Despite the notion that being an intimidating woman is a good, powerful thing, it’s actually keeping us from finding the right guy.
Long gone are the days of a woman’s role in society solely being in the kitchen, tending to the laundry, keeping a clean house for her hardworking husband, or living in his shadow. Young women are now encouraged more than ever before to get a college education and work hard for a respectable career, to create a lifestyle in which she doesn’t need a husband to totally support her financially.
Today, more women than men receive a college education in the United States. In January 2020, women made up half of the workforce in the United States, up from last year’s numbers. Of course, these are incredible advancements for us — it’s important that young women feel the freedom to pursue an education and a career if they desire that.
We might assume that a woman whose education and career are impressive, an intimidatingly self-sufficient woman, would have an army of romantic suitors to choose from, right? Well, not exactly. But first, let’s talk about how being intimidating became a word women today actually long to be called.
How We’ve Turned Being Called Intimidating into a Compliment
Sometime in between breaking out of the 1950s housewife mold and becoming the more dominant sex on college campuses, successful, powerful, or independent women began to hear a certain word being used to describe them: intimidating.
A woman’s ability to intimidate men is often regarded as being directly related to her inner strength.
In times past, such a description wouldn’t be received well. But when we think of an intimidating woman today, it’s often taken as an indication that her success and self-assuredness are threatening and confusing, especially to men. A woman’s ability to intimidate men with her accomplishments is often regarded as being directly related to her inner strength, her triumph over the patriarchy. And if a woman isn’t intimidating, that must mean she’s weak.
It’s understandable to come to this conclusion, but is being intimidating actually something to celebrate? And for a woman looking for a guy to spend her life with, is it necessarily beneficial to intimidate him? Turns out, it’s really not.
Why Men Won’t Date a Woman Who Intimidates Him
It’s a popular notion to assert that men who are intimidated by accomplished women are just threatened and need to get over their insecurities, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. Men have an inherent desire to feel needed, to provide for, and to protect their mate and offspring. And when a woman’s life is so full that absolutely nothing is needed from him, he’ll instead want to find someone for whom he can provide something. Plus, it’s no secret that our culture places great value on a man’s ability to work hard and serve as the breadwinner of the family, despite women’s growing presence in the workforce.
Men have an inherent desire to feel needed.
But it’s not just men — women are hardwired to find a mate by whom they’ll be taken care of, to engage in hypergamy, the practice of “marrying up” whether it be socially, financially, or something else. As the generally physically weaker sex and child-bearers, women are biologically driven to find a mate who can take on the responsibility of providing for her and the children — and today, this translates to finding a man with higher status and financial stability. But when her achievements are already up there, it can be difficult to find a guy whose success outweighs her own.
How “Intimidating” Women Can Be More Approachable
Obviously, facing difficulty in the dating game doesn’t mean women shouldn’t pursue higher education and careers. And we shouldn't downplay our successes either because that's not honest. So how can we reconcile our accomplishments and independence with a man's need to be needed?
Let your man know that you value his contributions to the relationship.
Make an effort to let your significant other know that you value their contributions to the relationship, whatever they may be. Intentionally seek out their help. Ask for their advice and then act on it. Tell him specifically what you appreciate about him and what he does for you. Give him words of affirmation. Be vulnerable and communicate your needs to him, because no matter how independent we are, we still have needs that we can't address ourselves.
Female empowerment is good and essential for our growth, but it doesn’t have to mean we don’t need men. All in all, men calling a successful woman intimidating has less to do with being upset that her job pays more, or her degree is more impressive, and more to do with him needing to be needed somehow. And honestly, no matter how self-sufficient we are, isn’t it nice to need something and have our loved one fulfill that need?