Anyone who has ever spent some time on the internet or has glossed through their facebook newsfeed has come across a top 10 of some sort. Buzzfeed is particularly notorious in its lists of things, mostly because of their ability to recycle the same ideas in barely new, meme-filled ways. “Things only 90s kids understand” or something to that effect is a popular one they like to exploit. It’s a very nicely wrapped, easy-to-read way to package thoughts and concepts into boxed constructions and digestible click-bait. A lot of them are harmless but the kind of lists that really get to me are the personality based ones. There are such gems out there such as The Huffington Post’s “18 things creative people do differently”and “10 signs you’re exceptionally smart but don’t appear to be” published by a site called Lifehack.org. These are particularly grating but devilishly ingenious.
One such list that stood out to me the most is one very special “Why Most Men Can’t Handle A Deep Woman” with its very “profound”insights stacked neatly from 1 to 10. I don’t have anything against lists but there’s a time and place for such a device. Reinforcing your own pretensions about possessing vaguely positive personality traits is not one of them. These kind of lists are on par with Star Sign readings and how many arbitrary adjectives can be forced into a description of how great being a Leo is (or whatever your sign happens to be). It’s a way of pushing oversimplifications as depth. You’re so intent in acquiescing to the characteristics presented to you that you manipulate your thoughts into agreement.
My problem with lists like these aren’t so much to do with the subject matter but rather the way in which the article wishes to engage the reader. The power of writing comes in its ability to bring feelings to a substantive form that may have previously been hard to grasp or to open you up to new perspectives. The reasons why all these “word porn”excerpts are so popular is because of how easily accessible they are and more importantly because of the relatable sentiments they are able to capture. When somebody writes “top 10 things creative and intelligent people relate to” or whatever it may be, it’s a form of engaging the reader directly without challenging them. It suggests an exploration into the creative mind but then just goes on to list a few habits that are agreeable to the perfectionist mentality. It doesn’t really teach you anything about these qualities, it just reaffirms them. Short quotes that are smart and insightful are effective in how memorable they are and can therefore leave an impact by having more staying power. More conventional pieces of journalism and opinion pieces make use of persuasive language and reasoning that can be questioned and analysed. There is usually a purpose to these and a point that is trying to be made. When these lists come along, I wonder what is the purpose of “15 things that make you a 90s kid”? So far the only answer I can come up with is this: pandering.
What is the ultimate point conveyed in “why men can’t handle a deep woman”? Is it that these women’s souls are these vast oceans, so rich in wisdom and mystery that they can only be explored by a man daring and dedicated enough to brave their infinite depth? Nope. It’s a way of feigning exclusivity while still pandering to a wide audience. It’s meant for a number of people to read and think “omg this is so me!” while still maintaining that they belong to an elitist group of deep thinkers whose inability to find Mr Right is due to a difficulty in making a meaningful connection because they’re just too damn deep. The more important question is, how many people will come across this article and proceed to categorise themselves as shallow? Anyone who deems themselves unconfined to the limits of what a “deep” woman is, probably has more insight than the target audience of this piece. Or maybe there’s a togetherness aspect of this article that I’m neglecting. Perhaps we women need to converge into a common ground of recognition that we’re all too “deep” for most men. Men and women often have contrasting ideas as to what they should aspire to. Women are encouraged from an early age to value commitment and are entrenched with the idea of a limited time frame to find a husband. This has also to do with biological reasons as well as social and cultural ones. Men on the other hand, don’t really have a cut off date to be eligible for marriage and are often encouraged to get a lot of action before being “tied down”. Commitment may be perceived as restraining rather than fulfilling. This means that women in general may more often aspire to an emotional connection than men. However, I’m not sure I agree with this whole “deep”construct. I think that you can separate your love life from your critical thinking and philosophical capabilities. Some of the most well renowned male thinkers of all time have had misogynistic tendencies (just read about the personal lives of Leo Tolstoy and Ernest Hemingway).
So what exactly qualifies one to be a “deep woman”? Well it’s exactly the kind of characteristics that you would expect. It’s also the kind of generically pragmatic qualities anyone seeking a genuine connection would want. The list includes emphasis on things such as honesty, intimacy and knowing what you want. The more surprising, maybe even frightening one was intensity. Its placement after “craving consistency” also makes it even more problematic. The consistency aspect implies a sense of level-headedness such as desiring stability and a “solid bond” that goes beyond mind games, casual meetings and erratic behaviour. Instead of wasting time hoping for that flaky guy to come around or pursuing men who aren’t too interested, a “deep”woman will make it clear that she is looking for something substantial. The level-headed connotation is then immediately distinguished in the next point. This bullet point comes with a disclaimer warning so that’s pretty much a red flag. Apparently deep women are also super intense in both thought and emotion. Passion is great and often uplifting but I’m not so sure I get a sense of emotional stability from someone who “brings intensity to everything she does”. I prefer intensity to be in smaller doses, when it’s an appropriate time and place. There’s a fine line between intensity and straight up crazy. We women really don’t need to provide reasons to affirm this idea that we’re all just irrational, PMSing basket cases. There are men out there who genuinely believe that women are inherently unfit to be in positions of power because apparently we’re governed by emotions instead of logic. Unfortunately for those men, women have vast and varying capabilities and having a vagina doesn’t mean that we are automatically less qualified than our penis-having counterparts.
Deep women also like to ask “deep questions”, know how to “love deeply” and want a “deep relationship”. It seems like deep women also like repetition. While none of these qualities are bad per se (except maybe the intensity part) or even particularly female orientated, it’s the entire premise of this piece that irks me. Blaming failed relationships or shitty dating experiences on being too deep is counterproductive to finding the specifics of what actually went wrong. I don’t think that this article is too intent on defining the meaning of depth and subsequently exploring it. One of its insights insinuates that you should bombard your date with personal questions and to be honest, I don’t think that it’s particularly necessary to probe someone in order to make a connection. It comes across as manipulative, as if you have to mould your significant other to fit this conceptualisation of wild, infinite fantasies and philosophical journeys that you can take together. Anyone unfit to these imaginings are just too shallow to meet the potentially narcissistic standards that are imposed. The ironic part is that I find this entire list to be shallow. The depth that is so often proposed isn’t very fluid or allows for any expansion outside of the confines of its set characteristics. Do you have to always know what you want, be unafraid of intimacy and be blunt to be deep? The article doesn’t address the complex and fluctuating nature of relationships and life itself.
So basically I think that being “too deep”is a cop-out and a bit too abstract to be condensed into a list like this. We live in the age of information and the more you attempt to dig deeper into the bottomless pit of knowledge and opinion, the more you realise how limited your worldview is. The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know. Remember this: everyone you meet knows something that you don’t (not sure if this is from Bill Nye or Carl Jung). Maybe it’s better to figure out what you can extract from someone or some experience before you decide they’re below your level of depth.