This is a good article from Carolyn McCulley about single women and careers (some of you may have read through her book Radical Womanhood when I blogged it at the EQUIP book club). I like her conclusion that we all stop making assumptions and start asking questions of each other.
I very much doubt that my current employment situation is going to intimidate anyone. But I believe in the past it has. When I was doing zoological research in Far North Queensland, and going off on trapping expeditions into the wilds to work all night on wild animals, I may have looked like a freak. And when one fellow asked me during that time if I had any “unfulfilled goals” I just chatted on and mentioned the possibility of doing a Ph.D (because I didn’t think I was supposed to say I would love to get married and have children as a “goal”) but I said the wrong thing, as it turned out he had a passion for “Focus on the Family”, and what I didn’t say is perhaps what he wanted to hear.
Then later, when I left the wildlife adventures, mainly so I could lead a more “normal” life, and was pondering my options, friends tried to introduce me to someone, who fizzed the whole thing before we’d even met, and he told a friend of mine I “lacked direction”. I found out later what his priorities were when he married someone who wasn’t a Christian because she had an impressive career, but it serves to illustrate that what phase you are in when you cross paths with people makes a difference, even when it is not necessarily representative of who you are and what you hope for.
I have had men make assumptions about me, and call me intimidating, seemingly for no reason other than my physical height. They assume that I wouldn’t want to receive initiative and be treated like a woman (and might do the asking myself), simply because I am tall. I sigh and wonder why we haven’t all moved past judging books by their covers and treating people differently based on appearances (when the reality is that I would love to be treated, and cared for, like the short, cute women) but that is the way it is.
Here is a helpful paragraph from Carolyn:
It is good to remember that no one single woman is going to be attractive to (nor attracted to) all the single men she meets. My single friends, I know it’s tempting to survey the men you know and ask why no one pursues you. Sometimes you might glean a helpful insight, but most of the time you are going to hear a lot of personal preferences that only underscore why these men have or will marry other women. And this is a good thing. You really only want to attract the man you are supposed to marry, not a bunch of other women’s husbands. Yes, you are likely to attract several runners-up in the quest to find your husband. But please don’t diminish the skills, passions, and capacities the Lord has given you in order to make yourself fit some arbitrary standard that “all men” find appealing. You are not going to marry “all men.”