For some women, success has a price
IN an episode of Sex and the City, Miranda goes speed-dating, only to discover that her law career is a turn-off to the guys. When she says she's a flight attendant, however, suddenly she becomes an object of their fantasies.
This story is just fiction, but a recent survey suggests that its premise might be on target.
Ray Fisman, a Columbia University economics professor, conducted a two-year study on Americans' dating preferences. He ran a speed-dating experiment at a local bar near campus.
"[Men] preferred women whom they rated as smarter, but only up to a point," Fisman told the New York Times. "It turns out that men avoided women whom they perceived to be smarter than themselves. The same held true for measures of career ambition: A woman could be ambitious, just not more ambitious than the man considering her for a date."
This perceived bias by some men against strong, successful women extends to other parts of social life, including politics. For instance, Hillary Clinton must face these perceptions as a presidential candidate.
Walking the line
The former First Lady appears in public wearing business suits and talking about national and international issues with a lawyer's cool mind and sharp tongue.
However, while her rival Barack Obama gets "fired up", in the words of his fall campaign slogan, Hillary is careful to remain calm. She often says that she likes the kitchen, perhaps knowing that some may be uncomfortable electing a strong female president who doesn't exhibit at least some of the more traditional "female" traits (see sidebar).
According to the New York Times, woman earning high salaries can also intimidate their male friends.
For the first time, women in their 20s who work full time in several American cities – New York, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis – are earning higher wages than men in the same age range. This is according to a recent study by Andrew Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College in New York.
The new income superiority of young women is bringing them "forms of hostility they weren't prepared to meet", Beveridge told the New York Times.
This has caused some women to try to protect the egos of dates who make less money.
They do so by choosing not to leave their shopping bags sitting in the open around their apartment. They also avoid talking about their business achievements, according to the report.
The stereotypical image of a housewife still lingers in the minds of many Americans today, even though it's now mostly fiction. In the 1950's, women often waited for their husbands to come home. A man would return from a hard day's work and be greeted with a kiss and a cold glass of lemonade. Every morning he'd awaken to the smell of bacon. While at work, his wife clean the carpet, hang up laundry and prepare supper for her hard-working husband.