Saturday, September 25, 2021

Where have all the good men gone? asks successful Batswana women

Botswana’s millennial super women seem to have it all figured out; a university degree, a well paying job, nice house, expensive clothes and an amazing network of amazing friends. They however are still struggling to figure out  “why good men are so hard to find.”

Dr Sethunya Mosime, a senior Sociology lecturer at The University of Botswana says both alpha women and non-alpha women struggle in finding love. “I think every woman struggles in finding love, the only thing with alpha women is that they are in the spotlight and people have unrealistically high expectations of them. Not all women have a list of traits that they look for in a guy or are picky, some actually appreciate a good man with all his flaws” She says that often times these successful smart women are under pressure to succeed and therefore sometimes have to dumb themselves down to attract men.

Dr Sethunya’s explanation comes back to the question that haunts most Batswana super women: Have all of the “good men” blown away? An alternative hypothesis suggests that Batswana successful women are in a very unfulfilling double-bind.  This double bind occurs between the type of men that women find attractive (from biological/evolutionary origin)… and the type they choose to attach to (from social instruction). Socially, today’s alpha females strive to succeed in work, run her home, raise the perfect children, and be attractive and chipper too. This requires her to be intelligent, motivated, powerful, and in control. Such women are motivated to “choose” men for how well they mesh with their life plan, goals, and ideals. Essentially then, some women choose to “attach” to men who are cooperative, agreeable, supportive, and often take their lead in areas the woman finds important. From a cultural standpoint, men who are categorized as “disagreeable,” “opinionated,” or expect women to “acquiesce” may be considered unappealing as “attachment” partners.

Unfortunately, however, many of those “culturally undesirable” male traits are similar and overlapping with the traits that are biologically “attractive.” Although not always true, often the man who is intelligent, high status, and ambitious will be unlikely to take a back seat, follow, and submit in a romanticrelationship. Generally speaking, men who have “leadership characteristics” may want to lead in many situations.

With those two “feelings” juxtaposed, women often find themselves unfulfilled in love. Many that I talk to seem to hover between what they call “nice guys” and “jerks” in their dating life. They become attracted to “jerks” for their status, ambition, and dominanceÔÇöonly to be hurt when those men don’t live up to the cooperative and considerate cultural standard for an attachment partner. Women then may gravitate towards a culturally prescribed “nice guy,” only to find that they become bored, their libido wanes, and their eyes wander back to “jerks.”

Either way, they find the relationships largely frustrating and unsatisfying. Maatla Lepekole a financial analyst at standard Chartered Bank Botswana agrees in part with this theory and debunks the myth that men are intimidated by successful women. “Men aren’t intimidated by strong successful women; in fact most men find these qualities quite attractive and would brag to their families and friends about how they bagged a smart great girl. The problem arises when the qualities that made the 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 trickle down to the relationship, we don’t like it.” Maatla says men appreciate an accomplished and successful woman but don’t want to come home to a stressful, competitive environment after spending all day in a similar setting. “most women think their accomplishments will attract a man the truth is, most men don’t care where a woman got her three degrees or that she owns a company ÔÇö it’s a nice bonus, and, understandably, a woman is proud of these achievements, but it’s not what leads a man to be attracted to her that is why most women often ask themselves questions like “why is he with that girl and not me, when I’m so smart and successful?” Often times it has nothing to do with her accomplishments and more to do with her easy-going nature and her ability to create a feeling of emotional safety and peace within a relationship.”

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