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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Alpha females

There seems to be no end to this topic in the news:

Why men are scared of Alpha females
By David Wilkes, Daily Mail 28 February 2005

Intelligent, high achievers and high earners, they have been dubbed 'Alpha females'.

But while this new class of women seem to have it all, they have become victims of their own success when it comes to finding a partner.

Men are terrified to marry them, according to research, because they are intimidated by their brains and achievements.

Instead they prefer to settle down with women 'like their mums' who do not challenge them intellectually.

Two studies, in Britain and the U.S., both backed the widely-held notion that women who do well in their careers find it hard to repeat that success in their personal lives.

In one, four British universities measured the IQ of 900 11-year-olds and revisited them 40 years later to see how their lives had moved on.

They found that the brighter girls were less likely to find a man who wants to marry them, with their chances diminishing dramatically in direct proportion to their level of intelligence.

For each 16-point rise in their IQ, their marriage prospects fell by 40 per cent.

In contrast, boys' chances increased by 35 per cent with each 16-point rise.

The researchers, from Bristol, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow universities, believe this is because men like to be in control of a relationship.

The other study, by the University of Michigan, suggested that men would rather marry women in subordinate jobs because they think that high-fliers are more likely to commit adultery.

'The hypothesis is that there are evolutionary pressures on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring that are not their own,' said lead scientist Dr Stephanie Brown.

'These findings support the widespread belief that powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less accomplished women.'

The term 'Alpha' comes from the Animal Kingdom, in which species arrange themselves into a ranked order.

Successful women who have been unlucky in love include the actress Minnie Driver, who once lamented: 'I don't know whether men are scared to ask me out, or if they think I am seeing someone else.'

The sad truth of my dating history is that of a serially single woman.'

Earlier this month Natasha Bedingfield revealed she hasn't had a relationship for two years, nor much time for one because of the way her singing career has taken off.

The 23-year-old described her ideal man as someone 'who can keep up with me'. She added: 'I'm going at such high-speed and I need someone who can handle that - not be an anchor and stop me - and who is comfortable with my success.'

Miss Bedingfield says she has 'the odd moments when I'd like to be with someone, but I'm not desperate'.

She is unwilling to settle for second best in a partner because she has seen through her brother and her father that romantic, loving and unselfish men do exist.

One of her songs, Single, is about 'the joys of being unattached'.

'Not wanting to commit to a partner is something that men usually celebrate, so I sang about it from a woman's point of view,' she said.

'If you're an attractive, single girl, you're made to think you've got a problem if you're not with someone. It shouldn't be like that.' Relationship expert Dr Linda Papadopoulos said Alpha females should carry some of the blame for their unwanted single status.

'If women have invested a certain amount in their career, it's going to take a hell of a lot for Mr Right to sweep them off their feet because they have more to lose,' she said.

'Women in this situation need to be honest with themselves and know what they're really looking for. Maybe they should be looking for someone who complements them, rather than hoping for someone who completes them.'

Marcelle d'Argy Smith, broadcaster and former editor of Cosmopolitan, said: 'Of course men don't want to marry Alpha females; it means they might not get looked after.'

Of course all academics and indeed anyone else can do is theorize and assume on the findings of this research.

Personally – as regular readers will know – I don’t think it is just about men not wanting to marry Alpha females. I also believe that Alpha females don’t have a requirement for the traditional, conventional set-up of marriage. If further research was to be carried out, I wonder what percentage of Alpha females chose or choose to co-habit.

It makes perfect sense that Alpha females will tend to focus on their careers, they want to achieve, and they are driven, just the same as Alpha males. However for males marriage does not hinder the opportunity to achieve. Alpha females know that marriage and children impede the likelihood of promotion, but co-habiting does not.

posted by Opus at 20:18

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