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Why Are Men So Intimidated By Successful Women?

5 Min Read
Culture

It's time to get over it, guys.


I was in Berlin a while ago, where I met one of Germany's most successful female business executives. She is 42, single and excels in her line of work. It was recommended by a friend that she join an online dating site if she wanted to find a suitable partner.

She proceeded to a site and meticulously answered all the questions that the site required such as age, job, salary level, and uploaded a photo. And, yes, if you're wondering, she is very good looking.

The days went by, and she received less than a handful of responses in four weeks! She found the situation peculiar and decided to test whether the few responses had anything to do with her job/profile. She decided to change the text of her profile. Instead of presenting herself as an executive of a corporation, she wrote that she was a teacher and dramatically reduced her salary level by up to 1/10 of her actual salary. She did not change her profile image, and in one day she received more than 40 responses from potential suitors.

What does this say about women, power, and men?

An American study has shown that many men do not want to spend their lives in a "competitive" relationship. Therefore, you can say that it is an emotional, not a rational, decision when men choose not to be with a more successful woman. So perhaps, it may have been her job that scared them off?

According to many men, successful women are charismatic, and they love to be around them, but they do not want these types of women to be their wives. Therefore, do men prefer passive women with bird brains? This same study indicates that “female intelligence might be threatening for heterosexual men sizing up a prospective partner." A while ago, I was fortunate to be invited to a Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner in England. Almost 200 women attended the dinner — women whom you would most likely read about in Time and Fortune magazines. An unequaled wealth of knowledge and inspiration filled the room that evening.

Many of these women had so much edge, competence, and capital that they didn't feel as though they needed men. Let me make it clear that many were in a relationship with a man, but they sure didn't “need" one. This had me thinking have successful women realized that men are backing out, and as a result, decided to move forward with their success along? If so, then, have successful women decided to move forward without men?

The current economic empowerment of women across the world is one of the most incredible revolutions of the past 50 to 60 years. It is extraordinary because of the level of change it has caused in the traditional household: millions of people who were once reliant on men have taken control of their own economic fates.

As a result, many women are now claiming that “they don't need/want men." The number of single women turning to sperm donors to conceive a baby has risen. About 172,000 women per year in the United States use sperm in artificial insemination, a procedure with approximately a 38 percent success rate to have children, without men. What does it mean for a society when men and women no longer need one another to have children? Many critics say this trend could pose a threat to our society and welfare system. So, is it the men who choose to do without the women? Or is it the women who decide to do without the men?

The other day, I was in Sweden with one of the very few female top executives of big listed corporations. She is British, beautiful and brilliant. She is also married and a mother of twins. We sat there with a glass of wine and took a rest after a hectic day. We had, among other things, spent the evening in the company of some of Sweden's most progressive business women. We were wondering at the fact that although many were married, many more were single or divorced. But what they all did have in common was that they were, successful, intelligent and beautiful. I decided to figure out the reason for this.

During the last eight weeks, I have gathered material from and conducted short interviews with women from various places in Europe. Which later inspired my book, Busy Moms. I held a meeting with one of the most talented female executives in Denmark's financial sector. She was the last participant in my round of interviews. So here is my conclusion, which I hope you will look into more deeply.

1. Eight out of ten business women say men do not come on to them. Men like to be friends with them but do not see them as potential partners.

2. Four out of ten women I spoke to, believed that the reason is that men get scared off when they hear about their jobs and responsibilities. In other words, men immediately lose their interest when they hear about their success.

3. In Europe, many of these women have chosen not to have a large family because figures show that the more children women have, the lower the status they have in the job market.

4. One out of five I spoke to say they have decided to do without a family/children to focus on their careers.

Are women progressing at a faster rate than men?

In the olden days, the man provided for his family, while the woman's role was to stay at home and take care of the kids. Most often, the woman did not receive any further education aside from basic school, and therefore, there was no basis for women to enter the job market. Fortunately, this has changed over time. If the current trends continue, the traditional family structure will turn upside down, and the typical family will look quite different from what we are used to seeing.

Today, more girls than boys take further education. If this development continues, the man in the family will be far less successful, while the woman will hold more managerial positions or become lawyers, doctors, and business owners. And what consequences will that have on our family structures and the future job market?

What do you think is the reason for these trends? Do you think that the fact that more and more women have higher education than men will lead to a real problem in your country? Do you have some experiences you would like to share? Are men weak? Are women foolish for focusing so much on their careers? Or is the reason something completely different? Regardless, this has become an issue worth having a debate over.


This piece was originally published on September 17, 2017.

3 Min Read
Lifestyle

Help! Am I A Fraud?

The Armchair Psychologist has all the answers you need!


Help! I Might Get Fired!

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

What's the best way to be prepared for a layoff? Because of the crisis, I am worried that my company is going to let me go soon, what can I do to be prepared? Is now a good time to send resumes? Should I save money? Redesign my website? Be proactive at work? Make myself non-disposable?

- Restless & Jobless

Dear Restless & Jobless,

I'm sorry that you're feeling anxious about your employment status. There are many people like yourself in this pandemic who are navigating an uncertain future, many have already lost their jobs. In my experience as a former professional recruiter for almost a decade, I always told my candidates the importance of periodically being passively on the market. This way, you'd know your worth, and you'd be able to track the market rates that may have changed over time, and sometimes even your job title which might have evolved unbeknownst to you.

This is a great time to reach out to your network, update your online professional presence (LinkedIn etc.), and send resumes. Though I'm not a fan of sending a resume blindly into a large database. Rather, talk to friends or email acquaintances and have them directly introduce you to someone who knows someone at a list of companies and people you have already researched. It's called "working closest to the dollar."

Here's a useful article with some great COVID-times employment tips; it suggests to "post ideas, articles, and other content that will attract and engage your target audience—specifically recruiters." If you're able to, try to steer away from focusing too much on the possibility of getting fired, instead spend your energy being the best you can be at work, and also actively being on the job market. Schedule as many video calls as you can, there's nothing like good ol' face-to-face meetings to get yourself on someone's radar. If your worries get the best of you, I recommend you schedule time with a qualified therapist. When you're ready, lean into that video chat and werk!

- The Armchair Psychologist

HELP! AM I A FRAUD?

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I'm an independent consultant in NYC. I just filed for unemployment, but I feel a little guilty collecting because a) I'm not looking for a job (there are none anyway) and b) the company that will pay just happens to be the one that had me file a W2 last year; I've done other 1099 work since then.

- Guilt-Ridden

Dear Name,

I'm sorry that you're wracked with guilt. It's admirable that your conscience is making you re-evaluate whether you are entitled to "burden the system" so to speak as a state's unemployment funds can run low. Shame researchers, like Dr. Brené Brown, believe that the difference between shame and guilt is that shame is often rooted in the self/self-worth and is often destructive whereas guilt is based on one's behavior and compels us to do better. "I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it's holding something we've done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort."

Your guilt sounds like a healthy problem. Many people feel guilty about collecting unemployment benefits because of how they were raised and the assumption that it's akin to "seeking charity." You're entitled to your unemployment benefits, and it was paid into a fund for you by your employer with your own blood, sweat, and tears. Also, you aren't committing an illegal act. The benefits are there to relieve you in times when circumstances prevent you from having a job. Each state may vary, but the NY State Department of Labor requires that you are actively job searching. The Cares Act which was passed in March 2020 also may provide some relief. I recommend that you collect the relief you need but to be sure that you meet the criteria by actively searching for a job just in case anyone will hire you.

- The Armchair Psychologist