For some weird reason, style and intelligence are often seen as two very separate things. You can look great and if you do, it will often be assumed that you are intellectually limited. And if you have a good brain, you’ll be expected to dress like some kind of stylistically limited awkward character from the dark ages.
Current trends which celebrate stupidity have only reinforced the separation. A quick flip through any Fashion or Style magazine and you’ll realise that many of those picked to promote and model leading brands aren’t exactly flying the flags for smarts. Many are there either because of celebrity connections or because they have gained media attention for doing something ridiculous and/ or cringe-worthy. On the flip side, smart people who do get media attention aren’t glamourised in any way. No scientist or academic for example, has been thrust into the limelight and shown to be both knowledgeable and stylish and you certainly won’t see them on many, if any, billboards – unless they’re promoting an educational drive.
Actors like Meryl Streep, AsleyJudd, Dolph Lundgren, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rashida Jones, David Duchovny, James Franco and model Christy Turlington have degrees, Masters and PhDs in fields as varying as languages, literature, public administration, chemistry, chemical engineering, geology, anthropology and religion. And they aren’t alone.
But smart as they might be, these celebrities don’t play on their intelligence or qualifications. Why? Perhaps because of the typical rags to riches story we’re often sold which involves some lost dropout/ uneducated lost soulbeing discovered and propelled to a shiny new life. Ergo, intellect is not part of the equation. Or maybe it’s because somehow society doesn’t see glamour and smarts as a desirable combination. Why celebrate intelligence when you can cheer on the latest reality TV dumbass right? It’s almost as if we need or want glamourous people to be vacuous and dumb.
Of course, there are intelligent celebrities and in everyday life you don’t have to look far to see people who are rocking their jobs and looking extremely good whilst doing it. It’s an admirable thing which commands respect – amen to that! – but for some reason it isn’t an image that’s readily available to us. And it’s certainly not an image that Fashion especially seems keen to embrace. Instead, we’re flooded with images of popular idiots (let’s call a spade a spade) who live up to the ‘glamorous is extremely dumb’ stereotype. And now that society bows to social media, clicks and followers, things are hardly likely to change.
No matter how much we are being brainwashed, being stupid is not a good look. It’s certainly not a quality that most rational people want to cultivate and emulate. And when it comes to ‘poster people’, it’d be much more refreshing to see someone who has something more to offer than being cheap tacky cheap popular clickbait. Time for brands to start growing a backbone and choose ambassadors who show that style is and can be smart. If they dare.