How to Be a Woman When You’ve Been Raised to Be the Man

Some time ago, a friend of mine told me about a woman she knows who was dating a man who made less money than she did. To preserve his manhood, when they went out for dinner she would hand this man her debit card under the table so he could “pay” the bill.

In what universe is this empowering for either one of them?

That may be an extreme—albeit 100% true—example of how twisted things are today between the sexes. But it is nevertheless true that many women today have become the providers in their relationships.

They have, in effect, become men.

Indeed, we have an epidemic in America of highly educated and successful women who have a major problem: they can’t find a husband. These women want to be strong and powerful in their own right, but they want a man who’s as at least at strong as powerful and self-sufficient as they are. Preferably more. But they can’t find him.

I hear from these women regularly and often. Here’s an example:

My daughter is late 20s. Gorgeous, witty, educated, great career, owns her own home, and can’t find Mr. Right. Admittedly, she has very high standards; but the dating pool seems to be largely: divorced w/kids, betas, dumb, or generally clueless about how to treat a lady.

Here’s another:

My daughter is a high achiever. She’s a 38-year-old, well-educated (two Ivy League schools), creative, intelligent, sophisticated, loving, successful, attractive, with a model-like body, and surprisingly can’t find a desired partner. I must say she wasted many years on several senseless relationships. She is now extremely unhappy that she doesn’t have a partner and, most importantly, she wants to have children. All of her friends are married with kids. I’m clueless why she can’t find her desired partner.

The current dearth of so-called marriageable men is more a reflection of women than it is of men. Women are the relationship navigators, and they changed the game. Since the day they were born they’ve been told that femininity = weakness. In order to prove their value, they were told to shed their femininity and become strong and independent so they never need to depend on a man.

I won’t argue that this plan will cause women to get ahead in the marketplace. But when it comes to love, it will land them in a ditch.

And it has. By operating full time in their masculine, these strong and independent women aren’t attracting the masculine men they want. Where did all the good men go? they ask.

They didn’t go anywhere—they just aren’t attracted to you. Strong, confident, gainfully employed men are attracted to women who are soft, kind, and maternal. Women who like men and who need them. Women who are feminine.

The culture will tell you something different. It insists that men are intimidated by strong, independent women. But in reality, these women are unknowingly attracting their opposites.

The male-female dance is predicated on two opposing forces: one masculine and one feminine (you’ll even notice this is true for same-sex couples)—which means a truly masculine man is going to be attracted to a feminine woman, as opposed to a woman who reminds him of him.

That’s why women today can’t find a “marriageable,” or economically attractive, man. Women have supplanted the male role and can only attract men who are soft, passive, and not necessarily employed. Men who are willing to rely on a woman financially or who are happy to take a back seat in the relationship and let the woman be in charge.

The problem isn’t that women are employed. It’s that strong and successful women don’t know how to turn it off. They don’t switch gears and become the soft, kind, maternal women to whom masculine men are attracted. Instead, they walk around in their masculine all the time.

These women are governed by their fear. For any number of reasons, they don’t trust men to take care of them so they put up a forcefield. They refuse to be vulnerable. They can’t receive graciously. Ergo, they disempower men in order to feel safe.

There’s more than one reason why women do this—it isn’t always just cultural pressure. Here’s Andre Paradis of Project Equinox, who explained it well on a recent podcast:


At the end of the day, it is women’s unwillingness to trust men and to understand how the dance works that gets in their way. You can have love anytime you want it. But you have to put down your sword and find your feminine.

Once you do that, the kind of man you’re looking for will appear.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne is an author, a coach, and a podcast host committed to helping women let go of cultural beliefs that undermine their happiness in life and in love.