of self-confidence or a long term plan for a successful life to "grown ups" and instead cared only about reading Gawker and the like. She also obsessed with trying to find ties to celebrities, explicitly saying she was trying to leave her small town upbringing behind and live in New York like she was in a Hollywood movie. She was already 30 by this point.

I also think this speaks to a larger issue - many women of my ex's age, no matter how much they mature and how much they accomplish - fall back on a "I'm just a girl" attitude, sometimes used for manipulation of people, but more often used for passing the buck and avoiding responsibility.

May. 09 2011 09:49 AM

Why is being "celebrity-obsessed" considered a female issue? There seem to be plenty of men who are obsessed with sports stars, musicians, business men.

Also I agree with the poster who criticizes professional education. When I was in school I remember being in some honors class that was supposed to be for the top students (I wasn't a top student but I actually cared about the topic so the prof let me in) and was expecting to get blown away by prodigy kids...instead I was disturbed to find the students actually worse intellectually than the main student population! It's just these guys could turn in tedious assignments with mechanical efficiency...these are the people on the track to be doctors and lawyers? I lost a little respect for doctors after that.

May. 09 2011 09:04 AM
a g from n j

how about the necessary hard and dangerous, "glass-basement" jobs that are done mostly by men,and, quite frankly, most women would not want to do. not a knock on women,but let's have a little perspective. stop all the "triumphal victimhood" please. the world is more complex,than you think.

May. 09 2011 07:43 AM

Not so much into celebrities. And I frankly don't know any women who are.
As for women being "better educated", we certainly do have more women docs, lawyers and MBA's today. However, their education appears to be limited to their respective industries. I knew housewives back in the day who were far better read than most female professionals today.
I hope Lisa can make the distinction between today's wildly corrupt professional class training and a real education.

May. 09 2011 05:48 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.