Insecure men and the fear of powerful women

Roxanne Jones writes an excellent blog, Boomer Haiku. In her most recent post, she discusses some research that conflicts in particularly unfortunate ways. She shares the claims of Lawrence Whalley an expert on mental health who claims, “marrying an intelligent woman helps protect a man from dementia.”

That seems like common sense to me. A person who has an intelligent partner is more likely to be challenged to think critically and consider the viewpoint of others.

For the purposes of this blog, I’ll overlook the heterosexual bias of that expert. I’m sure that men who marry smart men and women who marry smart women also fare well.

Roxanne goes on to discuss a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, that reported recent findings that “men find intelligent women scary. What’s more, when a woman does something better than a man, his sense of masculinity diminishes”

Roxanne seeks her readers input by asking: So what do you think? If you’re a woman, have you experienced rejection because you’re “too smart?” And guys, what about a smart woman appeals to you (or turns you off)? Please share…

This is likely more sharing that Roxanne intended but I can’t resist for a very simple reason:

Whenever I am asked what I attribute my professional success to, I introduce folks to my staff, who are almost exclusively powerful women (the exception is my one very fine male employee).  The thing I’m most proud of in our organization is that these women do incredible things in support of one another and of me.

Whenever I’m asked what I attribute my personal successes to, I introduce people to my wife (who also runs my business). Having a spouse/best friend/business partner who is in every respect a smart woman is powerful. The fact that she loves me and tolerates me is the miracle. She recently asked me in bewilderment, “How can you be so brilliant and such an idiot simultaneously?’

It’s not easy, but I manage. (wanna be more successful? Learn to laugh at yourself)

I’ve learned that I’m very good at a small number of things and completely inept at an infinite number of things. I delegate a lot professionally because I know what I suck at and I appreciate that I have amazing women around me who are great at lots of the things I am hopeless in. I also enjoy that in many of those things, I’m a bit role reversed traditionally.

For example, my wife is in charge of our renovations primarily because the only thing I can do with a tool is hurt myself and what I understand about construction couldn’t fill a thimble

In addition to being incredibly talented and intelligent, what I appreciate about the powerful women in my life is that they will not hesitate to tell me when I am wrong. I need that. A lot.

I hate it when people play small. My ego isn’t fragile, speak your truth and let’s kick ass collectively!

I know that insecure men are easily threatened. This explains not only their fear/discomfort of powerful women; it also explains their competitive nature with other men. The self limiting nature of this approach is obvious. What’s less apparent is the spirit of:

“I’m not competing with anyone. I hope we all win.”

To be secure in oneself is the key to relating to all others optimally. What that takes is a whole lot of self awareness and self acceptance. Insecurities are really just reasons why I thought I wasn’t good enough. Having accepted that I am, other people cease to be a threat to me at all.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.