Why Don’t Men Like Smart, Strong, Successful Women, Part II

Perhaps my most popular blog post, Why Don’t Men Like Smart, Strong, Successful Women?, got a comment today that was so well-written, I had to share it with you. I love it when my readers can express my thoughts – because if you ever tune me out when I remind you how to connect with men – perhaps it’ll have greater resonance if you hear it from another woman.

I love it when my readers can express my thoughts – because if you ever tune me out when I remind you how to connect with men – perhaps it’ll have greater resonance if you hear it from another woman.

Enjoy, and have a fantastic July 4th.

Evan,

Boy, does this topic speak to me. A couple years ago I was a careerist hard-line feminist, and a bit of a racist, too: get this – a black woman who would not date black guys, owing to a sexual assault experience back in the Eighties that all black guys should not be blamed for. I have now learned this, after dating some of New York’s most truly wonderful fellows of all races. But I digress.

Anyway, I treated relationships like combat and saw men as my enemies. After all, why not, I reasoned? Sure, they might look at my chest and not my face, but then ignore my of course it’s so jaw-droppingly fantastic resume, fail to be impressed by my oh so glamorous so-called career, take a peek at super career me but then move on – or force me to move them on – to softer, rounder girls whom at the time I considered weaklings, Stepford throwbacks, doormats. And then they would marry these girls!

Why was this happening?

I even poured up a heaping mugful of liquid hate for a very good author who wrote a book attempting to counsel other career girls like myself so we could keep a man interested, and maybe see one fight to snag us. In that article I said some pretty dumb things.

But now flash forward to me a couple years later, happily dating and positively besieged by handsome, smart, funny, available and interested guys. How did this happen? Did I change overnight? Was it moving to New York City where I will admit men are a little more outspoken when interested than in other cities?

Nah; more to the point it was realizing men want different things from a date than women do, and remembering I was a girl, not a boy.

As a date conversation topic, my own career began to bore me. About a year ago, I stopped wearing black suits and pinstripes outside the studio. I started wearing frilly dresses with lace, and wearing more bright colors. I stopped hiding my chest and legs. I took my hair down out of its bun and let it fall on my back and shoulders. But more importantly I think, something within me had shifted. I began enjoying being a girl – a real change for a lifelong tomboy. This resulted in me laughing and smiling more, especially in public; talking a little softer, not using profanity as much, and just softening up inside. I

started noticing I LOVED MEN! Long a feminist, I instead began observing how society is often cruel to little boys and to men, and began feeling sympathy and admiration towards them. Men became my best friends.

I was then positively besieged by men!

On subways. In hallways. At restaurants. Leaving a meeting. Going to one. On W. 47th. On E. 12th. In the elevators. The freight loading docks. The bus. The doctor’s office. Like the song, it began “raining men”!

I’m now dating actively – not aggressively, notice, but actively; I don’t seek out men or dates, they just show up and come to me, and I’m asked out all the freaking time. Now my job is to glow gently, smile, accept, say yes, enjoy, then go home and evaluate. How did I like this date? How did he make me feel? Does he make me smile, make me happy? And men LOVE putting women in the position to ask these things. They perform, they provide, then we sit back and gently, lovingly evaluate. This is the best job ever!

They want to know not whether you are a successful woman, but instead if you are successful at being a woman, and can therefore make him happy as a man.

So this is a long and somewhat rambling note, Evan, to say I stopped by your website this morning to click a topic I would have clicked with a gnarly frown two years ago, looking for yet more “evidence that men do not like a successful woman”.

Today, with a nice date behind me last night and another date scheduled this evening, I can read all this with a smile because I know it isn’t accurate; more accurate is that men care if you are happy with yourself while at your career, not whether you are successful at it. They want to know not whether you are a successful woman, but instead if you are successful at being a woman, and can therefore make him happy as a man.

I have figured this out and offer a really dumb once woman’s apology to all the men I hurt with my actions, the women and men I hurt with my comments, the innocent black dudes who never got a chance with me because I was dumb (see aforementioned really dumb onceness), and to all the readers here wondering when this post will end!

Well, yes it will: right here!

Thanks for a fun website, Evan, men are not the enemy. I get it now.

Heather

Click here to learn the 5 Massive Mistakes You’re Making In Your Love Life – And How to Turn Them Around Instantly!

http://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ruby

    I think the LW simply began to let down the barriers she was putting up around men and began to open up to them. She wasn’t “dumb”, as she puts it, but probably scared and angry. Certainly you can be a feminist and still love men! Perhaps it makes you even more attuned to the challenges men face.

    The last guy I dated was intimidated by my accomplishments because he wasn’t happy with himself, or satisfied with his own success level. The current man I’m seeing loves that I’m smart and knowledgeable about certain things, and I make sure to appreciate what he brings to the table. He’s secure within himself, and that is key. We appreciate the things we can learn from each other, rather than seeing our relationship as a competition.

    1. 1.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      He’s secure within himself, and that is key. We appreciate the things we can learn from each other, rather than seeing our relationship as a competition.

      I agree. I think if a men is secure with himself, successful, independent, and smart women can become very enticing.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  2. 2
    Mikko Kemppe

    What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing that with us both Evan and Heather.

    I also believe that men can be very attracted to accomplished women. I think being smart, successful, educated, and good looking can make you very enticing. Unfortunately, it is what these qualities can sometimes represent in a women that is, women who do not need a man in their life. Or even worse as Heather so well explained, a women that hates or despises men.

    The truth is as she discovered is that we love to feel like we can make a difference. When we see a women with a smile, we take full credit for that smile and it makes us feel alive, purposeful, and needed in this world. Thanks again for your inspiring comment!
    .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..A BIG Mistake Many, Especially Honest, Women Unknowingly Make on a Date and How to Avoid It. =-.

  3. 3
    Steve

    I’m happy for Heather.

    Being a fan of the original article ( I even have it on my personal blog ) I hope people will read it and not conflate Heather’s personal oints for Evan’s points.

    I have enjoyed dates with “tomboys” as Heather put it, I have had interesting conversations with women about their jobs ( the ones that had interesting jobs) and with people I already know I have enjoyed sharing news of their career successes. Women or men. Sharing good news with people you care about is always a nice experience.

    Men have been counseled for years not to take the way they think and behave at work into social situations. Great advice. Nobody wants to date the CFO. They want to date a person. They want to be on a date, not at a business seminar. This advice hasn’t reached some career focused women yet. Not understanding what is going on, I think they mistakenly write it off as men not liking strong and smart women.

    I have been on dates who have not had much interesting to say or who seem to have their lives as well together as a teenager. Give those smart and strong ones my phone number :).

    1. 3.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      “Men have been counseled for years not to take the way they think and behave at work into social situations. Great advice. Nobody wants to date the CFO. They want to date a person. They want to be on a date, not at a business seminar. This advice hasn’t reached some career focused women yet. Not understanding what is going on, I think they mistakenly write it off as men not liking strong and smart women”

      I think that is a very interesting point. I agree, I think women do not yet have many role models of other woman who have been able to develop their masculine side to succeed in the work world without sacrificing their feminine side.

      The same way most of us men have not grown up with fathers who were able to be both very masculine, yet able to respect femininity. I personally believe that balance is the key.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  4. 4
    Paul

    Women are always surprised when I ask them if they really and truly like men. A lot of women don’t I’m afraid, and if you are a white man in America these days, you are the most attacked and persecuted race there is. Look at the TV commercials you see…tons of disrespect not only towards men in general, but white men in particular. I think since the rise of the womans movement, the focus has been on women…this is truly the age of the woman, not the man. And in the end here is what we have…men are becoming more like women, and women are becoming more like men. Somewhere Society in general is into man bashing big time, so I was wondering if that had anything to do with mens feelings twords successful women? Because lets face it, for every women out there making, lets say, $50,000 a year, there is a man who is not. A man who is trying to feed his family and do what men are supposed to do, which is to provide, protect, and lead.

    1. 4.1
      Cilla

      Are you in a time capsule from the 1950’s?????

      I don’t even know where to begin with the discussion about gender roles and equality. But white men as the most persecuted group in America? You’re putting us on, right?

      1. 4.1.1
        Sean

        No Cilla, he’s not that old fashioned. He’s just trying to be a man as men are naturally designed for. Just refusing to be pressurized by women you are trying to represent. I guess this one is not becoming gay to get rid of the social ‘beating’. But he’s right. Normal, natural men are the most persecuted group in the Western world nowadays. And because of that phenomenon, I wouldn’t be surprised if that part of the world is going to be overrun by more civilized societies shortly.

        1. Curly Girl

          Whaaaa..???? And which more civilized societies are those again?

          Maybe the French will invade us shouting “Vive la difference!” (But with a proper accent mark on the first e.) (I would say an accent aigu, but that seems kind of snooty.)

    2. 4.2
      Steve

      I disagree with Paul and Sean. I don’t think straight white men are persecuted nor do I think they are oppressed.

      I do think it is more acceptable to complain about and even mock that demographic than other demographics.

      1. 4.2.1
        Chris K

        I agree with Steve, based on my own experience. The “persecution” that we white males receive is light-hearted ribbing compared to the persecution that women and non-caucasian people have experienced in the centuries that our forbears were the power-holders. (The privilege continues in a way, but it’s much more complex now.)

        It also depends how personal the comments are – I’ve known one person who thought it was completely acceptable to insult and show disrespect to me for being male, because she was convinced that males collectively deserve regardless of our personal behavior. That was unacceptable and I got tired of it, and I told her she could contact me again if she wanted to show the same respect she would show to anyone else.

        1. Steve

          @Chris K

          No insult intended, but you don’t agree with me.

          I don’t think the criticism and mocking that has become acceptable when directed against straight white males is “light hearted”, by comparison, or otherwise.

        2. Chris K

          You don’t think it’s light-hearted by comparison with slavery, colonialism and institutionalized sexism? I must have misread you (and am now not sure how you meant your comment) but… I won’t demand a clarification as we’re so far from the original topic by now, and I don’t think we’ll be resolving this question any time soon.

    3. 4.3
      Mikko Kemppe

      “white man in America these days, you are the most attacked and persecuted race there is”

      I understand your grief Paul, and I think the solution for you would be to marry a black women so that your kids could have a better life as that way you can at least make sure that they are not born white.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  5. 5
    Brenda

    Excellent comments and posting…………..I’m entering the dating world again at 52, and am loving life. Evan, you have helped me so much, that I too have men crawling out of the woodwork.

    I love men, always have, and am raising two little men too – so I very much appreciate men and let them know it. I am happy, light-hearted, and fun, never talk about the “future” and at my age and with my big law career (ha!) in LA, you would think I was a teenager.

    I have long hair, multi-colored, and the young guys at the gym call me “hot” – who would have thought that life and dating would be this good at my age!

    Evan rocks and kudos to the wonderful woman who embraced her femininity – I must say men love it and I have gotten many comments on the dresses and skirts that I wear!!!!

    1. 5.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      Good for you Brenda!! What an inspiring comment!
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  6. 6
    Evan Marc Katz

    Thank you, Brenda. Full disclosure: Brenda’s a private client who got an online dating makeover and private coaching. But I did not pay her to say nice things, I swear.

  7. 7
    Curly Girl

    So, the corollary to this is that men like “dumb, weak, can’t support-yourself” women?

    My take on it: It’s not that men don’t like smart, strong, successful women, they don’t like hostile, antagonistic women. Because of this, gotta point out that the title seems a bit like a backlash–the ole 1950s “be dumb and compliant and dependent” or the boys won’t like you and you’ll be doomed to live a life of poverty and old-maiddom. (I just made up that word.)

    Will also point out that hostile and antagonistic also comes in the dumb, weak, can’t-support-yourself variety, too, but for some reason these women don’t get criticized.

    I recognize that even suggesting all this puts me in the category of too “smart, strong and successful” for men and “that’s why [I'm] not married.” Wrong on both counts. I have never wanted for male attention or companionship or marriage proposals.

    But Heather is right about one thing–if you want a guy you just have to put on that red dress that shows off the body parts. Really, men don’t seem to be very discerning in some ways. Very easily manipulated by looks and the promise of sex. I don’t go in for that type of manipulation myself. But if you’re going to put up a title like that, you gotta take a look at the negative flip side.

    1. 7.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      “But Heather is right about one thing if you want a guy you just have to put on that red dress that shows off the body parts. Really, men don’t seem to be very discerning in some ways. Very easily manipulated by looks and the promise of sex.”

      I agree, that is an easy good way to get guys. But, is that really how you view all men?
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

    2. 7.2
      tamara

      U seem to view men as kinda Neanderthalish. I don’t often wear revealing  clothes on dates, yet I always get asked out again. I think men appreciate a prettily made-up face and flattering modest knee-length dresses as much (if not more) than a woman who just wears a really skimpy dress, especially for the long-term. Your comment seems to put down both men as well as women who are popular with men–u’re kinda saying those popular women are just good at ‘manipulation’ with their bodies and with their looks, and the only reason u don’t have much male attention is u don’t put on that skimpy red dress. I personally think it may have more to do with the attitude or hostility that u give off.

  8. 8
    Steve

    I went to a completely unrelated conference last summer. One of the workshops was run by a woman who was a corporate executive communications coach. The workshop was about teaching volunteer activists how to be persuasive with strangers out in the field. The activists at this conference REALLY needed her advice.

    The coach told us a story of when she was just starting out and attending an outdoor event in Manhattan. She and a friend walked by some man who just started ranting at them about unrelated things. They had not said a word to this person.

    The coach told us that this person was “stuck in his history”.

    I see this kind of thing on the internet and in the comments section of this blog all of the time. Somebody can write the word “blue” and people come out of the woodwork to angrily talk about “red”, even though the author only wrote “blue”.

    I see people unfairly read so much into what is written and completely miss the good points made.

    Stuck in their history.

    1. 8.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      I agree Steve. I think it is very hard for us to often take our own shoes off and to try to put on the shoes of others. It is hard to get unstuck from our own history. I know I am often guilty of this.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  9. 9
    Diana

    Heather sounds like she’s had an internal makeover that’s far more important and meaningful than her external. While perhaps not all that appealing to some men, it wasn’t her super intelligence, her pin-striped suits or her career that kept the men at bay. It was her loathing, condescending tones, her hatred and anger for men that they picked up on. I suspect this trickled over to more than just men, too. I wonder what caused her to change. I am skeptical that it was as simple as realizing that men want different things from women, and remembering she was a girl. How could any truly smart woman not already know what men want from women? It’s splattered everywhere in all forms of media. I think she knew all along and resisted.

    Whatever the reason(s) for her transformation, I am so glad she has learned to embrace and soften her edges; not because of the flocks of amazing men who are now following her like a lost puppy dog, but because she let go of so much that was holding her back. Success in life comes in many shapes, the least of which is a career, and that includes being a happy, thriving and contributing human being. No man on earth can do this for a woman. It comes from within.

    1. 9.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      Nicely put Diana. I agree, happiness and success does come from within.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  10. 10
    Cilla

    Interesting discussion in light of having just heard Rachel Greenwald interviewed on a repeat airing of the Gayle King radio show. I think she expressed a more articulate take on the topic than perhaps comes across in her written work.

    What she was saying, the result of having given “exit interviews” to many men after dates they felt were unsuccessful, was *not* that men don’t like smart, strong, successful women. And while they don’t like antagonistic, bitter man haters, as Heather and others have pointed out, there is a third, more subtle category that women fall into without even realizing it. It’s the group of women who insidiously co-opt masculine energy when they are in the presence of men.

    I’m not talking about stereotypical usurping of male territory like making more money or working in fields traditionally dominated by men, like construction or aviation. It’s a much more understated edging into male energy manifested in body language and actions women might not ever assume to be the exclusive purview of men, such as asking for the check first or sending an email the following day. It has the same effect on men as the effect on women when men are too wishy washy or timid, perceived as demonstrating too much feminine energy.

    It’s less about painting gender differences with broad brush strokes and more about understanding the subtle distinctions between them–what might be considered in Vedanta the higher intrinsic energies of the masculine and the feminine. Go too far away from that essence in either direction, and you have conflict.

    1. 10.1
      Mikko Kemppe

      I completely agree with you Cilla. I think learning to honor and accept where we are then working toward balancing, respecting, and cultivating our male and female energies in a balanced way is the key.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  11. 11
    Curly Girl

    I think that in general it can be said that people don’t like anger and hostility and competition on dates, whether it comes from men OR women. We have never addressed the topic of how smart, strong, successful men can be condescending toward women, especially women who are their equals in the workplace, and perhaps only those who see it for what it is have the backbone to stand up to it. Women who seek to gain status or wealth through their attachment to a man of course are not going to do or say anything to threaten him or call him on it.

    But, back to dating: You find just as many men who complain about women who won’t reach for the check as you’ll find men who feel their energy is usurped by women who do. So the trick is to find someone whose energies jibe with yours–there are men who like assertive women and women who like more retiring guys. In certain belief systems, each of us contains masculine and feminine energies. If this weren’t the case–if it were just a slam dunk (men are like this/women like this) then you wouldn’t see all the different combos of couples that you see. It isn’t the case that the man is always dominant and the woman submissive, the man the earner/protector and the woman the dependent/nurturer. Most people are a mix of different strengths/weakneses, and so that’s what they bring to the party. The trick is to find someone/someones with whom you have a better party than you would alone.

    From this POV, if a guy doesn’t like a smart woman he can go off with a dummy. Who cares? Dummies need love, too. :)

    We smart, strong, successful ones will be happy to make all the money!!! Ha!!!!

  12. 12
    Karl R

    As Evan mentioned in the previous article, men want a woman who is warm and affectionate. We want someone who is fun to spend time with.

    Many of us also want a woman who is strong and smart. (I certainly do.) And it’s certainly possible to get all those qualities in one woman.

    A couple weeks ago I met a woman at a bar. She was very attractive, fun, and clearly interested in me.

    Yesterday we had our first date, and I confirmed something I’d strongly suspected for the last week. She’s not terribly bright. She’s maybe average intelligence or a little higher, but she doesn’t come close to the women I typically date.

    So this evening I’ll be letting her know why I won’t be pursuing a relationship with her (after spending several hours figuring out a polite way to explain it). She may be the best-looking woman that I’ve ever dated, but I value brains over beauty.

    However, she is warm and affectionate. And those are the qualities that led me to ask her out in the first place.

    Some men may value smart, strong, successful women. Other men may avoid them. But all of us are drawn to warm & affectionate women.

    1. 12.1
      Joe

      Jeez, Karl. Must you give her a reason why you won’t date her again? I’m curious how you plan on breaking the news to her that you think she’s dumb.

    2. 12.2
      Helen

      Karl R, what exactly is wrong with dating a woman whose intelligence is “only” average intelligence or a little higher?

      I completely agree with Joe that you should not tell her why you won’t pursue a relationship. Even if she’s of above-average intelligence, any comment you make on that topic will make her feel hurt, dumb, inadequate, and decidedly below-average. Why not just say something generic like “You’re a wonderful, warm, and affectionate woman, but I don’t feel a spark between us”? That makes the rejection of her more about you, and less about her.

      1. 12.2.1
        Jennifer

        I agree that Karl does not have to share his reasoning for not wanting to date the woman anymore as it will likely just be hurtful and not helpful, but there is *nothing* wrong with his preference for dating the uberintelligent. Everyone has their thing. I love that he has figured out what his thing is, and when he sees it’s not there he gets out sooner rather than later. He’s not blaming or denigrating this woman- he just knows she’s not for him.

    3. 12.3
      Diana

      Karl, your comment about valuing brains over beauty has me wondering. Is this true? Or would you rather have both beauty and brains. I have seen some incredibly intelligent women looked over because they were not considered attractive.

      1. 12.3.1
        Karl R

        Joe asked:
        “Must you give her a reason why you won’t date her again?”

        Most people want a reason. I’ve generally found that one reason (regardless of how many reasons there actually are) is enough to satisfy a person.

        Joe said:
        “I’m curious how you plan on breaking the news to her that you think she’s dumb.”

        She’d previously commented that she lived her life completely through her heart. I responded to that remark (at that time) by saying that I lived my life almost entirely through my head.

        Referring back to that conversation, I told her that I thought there was lots of chemistry but very little compatibility, which I thought would prevent any relationship from working in the long run.

        Helen asked:
        “what exactly is wrong with dating a woman whose intelligence is ‘only’ average intelligence or a little higher?”

        They’re not terribly interesting to talk to … at least not for any extended period of time.

        Just out of curiosity, would you ask a woman who was drop-dead gorgeous why she wouldn’t date a man who was “only” average appearance, even if she wasn’t physically attracted to him?

        Helen asked:
        “Why not just say something generic like [...] ‘but I don’t feel a spark between us’ “

        That would be a lie. I do feel a spark with her.

        And I’m not going to insult her intelligence by telling an outright lie to her face and expecting her not to notice.

        Let me turn this around. When a guy lies to your face, do you just not notice? If you do notice, does it not bother you? If he says “something generic” as an excuse, don’t you ever suspect that’s not the real reason? And if you realize he’d lied or suspect that he’s giving a meaningless generic excuse, do you ever wonder what was so bad that he couldn’t tell you to your face?

        If neither one of us had felt sparks, it would be a wonderful excuse. I’ve had that happen before. But when I’m feeling sparks and she’s feeling fireworks, it’s not at all credible.

        I’d rather tell a partial truth and omit the details which are most likely to be hurtful (which is essentially what I did) than tell a completely transparent lie.

        Diana asked:
        “your comment about valuing brains over beauty has me wondering. Is this true?”

        A year and a half ago I was dating a woman who was about a 5 in attractiveness and a 9 in intelligence. We dated for 4 1/2 months. We broke up because she wanted lots of kids while I didn’t want any.

        This past weekend I went on a first date with a woman who was about a 9 in attractiveness and a 5 in intelligence. There will be no second date.

        I don’t just pay lip service to the idea.

        Diana asked:
        “Or would you rather have both beauty and brains.”

        Of course I’d rather have both. But if I have to sacrifice one for the other, I’m not nearly as picky about appearance.

        1. Curly Girl

          So you don’t want to her insult her intelligence by telling a lie…you’ll just insult her intelligency by telling the truth?

          Hmm. No matter how you look at it, you’ll be insulting her intelligence. A conundrum if ever there were one.

        2. Mary

          It sounds like you have a definite type and are looking for a specific girl or someone within close range of such.

        3. Helen

          Karl R, you made the following comment: “She’d previously commented that she lived her life completely through her heart. I responded to that remark (at that time) by saying that I lived my life almost entirely through my head.”

          If she were the poetic sort, she would have argued with you about your priorities with the following, from e e cummings:

          since feeling is first
          e.e. cummings

          since feeling is first
          who pays any attention
          to the syntax of things
          will never wholly kiss you;
          wholly to be a fool
          while Spring is in the world

          my blood approves,
          and kisses are a better fate
          than wisdom
          lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
          the best gesture of my brain is less than
          your eyelids’ flutter which says

          we are for each other: then
          laugh, leaning back in my arms
          for life’s not a paragraph

          And death i think is no parenthesis

  13. 13
    Angela

    Wow! I do not know where to start with this one and the following comments. All I can say that it is so stereotypical.

    I agree with others that stated she seemed to have anger issues toward men. Which really did not necessarily have a correlation with her being smart, strong , and successful. Being angry toward men and being smart/strong/successful are mutually exclusive.
    Many sucessful people’s identity is definded by what they do, especially if they come from meager beginnings.

    Also, as a sucessful black woman she may have felt special because of her achievements and felt she deserved to be treated a certain way.

  14. 14
    Curly Girl

    Hmm. Think I might have hit the “Add comment” precipitously. If so, I apologize. If not, please disregard.

    As I was saying:

    EVERYONE wants to go out with PEOPLE who are warm, affectionate, fun, nurturing, accepting, responsible and NO ONE wants to go out with ANYONE who is angry, hostile, rejecting, superior, condescending–no matter what the context–friends, family, lover, date, stranger. I mean, this is pretty much a human thing, right?

  15. 15
    Casey

    In her letter, Heather starts off with “owing to a sexual assault experience back in the 80’s,” which explains why she viewed men as the enemy and had a lot of anger toward them. It might also explain why she dressed in a way that made her feel more powerful, rather than feminine.

    I’d like to know if she ever received any counseling for the assault? Did she read an article? Have an ephipheny? What changed that helped her start thinking about men differently, and that they were no longer the enemy?

  16. 16
    Isabelle Archer

    Ugggh! I am very happy for this correspondent’s new-found happiness, but as a feminist, I have to point out: feminism does NOT mean hating men. I repeat, feminism does NOT require hating men. The writer seemed to have a personal problem with men before that had nothing to do with feminism.

    You can be a complete, raging feminist and LOVE men. And get plenty of dates. And get married and have babies. You can also wear frilly clothes, be beautiful, let your hair down, and flirt with men. And, most importantly, you can be a feminist and like to let men make the first move, romantically, and even secretly (or not so secretly) like the fact that your date holds the door open for you and pays for dinner.

    It’s a little harder to say what feminism IS than what it is not, but I can tell you for sure that there is no feminist alive today who would say that you have to hate men and wear ugly suits in order to get your feminist card.

    1. 16.1
      Steve

      It is interesting to ask why so many people have that mistaken impression.

      1. 16.1.1
        Curly Girl

        Because they are wrong, maybe?

    2. 16.2
      Chris K

      I also noticed this: “Long a feminist, I instead began observing how society is often cruel to little boys and to men”

      The way it’s worded, it sounds like you either need to be a feminist, or have empathy for the challenges men face today. I suspect Heather didn’t exactly mean that.

      “You can be a complete, raging feminist and LOVE men.” Agreed. Actually, many of the women I have dated (especially in Asia) are less feminist than me, and if it’s too big a difference and they have very traditional ideas of gender roles and relationships, I find it boring and stifling. Bring on the feminists who love men!

    3. 16.3
      Zann

      Thank you for saying succinctly what I’ve been trying to put together in my head and why I felt offended by parts of Heather’s letter. But I would add this: Being a feminist also does NOT mean being “strong, smart & successful” in the way I think Heather and others here are defining that. I realize those are very subjective terms, but there are plenty of feminists out there who are low-income with very no-glamour jobs who’ve never had a chance at any kind of quality education. Like someone mentioned — they came from meager beginnings. And for whatever reason, they’re still struggling with that. Are they smart? They better be, because usually they’re supporting others (i.e. kids) who are relying on them. Are they strong? Hails yea, they are, as well as resourceful and responsible. Are they successful? Not in the elitist way that Heather implies (i.e., no resume or office with a view, no 401K or robust wardrobe, no Blackberry and iPhone stuffed in her Coach bag), but if you consider success the ability to keep food on the table, keeping your offspring from becoming addicts & perps & instead rendering them more likely to have a better life, then yes ma’am, they are contenders. I just get so tired of hearing well-educated, well-paid, “career” women (many from not-so-humble beginnings) not only define feminism for all women but make dating a universal feminist issue. In other words, if your biggest dilemma of the day is wondering what clothes you should wear on a date — provocative or casual — or whether you should be offended when a guy holds the door for you, consider yourself lucky, thank your lucky stars, and I wish you love. But don’t declare these dating turmoils as core feminist issues.

      1. 16.3.1
        Isabelle Archer

        Great points, Zann! And to flip it around even more, not all successful, hard-driving career women are feminists — some are republicans, even. But wait, some republicans are feminists too…

      2. 16.3.2
        Diana

        Very well said!

    4. 16.4
      Mikko Kemppe

      I surely hope that feminism does not mean or require hating men.

      The irony that I see with feminism is that it promotes women to become more like a man and unintentionally give out the message that in order for women to be respected in this world, they have to become, behave, and act more like a man.

      Of course, I understand the reality that the work and business world is run by very masculine manly principles. However, I think that is the fault of our current system, and I think we should all thrive toward understanding and promoting more of the feminine values in our work world also.

      Although, I think men and women are different. I think it is by learning to honor, respect, and value our differences in a positive way that will make a better world.

      Furthermore, I think we should respect feminine values in our work and business world much more. If we acted more environmentally conscious, promoted more cooperation, placed more importance on creativity and relaxation in the work world, in the end, everyone would benefit much more.
      .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..I am smart, independent, successful, and educated, why aren’t men attracted to me? Read the answer here, and discover the solution. =-.

  17. 17
    Jennifer

    So Evan I don’t know if we get a vote or not, but I think I preferred your old commenting system because:

    1. It was easier to see and read new comments
    2. You got a notice telling you your comment was being moderated while now you have none
    3. If you wanted to address/add on to/ etc a comment that someone made, you could do so simply by mentioning their name and comment number rather than replying directly. Made it easier to make a largely general comment yet mention someone esles comment in passing if you chose to.

    Either way I’ll get used to this one, and it does have a ‘slicker’ look that I like, but just wanted to share!

  18. 18
    Joe

    I gotta say I agree with Jennifer regarding the new setup.

  19. 19
    Curly Girl

    Didn’t somebody request this setup? I seem to recall that. And Steve said it wouldn’t be a good idea.

    It has its good, it has its bad. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

    Will the next upgrade include a little icon or picture for each of the posters? I would choose a cartoon of a curly-haired girl. :)

  20. 20
    Hot Alpha Female

    I really enjoyed reading this letter. I think Heather really got it right when it came to understanding what it really is to be a woman and going out there and living that.

    Her story is very similar and way of surrendering is very similar to the core concepts in the book the surrendered single.

    If there is any one problem that women are having today, it would be for the inability to let a man … be just that … a man.

    Hot Alpha Female

  21. 21
    Lance

    That’s a great line Heather has in her second to last para, the one that EMK bolded. Very truthful, and it’s exactly how I feel. For the most part, I think the same thing is true for men, that is, being a successful man and happy/passionate with what you’re doing is super attractive.
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Lance Revealed! =-.

  22. 22
    Casey

    I think you are all missing the point…I don’t think her anger towards men had anything to do with feminism or anything else…I think she said it right up front… owing to a sexual assault experience back in the 80’s … and I think that she never addressed it in counseling or anything. That’s why I want to know if she some how came to terms with and deal with what happened and she was able to view men differently…without the anger and viewing them as the enemy.

    1. 22.1
      Isabelle Archer

      Casey, I agree that the assault may be the real root of her anger towards men, but read the letter again. There’s no question that she equates her previous view that “men = enemy” with feminism. But then she also seems to define anti-feminism as “being a woman” . . . whatever that means. She’s clearly got no solid view on what feminism actually is, yet she (on paper) attributes her problems to feminism.

      This sloppy use of the idea of feminism really bothers me. Feminism at its heart is about equal rights. It is a big enough tent to include men & women who believe that, as far as relationships go, gender roles are real and important.

      I hate the thought that Heather now thinks she is not a feminist because she has decided to become sympathetic to men qua men and because she has embraced a view of “being a woman” in relationships. Because I can guarantee you that Heather would be rightfully PISSED if she discovered, say, that she could not get birth control covered by her insurance, but men can get viagra. Or that she’s being systematically underpaid compared to men in her office. Or that she was fired because she wouldn’t sleep with her boss. Those are all, in my opinion, feminist issues.

  23. 23
    hunter

    Casey, I agree with you..

  24. 24
    Curly Girl

    Isabelle: Thanks for putting that so clearly!!! I agree with you!!!!

  25. 25
    starthrower68

    You know, here’s the interesting thing about this: there is no guarantee in this life that we’re going to meet THE one, settle down, and live happily ever after. So ladies, we’d better be able to do the things we need to in order to provide for ourselves, especially if we’re single parents. I take that one step further, however; I don’t want to fall short of my potential or miss what my calling is because I have to worry about being too hard or masculine. Now, am I going to try to outman a man? No. Do I enjoy being feminine and being reminded I’m a woman? Yes. But, for instance, when it came time to decide to buy a house, I bought a house. I didn’t think, “oh gee, maybe I should just rent in case the right comes along”. I also feel successful, not because I’m doing anything that allows me to compete with a man, but because I believe I’m where I’m supposed to be right now while moving forward. I’m satisfied and fulfilled. It’s not an “I don’t need a man” sort of mindset, but I’m content now while on the way to more, if that makes sense?

  26. 26
    jack

    I think that it is hilarious that so many women want to lecture men on what we “should” want.
    If I want a sweet, non-hostile women who is not carefully keeping a gender-equity scorecard on who is stronger at what thing, who are you to tell me what I should want.
    Seriously, these credential-worshiping, status-measuring women are keeping score on EVERYTHING.
    I think that even the strongest of career women exhibit a brittle strength that is too self-conscious.
    Even the most powerful ball-busting men are no match for a women who is keeping score.
    Gals, get a clue – real men NEVER keep score on most things. We are not intimidated by your strength or success. We are weary and worn by your constant and self-conscious need to parade it around.
    Realize that we ALSO reject the friendship of men who constantly have something to prove. In our personal lives, we seek to mitigate irritation. And a women who is constantly trying to remind us how powerful, strong, and independent she is may as well be a yapping terrier who is simultaneously scraping all four sets of nails on a chalkboard. See-ya.

  27. 27
    starthrower68

    I think what is being confused in this issue is strength vs. arrogance.  A woman who carries herself with dignity and confidence is enticing and captivating.  A woman who says, “I don’t need a man because I of x, w, and z” is not.  So it may  not be feminism that is the real issue. 

  28. 28
    Zax

    You are a woman, you educate yourself, get a job, plan for the future.  Independent.  You don’t need a man.  That doesn’t mean you don’t like men, it just means you have smartly planned to be able to take care of yourself.  Then you have the woman that is supported by her parents, doesn’t plan for the future & says oh, no, I’m an adult, what will I do?  Oh, good idea, find another person to support me.  Men love these doting types who can’t fend for themselves.  That’s a simple business decision by both parties – nothing but need.  Yes, the needy woman will play dress up all day since she has no job & often be considered more attractive because men more often care about what you look like.  Men often say women won’t give them the time of day because they are just average.  Funny thing is they will tell you how they saw this really attractive woman who blew him off because of his looks.  They don’t go over to average women.  Men need to be on top & are threatened by a woman who can pay her own way, plan her own life, be responsible, etc.  No one should need anyone – male or female.  You should want to be wanted, not needed.   

  29. 29
    Jackie

    Evan great article!
    Mikko- great reply and I really liked that link you posted. It is such a comprehensive answer:-D

  30. 30
    Denise

    I think women can use their masculine energy at work, but MUST melt into their feminine energy in all other relationships, ESPECIALLY romantic relationships.  Romantic relationships are not competitions where people keep score or someone is trying to ‘win’, they are PARNTERSHIPS of two humans coming together to be a witness to each other’s lives.

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