“You’ll never find a husband.”
That was the first thing my friend had to hear from a middle-aged man who outwardly expressed his opinion about her love life.
My friend is 29 years old, has the guts of 20 people combined, quit her corporate job to be a full-time writer (and is doing amazingly well), travels to different countries every year (because of the earnings from her books), and takes care of an adorable, little cat.
But all the man had to say about that was that she’s single because she cannot find a man who would be willing to enter in such a difficult partnership.
My friend humored him and gently asked why he thinks her future partner would care about this. And his reply amazed her (and me when she told me).
He said, “Most men don’t want to be with women who are strong enough to do all of this alone. They don’t possess the maturity to accept someone who might not be dependent on them.”
As ridiculous as the words sounded, they rang true for some men we’ve met throughout our lives. But here’s the thing: this is starting to change.
Perhaps, in the last century or so, women were encouraged by society not to use their full potential/IQ so they could land a husband. Their responsibilities were limited to being the good daughter, sister, and wife. And yet, “The painfully slow process of education reform began in the 1840s after it was acknowledged that if women were the first educators of children, then they needed a solid education.”
And for everyone’s benefit, women started fighting for their education.
In 2017, Alyson Byrne and Julian Barling wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “According to U.S. Department of Labor Data, women now hold at least 50% of management and professional positions, outnumbering males in roles such as financial managers, accountants, and medical and health services managers. […] Despite these organizational and economic changes, societal norms still suggest that in heterosexual marriages, husbands ‘should’ hold higher job status relative to their wives.”
And this makes me wonder if all those articles saying that a strong woman is often feared and considered intimidating are right or just representing a myth.
What I believe is that labeling strong women as intimidating and unapproachable is wrong. What I believe is that reinforcing the idea that strong women will most infinitely remain single is wrong. What I believe is that stating the fact that some men (not all of them because I’ve met some who deeply respect a strong woman as a partner) would rather be with a submissive woman who possesses a lower IQ is wrong.
What I believe is that we should turn this still-widespread belief into a myth.
We should debunk misinformation about strong women and start showing them as the great humans they are.
Why? Because let’s face it; women getting an education, leadership positions, and even equal or higher salaries than men are an inevitable result of our society’s progress. And staying stuck in our backward and outdated thinking isn’t doing anyone any favor.
Here are a few myths that are often associated with our independent queens (some that I’ve heard myself):
1. They pretend to be strong but are secretly desperate for a husband.
Newsflash: they are not.
They may want a partnership, but “desperate” is just not true. Being desperate often leads to making the wrong decision. These women are clever enough and possess the emotional intelligence to know that getting in any relationship for the sake of having a partner will only lead to their unhappiness. And they worked hard to be happy and satisfied. They won’t ruin it out of “desperation.”
2. They are emotionally unavailable.
Being successful and financially independent doesn’t mean that they absolutely refuse romantic partnerships. These two are not interrelated. A woman can be self-sufficient and still like to be loved by someone for who she is, not for her physical, emotional, and financial need for support.
3. They will use their successful career to belittle their husbands.
Being in a successful, healthy relationship is not equal to being in a competition with one’s partner. Each person can have their own shining light, and being together can mean that both can shine even brighter.
4. If they have a career, they won’t be good mothers.
Raising children is not solely the mother’s responsibility. It is the father’s as well. It is both parents’ job to care for their kids, love them, and cater to their needs. Have you ever heard of Shonda Rhimes? She is the “founder television production company Shondaland, has created popular television series like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Scandal,’ and ‘How to Get Away With Murder.’ Creating three wildly popular TV shows has earned her numerous prestigious accolades as well, including eight Emmys. In 2015, she also published her best-selling book, ‘The Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and be Your Own Person.’ The best part? She’s accomplished all this while raising three young daughters.”
5. They are bossy.
The word “bossy” has a negative connotation to it. How about we start looking at a successful, strong woman as someone who knows her sh*t, who is not afraid to make decisions, and who is more than capable of being in a leadership position and making a good change?
Eventually, you’re marrying a whole person, not a puppet or a machine that should follow a certain list of preferences and orders.
I have to say that this mentality is really starting to change with the rise in the percentage of strong, independent women. And thankfully, there are men who are fully supportive of their partners.
And so, this is for strong women, men who respect them, and a society who is encouraging other women to be strong as well…thank you.
It’s about time we stop downgrading women for the sake of our egos.