I live in Beirut and I write to share with you my perception of a particular reality. Most women I know, educated, successful in their work field, young, beautiful, intelligent and independent, are not able to get married nowadays. Men they dated felt emasculated. I even heard one of my friends saying that a successful woman should dumb herself down to get a man. True that there are men who appreciate and admire women who are accomplished, but they are rare to find. Obviously, all men are different, and to generalize an entire gender would be wrong. However, the percentage of chauvinistic men is pretty high in today’s Lebanon, and it gets stronger when the qualities that make a woman such a big success cross over into the relationship. In a woman’s career, she may rise to the top by being very opinionated, aggressive and decisive. But when these same qualities cross into the relationship…
Most men I encounter don’t care where a woman got her three degrees or that she’s made partner at her law firm. Great accomplishments don’t cause men to feel an attraction towards women. It is true that most men have some requirements. They strongly prefer to find partners who have more than high school degrees, have serious work ethics and have dreams of their own that they aspire to achieve. These qualities matter to them because they know on a fundamental level that they will connect more with women who are well rounded, have a high intelligence level and independently have goals of their own. But an impressive goal doesn’t have to fit the mold of a woman aspiring to work her way to the top of a law firm. It could be as simple as raising a nice family.
Men I asked about this reality simply answered: we are men and we still want to feel like men!
Personally, I think that not being reliant on men is a positive movement for women in today’s Lebanese society. All women should strive to achieve this. The problem arises when women make men feel as if they are not needed in the relationship. I would also argue that as the success of women in modern times increases, their options do as well. With women marrying late into their twenties and early thirties these days and facing less societal pressure to settle down, exponentially more women are endlessly serial dating in a quest to find the “perfect man”. The problem is, romance isn’t a trophy. Men too fall into that trap more than ever before – the search for the perfect mate.
Last but not least, let us not forget that most Lebanese men portray women as weak/submissive or seductive/evil/monsters. The emphasis of a woman’s description is placed upon her physical beauty, her weaknesses and her lack of rationality. These are ideas that those men subconsciously/consciously seek to promote about women as a result of their own insecurities.