I was watching something on TV the other day and an older female character was giving advice to a younger woman about finding a man. She told her to make sure that she finds a guy who makes more money because it really matters. I did not disagree with that notion when I heard it because it feeds the typical power dynamic in a relationship that I’m familiar with.
I have also heard countless stories of girls having to dumb themselves down with guys in order to not scare them away, which is also something I did not disagree with since it fed that same typical power dynamic.
But a few days ago, these thoughts combined themselves in my head and one question came to mind: Why is this the typical power dynamic in a relationship? In fact, why do we have a “power dynamic” at all?
Let me preface this by stating that I have never taken a feminism class in my life. And some girls who know me will more than likely say that I am a far cry from the fantasy ultra-feminist ally. So this article is not meant to be a feminist piece, but rather an approach to analyze why we men still think this way.
The Intimidation Factor
The theory is that a smarter and more successful woman is intimidating to us. There is something daunting about her contributing more to our bank accounts or being able to read War and Peace way faster. I mean what will our kids think if mom is the more successful one? What will our family think? What will the cat think? The dog will definitely notice and upgrade her to the alpha.
Being Palestinian, I have always seen our incredibly brilliant and successful women constantly passed over because the questions above, although sarcastic, are actually a reality. A female accountant would have to look above her pay grade for a husband. A female doctor would need to look for a more successful doctor or surgeon.
What difference does it really make? Will marrying a more successful woman downgrade our manhood? Would it make men more financially inept or unintelligent? Ironically, most likely the opposite would happen on both fronts. Having a more financially successful partner would allow men to be more creative and start inventions or businesses that could ultimately prove successful. And having a more intelligent partner will challenge a man to think more critically, raising his intellectual capacity to higher levels.
The dog will definitely notice and upgrade her to the alpha.
Call Me Old Fashioned
So ultimately, this entire thing actually has nothing to do with women. It all comes down to men. We have to admit that we have a superiority complex. Our ancient historians, who happen to mostly be men, have told us for decades that cave men were the protectors and the breadwinners. We brought home the saber-tooth tiger for our women to be impressed and want to mate with us in order to reproduce and ensure the survival of the human race.
Rethinking the Old
But I have to wonder, what if a cave woman ancestor found a grove full of fruits and grains and was able to bring in a bounty greater than that of the cave man? Would that have made the cave man feel like less of a man? Or would he have been incredibly grateful that he could skip out on having to risk his life in providing meat for his family to survive and then focus on other tasks at hand?
I wish we could ask him so we can find out if that is where our superiority complex began. But maybe we what we need to really do is ask ourselves why we choose the former reaction than the latter since we are his, allegedly, more evolved descendant?
The initial reaction we have to a woman’s success is harsh. We have a bad habit of downplaying a woman’s ability to be more intelligent or more successful rather than appreciating it and encouraging it. The Prophet once said that the world is at the feet of a woman. Everyone has their own interpretation of what this means but I tend to combine it with another old African proverb: teach a boy to fish and you will have taught man, teach a girl to fish and you will have taught the village. Both statements just drive home the point that women are vital for the well-being of our world.
These women are going to be mothers, aunts and grandmothers to children who will look up to them and know that they can do something amazing because the women in their lives are just that. Such appreciation and encouragement could effectively elevate our society to new heights of brilliance and advancement.
We have to admit that we have a superiority complex
We must break this mentality that has been ingrained in us and stop skipping over the really smart and successful women because they’re intimidating. Let her speak her mind and marvel at her intelligence. She will most likely love you and cherish you for your ability to allow her to be herself and flourish. From what I have heard women say, that would be way better than any saber-tooth tiger you can throw on her floor.