The Success Paradox: Why A Woman's Independence Intimidates Men
One of the most interesting pieces of advice my mother ever gave me was, "Don't come off too strong when in the presence of a guy you like."
History has shown it isn't just my mom who thinks this way; pop culture tells women to bat their eyelashes and wear passive lip gloss instead of bold lipstick to attract a man.
Bill Clinton cheated on the highly successful Hillary with the less-established Monica. Mr. Big married Natasha over Carrie.
Johnny Depp left triple threat Vanessa Paradis for a 20-something up-and-comer. These instances have left me wondering, do independent women intimidate men? And, if so, why?
In order to correctly examine this claim, it's crucial to define what exactly deems a woman as "independent."
Several modern feminists refer to themselves as "independent" if they feel they don't really need men — they just want them. Some feminists will even go so far as to say they don't even want men.
It should come as no surprise that many of us don't feel we need men, thanks to better career opportunities than ever before, good friends and great vibrators.
Still, this relatively new, not-needing-a-man reality has proven to be bittersweet: It has propelled the women's movement forward, but has taken women backward when it comes to romantic relationships.
Joshua Pompey, an expert on dating, has incredible insight on this topic.
In this Huff Post piece, Pompey speaks for successful and highly-driven women:
They pursue the perfect man in the same manner that they have spent their entire lives pursuing the perfect job and education. The problem is, romance isn't a trophy. Not enough 'regular guys' are given opportunities because women have so many options these days. Especially with the emergence of online dating. This creates a cultural resentment towards women who are only interested in, say, the top ten percent of the dating population. And because women 'don't need' men, they can afford to search endlessly for a man that may or may not exist.
If smart women do, in fact, intimidate men, it's safe to say it's not women's fault, but the fault of time. Women, just like men, are products of their environment.
It just so happens our contemporary environment is the result of a feminist revolution that's taken place in both the workplace and the social scene. In other words, we've gradually been conditioned to not need men.
Another possible explanation for why successful women scare off men is the old and reliable, "He left her for a bimbo." First and foremost, some men consider women as sexual objects because men are initially driven by the visual.
The reason so many independent women are alone, then, is because we're smart enough to have picked up on the fact that men tend to choose hot, less accomplished women over us, and in turn, we use independence as a self-defense mechanism to avoid getting hurt or betrayed.
This Monica-Hillary formula alludes to society's placement of the label "emotionally unavailable" on single and successful women. If bimbo-loving is the reason why so many successful women are alone, men and their insecurities are to blame.
I wrote this article to follow up my piece, "The Difference Between Loving Someone and Being In Love," which seemed to garner a lot of attention, most of which was backlash.
I want to elucidate my feelings on the theory; more often than not, women who believe themselves to be intelligent, capable and worthy, end up alone or searching for men with all the same qualities.
It's possible our expectations for potential partners are too high, but it isn't probable; moreover, it's justifiable. Doesn't a woman who has it all deserve a man who has it all, too? Why should she settle for anything less?
To tie it all together, if what she has, or is capable of doing, scares a man off, how does it seem fair for him to blame her unfaltering drive as a culprit, instead of as a celebration?
Now, I understand why Big married Natasha over Carrie: He wanted to feel like more of a man.
Ladies, don't ever apologize for your successes. More importantly, don't ever settle for less than what you think you deserve. It's better to be alone than to be in a sub-par relationship.
But, as the battle of the sexes continues, I find myself asking a question with the same meaning: Can independent women truly have it all?