Strong and Independent Women

“Strong and Independent”, such an interesting phrase.

That descriptive phrase is perfect for a man. That phrase is horrible for a woman.

Here is a lesson in writing. In addition to the standard meaning, words – adjectives in particular – have additional connotations that might not appear in the dictionary. While a word may have a surface meaning, there are sub-meaning (connotations) that must be considered when selecting the particular word for the job. This is the realm of writers and folks who really think about the nature of communication amongst humans.

As a further complication, words can be genderist in their connotations. Some descriptive words just work better on men, some are better for women. Ever heard a man being described as “demure”? It just doesn’t fit. Strong and independent are two wonderful adjectives that belong to men. Sorry ladies. Those are our words, hands off.

I can sense that quite a few women will clutch “strong and independent” tightly to their bosom like they might a little, yappy dog. I am not naive and I know that “strong and independent” is not going to disappear from the online dating profiles. OK, I will accept that if the ladies can accept the additional connotations that completely ruin that phrase for you.

The “strong and independent” phrase has some unpleasant connotations when written by a woman in an online profile. Remember that the phrase best suits a man so when it’s applied to a woman, “bossy and domineering” come to mind. These are hardly feminine characteristics and certainly not attractive.

Imagine a man claiming that he is “soft and demure” on his online dating website. While some other men might find that attractive, he’s not going to get a lot of positive attention from the dames. It’s because he used words with an overwhelmingly feminine connotation.

Two important secrets:

1. Masculine attracts feminine.
2. Feminine attracts masculine.

With this in mind, it behooves a man to use masculine words in his online dating profile if he seeks to attract the feminine. Likewise, in equal measure, a woman should use feminine words in her online dating profile. Boys and girls, this is based on biology. No amount of social shaming will change it.

Ladies, please. No more “strong and independent”. Try “resilient and self-reliant”.

It’s time to address the common female refrain of “you’re just intimidated by strong and independent women”. No. Men are simply turned off by bossy and domineering women. Men generally aren’t intimidated by any woman. We might find you repellent. We might find you annoying. But we’re not scared of you.

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  1. #1 by Neil Conway on September 2, 2011 - 1:08 PM

    Bravo! Well-said and brave, considering that men are not allowed to speak the truth about such nonsense in our culture. To add to your point: how many guys need to proclaim themselves “strong and independent” men to their dinner partners, to their readers in the New York Times, or to a group of buddies on a guy’s night out? Its expression almost automatically tells me a women is self-indulgent, insecure, and all-too-often, hypocritical.

  2. #2 by twan on November 26, 2012 - 1:50 AM

    Fucking brilliant

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