“I’ve been told by well-meaning relatives: ‘Don’t talk about work on a date, dumb it down, and it’s bad to earn so much money because guys will be scared of you.’ And I got the word ‘intimidating’ a lot,” said Alexis, a 35-year-old lawyer in San Francisco. Nearly half of single women believe their professional success is intimidating to the men they meet.
Put another way, many high-achieving women think their success is not helping them find love.
“It was just depressing.” Kim chimed in: “I’m on the cusp of turning 30 and people are always complaining that smart women don’t get married.
Instead, you hear about the single women who want to be married, as if that’s the only story.” Kim’s own observations, however, are different: “It’s a misconception that smart women don’t get married. And most of them have gotten graduate degrees themselves.” But Angela, 31, added, “Getting those degrees delays the process. And that’s when [women] freak out.” The deluge of dire findings about these women’s chances at love don’t help, either.
It’s dated.” Star and Angela agreed that the media are on the wrong track: “The men I’ve dated my career ambition,” said Star. In the years between Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s research and Maureen Dowd’s best-seller, two depressing studies garnered national attention.
The stereotypes are powerful, and many high-achieving women have created similar strategies.
When Zara, a 26-year-old business school student, was an undergraduate at an East Coast Ivy League school, she and her friends used to fabricate identities that they assumed would be more attractive to men. My friends and I pretended we were from Southern Mississippi State University — which doesn’t exist as far as I know — and put on southern accents to top it all off. We thought they’d be intimidated if they found out where we really went to school.
Some 66 percent of SWANS disagree with the statement “My career or educational success increases my chances of getting married.” Anne, a 30-year-old chief resident at a Boston hospital, said she doesn’t think of herself as intimidating or uber-intelligent, but men seem to get that impression.
“I was out with two friends from residency recently and I asked one of the married guys if he had any single friends to set me up with.Newspapers throughout England, France, and Australia jumped on the bad news bandwagon in 2005: “Here Dumbs the Bride,” “Keep Young and Stupidful If You Want to Be Loved,” and “Alpha Females Use Their Heads, but Lose Their Hearts.” Finally, these negative ideas hit a saturation point in 2005, when outspoken and then in a book, the Pulitzer prize-winning writer asked plaintively, “What’s a Modern Girl to Do?” Spreading Myths Ironically, it’s two successful women, a well-educated and influential economist in her 60s and a pioneering journalist in her 50s, both of whom accomplished so much ahead of their time, who have done the most to scare off younger ones from pursuing similar paths to success.Three years later, Maureen Dowd blamed her own single life on her career success.In her 2005 book Dowd told readers that she came from a family of Irish maids and housekeepers.They want someone who is going to be at home.” This stunt became popular enough to inspire a episode.