Are Blondes Really Dumb? New Study Tells All!

You know the famous old blonde joke: A blind guy on a bar stool shouts to the bartender, “Wanna hear a blonde joke?”

But then the guy next to him whispers, “Hey, buddy, the bartender is blonde. The bouncer is huge, and he’s blonde too. I’m a pretty big guy myself and I train in karate. I’m a blonde. And the guy next to me is a notoriously angry drunk who carries a knife. He’s blonde as well. And the big wrestler in the corner, he’s blonde and has to be at least 300 pounds. You sure you still wanna tell that joke?”

The blind  guy thinks about it and says, “Not if I’m going to have to explain it five times.”

It’s funny because we’ve all heard “blonde jokes.” Blondes are a little more rare than average, and they have a reputation for being vivacious, fun loving, sexy… and, to stereotype, not too bright. You don’t see as many blonde jokes as you used to these politically correct days, but they’re still funny. That is, they’re still funny until you stop and ask yourself: Are they really true? Or are they based on a stereotype that actually isn’t true at all?

Well, somebody asked the same question not that long ago. At Ohio State University, some researchers took a massive survey of a large population across the United States. Their goal was to look at the intelligence of white women and white men (in other words, the races that are capable of naturally having blonde hair) and compared their IQs. The idea was, of course, that blondes would have an average lower IQ if the stereotypes are true.

The results are a little surprising. It found that the “mean IQ” of women with blonde hair was actually higher than that for women with brown, red, or black hair. The difference was small — just a few points. Interestingly, the intelligence of men with blonde hair was roughly equal to the intelligence of men with brown, red, or black hair. The study couldn’t find enough of a gap between the blonde men and their differently hair-colored counterparts to call it statistically significant.

So what explains why blonde white women are slightly smarter than other women? The study produced some odd correlations. The researchers claim that white blonde women are more likely to grow up in homes with “intellectual stimulation” and “reading material.” Because blonde women are considered beautiful but not as bright, it has actually had an effect on hiring and promotion practices in the workplace. Beautiful blondes were chosen for “forward-facing” positions in the workplace, such as in reception to impress customers and visitors. But the same beautiful blondes had a harder time getting promoted to positions of management authority.

What’s really funny about the study is that it sort of glosses over what everybody understands. Beautiful women, regardless of hair color, can pretty much write their own tickets in our society. The more attractive a woman is, the more opportunities she has available to her. When people talk about the “wage gap” between men and women, they’re actually basing their facts and figures on an “apples and oranges” comparison. You’ve probably heard the often repeated statistic that women get 78 percent of every dollar that men do for the same work. But that’s actually not true. The figure is arrived at by comparing the income for all men versus the income for all women… without bothering to correct for factors that skew the data.

For example, women are much more likely to take long periods of time away from the workplace, or to leave their jobs completely, in order to have and raise children. They also tend to gravitate to fields of study in college that pay less well when they graduate. You have probably heard that women are not well represented in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics fields (STEM fields). But women graduate from college more often than men do, and just as many women graduate with STEM related degrees as men. The women who enter these fields tend to leave them voluntarily. And when you leave a job and derail your career, the cycle of raises and promotions is arrested.

There’s another factor, too. Women are less likely to negotiate for higher salaries than men are, and they’re less likely to ask for or demand raises. This may be due to cultural factors and it may be due to the fact that women are less aggressive naturally, but the answer is anything but institutionalized unfairness to women. In fact, it doesn’t make good economic sense not to hire women if you can, in fact, get away with paying them less. An employer who knew he or she could get qualified workers who were all women, and therefore pay them three fourths of what men would get, could make a fortune in labor cost savings. But that’s not what employers do… and as everyone knows, the first consideration for most employers is financial, not ideological.

The fact is, beautiful women are always an advantage around the workplace, but you can’t hold the business world responsible for the individual decisions of women or men. What people do with regard to their careers certainly does make a difference to what they are paid. This isn’t sexism and it isn’t employers discriminating against women, or against blonde women (stupid or otherwise). Being beautiful opens many doors for a woman because all men want to be around them. The idea that  beautiful women are being held back is kind of ridiculous, when you think about. If you’re capable of doing the work, looking good while doing it is hardly going to hold you back.

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