Thursday May 8 2014

Is it true men are afraid of intelligent women?

Roger Mugisha. File Photo

Roger Mugisha. File Photo 

Roger Mugisha

What is your definition of an ideal woman?
When I was younger, I thought that an ideal woman would probably be a brainy super model. But when you grow older, you get to discover that the most important thing is companionship. You need someone who is not just your significant other but compliments and completes you. These days, you need a partner who can help you achieve goals and objectives.

Well, achieving goals requires an intelligent person, right? So, what is your definition of intelligence?
Intelligence is very subjective because what I call intelligence could differ from one person to another. It is a holistic decision to make and be able to make rational decisions. It’s also having a good sense of judgment and being knowledgeable.

There is a notion that men are afraid to embrace women who are more assertive and intelligent than them. How true is that?
Yeah…there are people who are definitely afraid of intelligent women. These are people with traditionalist views and would not be comfortable around women taking, for example, leadership roles. However, it is an open society now and we have learnt from traditional biases that women make very diligent managers. Men can be visionary leaders but when it comes to execution, women do it better. A classic example is KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi.

Today, there are certain qualities that people look out for in a partner. Does intelligence count?
For some people, it is really about one’s challenges and needs at a particular time. For someone who has everything and they don’t need to work, they are looking for a beautiful trophy: the most beautiful girl in the town who needs money to maintain her, which is quite common. There are those looking for emotional support and so look for someone who can provide a place of calm or peace, regardless of looks. Now we have a new category of people who look for someone to present to their parents to get the marriage question out of the way. Our parents put pressure on us to get married, so this type end up rushing into marriage.

But some men seem not to be “impressed” with intelligent women. Apparently, they do not want women who can challenge them.
A lot of couples get together without having a common vision. You could have gotten together for various reasons and now the woman probably has this assumption that she will fix the man and automatically make decisions on your behalf because you don’t know what you want. It will start with the dressing, to what kind of car you drive, which comes off as pushy.

But some men need a push in the “right direction”, no?
True, but the thing that challenges couples and why there is that assumption that men fear intelligent women is not the intellect but the qualifications and the grade or level of success. For example, if you are going to marry a woman with a Master’s degree and you are a basic degree holder or she has a PhD and you are an S.4 drop out, you know that whatever you do in your life, you will probably never make as much money as she does. That is a no-no and it makes some men feel threatened.

Why would a man be threatened by that?
Ego! Now if she became the World Bank president tomorrow, then everybody will start questioning, so what does her man do? Or imagine at a party, she is introduced as the Central Bank manager and the hubby as a retailer somewhere in Kikuubo. No man would want to be belittled because he cannot measure up to her stature.

Would that dent a relationship in any way in the long run?
Of course it does. The issue of sudden wealth or sudden promotion disorganises relationships. They start to grow apart. You wake up one morning and your wife is Oprah or has been promoted and has become an international representative. Naturally, all human beings fear unknown things because they don’t know what the outcome will be. So sometimes people fear the intelligent women because they don’t know what they may become. The “what if” question keeps popping up in the man’s mind.

Aren’t you discouraging men from dating the intelligent girl?
Hmm…This is a case of taste, preferences and needs. My needs now might be different from that of other men. I might be looking for a broke partner while others might be looking for one who can pay the bills. Our interests are bound by what you are looking for. Would I advise a man to marry an intelligent woman? Oh yes. At least you are guaranteed your children will rub off on one or two traits. You wouldn’t want your children struggling with their education when you are paying school fees. But honestly, truth is, women still rule over men because of certain terms and conditions… (hahahaha)

Rahma Kanyomozi

Who is an intelligent woman?
I think it is a person with self-confidence. I believe that if you are confident enough, you are knowledgeable about what is going on around you and you can deal with all kinds of situations, especially the difficult ones.

There is a notion that men are afraid of embracing women who are more assertive and intelligent than them?
I think men who have a low self-esteem will have issues with intelligent women. Such a woman comes with a lot of confidence, so such a man will have issues controlling her, yet men generally survive on control.
A man with low self-esteem will probably think he does not deserve you and will want to control every bit of you. Of course, he cannot do that if you are intelligent because you will be outspoken, which is a no-no for some men. This is more reason for the men to really up their confidence.

In many relationships today, there are certain qualities that partners look for. Does intelligence count?
If you are dealing with an introvert and you do not have knowledge of his behaviour, you would conclude that you have a bad partner. But if you prodded more, you would probably read a lot and learn what kind of person you are dating.
If you are intelligent enough to know that human beings differ in so many ways, then in a relationship, you would appreciate different characters.

But some men seem not to be too “impressed” with the intelligent crop of women. Apparently, they do not want women who can challenge them.
Go back to the days where men would provide for the home. If it gets to a situation where the woman makes more money, trust me if a man is not confident, that relationship will not work because naturally, men would like to take care of their women and feel in control.
If you are a woman who thinks you are intelligent, there is going to be competition in the home. If this crosses to the woman challenging the man at home, then there is bound to be a problem. Men will definitely freak out because he is not comfortable that his “powers” are being challenged.

But some men need a push in the “right direction”, no?
I will probably agree with Roger on this. Women sometimes set double standards. You want a man but you are not willing to fully be a woman. I know women who rub it in because they earn more. “Oh, you cannot bring this up or order me around because I pay the bills”. You have to understand your place sometimes as a woman at home and that is where intelligence comes in.

Would that dent a relationship in any way in the long-run?
Oh yes, it is a threat, more so to a woman herself. If she does not know how to control it, then she will have difficulty in relating with a man. In due course, even if a man has confidence but does not feel like the man in the relationship, he will first of all cheat; get a side dish and secondly, he will dump you.
So, I believe women should learn to deal with their “intelligence” and know that it is not applicable in certain aspects of a relationship.

Aren’t you discouraging men out there from dating the intelligent lot?
[Laughs]… Not really. Every woman is intelligent but how you deal with it makes you more intelligent.

So should an intelligent woman tone down on the intelligence when with her man or around his friends?
It does not really matter whether you are the First Lady of the country. If you do not know your place in a relationship, then obviously no man will want to be with you. You have to understand your place and take your responsibilities as a woman. At the end of the day, you have to strike a balance.
But this should not discourage the ladies. It is also a cue to the men to raise their stake. Who wouldn’t want an intelligent woman for a companion? Men should also be up for the challenge.