Why Men Don’t Care About Womens’ Careers
October 24, 2010, 2:24 pm
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Neo makes the observation that women with high-status careers tend to have a harder time finding a mate. As he says, in part this is because men don’t care about a woman’s career. But that only really scratches the surface. Because, why don’t men care about a woman’s career?

Let me throw this out there as the main reason:

Because in any future relationship with such a woman, men instinctively know they would either (a) have to be the breadwinner anyway, regardless of how well she does in her career, or (b) not be the breadwinner, not make more money – and be thought of as an unmanly beta. The implicit choice – for a man considering whether to go long-term with a high-status career woman – is (a), or (b). And neither is appealing. Is it?

If with such a woman, a man could check out of his career and just go with (b). Or, he could stick with the high-status-career woman, but (a) still have to focus on his own career, and face the proposition of being a two-high-powered-career couple, with salaries to match but (more importantly – to the man), with the lack of focus on home life that results.

Which option is supposed to be appealing to a man?

This isn’t feminist, or enlightened of me, to put out there. But more importantly, I think it’s the truth: a woman’s high-status career is bringing nothing to the table that is of any use to a man. It’s not like he can think “well she’s making $X so I can slack off”. (Or, he can think that, but be beta.) So her career does not relieve him of any responsibilities. It doesn’t help him. All it does is take her attention and focus out of the home for extended periods of time. But his attention and focus has to be out of the home for extended periods of the time (because he’s a man – unless he wants to be thought of as not one).

In this way, a woman having a powered career is about as much use and appeal to a man as if she had a time-consuming hobby. For women, careers are options. For men, they are obligatory. If a woman with a JD or an M.D. had a family and decided to take time off for the career, absolutely no one would think twice about it. Good for her! But if a man were to do the equivalent – raised eyebrows. Oh, there might be a bunch of faux “I think that’s great!” comments from certain types, but they wouldn’t really mean it. Deep down.

The man can’t “check out” of his career, and still be a man, and still think of himself as doing his part for his family. The woman can. And everyone knows this deep down. This is why women with high-status careers have no appeal to the typical man. It is as if they are advertising that they have a distracting hobby that will take her away from him, not help him, and make his life more difficult. And then they wonder why they don’t have suitors, and blame it on men being “threatened” by their being “strong” women with vaunted careers. It’s closer to the truth to say that by focusing so much on their own careers, they are preparing for having lives without men. And so – often – that’s exactly what they get.

This is a Neanderthal, retrograde thing to say. And it is what I think.

UPDATE: This notion of men finding strong/career woman “threatening” is a bit fascinating to me. So many women go around saying this that I can only assume it’s what they actually believe. But if you think it through logically & take to heart what I’ve written above, saying “men don’t want career women cuz they find career women threatening” is almost like saying “men don’t want ugly women cuz they find ugly women threatening“. In a way I suppose it’s true (probably, men are ‘threatened’ by the prospect of being attached to an ugly woman for life!) but this sort of thing is a grand reach for some esoteric, psychological, phobia type explanation to explain what really has a far more obvious and straightforward explanation.

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The ‘threatened’ thing may be more internal dissatisfaction projected outward. That is, a woman finds it natural that she is attracted to high status in a man, and then, having achieved some status herself, is disturbed that men don’t find high status nearly as sexy for them.

She thinks: Men are not responding ‘appropriately’ to her (hard-earned) high status, therefore men are ‘threatened’ by it; in other words: What IS their problem that my high status isn’t particularly sexy to them???? (She’s casting about for some reason to explain this phenomenon, since high status is, to her, just automatically sexy, so why isn’t her high status working as it ‘should’)?

The above follows from a very insightful piece from a few years ago by Bruce G Charlton, The loneliness of the highly-educated, high-status career woman in the 21st century, which is well worth a look.

Comment by JohnK

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But if you think it through logically & take to heart what I’ve written above, saying “men don’t want career women cuz they find career women threatening” is almost like saying “men don’t want ugly women cuz they find ugly women threatening“.

Good one. I prefer to use this illustration: do women find short men “threatening”? No, of course not – it’s just not what they’re attracted to.

Comment by Samson

>not be the breadwinner, not make more money – and be thought of as an unmanly beta.

Sounds like he feels threatened. And it’s natural.
If you’d rephrase it as : “A man feels emasculated if his woman earns much more than he does or is far more successful than he is” would that be substantially different from your statement above or from saying he (for precisely this reason) feels a little intimidated/threatened by her status?

Not that your entire post hasn’t a point to it. It does. Many points even. But the “threatened” thing, albeit much over-used – it’s simply convenient as well as hip – has more than a grain of truth to it.

I’d also say that (to take one example to counter your generally true “doesn’t bring anything to the table”) Brad Pitt wasn’t intimidated by Jolie’s success and her success did bring something to the table. He appreciated it (because it can be appreciated and he had no reason to fear it). And.. were she a ‘nobody’, simply bright and beautiful, it would’ve actually diminished his status. You’re onto something but it’s not the be all and end all. My 2 cents.

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Comment by Anonymous

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By writing this you are actually confirming that you are weaker than woman and bothered by strong career woman in the workplace. Be a man and grow up guys and do something more meaningful in your lives like adding value to our society, helping charities….

Comment by Alex

The problem with telling them to help charities is that men are inherently selfish, and therefore would never do something for other people unless they feel it is a necessity for his selfish desires. Similarly, a career woman requires more effort to make a relationship work. Men do not want to do extra work to make a relationship last with a career woman, so he goes for an easier girl with fewer opinions and skills that limit her to a home life where her every waking moment can be devoted to only him—because he wants all of her attention, of course. It’s all about him. She can’t have a life outside of the home. She has to be a prisoner in his house. For women that enjoy freedom and love contributing to more than just a single man, being forced to stay in a confined house all day truly is hell. So basically, what people mean when they say career women need to pay attention to a man if she wants a relationship is that she needs to repress who she truly is and everything that makes her happy so that she can be a cookie cutter cutout of a perfect woman. Anything that makes her happy like going out of the house and devoting herself to something she enjoys is discouraged. However, when a man does these exact same things, and ignores his wife, it’s fine. In fact, it’s considered normal. The woman’s happiness must be ignored, and the man must be put on a pedestal because men cannot accept that women are human beings who like to enjoy the same freedoms as themselves. Women must be cardboard cutouts in order to be attractive.

Comment by Ashe

Golly. It seems incomprehensible that a woman who felt this way would want to get married in the first place.

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Men are the most generous creatures on earth. They love to give, especially to women. If you have not discovered this, then you are missing out on a little piece of paradise.

Comment by D. Rose Gregory

@Alex, typical female response, why don´t you step out of your great ego and see reality for a change. No one is forced to put up with someone else’s bad attitude and many career women has that in spades.

Comment by J.M.

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