Do Men Like Strong Women?

strong-womanSome men claim there is nothing more attractive to them than a strong, independent, and intelligent woman. They claim that they would choose this type of woman over a weak-minded, easily led woman. Yet women who are described as strong and independent often assert the opposite — their backbone and self-determination causes issues with men and they are eventually passed over for women with less fortitude.

Why the disconnect? Do men actually like strong women or are they only paying lip service to the ideal of a partner who will stand her ground and be on equal footing? My observations indicate that some men like the idea of a strong woman but few can cope with the reality of it.

The strong woman is not only strong, but she is also often opinionated and completely self-sufficient. At first the strong woman is intriguingly attractive to the man who is tired of women who agree with his every word and call for his assistance in every matter. A woman who he can have an intelligent discussion with, who will pay her share of the bills, who can get along with or without him? Sounds like the perfect woman.

But after some time with the strong woman he realizes he’s not all that interested in her strength anymore. He doesn’t want to debate. He’d rather she not always be so quick to question his ideas, ways, and motives. Why is she involved in so many activities, why can’t they spend more quality time together? Why doesn’t she let him handle some things for her or take his advice? Couldn’t she be less direct and more tactful, more caring?

In short, the man feels picked on, neglected, and unnecessary. His idea of a strong woman wasn’t this. He wanted a woman who could take care of herself, but would also take care of him and allow him to take care of her. At least sometimes. Is that too much to ask?

Some men do like strong women, including the opinionated, completely self-sufficient ones. But for every guy who claims to like strong women and does, there is another who truly only likes a woman whose strength of mind and body is equal to her need and desire to nurture and be nurtured.

What are your thoughts? Do men really like strong women?

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87 thoughts on “Do Men Like Strong Women?

  1. I don’t know what to think about this. I used to believe that men found me problematic because I am strong and smart, but now I’ve decided that I’m just kidding myself. I’m just not exciting – sexy – enticing. In short, it’s not them, it’s me.

  2. Sherry,

    I think you’re an interesting person, and you don’t seem too “strong” to me — you have a softer side about you. Whatever the cause of the problems are, it’s can’t be about you not being intriguing enough. Plus intrigue only gets initial interest; it’s not what keeps people around.

  3. Let me start off by quoting my Mum, “Every Laddie has a Lassie.” I think people attract to themselves, others with opposite qualities. A high T guy gravities to a high E gal, a low key guy finds himself with a high strung gal and a laid back man loves a strong woman. Since strength, intelligence and independence may be generally seen as masculine traits, there are those men who consciously or unconsciously see these as only masculine traits will gravitate to the opposite.
    Another school of thought out there is the only qualities a man is interested in, is beauty and personality. (How easy going a woman is.)

  4. Hi Sandy,

    ‘quoting my Mum, “Every Laddie has a Lassie.” ‘

    Lol. Those old school quotes always make me giggle.

    “I think people attract to themselves, others with opposite qualities.”

    So strong women attract weak men? You know, that’s a good point. :D

    “Since strength, intelligence and independence may be generally seen as masculine traits, there are those men who consciously or unconsciously see these as only masculine traits will gravitate to the opposite.”

    Oh, okay. But then why say they like strong, independent, intelligent women?

  5. I think it depends on a man, really. There are many who claim they want a strong, opinionated woman, but actually prefer submissive ones. Then there are men who truly prefer strong women. However, “strong” does not equal “a woman who will never agree with me and will never support me”. I guess that goes without saying.

    And then, there are women who see themselves as strong and independent, and claim that men are afraid of such women. But in reality, they are just selfish (or whatever) and not really strong people.

    I don’t think that “strong” and “independent” mean “not-loyal” or “not supportive”. Be it a man or a woman. Disagreeing with whatever your partner says does not make you strong. You must support your partner and respect him/her. I mean, why else would you be with your partner?

    I think that, at the end of the day, majority of men do prefer women who are strong in true sense of the word: those who can think for themselves, who can support themselves, but who can also be supportive and who’d treat them with respect. Sure, some men go after bland women who always agree with them, and some men go after attractive gold diggers. But I do think that many (most?) men don’t want a spineless woman; they just don’t want a woman who’d break their own spine.

    Which is ok. Same goes for women: you want your man to be strong, opinionated, but you also want him to be loyal, supportive, and to respect you.

  6. I agree most don’t want one. I mean they don’t want a doorstop with no opinion but they want a woman who is a bit demure I think and who will respect him. That’s why a lot of men in my country pick rural girls over the more modern and educated city girls.

    They say that to be PK I think.

  7. Mira,

    “I think that, at the end of the day, majority of men do prefer women who are strong in true sense of the word: those who can think for themselves, who can support themselves, but who can also be supportive and who’d treat them with respect.”

    Yes, but the problem is that it seems they think if a woman is very independent and strong, that she doesn’t need them and isn’t as supportive. They think of support in more traditional ways, which usually include some form of compliancy. It’s really a matter of interpretation, but I wrote the post more from a man’s point of view/what they’ve said.

    “But I do think that many (most?) men don’t want a spineless woman; they just don’t want a woman who’d break their own spine.”

    Ha. Probably. But you never know… ;)

  8. Yes, but the problem is that it seems they think if a woman is very independent and strong, that she doesn’t need them and isn’t as supportive.

    Well, huh, true, I don’t know what they actually mean when they say they want a strong woman. To be honest, guys in my culture don’t say that, never. They say they want to have a “normal” girl, and what they mean, I think, is someone who doesn’t want to trick them with the Game, who has her own life and interest, someone who likes sex and someone they’re compatible with. They never say “strong”, though.

    But most of them require that a woman a) works, or at least tries to find a job (because it’s not easy in my country today, but their mothers all work and working women are a norm), b) has other interests beside them (Serbian men DESPISE “clingy” and possessive women). So I guess they do prefer their women to be strong in this sense.

    On the other hand, they hate when a woman tries to show her power in public and to make them anything less than a tough, macho guy they all believe they are. So if you make your husband do the laundry, it’s sure not something you should talk about in front of his friends.

  9. Hah I think I switch to swedish in my head politically correct = politisk korekt in swedish PC = PK :)

    I don’t think it’s as accepted to say that you want a demure wife in the western world.

  10. “I think that, at the end of the day, majority of men do prefer women who are strong in true sense of the word: those who can think for themselves, who can support themselves, but who can also be supportive and who’d treat them with respect”.

    Mira, took the words out of my mouth but my fav. line is….

    “But I do think that many (most?) men don’t want a spineless woman; they just don’t want a woman who’d break their own spine”.

    I agree with this statement b/c it’s wonderful to be opinionated but some adults cross into argumentative about every single subject. You have to let some things slide. Notice I said adults b/c this goes both ways.

    Also, I really have a big problem with the word “independent” b/c some chicks like to use it in an improper context. Any adult with a job that can support themselves or others is independent. Yet, I don’t see many men shouting about how independent they are. I think that the issue of independence and self-sufficiency becomes a problem when a lady feels the need to rub everyone’s face in the fact that she can take care of herself. Well, if you can take care of you, then what do you need a man for? I think it’s great that we’re going to uni and grad school but your paycheck doesn’t need to become a public announcement for multiple reasons actually.

    And let’s not forget that there some insecure men that will never get over being with a woman that makes more money than he does.

    I may be wrong but I’m right.

    Later.

  11. Mira,

    “I don’t know what they actually mean when they say they want a strong woman. To be honest, guys in my culture don’t say that, never.”

    I guess I’m not surprised. :)

    Men here will sometimes list that in qualities they like in a woman, “Smart, outgoing, [strong-willed].” And they will often say they like strong women if a woman mentions that she is self-sufficient, independent, etc.

    “So if you make your husband do the laundry, it’s sure not something you should talk about in front of his friends.”

    I thinks that’s the same here…but I don’t know any woman who would do this unless she’s the oblivious type, doesn’t care anymore, or is trying to humiliate him.

    Nkosazana,

    Oh, I was thinking you meant PC. But I don’t see K next to C on the keyboard and didn’t know you switched to Swedish. :)

  12. Udara,

    “I really have a big problem with the word “independent” b/c some chicks like to use it in an improper context. Any adult with a job that can support themselves or others is independent. Yet, I don’t see many men shouting about how independent they are.”

    Yes, because men have been working and supporting themselves for eons. Unlike women. Women have to let people know they’re holding down their own fort; they might not guess otherwise. ;)

    “let’s not forget that there some insecure men that will never get over being with a woman that makes more money than he does.”

    Indeed.

    “I may be wrong but I’m right.”

    *dead*

    At first I thought you’d left out a word… Udara, you crack me up. :)

  13. Udara,

    I agree with this statement b/c it’s wonderful to be opinionated but some adults cross into argumentative about every single subject. You have to let some things slide. Notice I said adults b/c this goes both ways.

    Exactly! Actually, it’s quite childish, I think, to never agree or make any compromises. It’s not a sign of being strong or opinionated. But the thing is, same should apply to men. When one side is “allowed” to say whatever (s)he wants, and another one has to disagree, that’s the problem.

    Also, I really have a big problem with the word “independent” b/c some chicks like to use it in an improper context.

    I might have used it in the wrong context. I used that one because I couldn’t think of another English word to describe what I meant.

    In my culture, “independent” is not really used for a woman that works and can support herself. Like I said, most of women work if they can find a job. It also doesn’t mean “living on her own” because it’s often not possible for either gender to move out their parents’ house. “Independent”, the way it’s used here, usually means “not depending on a man”, with the meaning on “not possessive, clingy, needy, or a gold digger”. When a woman says she’s “independent”, though, she usually means: “I can do everything on my own, I don’t need a man, and I will never let a man tell me what to do”, even though most of those “independent” women in their 20s and 30s run to their fathers for any help (financial or otherwise) they need. But they sure won’t let their boyfriend or husband tell them what to do!

    Yet, I don’t see many men shouting about how independent they are.

    Hmmm… Actually, in my culture the term is used for men, too. I guess it’s different because here, working women are a norm.

  14. Alee,

    I guess I’m not surprised. :)

    Oh, no, I don’t think it’s because of sexism. Serbian men are quite sexist, don’t get me wrong, but here I meant on linguistic difference. “Strong” usually refers to physical strength, and it’s not as used for women. They sometimes say “stable” (as in, mentally stable): no mood swings, no temper tantrums, not being possessive, jealous or clingy, not arguing or nagging all the time…

    I thinks that’s the same here…but I don’t know any woman who would do this unless she’s the oblivious type, doesn’t care anymore, or is trying to humiliate him.

    Women often do that here in order to humiliate their men. This, and similar stuff.

  15. Honestly I am more attracted to strong women, hence why I’m with my girlfriend now. I need someone smart, opinionated, able to have a conversation, and at least as stubborn as I am in order to not eventually condescend to her ; )

    A strong woman to me is also nurturing, caring, compassionate. Just like a strong man can be. But not all “strong women” are the same, obviously. Yet I sympathize with the sentiment in this paragraph: “In short, the man feels picked on, neglected, and unnecessary. His idea of a strong woman wasn’t this. He wanted a woman who could take care of herself, but would also take care of him and allow him to take care of her. At least sometimes. Is that too much to ask?”

    That seems to be a good summation of my feelings on the issue. Yes, I want a strong person to share my life with, but not someone who’s so strong she doesn’t want or need anyone. Because that’s NOT a partner; that’s a robot to me.

    And lest anyone think I’m a hypocrite, I hold myself to the same standard in my relationships! =)

  16. Mira,

    ‘They sometimes say “stable” (as in, mentally stable): no mood swings, no temper tantrums, not being possessive, jealous or clingy, not arguing or nagging…’

    How do they find people to marry? :D

    Zek,

    “Honestly I am more attracted to strong women, hence why I’m with my girlfriend now.”

    Second time I’m not surprised in this thread. :)

    “I need someone smart, opinionated, able to have a conversation, and at least as stubborn as I am in order to not eventually condescend to her ; )”

    As stubborn as you? Well, that is asking a lot.

    :D

  17. @Mira,

    “Exactly! Actually, it’s quite childish, I think, to never agree or make any compromises. It’s not a sign of being strong or opinionated. But the thing is, same should apply to men. When one side is “allowed” to say whatever (s)he wants, and another one has to disagree, that’s the problem”.

    Yup.

    Your definition of an independent woman is my definition of an independent woman. That’s why I said that some women use the word “independent” out of context.

    So no I wasn’t actually referring to you with the independent comment. I was speaking my about personal experiences with other females esp. a former co-worker. A group of us went out after work and this particular female felt the need to jump up and proclaim that she doesn’t need a man because she is an independent woman. Now, granted she was drunk when she made this impromptu speech in a crowded restaurant (can you say embarrassing), but I’ve heard similar sentiments from other women.

    “even though most of those “independent” women in their 20s and 30s run to their fathers for any help (financial or otherwise) they need. But they sure won’t let their boyfriend or husband tell them what to do”.

    Hilarious and I can definitely believe that.

  18. Alee,

    How do they find people to marry? :D

    They knock them up. :P

    Udara,

    So no I wasn’t actually referring to you with the independent comment. I was speaking my about personal experiences with other females.

    Indeed. I’m sorry to say this, but many women do like to say that stuff as some sort of personal promotion. (Men do it too, giving compliments to yourself is hardly female’s thing). But it’s just silly. If you’re so strong and independent (smart, successful, etc.) why do you need to talk about it? Plus, since when independent means = I don’t need a man? I mean, look at freaking Sex and the City: it’s all about “independent” women desperately looking for a man. If independent truly means I don’t need a man, why didn’t these girls focus on something else. Nuclear physics, for example?

    Hilarious and I can definitely believe that.

    In my country, father is the main authority and source of help for a woman. It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 35: he’ll be there to sort things out (pull his connections to find you a job, for example- ok not if you’re 8). But you’d never let yourself depend on another man!

  19. You know I find that many men and women could claim what they want in a future partner, then turn around and end up with someone different. In terms of what men want, some men prefer the strong, opinionated women, and some don’t. Of course, I say this because I truly believe there’s a lid for every pot. I’ve seen all types of women, “strong” or not, married or otherwise attached, so I don’t think there’s this universal thing that men in general like.

  20. I don’t think men are being inconsistent or dishonest here. The guys that say they want a strong woman DO want a strong woman. (I know I do.)

    It’s just that, as you alluded in the last line, men ALSO want a woman who is caring and sensitive and has time for him. In short, they want it all! There’s certainly nothing that says an intelligent, capable woman must also be bitchy and emasculating and put no time into the relationship.

    This is analogous to guys complaining that women are inconsistent when they say they want a nice guy. But most women aren’t being dishonest. They do want a guy who is nice. It’s just that “nice” isn’t the only characteristic they want in a man. They also want their nice guy to be good looking and intelligent and interesting and have a nice career and … you get the picture.

    So when a guy whines that he’s nice, so why don’t those unfair women want him, it’s because, while he’s got the “nice” part down, he just doesn’t have enough else going for him. He needs to step up his game.

    And when a woman whines that she’s strong, so why don’t those unfair men want her, it’s because, while the guys asked for heaping platter of “strength,” they weren’t expecting a side order of “bitch” to go along with it. She needs to work on her social skills.

  21. Excellent post Smartacus. I think you got it right from all angles!

    I do believe that men are telling the truth when they say they want a smart, educated and strong woman. But there must be balance… and I think it can be hard for some of us smart/educated/strong types to put more effort into a relationship and consider another person’s needs as well… I’ve met a lot of women who seem annoyed that a man might not like their sass and sarcasm and can’t believe these men are “so sensitive” and aren’t considering them as potential girlfriends!

    Hey, as a sassy and sometimes sarcastic woman myself, I know there’s a time and place for it… and those aren’t characteristics that I want to exhibit in romantic relationships!

  22. Mira,

    “How do they find people to marry?”

    “They knock them up. :P”

    Lol.

    That’s a… strategy, I guess. :D

    Golden Life,

    “You know I find that many men and women could claim what they want in a future partner, then turn around and end up with someone different.”

    Yes, they do. They really do.

    “Of course, I say this because I truly believe there’s a lid for every pot.”

    LOL.

    You all are killing me with these sayings. I just think they’re so funny.

    ‘I’ve seen all types of women, “strong” or not, married or otherwise attached, so I don’t think there’s this universal thing that men in general like.’

    Yes, I didn’t mean to imply that all men claimed to like strong women or do like strong women. I was just exploring what happens with the men who do.

  23. Hi smartacus :)

    “The guys that say they want a strong woman DO want a strong woman. (I know I do.)

    It’s just that, as you alluded in the last line, men ALSO want a woman who is caring and sensitive and has time for him. In short, they want it all!”

    Indeed — they want it all. So demanding these menz be!

    :P

    “This is analogous to guys complaining that women are inconsistent when they say they want a nice guy. But most women aren’t being dishonest. They do want a guy who is nice. It’s just that “nice” isn’t the only characteristic they want in a man.”

    Oh, the Nice Guy ™ . Yup, this is more or less the same deal with the genders switched around.

    P.S. Smartacus, you seem familiar… :)

    Bunny,

    “I think it can be hard for some of us smart/educated/strong types to put more effort into a relationship and consider another person’s needs as well…”

    Would you put yourself in the Strong Woman category? If so, how does your husband feel about it? Does he tend to like strong women or did you just beat him into submission? :D

  24. P.S. Smartacus, you seem familiar… :)

    Oooh, ooh, who could it be? :D

    Would you put yourself in the Strong Woman category? If so, how does your husband feel about it? Does he tend to like strong women or did you just beat him into submission? :D

    To some degree, I would… living on your own for 10 years (I’m not counting college in this period), traveling frequently, managing the demands of work and home, etc., can give you the feeling of strength. Which is a good thing to some degree, even though, as someone said above, being independent is something all adults should be at a certain point, really. You don’t get a cookie for, you know, living!

    I think my husband did indicate that he liked strong women, and I believe that remains the case, but I remember him saying that what made him want a second date was how much he simply enjoyed spending time with me on the first one. I barely remember if I said or did anything monumental, but I remember there being a lot of laughter and general light-hearted conversation.

    Now that we’ve gotten out of that general honeymoon phase where everything is always wonderful, I can tell that he still likes that I’m a go-getter and focused, but if I’m trying to make a point to him about something, he responds much better to a softer, kinder, gentler approach than a hard, fast and strident one — although the latter is much more likely to be the way a “strong woman” communicates.

    I think the iron fist in a velvet glove policy works best with guys!

  25. Bunny,

    “Oooh, ooh, who could it be? :D”

    Lol, just his nickname/manner of writing reminds me of someone I used to know online. No one important, really. But so does Mira; she reminds me of someone I know. I’ve figured out they aren’t the same person though. :)

    “he responds much better to a softer, kinder, gentler approach than a hard, fast and strident one — although the latter is much more likely to be the way a “strong woman” communicates…I think the iron fist in a velvet glove policy works best with guys!”

    Yes, I think it’s just a general phenomenon that people like for others not to approach them in a rough or insensitive manner. I hardly think it’s isolated to men, but men probably show this desire more in dating since women are supposed to be the gentler, caring sex.

  26. I’m considered by my family, boyfriend, and peers as a strong, independent, assertive, and opinionated woman,and I agree with it :). But I also had to learn from experience over the years that a man likes to feel like a man and be trusted to take charge of and take care of certain things. So if your a mouthy woman who always wants to put her opinion on everything and take control of every situation you take that role away from the man. I also learned once you come into a committed relationship with someone you give up the “I” for “us” and that doesn’t make you a weak woman, it just makes you a smart woman who doesn’t want to end up being alone. My man knows I can take care of myself and my son that comes with me :). And he knows I will fight if I have to ;) I’ve been doing it since I was out of the womb. He watched me get my masters degree, but I looked to him for support and encouragement when I felt like quitting or had a hard day.But at the end of the day at one point or another no one is that independent that they can do everything by themselves, there is always someone apart of the equation, ie: a teacher, your boss, your friend, the chef cooking your food at a restaurant. So I like to look at it as everyone is co- dependent no matter how independent they think they are, someone helped them along the way :)

  27. I was just reading something else that suggested men like Confident women. So maybe we should substitute confident for strong. Confident might allow for some variety; I think confident can appear in many more ways than strong.

  28. Hi Nikisha,

    “I’m considered by my family, boyfriend, and peers as a strong, independent, assertive, and opinionated woman,and I agree with it”

    What?

    You’re as soft as Charmin, or baby pillows. :)

    But I agree you seem like a great mother and a person who can take care of herself easily.

    ‘I also learned once you come into a committed relationship with someone you give up the “I” for “us” ‘

    This is true, but it can be really difficult for some people to realize and do.

    “I like to look at it as everyone is co- dependent no matter how independent they think they are, someone helped them along the way”

    Totally agree. That reminds me of the Codependency Myth and Dependency Paradox.

    Sherry,

    Confidence is a somewhat different topic, even if the two traits overlap. But I’ve written in the past on how people like confident others; that’s definitely true.

  29. Alee,
    I am soft like charmin, but when I feel threatened (danger zone, like I have to protect myself) the hood Kisha come out! Ask Cipriana , she knows…lmbo!!!

  30. Nikisha,

    “I am soft like charmin, but when I feel threatened (danger zone, like I have to protect myself) the hood Kisha come out! Ask Cipriana , she knows…lmbo!!!”

    LOL.

    I’m like that too. :)

    Cipriana, now that’s a tough woman:

    – Mr. Cipriana: Baby, can I see something different? Can you wear something else besides that same old scarf on your head every night?

    Cipriana: Yes, of course you can baby. Relationships are all about compromise.

    *Cipriana comes to bed the next night with a new, different-colored scarf* –

    ROFL.

    I’m still dying at that.

  31. I believe that men want to feel needed. Some women do try to hard to prove they are “strong independant” etc. The beauty of being a woman IMO, is that feminine women know how to balance their male partners needs for feeling needed and wanted while still maintaining a balance of her own independance and femininity – if that makes sense.

    I think extremes (women tooo strong and women too passive) are never good. A nice balance is what i believe works.

    Just as I love masculine males but with a nice balance. Not too masculine. I hear a lot of women say they love the Alpha Male. Imo a male that exhibits both beta and alpha traits is the best for a relationship b/c there is a nice balance. I think its the same thing. I don’t know that many women know how to balance it and often end up going to either extreme which can turn their partners off.

    I’m a strong woman and I also have very strong views and opinions and I am also very independant. but i also know how and when to tone it down or rather balance it out with a little laid back passiveness (i.e. letting him take the reigns) when in a relationship. I also like to be submissive as well. I like a man to take charge and lead. Its kinda weird. But I will only be submissive with a male I can fully TRUST that has my best interest and has proven himself worthy of my trust and submission.

  32. Hi Neecy, great comment. :)

    “I think extremes (women tooo strong and women too passive) are never good. A nice balance is what i believe works.

    Just as I love masculine males but with a nice balance. Not too masculine.”

    That’s exactly what I was thinking as I read the first portion of your comment, “I need balance too!” Men who are too “macho”, aggressive, dominating… not my type at all. I think in the soft/hard balance, I prefer a little more on the soft side. Like 45/55.

    “I hear a lot of women say they love the Alpha Male. Imo a male that exhibits both beta and alpha traits is the best for a relationship b/c there is a nice balance.”

    Well, they are best for an equal relationship. If you’re into more traditional “male as head” relationships, then a stereotypically alpha male might be a better choice.

  33. We just don’t want a woman to be overly “in your face” strong about being a “strong woman”. Like always making a point to demonstrate independence, how opinionated she is about everything, etc. We certainly don’t like it when she shows how “powerful” she is in the relationship in a public place, or at a social event. Many women have been quite comfortable knowing that they enjoy “boss” status behind closed doors for generations … it’s when it comes out into the open that a lot of men start having problems with it.

    Like I have a few male friends who are married to women who could be classified as “strong women”. These women run the house, they run the family, they run the kids, and they run their partners. It’s just the way it is. As my friend Steve likes to say “she makes all the little decisions, while I make the big decisions. Thing is, after eight years, we still haven’t had a big decision to make. But when we do, I’ll be the one making it”.

    So when I call Steve to get together, I don’t even bother asking him if a certain time is okay … since I know he’ll invariably have to “get back to me”. I just call his wife and ask if it’s okay if Steve and I get together at whatever time. And her reaction is so funny … she will say “well, I certainly don’t keep his schedule, you need to ask him”. So she puts Steve on the phone, and then he’ll say “can I get back to you?”. It’s so funny.

    The point is Steve married a very strong woman who at least PRETENDS that she’s not so strong. Even though we all know at this point. There is no reason for her to run around flexing her muscles … we all get it. And this is the case with a lot of Chinese couples I think … the female is quite strong, just not publicly. Ditto Jewish couples. Ditto a lot of couples. The women’s strength comes out over time, one barbell at a time … no reason to hit the guy over the head with it right away.

    So I see no reason for a woman to enter a relationship with “guns blazing” … showing a potential new partner how head strong, and opinionated, and tough she can be. Some women just bash you over the head with it from Day One. Why do this? There will be plenty of time to demonstrate who you are … and there’s nothing wrong with letting a guy feel that he is “in charge” of a situation where he hasn’t a clue in the world. Guys like to feel “in charge” … they like to feel like they can be “heroes” … they like the illusion of being the “strong one”. So let them. Everybody knows the most demure of women totally change behind closed doors. This is as old as time.

  34. Rob,

    So you’d be okay with a woman running your life, as long as she doesn’t tell you and everyone else, “I’m running this”?…

    Interesting. :)

    ‘As my friend Steve likes to say “she makes all the little decisions, while I make the big decisions. Thing is, after eight years, we still haven’t had a big decision to make. But when we do, I’ll be the one making it”.’

    Lol!

    Such a good sport.

    “Everybody knows the most demure of women totally change behind closed doors. This is as old as time.”

    You’d be surprised that lots of men don’t know that. Lots. They gush about how “feminine” and demure a woman they don’t know is… and then they cry when they marry her and find out how strong-willed and plain dominating she can be. I’ve known several guys that were/are in this predicament.

    “So I see no reason for a woman to enter a relationship with “guns blazing” … showing a potential new partner how head strong, and opinionated, and tough she can be.”

    I don’t think many strong women want to show how strong they are… some do. But for others, it just… happens. Their regular mode of being makes it obvious.

  35. How are we defining the word ‘strong’ here? Are we talking strong willed or simply forceful or aggressive? Some very strong willed women are pretty quiet and sometimes seemingly shy on the surface. They may not be concerned about winning every verbal argument but when it counts they know how to get their own way and don’t back down. On the other hand it’s surprising how many stereotypically ‘strong’ women, let men get away with all kinds of nonsense in their relationships.

  36. Hi Kat,

    This is more referring to strong-willed women, but not particularly shy or modest types. Just an “average” woman.

    Good point about how some stereotypically strong women defer to their partners in relationships.

    Would you consider yourself a strong woman? Your comment in the Beauty Bind thread makes me think yes. :)

  37. Would you consider yourself a strong woman? Your comment in the Beauty Bind thread makes me think yes.

    How did you guess? :) Men always defer to me in relationships but I’m not big on pushing my authority down their throats, I prefer a light touch. I guess I’m more the iron fist in a velvet glove type. Lol.

  38. Hi Alee,
    I don’t know if you know me or not. I comment a lot on YouTube and Salon.com under the same username, or something similar. Maybe that’s where you ran into me?

  39. Hi smartacus, welcome back. ;)

    I don’t think that’s where I ran into you since I’m not on either website very often and this was a couple of years ago. But that might be it, maybe!

  40. Society forces men to be manly no matter the hand they are dealt in life, their ambition, their athleticism, their intelligence. Basically there is only one underlying socially correct answer for a man faced with a challenge. “Challenge Accepted” (think BARNEY STINSON from “how i met your mother”). What greater challenge than the girl that is attractive and independent. AND attractiveness is a must. Think of movies like Kate Hudson’s “how to loose a guy in 10 days” or Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shew” (or 10 things I hate about you), “Pride and Prejudice”. Those chicks were only fit for the “MANLIEST” dude. So as all guys wish they were “THEE GUY”, they wanna be the one with “THOSE TOUGH BUT SEXY GIRLS”. Reality is majority of guys can’t handle such women and ultimately they need to find a partner that makes them feel like a man. Someone who needs and relies on them. Feminist will teach women to be more like men, but no group out there tells men to be more feminine. Guys do have each their own intrinsic amount of sensitivity, but it ain’t something they’ll nurture unless they’re somehow special because of it. Tough girls need to be girly even if just a little to make a guy happy. On that same token, the most sensitive guy needs to have a little bit of manliness to make a woman happy (think Brendon Fraiser in Bedazzled when he is spineless hippi on the beach). Just stuff I’m learning in my College English Writing class. Cheers. :D

  41. Hello SomeDude :)

    “Society forces men to be manly no matter the hand they are dealt in life…”

    I’d agree with this except I’d probably not use the word “forces”. Society can’t literally force men to do anything, but it can provide undesirable consequences for men who don’t flow with the status quo.

    “What greater challenge than the girl that is attractive and independent. AND attractiveness is a must.”

    Oh, it is a must? Well, isn’t that just terrible? Men have to be tough and women have to be pretty…

    “Feminist will teach women to be more like men, but no group out there tells men to be more feminine…Tough girls need to be girly even if just a little to make a guy happy. On that same token, the most sensitive guy needs to have a little bit of manliness to make a woman happy”

    I don’t know; I just don’t see why sensitivity = feminine and tough = masculine. The word “manly” being used as a synonym for toughness…. I think that adds to the pressure. When manly is equivalent to tough, well then men really don’t have any choice but to be tough to be a man, right? So a lot of it has to do with the way we think of masculinity as well.

    “Just stuff I’m learning in my College English Writing class. Cheers. :D”

    Cheers. :)

  42. Yes not only strong mentally but a woman who can kick a mans ass, a woman who is not all gossip and on Facebook all day I hate that personally

  43. Taylor i like a tall big strong country type of woman as well. And am submissive to that type as well. Not regular women. But i like a woman that could kick my a.. not one that actually does. Hope that helps?

  44. Brian,

    “i like a woman that could kick my a.. not one that actually does.”

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. :D

  45. Alee why not? Just because a woman happens to be strong physically does not mean that she is a sociopath. That is a stereotype if i ever heard one. Im italian does that mean i have mob ties? I do like a woman who can play ruff though but domestic violence is not the same thing. Just because a guy is big strong or tough we usually do not associate him to automatically be an abuser so why do we assume that in reversed situations? Confused?

  46. Many people misunderstood. Its not about whether men like strong women or not. Strong is good. Emotionally strong is admirable. The problem is whether a person is modest or not. Women or men, no one likes a person that is arrogant and think the whole world revolves around him or her. We are all interdependent and thus should be grateful to others for our success. No one is absolutely right or wrong. It would have been a better world had we learn to understand and respect others.

  47. wingbliss,

    I don’t know. That’s a good theory but I think modesty is overrated. People want to be loved, admired, and want to be proud of themselves… there’s nothing wrong with that. And few people are modest without somewhat lacking in self-confidence. So it’s a trade-off.

  48. Men do love strong, independent women. However, the man’s definition of a strong woman is often different from the woman’s definition.
    To the man, a strong woman essentially concentrates her strength to protect and advance the relationship they share. She would rather want peace than be right; she would contribute to the relationship in many different and thoughtful ways rather than focus attention on herself.
    Men generally despise and actively avoid women who are difficult to get along with; who ignore him in relationships; who insist in having her own ways; who question him at every turn; who turn every discussion into an argument; who make his life difficult.
    Unfortunately, most women’s definition of being “strong” sounds more like the type a man doesn’t want.

  49. I agree Quiet observer who wants a woman that likes to argue all the time? Life is to short for that nonsense. I have known women who were a lot heavier and stronger than me though. But if their sweethearts who cares what anyone else thinks. Just love a STRONG WOMAN :)

  50. Interesting topic. From this man’s point of view. I believe there is a good number of us who do like a strong woman. And there is probably a greater number of men who want more control for obvious reasons. Personally, i never take issue or concern myself about a woman having their own “identity” friends, activities… etc… But there is a fine line between not loosing yourself and being selfish. Which many people are (both men and woman). i believe in my many years of dating, i have seen both types of the strong independent woman. The first is my favorite. She has her own identity, is self sufficient, has her own opinions, and strong sense of self worth. While at the same time understands that like all good relationships…. balance, respect, commitment, must come from both people. And there is my least favorite. The one who says she is strong and independent but…. is more of a self centered disconnected person who for whatever reason either doesn’t care to or can’t go from me to we.

    My two cents :)

  51. I don’t like “strong” people, period- male or female- if “strong” means overly willful, dominating, and opinionated. That’s the sort of person I avoid like the plague.

    It’s not a gender thing, it’s a “you are seriously difficult to be around” thing.

  52. I consider myself a strong woman. I am 32, divorced, mother of a 9 year old, I do not receive child support yet I manage to send my child to a private school, I am pretty, I have a good job, I am currently in college trying to achieve my second degree, I m learning a third language, I work out twice a week and I have a relationship with a very successful man. In the years thta we have been together he has never paid a bill fo rme. He takes me out, for my birthday or christmas buys me nice presents and viceversa but if my car breaks down he is not there paying the mechanic. I have never raised my voice at him and would never allow that from him either. Am I a strong woman? yes. I am strong becasue I take responsability for my actions, becasue if I wanna go and spent $200 on a pair of shoes I need to balace my bank account not just open my hand for someone to hand me the $200 but at the same time I get the respect that I deserve from my man becasue of that. I am strong becasue I spend just as much time on the gym and getting my nails and hair done every month as I do studying and making sure that in this globalized and difficult world I will remain competitive and will
    be elegible to keep my good job. I am storng becasue I have my priorities well established, my child mes first and I make sure everyone knows that. I am strong becasue I am always on time at work, I do my job well, I am respected. I am not the brightest girl at work or at school but I am perseverant. This is to me what a strong woman should be about not a brad who is a know it all but someone who can recognize her weaknesses and work on them to make them better, someone who loves with passion and who wants to feel desired but goesnt spend her entire day looking at herself on the mirror. Let’s not get confused ladies, strong and bossy and b**tchy are not the same thing. We live on a different world. For decades we have been figthing to be equals with men. We wanted their jobs, we wanted to do everything they do and so we are now doing it but at the same time we want them to open doors for us, to give us their spots on the pubkic transportation, to pick up the bill everytime we go to dinner and we complain becasue they don’t do it anymore. Well isn’t that what we wanted? to be equals? Yes, so let’s deal with it. There are tons of advantages with being strong. Not having to stand cheating, mistreatment from a man is one of them. That’s why I am divorced. =) By the way I am from Costa Rica and this is how we see things here.
    Pura Vida =)

  53. I think strong women (a way in which I have been described many times) are often misunderstood. “Strong” is either a complaint or a compliment, depending on who verbalizes it, and yet it’s used often to describe characteristics that, in regard to men are quite normal and expected. Because I can change a tire, I’m strong? I call that common sense. Because I enjoy not only listening to others’ opinions, but sharing my own and a healthy, respectful debate with a worthy opponent, I’m strong? I call that the result of a brain, an education, and a lifelong passion for intelligent discourse.

    What men often misunderstand about “strong women” is this: we, too, have moments when we need taken care of…we’re human, after all. But a woman who is self-sufficient, independent and proud not to be so “clingy” is necessarily only going to allow herself to be vulnerable around a man she feels safe doing so with. I have a guy friend I can tell anything to; I can literally cry on his shoulder and know the next day, he’s not going to think I am any less independent or self-sufficient for it. That’s the closeness that must exist before a “strong” woman will open up.

  54. Being honest, the only reason for me to desire a strong women is to compete with her, beat her, and make more funy subordinate her, well I m speaking with the true, lol, its my case.

  55. I think not all men are going to have sufficient self-belief to make it work with a strong woman. If they need their partner to agree with them and prop up their ego a strong woman isn’t going to support them. A lot of guys want to play a gender role where they are decisive and the leader, even if they aren’t good decision makers.

    P.s I like your blog.

  56. Hi Fred, welcome.

    I agree with that. Your last sentence made me laugh. :)

    I’m glad you like the blog.

  57. Most women, especially independent ones want a man who can take charge. Independent women make a better choice because they cannot be easily swayed by men – so, she would not cheat on you whereas a gullible woman would.
    Men with ego issues prefer the naive gullibel women – make them feel more manly.

  58. I believe that strong women are attractive, but perhaps that the definition of strong is highly variable. I believe there is a great deal of comfort in knowing that my wife would completely secure should I be with her in a some situation. She’s highly intelligent and I fully trust and expect her to make decisions without out me. The “difference” I think in my definition of strength is that I know she is capable of doing everything on her own, and she does actually exercise that right all the time, but at the same time she chooses to be soft and nurturing when she thinks it’s a good time. A person, be it female or male, who simply takes charge in every situation and has a complete lack of tact or warmth makes for a jerk. I don’t find that strong, I find that overbearing. Having a wife, girlfriend, partner, whichever, that can challenge you on all fields of confrontation, but still has the ability to let some things slide is great, and I think that’s what proper strength in a woman is.

    That being said, it takes an equally tactful partner to understand also that sometimes they have to concede and, just as importantly, enjoy the fact that they can concede, to their partner on a regular basis. One should acknowledge the fact that they trust, respect, and believe in their mate enough for this to happen. There should be no feeling of belittlement or judgement, it should be a relief to know that your partner can get things done for the both of you. Enjoy equality, there is two of you in the relationship after all!

    (Maybe you just have to start pushing 30 to realize this? Breaks my heart
    -_-)

  59. To the OP, THANKYOU. I realised what you have said about 2yrs ago and I’m 28. All of what you said I’ve found to be true.

    As much as most men say and initially find a strong, independant woman attractive, if the woman really is self sufficient (because even though some women are smart and strong, when it comes to men they lose all sense) a lot of men can not handle it.

    No I do not go around touting it, when I’ve had bfs they saw it for themselves. Its not enough for men to be wanted by their women, they want to be needed and the way most women like myself need a man isn’t good enough for them. I think you all secretly want the damsel. I’m not a damsel and never will be.
    My nurturing and caring side is alive and kicking by the way lol

    I’ve just resided to the fact that for most men I’m not their cup of tea AFTER the penny drops that I really am not a damsel and that although I ideally want a man that takes charge (not bossy though) what I really want is a companion, friend, love, and a family with a man who I connect with. If he wants to do something for me, great lol by all means treat me like a princess, but I just think for a lot of men to know in the back of your mind a woman really doesn’t need you in the way you want to be needed turns you off.
    Sounds simple but its not easy to come by

  60. Hello sorted. You’re welcome.

    I think some men may like strong women. Some. ;)

    Mike,

    Great and realistic answer. :)

  61. I have decided that men want a strong, assertive, powerful woman because they have an intense desire to tame her. To be able to woo her into their bed and have her, soft and vulnerable. Most of them don’t seem to realize it, and that’s the real problem – they don’t figure out in time that they want a conquest or a fling or relatively short-term relationship rather than a marriage. It’s not wrong or bad or perverted for them to want to see what’s under that strong exterior, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to vilify men.

    The problem arises when a man decides that he wants this power-vixen to be his wife and then, two or three years later, decides he wants a soft spoken, demure little housewife who will make his babies and look good on his arm at office functions and will talk quietly with the ladies about the adorable Dr. Pepper cupcake recipe she found on Pinterest.

    It has been my experience that men start looking around at what the other men have and realizing that their wife stands out, captivates people, makes them laugh and impresses them with her intelligence, presence, articulation, and wit, and it makes the man feel emasculated in the presence of his colleagues who have a command over their wives. They get self conscious about the power difference and start trying to clip her wings, so to speak, and she starts losing respect for him for being cowardly and caring more about what people think of her than he does for HER, which leads to absolute misery for both of them.

    You’re right in that very few men can cope with the reality of a woman who can hold her own. Our culture has a very specific relationship model that’s fed to us daily from birth, and most people have a very difficult time accepting anything else for long-term relationships or marriage and especially for child rearing.

  62. I think a “Shaddy” man obviously will not like a strong woman ( for relationships ) even if he is somehow attracted to them, It’s obviously going to be harder to use them, to and play games with them, although he might admire them from afar and want to bang them.

    On the other hand I think a strong man that knows what he wants will be both attracted to a strong woman and be able to have something with her – and not feel like he’s somehow being de-masculated.

  63. In short, the man feels picked on, neglected, and unnecessary. His idea of a strong woman wasn’t this. He wanted a woman who could take care of herself, but would also take care of him and allow him to take care of her. At least sometimes. Is that too much to ask?

    That pretty much sums it up. I am a man, in a relationship with a strong independent woman. And the above point is exactly what I think about most times. Being with her is exciting, but there are times when I’d sit down and wish for her to take care of me. And I really don’t think that it is too much to ask for, especially when the man is being wonderful to her.

  64. Some extremely absurd responses here as well as some good ones. I was always interested in a strong woman for the following reasons.

    She can take care of herself which means;
    She has her own interests. She has her own experiences. Not afraid to get dirty. Adventurous. She has hobbies. She may come with knowledge in areas you haven’t experienced before. She has come to know herself than someone who has been told who she is. She has had to learn skills on her own. She has spent more time mulling her character over and therefore has become more intimate with her strenghts and weaknesses, meaning she’s a much more developed person. Most importantly, she does NOT need me/you so if she’s interested its for real and therefore a modest reflection of her partners quality (and therefore, sadly, why I don’t have a mate).

    But its all good. Because if you are to believe the hype the media has generated for ‘tough women’ you won’t find a real one. Its hard to find one. Usually they’re modeled over Uma Thurman and the like, whereas I find the more appealing one’s as Queen Latifa or characters like ‘Kaylee Frye’ and/or Gadget Hackwrench. Sorry Hollywood, your taste sucks.

  65. Hello, interesting topic and I clicked in because I have concluded ‘strong and independent’ is what I need. I have felt this way a long time but its odd for a man to be of that mindset so I have gone the normal route. I do fine for a while but my ‘nice Guy’s nature emerges and makes the woman flake on me. I do need that strong woman to be willing to take the 55% side of caring and be supportive to a degree although id see myself doing the same if she was open to it. Just curious if you think both people can be goal oriented need some special time together etc be into their stuff together and their stuff not together and be happy as a clam.

  66. I am a strong independent woman, and now I realized that mostly sweet, laid back men got attracted to me. I even love these kind of men…provided that they should be smart, confident and career wise stable. I just got married and my husband too is a laid back guy, he is sweet, considerate, but very confident and manly too…..he is a fighter, racer and guess what he is a Doctor by profession! Although I am more free spirited and strong in many areas than him….but i noticed that we balance each other out…He is a Leo, I am a cancer woman…He loves my high energy and my multi-facted personality….I soooo love him!!!He is sooooooo sweeeeeet!

  67. I think the issue is in the definition of the word strong. It means something different to everyone. I am a laid back masculine guy that likes strong women, but the female version of the opinionated meat head whos ears dont let anything in and whos mind thinks of nothing but their own whims isnt what I consider strong. I consider that scared, arrogant and walled off.

  68. Jeremy,

    “I think the issue is in the definition of the word strong. It means something different to everyone.”

    That just might be the case; good point.

  69. It depends on how you define a ‘strong woman’. I can say that I don’t mind a girl who has some degree of confidence, but I’m not attracted to the very decisive and dominant woman. In other words the kind of strength that is typically associated with the masculine is not appealing to me. I think the reason it’s said that men want a strong woman is because it’s politically correct. The feminist ideal is after all the strong and independent woman. But that does not mean this kind of woman is the most attractive kind to most men. I definitely prefer feminine girls. A sweet, soft spoken, caring, submissive, radiant and beautiful girl is what I look for. Not the feminist butch kind who so many act like when they try to be strong women. Attraction between the sexes has in my opinion a lot to do with polarity. Men and women are different and the differences is what draws me towards a woman and her towards me.

  70. In the beginning of my relationship, I was like a robot for my husband, I did things I never thought I would do just to go along with what he wanted, handed over my paychecks and watched porn with him. Anytime he asked. What do u want to do tonight I would always respond whatever u want baby. Years we went on like this and one day he said dont u ever have an opinion? I always thought me doing everything he wanted was what well, he wanted lol. So I stood up and said I want things to go like this for this weekend. I found out we had nothing in commen and he ended up cheating on me with another shall we say robot. I became independant and did what I wanted to do to better my lifestyle yet I did all this alone. Men like to feel needed is what I learned and once I didn’t need him anymore he strayed to some else that did. But the ironic thing is he asked me my opinion one day and we just didn’t mesh, I don’t think he was ready for that response and we are now in the process of divorce. So I feel men can not handle an independant woman.

  71. I’ve had only 2 “strong women” in my life. One was my last ex (25 years ago) and my oldest daughter. My ex was stubborn, opinionated, very critical, and psychosocially abusive. My daughter isn’t happy unless she runs the show. And lets everyone know it. All the time. Both these women claim to be “ strong”. They both are a pain to be around. Most “strong men” I’ve been around are all responsible, team players who aren’t selfish ,obnoxious jerks who will do anything to jerk your chain while smugly getting there kicks out of it. Get it??

  72. Alee, it seems like you don’t want to get it. This guy (Pat) is making a very important distinction between someone who claims to be strong versus someone who actually is. I get the impression that you asked this question (the one in the title of the blog post), but that you don’t really want to hear the truth. I can tell you this. No man in the world wants the kind of women described by Pat (no offense intended to either his ex or his daughter, that’s just the way I see it), and even women who have real strength in the traditionally masculine way are not going to be attractive because of this. They might be attractive in some other way, but not because of their strength. In general men are attracted to femininity, and strength (again in the traditional sense) is not a feminine quality.

  73. You get it Man Manson. I AM WOMAN HERE ME ROAR. I’ve been listening to this for the past 40 years or so. And you want to know something?? Its awfully boring to listen to. No different than any man who is always
    “ blowing his horn” for attention. The louder you gals blow your horns—the less I’ll listen to it. I’ve done very well living independently on my own now for the past 27 years. I’m not interested in competing with any women for anything. If you “strong women” have that big of chip on your shoulders, take it else ware. The kind of women I like are those that are team players, not argumentative all the time. And can still act like a lady. Not a loud mouthed arrogant know it all. Who isn’t happy unless she it starting a fight. If you want a lot from your men ladies then you’ll give a lot to get it.

  74. I come across this often. I am very straightfoward and assertive, and although those traits are admired on males, women who exhibit these traits it’s are often called “agressive”, “butchy” or “ball breakers”. Women do not enjoy the same social freedoms as males in regards to sexuality or social encounters. As an assertive female (who is also kind and supportive), I seem to attract 2 kinds of men. 1. The ones looking for a mommy to care for them or 2. True secure alpha males who don’t need a submissive female to define themselves as leaders. These men want a partner and delight in the intelligence and sure footedness of a smart independent woman. They see her strength as a compliment to their own not a threat.
    Unfortunatly group 2. Are quite rare and very in demand. Most men are group 3. Beta males who like to think they’re alpha, say they like strong women to look enlightened and secure to other males when secretly they’re needy and want a woman to be nothing more than a demure submissive ego feeder for themselves. Type 3. Can fool you for a short time, but you’re better to seek out a true Alpha male if you’re an Alpha female.

  75. Joanne, you need to realize that a masculine man – the alpha male you’re talking about – is much more likely to be attracted to a feminine woman than the kind of woman you describe yourself as. You seem to be under the impression that if a man doesn’t want to deal with an assertive and straightforward woman, that he’s a weak man who sees this woman as a threat. This is not the case. Rather it’s about what brings out his instinctual masculinity, like his protective qualities and his strong, dominant nature. To me there is nothing more attractive than vulnerability in a woman. It melts my icy heart. Feminists define femininity by what they want it to be and it’s all about getting more power for women. If you look at the most radical feminists you are likely to find the least feminine women found anywhere, these women know nothing about what it means to be feminine. True femininity is about things like being kind, sweet, caring, nurturing, soft and (I know feminists hate hearing this) submissive. That’s my humble opinion anyway. Sure there are men who want a dominant woman, but most don’t. Men want a woman who acts like a woman, not someone who acts like a man because she’s so set on being his “equal”. Men and women ARE equal, I agree with that. However, men and women are also very different, and are attracted to very different qualities. This is important to remember.

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