Dear Men: So you think you want a ‘strong, independent woman’

So you think you want a ‘strong, independent woman’.

Written by Dr Jessica Taylor

4th January 2020

This blog is written for men, talking directly to men. Men who have an interest in women (whether heterosexual or bisexual).

Even more specifically, the men who say that they want a strong, independent woman. The men who find powerful, determined women sexy.

The men who write on forums that they are looking for women who pay their own way, won’t ‘rinse them’ and have their own careers and minds.

The men who say they love an intelligent, educated woman because they are ‘feisty’. Ew.

Sound like you? Sound like a man you know?

There are some things you need to know before you go chasing women who have their shit together. If you get all the way through this blog and still think you can be a good partner to the ‘strong, independent woman’ you seek – then great stuff, crack on.

However, if this blog makes you uncomfortable or angry – you might want to re-evaluate your choices and consider that you will not make a good partner for a determined woman. You might even want to question whether you are fetishizing women or hope to control them.

I would hope it goes without saying, but I am proven wrong over and over again on the internet so here goes:

Many of the points I raise in this blog are relevant to all women. Respect all women. I cannot stress that enough. These ‘strong independent women’ you are interested in aren’t any better than any other woman and they aren’t worth more than any other woman.

Independent women don’t need you

The most important point that you need to get super comfortable with, super quick; is that the ‘strong, independent woman’ you want doesn’t actually need you for anything. She doesn’t need you to fund her life. She doesn’t need you to rescue her. She doesn’t need to be showered with gifts or compliments. She doesn’t need you to protect her. She doesn’t need you to provide for her.

No, she doesn’t need you. Instead, she is interested in you.

Wanting a partner is different from needing a partner. The women you are interested in don’t need you because they are already self-sufficient. If you are looking for a woman to fix, rescue, provide for and control – you need to look at yourself and explore why you want to be a dominator in your relationships instead of an equal.

The ‘strong, independent woman’ you want is looking for an equal contributor in a relationship, not someone who seeks to rescue her or control her.

You need to get comfortable with being wanted but not needed. If you want a relationship in which the woman is reliant on you for everything, the issue lies with you. Anyway, isn’t it the biggest compliment to anyone to be wanted instead of needed?

Independent women don’t want to fix you or babysit you

If you are attracted to women who have their shit together, don’t expect her to drop everything she is doing to babysit you and your life. Equals in a relationship support each other, but they don’t babysit one another. You are a grown man and you need to be independent, too. Have your own hobbies and interests and goals in life. Do your own washing, your own cooking, your own cleaning, your own bill payments. Remember your Mum’s birthday all by yourself. Look after the kids. Know where the Christmas decorations are. Book your own hospital appointments. Remember the kid’s parent’s evenings and plays without being reminded seven times.

Similarly, women are not your rehab. Not just the independent, strong women you fancy – but any woman at all. Your girlfriend, your mother, your ex, your female mates. None of them are here to fix you and nurture you. Women are not in the world to fix broken men.

No matter what has happened to you in childhood or in your life, it is not the job of a woman (the olde ‘love of a good woman will fix you’ narrative) to repair your broken pieces. Do it yourself, the way women have for millennia.

Don’t seek a relationship in order to fix yourself or to gain a full time maid and mother.  If this section is making you uncomfortable, you might want to explore your own therapy, support or advice before seeking new relationships. If you recognise that you are currently in a relationship with a ‘strong’ woman who you have been expecting to fix you or babysit you, stop.

Stop, take a step back, look at your behaviour and attitudes towards yourself and her. Then go and seek help. Like now.

Independent women have their own shit going on that you don’t need to be a part of 

The women you seek are likely to have a whole host of goals, priorities, responsibilities and roles in their lives that you don’t need to be a part of. It’s not that you shouldn’t care about what she is passionate about, but you don’t have to be the centre of it all. You don’t have to be included and you don’t have to be the centre of her attention all the time.

This is not at all negative. You both still exist as humans in your own right. You don’t have to do everything together. You need to respect each other and what you both care about, but you don’t have to be involved.

Traditionally, men have had these roles and goals for centuries and women were excluded from all of it. It was a social norm that women didn’t accompany men to their meets, their employment, their social events or their travels. Globally, there are still many environments and parts of life that women are excluded from because they are perceived as irrelevant or a nuisance to men. However, when a woman does the same thing, it is often seen as the woman not caring about her male partner or being selfish or neglectful to her relationship or marriage.

Think about what I am saying. Are you the bloke that moans that Steve has brought his missus to the pub again, but then guilt trips your girlfriend or wife when she wants to go out alone with her friends or colleagues?

You don’t need to be the centre of their world all of the time. You are supposed to be their equal. Go through life together – but that doesn’t mean that she needs to put you at the centre of everything she does.

If you have ever said the words ‘You’re supposed to put me above everyone and everything else…’ then you Sir, have issues with control.

 

Independent women are often feminists, activists, career focussed, or goal orientated – and you need to be happy with that

This one is important. This one is for all the men who claim they want a ‘strong, independent’ woman but hate feminism, activism, career-focussed and goal-orientated women. These attitudes are incompatible. Many women find feminism. They start to realise that there is discrimination, oppression and mockery of intelligent and successful women and they will find their clan. They become more and more critical of the way they are treated in their careers, studies and lives.

In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘Of course I am a feminist. I have been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.’

The last thing they need is a man who is uncomfortable with feminism, women’s rights, career-focus and ambition. Especially when that man professed to be attracted to independent, go-getting women.

If anything at all, they need a partner who truly recognises, admits and validates their struggle and is by their side when they are belittled, mansplained, discriminated against and trolled for being brilliant. They don’t need you threatening to kick people’s head in for them. They need you to listen to them and be there for them when shit gets hard.

If you want an ‘independent woman’, you better get with the feminist programme and take some time to learn what feminism is, what it means to women and girls and why its so much harder for women and girls to make it in their careers, studies, sports, hobbies or passions. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Learn who her favourite feminists/activists/politicians are. Listen to the issues that affect her.

Not because it will make you attractive to more women, but because you actually want to learn this shit and care about it. Women can see right through woke bros.

If this section is making your skin crawl and you hate the concept of feminism, you’re better off just leaving all women alone to be honest. Feminism is the movement to liberate all women and girls from global oppression, misogyny and sexism.

If you can’t get behind that, stay away from females forever.

Independent women don’t want to be fetishized as some sort of sexy, domineering anomaly

The final point is about the way ‘strong’, ‘independent’, ‘powerful’, ‘boss’, ‘ambitious’ women are fetishized and sexualised as some sort of porn dream.

There are generally two ways this occurs:

  1. Men want to dominate, break down and domesticate women who are gender non-conforming, successful and independent as some sort of sick conquest to prove to themselves that they are still the most powerful person in the relationship
  2. Men want these women to dominate them, rule them, control them and harm them as some sort of submission to strong women as a fetish

News for you all – both attitudes towards successful women are abusive, unhealthy and porn-fuelled. Fuck off with both of them.

Yet, they are common attitudes towards independent women. Male song writers and performers of all genres have sang and rapped about domesticating successful women for decades. The obsession with ‘taming’ and ‘controlling’ women also rolls right through chick-flicks and romance films in which women are usually positioned as high-flying career women who are doing well until some bloke wants to fuck/date/marry them and then their life falls to pieces whilst the guy does literally everything he can to get what he wants and convinces her to move to Vancouver with him, fix all his life problems, care for his elderly mother and be pregnant forever.

Even the concept of the ‘strong, independent woman’ is bullshit really. The imagery of these women used in music videos, films, media and books are usually white, middle class, educated, rich, privileged, thin, beautiful and feminine.

Most ‘strong, independent women’ you will meet will not be from this walk of life.

She will be the teenage mother who raised three kids alone and is now the powerful matriarch who can hold down her household by herself.

She will be the young black woman who was discriminated against all the way through school, college and university until she graduated the top of her class and is now still standing strong in the face of racism and misogyny in her profession.

She will be the young woman who is covered in scars from self-harm who is now working as a therapist but is constantly up against discrimination because of the perception of her as a victim-turned-expert.

She will be the sixty-year-old butch woman who has spent her life marching to protect women and girls from trafficking, exploitation and abuse.

She will be the ‘mouthy, outspoken’ young woman arguing about politics online, out-classing everyone who tries to belittle and humiliate her.

She will be the divorced woman in her 30s who has decided to go to university to study the subject she never got to pursue when she was younger; all whilst working 40 hours a week and caring for her family.

These women are not a sex object to jack off to or fantasise about how you can make or break them. They are not a woman to be controlled or domesticated by you. They are not your mother. They are not your babysitter. They are not a fetish.

The ‘strong, independent woman’ you want is very likely to argue back, put you in your place when you step out of line, tell you when they aren’t happy, refuse to cook, clean and baby you and will more than likely leave you if you try to mould them into the submissive woman they are not.

Women exist in the world. They take up space and they make noise and they change shit up and they challenge you. Their success is theirs. Their hard work is theirs. Their struggle is real. Their effort and time are valuable. Their independence is important to them.

She is not a fetish. She is not an anomaly. She is not a conquest.

So, you think you want a ‘strong independent woman’?

And you’re sure you don’t just want to knock her down and mould her into your wifey?

Can you really be a respectful, equal, supportive man to a woman who has her own shit going on?

If you truly are attracted to strong, independent women – nothing in this blog will offend you or make you uncomfortable. Remember that.

Quick questions to ask yourself

  1. Are you comfortable with her having goals, priorities and ambitions that don’t include you?
  2. Are you going to support her when it gets hard or are you going to tell her to quit or ‘tone it down’?
  3. Are you going to feel emasculated by her?
  4. Are you comfortable with a woman earning more than you or being more successful than you?
  5. Are you fetishizing the woman?
  6. Are you seeking a woman to control, domesticate and tame?
  7. Are you turned on by her success or power and want her to dominate or harm you?
  8. Are you uncomfortable with feminism and activism?
  9. Are you comfortable with her seeking further education and opportunities?
  10. Are you comfortable with her remaining independent in her roles, spaces and responsibilities?

Think about your answers. Honestly.

Dr Jessica Taylor

Tweet: @DrJessTaylor

Email: jessica@victimfocus.org.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Jessforenpsych

305 thoughts on “Dear Men: So you think you want a ‘strong, independent woman’

  1. After wading through all of this and mostly nodding I want to stress something that I think is missing – romance. Honest, thoughtful romance with a little imagination thrown in. Stargzer lillies, prosecco on Sunday mornings, a massage with real massage oil that lasts an hour. Miles Davis, a good joint and some wine that doesn’t come from a bottle with a screw-off cap. And be humble enough to take tips on how to become a better kisser, etc. Let’s not focus too muck on the negaive!

    Like

    1. But that hasn’t got anything to do with it, has it? That’s just stuff you like doing? You want to find a partner who likes all that. Fair enough. You’ve missed the point. That’s “romance” for you. Romance for me wouldn’t have someone pissing about with oil for an hour. I couldn’t care less about Miles Davis. Your wine comment sounds super snobby (In France, they put screw-caps on all bottle headed for the UK and corks in all the rest. It’s the same wine in the bottle) and the lilies and Prosecco give off a sleazy, try-hard vibe that would make me cringe.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Jesus Christ Jim, maybe she doesn’t drink maybe she’s allergic to flowers, maybe she doesn’t like oil, and if I had to teach a man to kiss it would be over at the start. Women do not need a man-project, or unimaginative romancing and mansplain.

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    3. If you think romance is missing from this article, then you can’t possibly have read or understood it. It’s not a cutesy round-up of general “relationship tips for boys”. But hey, a woman wrote it, so maybe it should just be about roses and foot-rubs, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is romance JUST what you want, or is it both people meeting in the middle, and being reciprocal?

        If he wasnt, and you were, fine. If you think he should do most of the work, you are lazy, and not worth his time. Give as much as you expect.

        Like

  2. I am ‘the divorced woman in her 30’s’. The one that went to Uni whilst raising two kids and running her own business. I have been told by men ‘you’ve got more balls than most of my mates’. No thank you, I don’t need to be assigned male features to be a Boss. I have found it nigh on impossible to find a man that respects and values who I am as a human being. I’m pursued by men that want my body, because they want power in the bedroom, but have no interest in it in the rest of their life. What they don’t wait to find out is that my power is in my vulnerability. My ability to love and care and give to others whilst also respecting myself and my own boundaries. Their loss. One day I will find a partner (not specific to any particular gender) that can meet me where I am. Then we’ll be unstoppable.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. I am the strong woman who held it together when my ex said sorry I am leaving the country after pleading poverty for a year and never funding our children for so much as an icecream
    what actually happened is he realised I would not be pissing in the wind anymore and after more than a decade of abuse that I got up and left
    he found “Love” and this time it was REAL and I had to accept that,she was MUCH further on the spiritual path than I – looked good EVEN though she’s 45
    I had to just move through it all as best I could and he was sorry but just for ONCE he had to stop and think of HIS dreams instead
    I of course had “let myself go” – not sure where I went exactly …
    I sat in my own kitchen as he told me of his plans as though I were a mate who should be thrilled not his ex partner who was facing life with no other support ( emotionally or financially) to raise 5 children
    he couldn’t even tell them – I had to.

    men LOVE The idea of a strong woman until they have to really do it – until we are strong enough to say “No to them too they want some badass bedroom bitch and they think strong means they don’t have to deal with emotional woman shit
    I dipped my toe into dating I’ve had comments accusing me of looking for a man to fund the kids
    calling me weird one saying he cannot date a woman with little kids because they need me too much
    I spoke to about 30 men before closing the account.
    just 3 of them were nice enough and I still speak to one as mates he respects me and my life,we had a coffee and realised there’s no spark but we have a lot in common.
    I’d like to date again but that experience was off putting the say the least!

    Like

      1. LOL did I say they weren’t good enough ?
        why should I date someone who emails me as a start up
        have you ever considered a 3sum?
        or
        can you come to my hotel room tomorrow and whip me
        or god I’d fuck you SO hard you’d be screaming til next week

        maybe the man who said ugh 5 kids different dads I assume nah fuck that love
        or the one who said my vag must be like a wizard’s sleeve
        or the one who asked me if I liked naturism and proceeded to tell me how he walks around his home naked and rubbing himself against the walls and furniture
        or the one who asked of I had any mates to have some real fun with

        the one who said I looked ok but he didn’t “do” kids really

        or maybe the one who demanded I get in my car and drive over NOW because he was bored and horny

        I can’t win really because if I HAD dated any of them for fear of being too “Picky” heaven FORFEND I don’t want to be treated like a piece of fuck meat – if I went out with them had a bad experience then that would be my fault too for picking shit men.

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      2. Maybe you should look at what attracted you to these men. Were they quite similar to each other?🤔

        Let me ask you, do you have a type? Maybe you can change it. It’s their fault they’re assholes, you can’t change that. But maybe you could try someone you wouldn’t normally consider. Still be an ass, but at least it might not be as much of a recurring pattern.🤨

        We can only be responsible for ourselves, so we have to look at our OWN choices. These men are not your responsibility and you are not theirs.👂

        Your judgement however IS your responsibility. 🧏

        Example: if you got pregnant to the guy in less than 1 yr of knowing him, you’re unwise, and so is he. You don’t know him well enough, to do something as drastic as parenthood with him. And it goes both ways. 🤝

        R.E.S.P.O.N.S.I.B.I.L.I.T.Y 💃 YAY!

        Like

  5. I’ve just read this article and I wish my ex-boyfriend read this. This article gave me flashback of him blaming me for going out, of him understating my achievements because they made him feel insecure, of him telling me that he wished he’d never have a child with me because I was a feminist. I broke up 3 years ago (thus fulfilling his wish of not having a child with me) and I’ve become a ‘strong, independent woman’ and I’ve been very happy since then.

    Like

  6. Damn I needed this.
    I am this single mum, did a degree and post grad while running a business, raising my family having done a runner from an abuser, retrained as a teacher and ran for parliament while living in poverty…became a lecturer – now fight for others every single day and have realised I come home empty, because apparently I was trained to frame myself in the needs of others. Doh.
    I’ve been abused for being strong and female, being weak and female, intelligent and high achieving – also for being tough tall, loud and intelligent. I achieved so much and gave so much I almost burned out – till I realise I’m still people pleasing and attracted to bullying men, from whom I desperately needed approval, despite my having achieved 100 times more than them all. So many repeating patterns of abuse.
    Sitting there feeling small empty and lost – and the punch of a realisation in this blog that my ‘partner’ who I thought was finally a grown up, has had me desperately seeking his approval for 5 years… and withholding it, mostly.
    I have been shrivelling.
    I saw myself in your article and I saw myself properly – clearly and fuck it. I am still here.
    I am not formed in the reflected needs of all the others.
    I have always been here.
    Thank you
    Now I am off to find my tribe again…and stand up straight.

    Like

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