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Do Smart Women Intimidate Men: Breaking the Myth

abstract:For at least this generation women have been hearing that smart men are not attracted to smart women. I happen to think the opposite is true --- and here is a book by Dr. Christine B. Whelan Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women(Simon & Schuster, Oct 2006) Even if marriage isn't your goal, (Is there a book Even Smarter Women Don't Wed--just kidding?!) click on our header for details of the ABC News article discussing this topic & take their quiz.


January 26, 2007

Who are the SWANS?

ABC News featured the following story as introduced here.

"For years, there's been a popular conception that men are intimidated by intelligent women.

Thus, these women are less likely to find a man who will love them, let alone get married and have a family.

Dr. Christine B. Whelan shatters that myth in her new book, "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women."

She proves that smart, successful women marry at the same rates as other women, assuring millions of American SWANS (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) that they have no reason to doubt themselves.

With sound research and sage advice, Whelan tells intelligent women why they have the upper hand in the marriage market and in every other arena of life."

Excerpt from "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women"

Overqualified for Love?

Imagine, as newspapers and magazines recently have, the "plight of the high-status woman." She is a well-educated young woman in her 30s, earns a good salary, and has a great social life but she is single and is worried that her success might be the reason she has not met a man to marry. Any hint of bad news about the successful or talented has always made headlines, but media pessimism about the happiness and life balance of millions of young, career-oriented women has struck a chord nationwide.

The purported "news" was never good: Smart women are less likely to marry. Successful men are romantically interested only in their secretaries. And if a woman makes a lot of money, men will be intimidated. Conservative and liberal pundits alike mythologized the failure of feminism and the "waste" of these talented women who were searching for soul mates.

For a generation of SWANS Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse these myths have become conventional wisdom. If you attended a good school, have an impressive job, have career aspirations or dream of future success, men will find you less attractive. "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.

She's not alone. 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. 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. He said, 'Oh, I get it, you're one of those super-smart superachievers that scare the men off.'"

"I didn't really know how to respond," Anne recalled of her colleague's character assessment, but other women have a strategy in place. They instinctually "dumb it down" or pretend to be someone they're not. When she was 35 and single, Julia, a lawyer in New York City, would play a game when she went to bars: "I told some guys I was an attorney and they ran away from me, and then other guys that I was a secretary at a law firm and at least for the short term they seemed more interested," she said. "There's the idea that high-achieving men don't like the competition, that they find us a little bit frightening, and get enough of that in the office. They want someone who is going to be at home."full article at ABC News 



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