Revista Estudos Feministas
Print version ISSN 0104-026X
BORGES, Maria de Lourdes. Gender and desire: does intelligence damage women?. Rev. Estud. Fem. [online]. 2005, vol.13, n.3, pp. 667-676. ISSN 0104-026X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-026X2005000300012.
In this paper I analyze the idea that intelligence is a male erotic attribute, while beauty is what makes woman attractive. I begin by Immanuel Kant, an 18th Century philosopher, according to whom an intelligent woman may have the admiration of men, but not their desire. More than that, an intelligent, yet beautiful woman would lose her power over men, because intelligence can ruin woman attractiveness. I show that this apparently old vision is still alive today. Many authors nowadays support the view that what makes a woman's attractive for man is beauty, intelligence being negative or indifferent for attraction. Some even assign this idea to a natural essence of man and woman. I will challenge this view, showing that beauty has a cultural aspect and that we cannot appeal to a non-historical essence of human being.
Keywords : gender; desire; beauty; intelligence.