Are women with doctorate degrees less feminine or attractive? A majority of people would answer the question in affirmative, or at least that’s the case in China.
Chinese people generally hold that one must be really smart and at the same time work really hard to achieve a doctorate. In any case, there are not that many doctorate degree holders. And, it’s already difficult enough for men, who are generally believed, for right or wrong reasons, to be better suited than their female counterparts for getting a doctorate. What then would bring up a generation of women with doctorate degrees?
In China, there is a popular saying on online forums that women with doctorate degrees (女博士) are the third sex, or even asexual, between male and female. They have sloppy appearance because they could not afford the time to tend to their looks, given the assumption that they would devote all their time to reading and learning. Some even go further to more specific imaginations about this ‘species’ - they wear thick glasses, look reserved due to limited experience in romantic relationships, act in a dumb way because they are bookish and the worst of all, they all must be ……quite……old! Yes! Considering so many youthful years have been wasted on abstract and stupid research.
Snapshot of the Weibo account--People for the Ethical Treatment of Doctors (PETD亚洲善待博士组织). Photo: from the Internet
The perspective may sound radical and biased, but that was actually my true thought before finding the Weibo account—People for the Ethical Treatment of PHDs (PETD亚洲善待博士组织). There is a team that owns the account. At the beginning, all they wanted is for doctors to change the perception. So, they invited pretty women with doctorate degrees to post pictures from their undergraduate, postgraduate, and PHD days, respectively, on the website for comparison—to find out if the women are really getting more and more less-attractive as the learning goes on.
Then a lot of avid and talented women did post their pictures. The outcome is quite clear.
Oh, God. I believe those who get to see the pictures of all these charming ladies would shake their heads and feel stupid about their existing opinions about the looks of this learned class, thinking instead, oh, what an unique species they are—smart and gorgeous!
So, let’s look at the pictures and then be reminded of that old American song—Pretty Women…… (The music starts here)
Photos: weibo account--People for the Ethical Treatment of Doctors (亚洲善待博士组织PETD).