Why Don’t Men Like Smart, Strong, Successful Women?

Hi, Evan.

I’m 41, happy with my rounded self, smart, direct, and articulate.

I’ve been told that my lack of dates is due to:

1) Men don’t like smart, direct women, and

2) I’m centered, which sends the message that I don’t need anyone.

Are men really that insecure? I’m certainly not going to be less than I am just for someone else’s insecurities.

Tell me honestly, Evan – are there any good men out there who appreciate a woman who knows herself?


Hi, Evan:

I don’t know what is going on and why I’m lacking luck in finding Mr. Right. I am educated, refined, and a self made millionaire by age 34. I am good looking. Many men, women, elderly, and children of all ages have told me so. People also told me that I am one of nicest and sweetest people they have ever met. Even though I am 36, most of the people I meet would think that I am only 26. Unfortunately, I have been through all kinds of online dates in the last two and a half years. CEOs, doctors, lawyers, hedge fund mangers, business owners, professional athletes, actors, etc… When I am not interested in them, they work for the relationship day and night. When I am committed to them and act nice and devoted, they start to look elsewhere.  Anyway, in short, I need some serious help and hope to hear back from you soon.  Thank you.



Great letters. Important question. But first I want to start off with a hypothetical email from a man.

Dear Evan,

I’m what you’d call a “nice guy.” I make a good living, I’m pretty attractive, and I treat women well. In fact, all of my female friends comment on what a great catch I am. But then I see those same women dating jerks. Yet they would never consider going out with me! So what do you think? Am I cursed to be alone just because I know how to be kind to women? Isn’t being nice a good quality? What’s wrong with women these days? Please let me know.


It’s not BECAUSE a guy is “nice” that he’s not attracting women.

Men reading this might empathize with Jason. Women reading this may feel bad for him, yet also want to him to know that it’s not BECAUSE he’s nice that he’s not attracting women. It’s because he’s doesn’t have masculine energy. It’s because he constantly seeks the approval of others. It’s because he’s not sexually aggressive. It’s because he sacrifices his personal power to be conciliatory. These are common attributes of nice guys, yet nice guys think that women don’t like nice guys BECAUSE they’re nice.

Not true. Women want nice guys – nice guys with opinions who stand up for themselves and know how to take control.

Smart women are very much like nice guys.

“I’m intelligent, I’m direct, I’m successful, yet I can’t seem to find a quality guy who appreciates me.”

Men like smart women. I do. My male coaching clients do as well. So how is it that all these successful men are not connecting with all these successful women?…

Because there’s much more going on than merely a meeting of the minds.

What never occurs to some women is that:

They’re being evaluated on far more than their most “impressive” traits.

These traits sometimes come with a significant downside that is painful to acknowledge.

Take me, for example. I’m a reasonably bright guy. I make a fair living. I can write a decent joke. These are my good traits. But right behind my good traits are a series of bad traits. Anyone reading this blog can see that:

…Despite her impressive credentials – attractive, successful, intelligent – she might not be giving men what THEY WANT.

The flip side of being bright is being opinionated.

The flip side of being analytical is being difficult.

The flip side of being funny is being sarcastic.

The flip side of having moral clarity is being arrogant.

The flip side of being entrepreneurial is being a workaholic.

The flip side of being charismatic is being self-centered.

Again, not EVERY person who is bright is opinionated, and not EVERY person who is funny is sarcastic. But there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest a strong correlation. And I’m just talking about MYSELF here. And if my good qualities come with bad qualities, have you considered that yours might as well?

So when I hear a woman talk about how “direct” she is, the first thing I think is: “She’s tactless.” I wrote about this in an article for Match.com entitled “Are You Honest… Or Overboard?” Self-proclaimed “direct” people often tell their dates what they think about them even if the date didn’t ask. They often try to change partners who have no desire to be changed. When the partner pulls away because he doesn’t want to be with someone so critical, the “direct” person concludes that he couldn’t appreciate her “honesty.”

If this makes you feel personally indicted, welcome to the club. I’m a “direct” person as well. I write things that are, to say the least, provocative…and yet I always get surprised when I receive angry emails from readers. Hey, I’m just being honest over here! What are you getting so upset about? 😉

See, there’s a price to pay for “being ourselves.” And if you’re going to express your opinion, you can’t be surprised if other people disagree with you. And if you’re trying to win each argument, you can’t be too shocked if he wants a woman who can be a little more acquiescent.

I don’t know Catherine and Michelle. But I do know that they are not alone. Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times, wrote an entire book about this, called “Are Men Necessary?”. One of her main observations is that if an amazing woman like her could be single, there must be something wrong with men. What she doesn’t acknowledge is that despite her impressive credentials – attractive, successful, intelligent – she might not be giving men what THEY WANT.

Why don't men like smart strong successful womenWhen a man goes out with a woman, he’s not as concerned with whether she’s articulate and on track to make partner at the law firm. That’s what women want in men and they assume it’s of equal importance to them. It’s generally not. Men DO value intelligence, but they also want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates. Warmth, affection, nurturing, thoughtfulness. If he finds himself constantly hearing all the things he needs to change, he may just determine that he wants a bright woman who is less challenging. Not a Stepford Wife. Not a bimbo. Not a maid. Just someone who makes his life EASIER and more pleasant.

Listen, I’ve spent my life chasing after women I’ve intellectually admired. Invariably, all of them had major issues with me. They’re not wrong for seeing things I could change. But a huge reason I’m with my wife is because she spends her time loving and supporting me, not challenging me on everything from movie tickets, to travel plans, to wake up times. She’s easy, in the best sense of the word.

Men want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates: warmth, affection, nurturing…

This is a real dilemma. You’re undoubtedly a great catch. You can teach us a thing or two. You are a go-getter and worthy of everyone’s respect. But if that go-getter side ends up emasculating your man, or makes him feel insignificant, or second-guessed, he’s not really getting what he wants out of a partner. Men want to feel masculine. We want to feel needed. And with a generation of women who pose questions like “Are Men Necessary?” it’s pretty difficult for us to enjoy our role as men. This doesn’t mean you should play dumb, or be weak and needy, no more than the nice guy should start acting like a jackass. It might mean, however, turning off some of the things that make you “successful” at work. This is a bitter pill to swallow, perhaps even a double standard. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that “hard-driving, opinionated, and meticulous” are not on most men’s lists of ideal feminine traits.

As someone who considers himself smart and direct, take it from me – there’s nothing wrong with these qualities. But if it also coincides with being difficult, dating might be a long, tough road for you.

It certainly was for me.

P.S. Want better results in your love life? For a deeper understanding of what qualities you should be looking for in a man, I invite you to check out “Why He Disappeared – the Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever”.

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  1. 121

    Karl R- A very thoughtful post- I especially agreed with the following two statements:

    “But back to the topic, I realized that this kind of relationship requires two things:
    1) It requires that the man be comfortable with his own level of success.
    2) It requires that the woman be comfortable with the mans level of success.”

    What it comes down to is being content with yourself and with someone else.

    What I did question though, is the fact that you said you rarely date ambitious women. You’re entitled to date whomever you’re attracted to, of course. But what do you mean by ‘ambitious’? I ask because that word gets as misused as the word ‘feminist’ does.

    If a woman (or man) wants to make as much of a positive contribution to the world with her or his talents, that’s ambitious to me. But I can’t possibly fathom how that would be a bad thing. I think everyone would be much happier if that’s exactly what they did.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but are you worried that an ‘ambitious’ woman wouldn’t have time to invest in the relationship? If that’s the case, there are career couples who’ve had lengthy and happy marriages. Also, I think it’s sad that it’s never the men have to choose between furthering their professional lives and marriage/family. It’s always us women who have to choose between one or the other.

  2. 122

    Some women are so busy, that, they have little time for relationships with men.

  3. 123

    “Some women are so busy, that, they have little time for relationships with men.”

    Like I said- the same goes with men- but those men are somehow never lacking for girlfriends.

    1. 123.1

      The girlfriends that those successful men have are either unemployed or performing a job that means nothing to them. As has been said many times, a beautiful successful high powered “alpha” woman can easily have her pick of boyfriends that are unemployed or performing a menial job. Lots of men would jump at the chance to be a “kept man” in this economy.

      The problem is that women simply despise the very idea of being with a man who is beneath them in economics or status (the further the gulf between them, the quicker the despising comes out). This is the nature of woman: to be attracted only to men that are her superior (though the prideful woman falsely calls him her “equal”). An “alpha” woman would never put up with allowing an unemployed man to live in her home and eat her food, whereas men think nothing of allowing a beautiful unemployed woman to do the same in his home (some even dream of it). Men that eat a woman’s food, sleep in her home, and use her internet are called “deadbeats” while women that do this in a man’s home are called “girlfriends”.

      Also, men require consistent physical intimacy to be happy in a relationship, whereas women just need  someone to listen to them. Listening can be done over the phone, so a busy man that makes phone time for his woman usually works out. However, a woman needs to have lots of free time to be able to provide the needed physical intimacy. An “alpha” female that chats over the phone but is never home will build resentment in her man, because she is getting her needs met but his are not.

      The way relationship dynamics work between men and women mean that women have to choose between a career or a marriage. Even the process of having and raising children point to this fact (the women are the ones that get pregnant, that nurse, that ween, that absolutely love babies). What is so great about work anyway? Either your man and his home is the center of your world, or your boss and his office is.

      Some women really need to control everything. They go so far as to be the CEO and then don’t dare give up the feeling of security being the one in charge gives. What they need to do is let their man be in charge and discover the feeling of security that this brings. Also, women like to think they are “changing the world” and “making a difference” whenever they do anything (no matter how meaningless), whereas men either do things because they find them fun or because they are trying to get money to get themselves a wife and children and home.

      1. 123.1.1

        …aaaahh…if the man is good looking/underemployed…she will allow him to stay around her…….maybe…shortly…but….he does stay…..

  4. 124
    Karl R

    Sayanta, (#121)
    I would define an ambitious person as one who strongly desires to achieve wealth, fame, power, success, or some similar goal. To me, it’s the opposite of “being content with yourself”. And it usually doesn’t lend itself to being content with your partner … especially if your partner has no interest in wealth, fame, power, etc.

    By contrast, I would say that Mother Theresa made “as much of a positive contribution to the world with her talents” as she could. She pursued her dreams. It consumed all of her time. But I would never say that she was ambitious.

    But the statement that you made which lept out at me was: “I think everyone would be much happier if thats exactly what they did.”

    Ambitious people are happier because they’re pursuing wealth, fame, power, and/or success. And they tend to assume that everyone else would be happier if they were doing the same thing.

    If I was doing that, I would be miserable. I could set a goal of becoming wealthy, but I’d rather be content with the modest income than go through the steps it might require to become rich (pursuing a career that I wouldn’t enjoy, working with people that I dislike, working a lot more hours, etc). And I was pursuing wealth, I wouldn’t even feel that I was making a positive contribution to the world.

    Or to give a different example:
    I spend a bit of my time dancing. I’ve set some goals to learn more styles of dancing and to improve the styles I already know. I like being a good dancer, and I’m constantly trying to become a better one. A number of people have asked me if I’m interested in competing. I always tell them, “Hell no.” I like being good. I like showing off. I’d even enjoy performing in front of a crowd. But if I was trying to become recognized as “the best”, I would lose everything I enjoy about being very good.

    I really lack ambition.

    I expect a woman to pursue a job that she enjoys. I expect her to want to be good at her job. I expect her job will consume a fair amount of her time. (A typical week for me is 50 hours, a hard week exceeds 70 hours, and I understand that my date’s job may be more time-consuming than mine.) If we’re interested in each other, we’ll make the time … even on the busy weeks.

    But if a woman believes that I would be happier if I would get a degree, get a “better” job, get promoted, earn more money, etc … then we’re never going to get along.

  5. 125

    To Karl, Post 124:

    “I would define an ambitious person as one who strongly desires to achieve wealth, fame, power, success, or some similar goal. To me, its the opposite of being content with yourself.”

    I have to disagree here. It’s possible to strive for all of the above, but still have enough healthy detachment from the goals to enjoy life moment to moment (which is what I meant by the ‘content’ sentence). Any Hindu or Buddhist might tell you that (I’m the former).

    “By contrast, I would say that Mother Theresa made as much of a positive contribution to the world with her talents as she could. She pursued her dreams. It consumed all of her time. But I would never say that she was ambitious.”

    Why not? Mother Theresa was a great woman, but if you read detailed bios of her she wanted to strive for a certain success just like anyone else.

    I think the trouble is that because our society has become SO materialistic, the words ‘wealth,’ ‘power,’ and ‘fame’ and ‘success’ have become red flag words among certain people. But these things are good to have, AS LONG AS you don’t become emotionally crippled from your striving to pursue them. THAT’s where most people go wrong. Is it hard to strive for all (or some) of these things and still remain sane and content? Of course. But it takes work to be a well-rounded individual.

    “Ambitious people are happier because theyre pursuing wealth, fame, power, and/or success. And they tend to assume that everyone else would be happier if they were doing the same thing.”

    I partly agree with the first sentence. Not the second one. Somebody who tries to change someone else is doing so because s/he is not happy with him/herself. Period. So these ambitious people might APPEAR to be happy to others, but if they’re going around trying to change others, they’re living in an illusion about their own happiness.

    “If I was doing that, I would be miserable. I could set a goal of becoming wealthy, but Id rather be content with the modest income than go through the steps it might require to become rich (pursuing a career that I wouldnt enjoy, working with people that I dislike, working a lot more hours, etc). And I was pursuing wealth, I wouldnt even feel that I was making a positive contribution to the world.”

    Well, this all comes down to personal belief, but I’m sure the Beatles and JK Rowling love their careers. And if you make a lot of money, you can always contribute a lot of that money to worthy causes.

    “I spend a bit of my time dancing. Ive set some goals to learn more styles of dancing and to improve the styles I already know. I like being a good dancer, and Im constantly trying to become a better one. A number of people have asked me if Im interested in competing. I always tell them, Hell no. I like being good. I like showing off. Id even enjoy performing in front of a crowd. But if I was trying to become recognized as the best, I would lose everything I enjoy about being very good.”

    I’m curious though, you say you ‘enjoy performing in front of a crowd’ and you ‘like showing off.’ It’s not ‘fame’ exactly that you’re talking about, but it IS recognition. If you enjoy performing in front of a crowd and showing off, there’s that spark of ‘fame hunger’ in you as well.

    BTW, I’m not writing any of this to attack you, just to give my POV as well. I find that many of the things we condemn are desires that lie deep within us. Case in point, when I was in college, every time I saw a couple making out or even holding hands, I’d get disgusted. I thought- these people should be saving the world with their time instead of reveling in their sex-fests- as for me, I was in Amnesty, Save the Earth campaigns, and Women’s Alliances- I didn’t have time for all that romance crap. Then I realized that I did want that crap very much. I was DYING for romance and pissed that I hadn’t found it, so was taking it out by laughing at those couples.

    I’m not saying you’re thinking the same way I was, but I’ve noticed that when people have strong dislikes against something, there’s something in there they are actually attracted to.

    And- I’m not a dancer, but if were putting myself in your shoes (no pun intended), I would probably want to compete and see if I can top everyone else. AT THE SAME TIME, I’d maintain a sense of fun about it and not kill myself or anything if I didn’t win. I realize most people don’t do this, and that’s why I go back to my previous statement of how it’s necessary to be a balanced person, and how that takes WORK in our modern society.

    “But if a woman believes that I would be happier if I would get a degree, get a better job, get promoted, earn more money, etc then were never going to get along.”

    I fully agree. But see my above sentence on why I don’t think a person who is both genuinely content and ambitious would act that way.

  6. 126

    Just because Karl likes to show off when he is dancing, that doesn’t make him ambitious–he’s not ambitious for personal recognition. I’m sure he wants to be the best dancer he can be, but the way he wants to do so is in a way where he’s the only one who cares about his progress, rather than comparing himself against a standard someone else has set.

  7. 127
    Karl R

    Sayanta, (#125)
    Before answering your question (in #121) about what I meant by “ambitious”, I went to dictionary.com and looked up the definition of “ambitious”.

    I would agree that it may be possible to strive for wealth, fame, power and success while remaining dettached enough to be content. However, I would say that when you strongly desire these things, you lose that dettachment. If you want to describe “ambition” as a more moderate version of the way I define the word, that’s fine. But at that point we’re discussing two different words.

    Given your comments about Mother Theresa, I’m really curious about how you define the word “ambitious”. Could you clarify that for me?

    (My understanding of Hinduism is limited, but I am familiar with how Buddhists describe “contentment” and “dettachment”. Specifically Buddhists teach that in order to end suffering and achieve contentment, you have to free yourself from desire, or become dettached. My initial usage of the word “content”, however, was based more on Epicurus’ teachings than on Buddha’s teachings.)

    As you noticed, I like fame. I also like wealth. I really like to succeed. And I think power is useful. But part of contentment is understanding when you have enough of what you need. I have nothing against people having more wealth/fame/power/success than they need, but I always try to remain aware of what price I’ll have to pay in order to get more of any of them. (Usually the price is my time, which is a finite and valuable resource.)

    Like you, I also maintain balance in my life, and I’ve found a way to do so that requires a lot less work. That gives me more time and energy to pursue other goals and passions.

    If a woman has achieved balance and contentment in her life (regardless of how goal-oriented she is), I am more likely to pursue a relationship with her. That kind of woman is more likely to accept/respect/tolerate my values and lifestyle.

  8. 128

    Balance and contentment? I think the kind of woman you describe is, and will stay married.

  9. 129

    Some men have money to spend, that maybe why they are never lacking in girlfriends.

  10. 130

    With this whole discussion I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder. I think people view ambition as trying to achieve more than what they consider is “normal,” and therefore depends largely on where they come from.

    I earned excellent grades in college, went to a prestigious grad school, and am trying to attain what I consider to be moderate financial goals (for retirement). For many of the students I teach who come from predominantly low-income families with no post-secondary education (many with no high school education), I am very ambitious. In comparison with many of my friends and family (who are generally college educated with more lucrative professions), however, I’ve chosen a relatively low-earning profession, live in a small house, am not concerned about completing my postgraduate education, applying for various fellowships and awards, etc. They don’t consider me a slacker, but ambitious would probably be one of the last words they would use to describe me.

    And I have to agree with Karl that it’s really fame, power, and money that we’re talking about. I don’t think most people consider a social worker or teacher who works seventy hours a week to improve the lives of others as ambitious. But if they were working all those hours so they could gain positions within administration, be recruited by other organizations and earn renown, then they could be considered ambitious.

    All this to say that one shouldn’t judge someone else based on our own perceptions. There are white-collar professionals with a nice job title who may not be that ambitious (in the overly ambitious sense) and have a sense of how to maintain a well-balanced life. And just because someone else has a job title that isn’t as immediately impressive doesn’t mean they don’t have ambition. They might be a customer service rep, and then end up becoming one of the foremost dating experts. You never know until you give them a chance.

  11. 131

    In the profession I work in, most people are working insane hours daily. Most of the guys on the teams I am on are married, as are many of the women. I’d say the individuals at my client sites are ambitious – in some cases very. However, they are able to make time for their loved ones – by leaving early some nights, not working the entire weekend, or taking time off in the middle of the day. I don’t see ambition as a bad thing and actually, it helps a relationship stay fresh with new interests and possibilities.

    I agree with A-L – “All this to say that one shouldnt judge someone else based on our own perceptions.” You really do have to get to know a person to see if they aren’t able to achieve balance or make time in their life for someone new. And sometimes after starting a date a new person, your own ambition levels can increase because you want something different.

    I guess love hits and then the results just vary.

  12. 132

    “They might be a customer service rep, and then end up becoming one of the foremost dating experts.”

    😀 Right on!

  13. 133

    “I dont see ambition as a bad thing and actually, it helps a relationship stay fresh with new interests and possibilities.”

    Yes! Thank you.

  14. 134

    Where are these ambitious women?

  15. 135

    Ambitious women are all over the place – the problem is that most of them are so focused on projects and things that they don’t pay attention to romantic interest all the time. They need some coaxing. I would recommend vacation spots (when they are unwinding), spas and such, coffee places, bookstores. At yeah, it sounds like many of the general places women go, but by having a conversation you can find out what these women are up to in their lives and what makes them tick. Ambitious people are people at the end of the day – all looking for human connection.

  16. 137

    Sorry, Sayanta, but I’m not quite sure this article proves your point. It talks more about conscientiousness and discipline than about ambition the way it’s being discussed in this thread. It refers to paying your bills on time and studying for a test…studying may be more of a sign of ambition, but not necessarily so. But thanks for the link!

  17. 138

    Yeah- I actually posted it more to point out how one word can mean such different things to different people.

  18. 139

    You’re right – ambition and success can mean different things to different people based on an individual’s value system.

  19. 140

    It may have different meanings, but for most practical purposes, women that I have heard of using the termn “successful” in reference to a man, are trying to say that the man has “money”, is “financially secure”, “very well off”.

  20. 141
    Ann Duckworth

    Men are not afraid of successful women. They are afraid of abuse toward them by society, including women who may perceive men to be weak in some way. The nineteenth century belief Males should be strong allows aggression toward Males who appear weak in some way. Society provides love, honor, respect, support, etc. (the essentials for feelings of self-worth only on the condition of sufficient achievement, money, power, status, and image. Those Males who do not have sufficiency are not only given less love, honor, and respect, they are allowed upon them more aggression by society. This is displayed in the media every day. This makes men very competitive for they feel they must achieve in order to have those things that society provides women for being women. Added the nineteenth century belief Males should be strong that allow much more aggression toward Males and also the denial from day one of mental, emotional, social support from day one (for fear of coddling the Male) and you have Males falling behind Females mentally, emotionally, socially, academically, and economically.

    Women, due to the nineteenth century belief woman should be protected are given love, honor, and respect simply for being women.

    The nineteenth-century belief they should be protected also allows for much mental, emotional, social support, to only “appear to mature faster than Males”. By differential treatment Females are surging ahead. In addition that very overprotection by society allows women to give verbal, silent abuse, and hollow kindness or patronization with impunity. The combination of allowed aggressions upon Males who appear weak in some way, lack of support for Males, more than adequate support for Females, and the protected freedoms of various allowed verbal and nonverbal abuse by women makes a Male who appears weak in some way quite vulnerable to more abuse from successful women and more also from society.

  21. 142

    Ann Duckworth, post 141-

    Maybe I’m not smart enough, but I really don’t understand what you’re saying.

    Is it that WOMEN aren’t respectful to men? I don’t know- I’m just trying to figure out your post.

  22. 143
    Karl R

    Ann Duckworth, (#141)
    The information in your post is interesting. Could you direct me to some research or articles that support it?

    Assuming your information is correct (and it sounds plausible), how is it useful? Any indictment of society, even if it is 100% correct, is of limited usefulness. Society isn’t going to change quickly enough to affect my dating life. So how does anyone (male or female) make use of this information in their personal life?

    On a personal level, this automatically affects me (as a member of this society), but I don’t have to fall prey to it. I don’t buy into the status symbols that most people use to define their self-worth. I don’t treat people better because they have them. I don’t allow myself to be treated worse because I don’t. That means I don’t have to compete as hard to achieve, since my self-worth isn’t based upon it. And since I treat people as if they’re my equals, they frequently treat me as if I’m their equals (regardless of status symbols).

    Second, I spend most of my time in environments where I’ll receive respect, support, love, etc. just for being who I am and excelling at the things which I naturally excell at. For example, I’m a good dancer. When I go out and dance, lots of women want to dance with me. I receive constant reinforcement that I am a valuable individual. (As a bonus, I have fun, exercise and meet women at the same time.)

    It’s easy for me to maintain my self-worth when it’s so strongly reinforced three nights each week. I can’t change society, but I can sidestep the rules when I need to.

    My final question for you: how can/should a smart, successful woman sidestep this societal rule?

  23. 144

    RE Post #141

    I’m with Sayanta. Perhaps, although I do not want to speak for you, you are referring to societies/cultures which equate the expression of emotion by males as a sign of weakness or potential weakness. Granted, many boys are told that they are sissies if they are “too” emotionally sensitive or effeminate traditionally speaking and will receive messages that if they express themselves emotionally or say cry, they will not grow up to be “real” men and may become proverbial doormats with women and women want strong men. For me, the key to healthy connection is all about the emotional connection and without men and women expressing themselves emotionally or being comfortable emotionally, problems will ensue. Emotions are strength. If one can really authentically be in tune with ones’ and others’ emotions, be respectful, establish healthy boundaries, and recognize that noone can do anything to us we don’t allow them to, then I think we would find our own strength and establish healthier connections. It is complex and challenging.

    A person’s worth should not be measured by their status, academic achievements or how much money they have in the bank (for example), despite the harsh realities of what society often defines as “successful”. I see it as a problem if one’s self worth is based on those things you point out as they do not really bring internal happiness in and of themselves or self esteem, but rather may be substitutes that can soothe an otherwise insecure person.

    For me, self worth is an internal process impacted by various environmental factors like family of origin and significant interpersonal relationships. We all choose who we are or want to be and noone, not even society in some way or the way that I perceive you are using it, can necessarily make or break someone’s sense of self concept or worth (although I’m sure there are arguments and examples to the contrary). Attaining and actualizing healthy self worth is an ongoing journey and one with the capacity for unlimited learning.

    As far as women and society, I think of the women’s movement and what women have had to and continue to “fight” for in the way of so-called equality. Pay is still disparate between the sexes and chauvanism is rampant. Women, until not so long ago, were considered “property” of men legally and I also think about the rule of theumb; a man could leave a mark on a woman as long as it wasn’t larger than a thumb print. Society protected men and refused to hold them accountable; battering was considered an intrafamilial matter.

    I think of traditional stereotypes of males and females and find those self limiting in some way. While I might think that it is admirable for loved ones to want to protect each other, I am unsure as to your defintion of “protection”. I want to be all that I am and can be and not be treated differently because I am a woman in certain matters, although I recognize that there are differences between men and women and different relationships treat these differently. I want people to call me on my stuff and not walk on eggshells because I am deemed too frail or too fragile because I am a woman. I certainly don’t want or think that I need overprotection from anyone; that would be stifling among other things. I also don’t think that anyone here condones abuse of any kind by either of the sexes.

    Finally, I am assuming that you are a female by your name, yet I can’t wrap my brain around you post which in some way is hostile or in some distorted toward men and against women and seems to depicts women and society as abusive towards men when every statistic bears out otherwise. Most of us women have had to work very hard for what we have and make alot of sacrifices that perhaps men did not have to make. I prefer to embrace them rather than dis them in the name of “society”. Bravo to evolved men as well!

  24. 145

    Sorry, last paragraph should read

    …yet I can’t wrap my brain around your post which in some way is hostile toward women and seems to depict women and society as abusive towards men when every statistic bears out otherwise.

    As an aside, isn’t it some men who patronize women? And aren’t wars, to me the ultimate aggressive act, usually started and fought by men, the ultimate in power and control??? (Sorry, perhaps I digress.)

  25. 146
    Ann Duckworth

    I think women like men, reflect their lives upon each other, not realizing the very large differences in treatment that begin from birth onward. For Males there is a continued increased feeling to misguided help to make the Male strong by using more force, more aggression, and more cautiousness or neglect of close, mental, emotional, social, – support, knowledge, and interaction due to not wanting to sissy or coddle Males. Since Females like Males (both have this problem) do not understand how the much close and open, mental, emotional, social – support, knowledge and skills have helped them, they are unable to appreciate any differences in treatment. Women believe all are treated the same and with the same supports. This becomes a part of the growing gulf between men and women. Also the much allowed freedom of expression for women to give more subtle and even more open hollow kindness and even patronization with impunity, makes communication between men and women that much more difficult. It is not so much disrespect as it is much overprotection for many years that has naturally made the woman’s words, tones, and inflections less rich, more tinish, or hollow. When the woman tries to then cover this by sounding more strong, instead of sounding more rich and compassionate in tone and inflection their more assertive words appear to be more aggressive even abrasive for there is insufficient history of suffering from the confrontations the Male has faced from early years onward. Then the combination of boh freedom of expression by women; the lack of equal appreciation of hardships showing up in the voice; the false belief in genetic ability and effort; along with the allowance by society in general to give more aggression to Males who appear weak in some way (society’s antidote for weakness in Males) all then work together to create more hardships for Males who are conversing with women where the woman feels to have an advantage. The message cannot help but come out in various ways and accumulates in harm over time.

    Yes, differential treatment is created differences in mental/emotional growth, not genetics. Only by understanding this and reaching out from both sides to appreciate this will men and women be able to communicate more effectively.
    So, it is not a matter of disrespecting Males as it is truly believing their natural expressions along with all of the other societal beliefs regarding Males that then leads to much harshness in treatment of Males who appear weaker. The media has been a very strong model of just how society treats Males who appear weaker in some way. While such treatment is allowed and seems comical to the viewer, it is accumulating much long-term harm to Males.

  26. 147
    Ann Duckworth

    To Karl and other responders, my learning theory will go to all on request by e-mail at [email protected]

    To many persons see themselves today in terms of treatment defined by hiring, job pay, allowances for positions, etc. I am talking about the many very subtle and some very open and continuous treatment differences that affect Male and Female children and later adults from birth onward.

    When it comes to how a person should treat another person: We all need to begin freeing ourselves from the genetic models of Males and Female and the behaviors and skills usually attached. We need to help ourselves and others begin to realize that Male ane Female are very equal in all abilites (such genetic differentiation is being used to justify a caste system placing Males in more physical areas) and treated differently over time. We should not be concerned with how society will respond but for now, our own mental/emotional health and the health of those close to us. Again, my learning theory is for all on request at [email protected]

  27. 148
    Ann Duckworth

    to Ellyn

    yet I cant wrap my brain around your post which in some way is hostile toward women and seems to depict women and society as abusive towards men when every statistic bears out otherwise.

    from Ann, Women, especially those more successful women truly believe in society’s belief regarding genetics and effort as to success. Society beliefs regarding treatment of Males to make them tough, not coddling Males, and using more power to Males who appear weak, of which Females have learned through much modeling to believe is the correct way to be, can only be expected to follow those guidelines.

    As an aside, isnt it some men who patronize women?

    from Ann; Yes, aggressiveness knows no bounds whether they be Male or Female. In this discussion we are talking about gross differences in treatment over time that has led to much difference in many mental, emotional, social, and academic skills that has now transferred into the real earnings. With the current false beliefs regarding simple genetics and effort “without regard to environment”; the false but understood reflecting of treatments toward Male and Female children from birth onward as equal; and the allowance by both individuals, the media, and society in general to use more forms of aggression toward Males who appear weak in some way, makes Male who appear weaker prime targets from society and more successful women. Also since this much differential treatment has led to some very subtle and some very open differences in voice, tone, and inflection by women who speak from power “without having faced the same continued agression as Males have faced from day one. This leads very a very different social language that can be interpreted either incorrectly or correctly to be patronizing to Males. Note: from observation you can see the Male ego being developed in young Male children. This is not a normal trait but a defensive front set up by very young Male children to protect them from the aggressions they have experienced in their lives. You do not usually see this trait in Female children to due much more support and protection given them.

    And arent wars, to me the ultimate aggressive act, usually started and fought by men, the ultimate in power and control??? (Sorry, perhaps I digress.)

    From Ann Yes, it is sad that Males are raised to believe they must be strong or run over. You see women are given love, honor, and respect simply for being Females from a very young age onward. They do not need to prove themselves to receive that love for they are women who not supposed to be strong and therefore there is no problem with giving love, honor, and respect to Females from a young age through adulthood.

    As for men and yes, little boys, there is the belief Males should be strong. They are not given protection and support; that would be considered coddling Males. They are given more aggression to make them tough to be good little warriors. They are given love, honor, and respect only on condition of sufficient achievement, money, power, status, image, etc. This love, honor, and respect that women receive for simply being women are the essentials for a person to have “feeling of self-worth”. This not providing Males this goodness is not by accident but is designed by society to help make Males more competitive to the point of even giving their lives in war for tid bits of love, honor, and respect from society. So those little boys who play football and get in fights at school and put on that defensive front are desperately attempting to get those essentials of love, honor, and respect from society, the essentials of self-worth. Those Males who do not have sufficient will receive more aggression from society.

  28. 149
    Evan Marc Katz

    Hey, Ann, I appreciate your contributions here, but please don’t hijack the forum with three consecutive long posts.

    Most people don’t have the patience to read that much and such posts dissuade participation from others. Many thanks.

  29. 150

    Ann, my applause for the masters “Thesis”. Bravo!..

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