Do Successful Women Intimidate Men?

By YourTango

Do Successful Women Intimidate Men?
Are smart, successful women intimidating? We asked men what they think.

Scott White, 29, is a fitness instructor and doesn't even consider the possibility of intimidation. "No way no how," says White, adding, "although, I am not intimidated by much, especially not women. I know this answer sounds a bit crude maybe or chauvinistic…why would I ever be intimidated by a woman?"

Recent research supports these conclusions. According to the 2005 Current Population Survey, a single 30-year-old woman is more likely to marry by age 40 if she has a graduate degree than if she doesn't. But Jane Scandurra, producer and director of the documentary Single warns against reading too much into these statistics. "Either biologically or sociologically men have it ingrained in their minds that it is a competition," says Scandurra. "There may be some guys out there who aren't intimidated, but are there enough?"


"Of course men deny it," laughed Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem a family therapist. "they just aren't telling the truth because the question intimidates them."

But other men aren't so quick to deny being intimidated. Jesse, a 26 year-old seminary student living in California, says, "Honestly, when it comes down to it, all men have a little bit of both inside them, simply because of the historical dominance of males in society.  Men inherit milllennia years of social and hierarchical dominance and either knowingly or unknowingly have an irrational fear of losing their 'territory.'"

Jon Doane, 30, agrees. He admits he found his wife intimidating when they first met. "She is smart and kind," says Jon, "but [the intimidation] wasn't her issue, it was mine."

For many men like Jon, the power politics of intimidation also have sexual connotations. "As a younger single man, I was intimidated by the women I was attracted to; the more sexually attracted I was, the more intimidated I felt," says Bruce Alexander, 37. "They had the power to grant or deny my romantic desires and, whether they knew it or not, they wielded that power. I believe it was a combination of a lack of self-confidence on my part and the natural forces inherent in sexual relationships.