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Why men fear intelligent women

Guest blogger on ilizwi263, Zola Ndlovu writes about the relationship challenges of the educated single woman.

“So, what do you do anyway?”

Why men fear intelligent women
Why men fear intelligent women

I look at him from across the table, considering my response. My reply would be the difference between celebrating Valentines’ Day or Singles Awareness Day next February. The answer to this question was the one thing that would determine this man’s romantic interest in me.

“Oh, I – I’m a lawyer.”

Body Language

His shoulders hunch visibly. His Adam’s apple bobs up and down as he swallows hard. The enthusiastic small talk turns into stilted conversation. At the conclusion of our date, the awkward hug is downgraded to a tentative high-five. Next time he will walk past me like he had not seen me. I scared him off with my profession.

Successful women sleep alone

When we discuss dating and marriage the issue of ‘strong’, ‘opinionated’ and ‘ambitious’ women who intimidate men rises to the surface. The stereotype looks like the career-driven, emotionally distant and rigid woman who does not need a man and will not hesitate to remind you of that.

When does this begin?

Our childhood romances seem to confirm it. Girls who loved debating, occupied leadership positions and won multiple awards stirred up boys’ feelings of respect more than they did their hormones. Successful career women believe that their accomplishments, intellect and personalities are the reason why they are single.

Research says…

Studies of the effects of psychological distance and relative intelligence on men’s attraction to women show that there is some truth to this belief. Men are attracted to more intelligent women from a distance, but once they come into contact with such a woman, there is a decrease in attraction. Researchers attribute this to what they call ‘feelings of diminished masculinity.’

“Such findings, although preliminary, are consistent with research indicating that feelings of confidence and power, which are associated with masculinity, are related to approaching and initiating romantic encounters.”

Success threatens manhood

If men’s interactions with you reveal that you are smarter than them, then they are less likely to be romantically interested in you. For men, this is an issue of status. They defend themselves against women who challenge their status because traditionally they have been encouraged to pursue power and resources. In this context, a woman’s strength, career success and wealth may threaten what they have been taught is their role in the society.

Culture is dynamic

The advice passed out by older women to their younger counterparts at kitchen teas usually takes the tone of: ‘When you get married you must leave being a Chartered Account at work. Be a wife at home.’ The implication is that although women can now do what was only reserved for men in the workplace, they must not take that same mind-set into the home. ‘This is our culture,’ we are told.

On the one hand, this makes sense. A doctor who owns a private practice can unilaterally make decisions about finances, hire and fire at will and run the show as they please. But the same style of leadership that is acceptable at work cannot be exercised at home. Your role as a CEO is not the same as your role as a wife, or even as a mother. There is a difference.

Double standards

It is not this principle that is a problem; it is the fact that it has only been applied to women. Men have not been held to an equal standard. For men, it has been acceptable to be ‘the boss’ at work and at home. Many an injustice has been committed in the name of culture. In the name of culture, a husband makes unilateral financial choices, even in relation to income that his wife brings in. In the name of culture, a man decides where his family will live without consulting his wife. In the name of culture, women have been subjected to all kinds of abuse because they are viewed as children and not as equals.

“Culture does not make people. People make culture.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The ideal man

If I find a man who is drawn to me as a person then he should see my achievements as a bonus and not a threat. If we ever have children then we should teach them not to place undue emphasis on a man’s wealth or physical strength as marks of masculinity. If culture is the reason why men feel threatened by successful women, then culture is what needs to change.

Zola Ndlovu is a Harare-based writer whose aim is to help you live every day intentionally. Get more of her writing for free when you subscribe to her blog.

This article was initially published by ilizwi263

  • Lacoste, PHd( Boston)

    Ndezvenyu izvo. Listen to the teachings of the bible. i have a problem with ladies that tries to compete with men or to try to prove something to men. When it comes to relationships, love and marriage, education and high academic qualificans, money,high paid jobs and rewarding careers are just nothing.

  • chinos

    No, no, no, nothing will change on culture. Successful women get married in societies. The problem with women is, once you become more educated than your husband, you become more pompous. You do not want take your motherly role as society expects. In any misunderstandings with your husbands, you will always remind them that they are not educated. Naturally, a man marries down, in which marriage he assumes his breadwinning role, where nobody reminds them that it is because of them that there are a few belongings in the house. If women could advocate for nature to change, and not culture, I would be 100% behind them.

  • Munya Munyah Munyaradzi

    hahahahaha Drunken Post!, Judges, Ministers , straight A students aren’t they married by Drunkards, thieves, Hooboz and home dwelas,

    Love and sex dozent require intelligence, that’s matters of the #heart not the #mind….. #areIntelligentWomenSingle

  • Justin Mabla Karimatsenga

    Its not about intelligence. Every man wants a wife not a human rights lawyer. What is being smarter? Being smarter is to honour your husband everything else is vanity

  • Colin Zvakavapano

    Which kind of men are you talking about

  • Jojo Fokoyo

    Woman were made for men Gods bible says so

  • Inacio Chingomana

    Foolish perception. Lieing to yoself that u are intelligent. An intelligent mind encourages the man and an arrogant and dumb one is always abandoned coz it thinks z smarter yet Nooooooooooo!

  • Samaita Jikinya

    Kikikiki she is looking for a man end of

  • Sabbah Saunyama

    It’s about control,” not we are fearing them”.

  • Tawanda Conman Makoni

    i doubt it… how come garden boys manage to bed the “intelligent women?”

  • Robert Nyakudya

    coz they want to show their intelligence on the wrong time and place

  • Sydney Yasini Chizema

    We are shy to be outclassed kkkk

  • Faith Bella

    Its true, im talking from experience

  • Mucha Maku

    Kunyeba kwenyu guys…………..these are matters of the ‘heart’

  • Marjorie Jesy Mugabe

    I think its about your attitude. Showing it off

  • Bridget Ndlovu

    Very true i knw wat you a talkinga abt

  • Adolf Dube

    No way don’t agree with this at all

  • Eric Muremi

    Nothing like that

  • Sanderson Makombe

    Give her my number then..

  • Sheunesu Masvisvi

    They are good heartbreakers

  • wilbert

    Excellent article and well put!

    It is a great pity that not many women will ever get to read this, they would benefit from it greatly!

  • inizvangu

    I have plenty of very intelligent woman friends who are married to not so sharp men. I had to remind one or two of them not to make fun of their husbands’ lesser achievements….and they are doing well. The general man, no matter how successful, does not look down upon the females in terms of academic or financial achievements….but I can assure you, the general successful woman would remind the man of his financial failures….and that doesnt work. Until successful women change their attitude, they will remain single.

    • NOREST


  • inini1545

    A few problems with the so called “smart women” they have the wrong mentality regarding a workable relationship, they are too picky, to them everything is about competition, and they believe success is materialistic. Facts on the ground suggest that a workable relationship involves accepting a person for whom they are, receiving and giving, and importantly having realistic expectations.