Non-Arrogant Elite Women Network

 

or "a network of happy feminists who do not hate men" as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would say


"Men marry down and women marry up," this is a well-known saying that is supported by statistics. In other words, the more education, experience, and status women acquire, the more they lose their "value" as eligible partners. It is as if excellence, when displayed by women, has humiliating effects on some men. Most women are shocked and surprised when they face rejection or even severe retaliations from men who attempt to punish and humiliate them for their excellence. Admittedly, there are women who combine ambition with arrogance, sometimes even with arrogant ignorance, and, clearly, they need to be much more ambitious and strive for humility and true excellence. But many women wish to make the point that they would like to attain excellence and be proud of it and that this does not at all entail arrogance or looking down on others.

In 1999, Evelin Lindner developed the idea of a Non-arrogant Elite Women Network, together with fellow women from Kenya and Somalia, to address the problems that arise in this situation.

A young woman wrote (April 2005): "I am beginning to realise that life is not easy for women like us. Our independence comes from deep compassion, realisation of pain and suffering and our intellect is not a source of arrogance but a resource through which we try to transcend so many things in life. But unfortunately we can get despised and misunderstood for that intellect and for desiring to fly as high as possible. I realise that I am located within a historic time where a transition from traditional gender roles to newer ones creates confusion in men and despair in women. So I guess we have to bear the struggle at this time, so that our children might enjoy a happier and liberated life."



Where are all the Good Men?

In their book on Cultural Creatives, Ray and Anderson (2000) present three "Americas": Traditionals, Moderns and Cultural Creatives. The authors conclude that these movements are converging now, with the Cultural Creatives at the core. One of the "side-effects" of this social development is that many women ask a question that is also a section title in the book: "Where are all the Good Men?"


Ray and Anderson in Cultural Creatives (2000), pages 23-24: Where are all the Good Men?
Only one demographic statistics stands out about the Cultural Creatives: 60 percent of them are women. In the Core group, the proportion rises to about 67 percent, or two-thirds. The way women formulate issues of caring, family life, children, education, relationships, and responsibility for others is reflected in Cultural Creatives' values and beliefs. Women's ways of valuing are finally coming out of the private domain into public life. That's the good news. The bad news is that there are not enough men to go around.
Our friend Carol is visiting from Boston, and once again she's complaining about a too-familiar problem that faces many women Cultural Creatives: "Where are all the good men?" An outgoing, attractive woman in her fifties, Carolyn certainly looks as if she should not have the least bit of trouble attracting male attention if she wants it. She wants it, she tells us, but the pickings are slim. And she wonders if she's done something wrong in her life.
"Will you stop psychologizing about it?" Paul burst out. "It's not about you, and it's not your fault." He's shouting a little, which isn't the least bit necessary since he has Carolyn's rapt attention. "There's an objective scarcity of men who fit your values and lifestyle," he explains. "Core Cultural Creatives like you are two-thirds women. It's like being in a tribe with too few eligible mates. So long as you'll settle only for men who are like you, with your perspective and your values, it's going to feel like there's a scarcity of good men."
"Oh, fine," she retorts. "So where are all the others hiding out?"
"I guess they're playing with their techno-toys and are caught up with the bottom line and getting ahead. Your values of personal growth, spirituality, and ecology might show up way down on their list. In your social class, more men are Moderns. Too many women are inclined to blame themselves when they don't find the partners they want. But what can you do? The fact is that women are leading the way here. The new cultural development and new values are coming mostly from them."
She looks at him despairingly.
"And men are lagging somewhat," Paul adds weakly.
"Yes, they do grow up slower than we do, don't they?" She laughs lightly. "Well, I'm certainly glad to hear it's not my fault!"
It's hard not to hear the catch in her voice.

Ray, Paul H. and Anderson, Sherry Ruth (2000). Where are all the good Men? The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, pp. 23-24. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.




Draft prepared by Lindner in 1999
The "Network for Elite Non-arrogant Women" idea was forged in 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya, by three women, a European, a French, and a Somali national.

The network "Elite non-arrogant women" envisions to address the dilemma of highly educated women who face discrimination in their private lives because of their education. It seems that an educated man has all women with less and more education as his "partner-market," while an educated woman has exclusively those men with more education as her "partner-market," if any at all. A man who climbs the ladder of education and career seems to increase the size of his "partner-market," while for a woman who climbs the ladder of education and career, the "partner-market" seems to shrink (many educated women report that they might be perfectly comfortable with a partner with less achievements education- and career-wise than her, but that the partner would not be comfortable with this, at least not after a while).
It seems that a woman pays a very high price for endeavouring to have a higher education and successful utilisation of this education afterwards, she often pays with being victimised in her love relations with men. Her hope to have a supportive husband, her desire to have children, short, her hope of having a family which gives her emotional rooting will in many cases be disappointed.
Many such women experience that a man might be "fascinated" by her, and interested to have an affair with her, if she is at all open for affairs, but it seems that serious commitment is difficult. When he marries, he marries another woman, a woman of less "fascination." Those women, who marry early, before venturing out into higher education and career, might be spared. But those women who think that they should concentrate on education and professional life first, meet a difficult situation when they look for a partner in their 30s and 40s.
Many women are not prepared for the difficulties which then arise; they therefore might attribute rejection from a man as rejection aimed at their core of personality, instead of interpreting it as being aimed at their education which intimidates a man. A woman who attributes rejection from a man wrongly as being a proof of her shortcomings as a human being or her lack of attractiveness as a woman will loose self-confidence and eventually suffer also in her professional life.
Perhaps there are partners somewhere "out there" for those highly educated women who are in their 30s or more, partners who are not married already, partners who are able and willing to love and respect a woman with high hopes and achievements. But these partners are few. They cannot be found by walking around in town, or visiting the health club. There might be one or two suitable men in town for such a woman, no more. Her "partner-market" is very small, and a suitable partner extremely difficult to find. How can this search be improved?
Let us start with forming a network of people, men and woman, who share these thoughts. We then could come up with ideas of how to address this issue. We should perhaps not focus too directly on searching for a partner, but rather create a network of women and men, who share the reflections above touched upon. Great care should be taken to preserve a high level of sincerity, dignity, and quality, since there are already enough agencies around which try to match partners. These agencies, we feel, will never reach the potential partner who might be suitable for us, because he would not turn to those agencies to begin with.
We call our network "Network for Elite Non-arrogant Women," because we feel that there is the cliché of women out there (and some women indeed resemble the cliché) who try to be more "male" than "male," displaying a kind of fake self-confidence, putting up a show of assertiveness. We feel that we are rather very "normal" women, insecure sometimes, caring, competent, but not fake. We have a lot of friends, many of us have friends in every corner of the world - but the one partner is not among them.
We could start with collecting ideas using email as a transport vehicle, posting all contributions to all of us, then we could consider collecting texts on this internet page, and perhaps link up to our private homepages. This is the first text produced after the emergence of the idea on 11th January 1999 in Nairobi. Anybody who reads this is invited to contribute with improvements.
Evelin Lindner, 12.1.1999, Nairobi, Kenya.




UCLA Study on Friendship Among Women

Taylor, Shelley E., Klein, Laura Cousino, Lewis, Brian P., Gruenewald, Tara L., Gurung, Regan A. R., and Updegraff, John A. (2002). Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight. In Psychological Review, 109 (4), pp. 745-750.

Please see the Abstract:

The human stress response has been characterized, both physiologically and behaviorally, as "fight-or-flight." Although fight-or-flight may characterize the primary physiological responses to stress for both males and females, we propose that, behaviorally, females' responses are more marked by a pattern of "tend-and-befriend." Tending involves nurturant activities designed to protect the self and offspring that promote safety and reduce distress; befriending is the creation and maintenance of social networks that may aid in this process. The biobehavioral mechanism that underlies the tend-and-befriend pattern appears to draw on the attachment-caregiving system, and neuroendocrine evidence from animal and human studies suggests that oxytocin, in conjunction with female reproductive hormones and endogenous opioid peptide mechanisms, may be at its core. This previously unexplored stress regulatory system has manifold implications for the study of stress.




Links

Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on delicious.com. From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

Offerings: A Co-Creative Field for Evolving Women
There is a movement taking place all over the globe, an ongoing conversation that tells the story of women evolving themselves, their lives, their world. Offerings is a co-creative field where rich and diverse artistic expressions of this emerging story unfold. Our creative works include print publications, audio and visual engagements, online dialogues and face-to-face gatherings, as well as new business models, new ideas for how we live, partner and move in the world.
Offerings, An International Magazine, Featuring Women's Wisdom in the 21st Century - An Invitation to Collaborate.

Matchmaking parents in Beijing
Parents gather in the Zhongshan Park in central Beijing on every Thursday and Sunday afternoons to act as matchmakers for their daughters and sons, most of whom are white-collar workers enjoying high salary at the age of more than 30.
BBC World News, on 21st August 2006, for example, showed a mother, who looked for a husband for her daughter, a daughter with a good education, a flat, and a car, who would not be able to find a husband, because, so said the mother, "Chinese men would feel inferior."

Statistic Abuse, in Vim and Vinegar, November 02, 2005, by Elise Kramer
This article discusses a 2005 report by researchers at four British universities that indicates that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to marry, while it is a plus for men.
"...maybe women with higher I.Q.s are less likely to get married because they’re less likely to want to get married. Maybe they are, on average, better off financially and better able to support themselves without a husband. Maybe they don’t have time for marriage and kids because women, unlike men, are often forced to choose between career and family. Or maybe more-intelligent women tend to have more progressive views and are less likely to subscribe to the traditional institution of marriage, instead cohabitating with their partners or avoiding long-term relationships altogether. Or maybe the sample used in this experiment, currently octogenarians, are representative of earlier times with earlier mores, when women who thought there was more to life than raising kids were prescribed medication..."

Love and Freedom
"By raising a girls education it narrows her choice of a husband by increasing her earning power it lessens her need for one."
Mackinnon, Alison (1997). Love and Freedom - Professional Women and the Reshaping of Personal Life. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, page 96.

 



List of people contributing

Activities