Home Empowerment The New Battle of the Sexes: Do Men Prefer Dumber Women?

The New Battle of the Sexes: Do Men Prefer Dumber Women?


Caitlin Upton

It pains me to say that I honestly don’t know the answer to today’s question. Until last week, I might have confidently responded, “No” and laughed at the ridiculousness of the question. Then this happened: I was on Twitter and after observing a conversation about intelligence versus college degrees – please keep in mind that I’m the guy who wrote College Is Pointless – I made the mistake of jokingly posting the following Tweet.

Aside from the profanity laced rage that subsequently entered my mentions, there were a few ironic observations: 1) Most of the anger came from people who admitted to not having a college degree or from people with several degrees (which they were all too eager to tout). This is despite the fact that education is not limited or measured, in my opinion, by college degrees. 2) The statement itself was a remix of a Drake lyric, “People with no money act like money isn’t everything,” which people with degrees and without degrees and with money and without money love to quote. 3) People failed to realize that their misplaced rage – considering the statement in itself was a joke – only highlighted their own insecurities on the subject of education or their perceived lack thereof.

While I agree with these people that college is not the end, I do believe it is the most proven reliable means to an end, especially when you consider that TIME reported that the unemployment rate for college graduates was 6.8% compared to 24% for High School graduates in August. Also, there was that story on the million dollar difference your college degree can make over the course of your career. I’m sure you e-ballers think of that as pocket change, but WisdomIsMisery could use an extra million dollars in his lifetime. Then later still, as if by divine intervention, someone shared a story from the New York Times on the Marriage Rates of Educated Women – and that catches up to present day.

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Women: New Rules, Old Logic

For the most part, I agreed with the article. However, one particular section caught my eye, because it honestly rubbed me the wrong way.

As Kate Bolick wrote in a much-discussed article in The Atlantic last fall, American women face “a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be ‘marriageable’ men — those who are better educated and earn more than they do.” – Source: New York Times

The article defines marriageable men as those who are “better educated and earn more.” This seems counterintuitive to the progress modern women claim they want to make. Perhaps I misunderstand the goals of the modern woman, so let me explain my viewpoint. It is my understanding most women want to be equals, at minimum, in the sense that they obtain equal pay for equal work. While the gap has closed in recent years, it has not reached equilibrium. However, if and when it does, then how can a man who works the same job for the same pay not be considered a ‘marriageable man’ because he no longer “earns more,” when this is the very reality women sought to create.

Fact: women now earn degrees at a higher pace than men do, across all races. This rate is almost two to one for black women versus black men. Fact that isn’t discussed as much: due to a myriad of factors – as noted above, most attribute it to gender bias and unequal pay – men still make more money than women. An article on About.com refuting four common myths on black marriage explains:

Black men are more likely than black women to bring home at least $75,000 annually. Plus, double the number of black men than women make at least $250,000 annually. Because of pervasive gender gaps in income, black men remain the breadwinners in the African-American community. – Source: Four Myths About Black Marriage.

Women have redefined themselves, but they have failed to redefine their expectations of what makes a man a man, especially a marriageable man. While women have improved their standing in life, some of these same women now perceive themselves to be above all men who are not equal to, and as the story explains, above them in education and income. An unintended consequence of more educated, higher paid women is that men haven’t changed much in response. It seems that women are working to level the playing field and then complaining because the playing field is too level.

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For example, I was speaking with a woman-friend about this topic recently. Specifically, she wondered why I would ever consider dating a woman who didn’t have, at minimum, a college education, when she could not see herself seriously entertaining the same in a man.

1Men: New Rules, Old Logic

As a college-educated male, meeting and pursuing a relationship with a college-educated woman is the least of my worries for a number of reasons. The most important being that I don’t measure intelligence by number of degrees obtained. Further, I don’t need or expect a woman to provide for me, although I obviously prefer she has some means of gainful employment, so her formal level of education is largely irrelevant. Lastly, I honestly don’t care if my wife is my intellectual equal or superior nor do I expect her to be either one. If I want to have a policy discussion on current events in America and abroad, I will find someone who is interested in those topics. This may or may not be my wife. Maybe she just wants to catch up on the latest ratchet reality show on VH1. This is fine with me. If I am happy with her as a wife, (possibly) mother, provider, giver, lover, etc, then I’m not going to fault her because she meets eight out of 10 things on an arbitrary list I made up before I ever met her. Is this considered settling? Not in my opinion, but for some reason many women don’t see it that way.

Many women still want a man to supersede them, yet they have strove for years to become a man’s equal. In fairness, some men still want a woman to fall below them.

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As I said in the beginning, I no longer honestly know if men prefer dumber women. A number of men say they prefer an intelligent woman or they have no problem with a woman that makes more money than them, “as long as they don’t throw it in my face.” I still struggle to define what “throw it in my face” means to the average man. Similar to the headache I stumbled into on Twitter, can merely stating a fact or opinion be perceived as throwing your accolades in someone’s face? In other words, to the more insecure men among us, a woman’s honest sharing of her academic achievements or annual income can be taken as throwing it in his face, especially if they supersede his own achievements. Men say they’re ok with a woman who is more educated or who makes more money, but I have to ask the educated or high income women here today if this has been reflected in your reality? If not, I hope this is the minority of men and fortunately, the stats back me up.

Among black women, those with a college degree not only catch up to the marriage rates of the less educated, but far surpass them … education affects ultimate marriage rates by the 30s and 40s much more substantially for blacks than whites.  The only group of women where a majority have not married by age 45 is black women with no college education. – Source: Council on Contemporary Families.

I assumed men were not intimidated by and in fact, sought out women who were successful in areas beyond the bedroom to include the classroom and the workroom. It seems, in some instances, I was mistaken. If perception is reality, then this means that a woman who simply states a fact instinctively turns off some men. Her not shying away from the facts that she is educated, she makes good money, or both causes these men to shy away. Worst still, some of these men even feel the need to tear her down. I’m not a woman, so I don’t know how often this happens but given the testimonials of women I do know, it apparently happens all too often.

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Speaking of facts, let’s face another one. The realities of men and women are changing, quickly. I have no idea why men and women are so slow to embrace this inevitability. Further, I don’t know why the inevitable progression towards equilibrium is instead cast as dysfunction with diatribes like The End of Men and rebuttals like Not Quite the End of Men. Maybe it makes for great headlines or page views, but it does little to move us forward. Perhaps it’s naïve of me to think that the rise of women does not necessitate the end of men. It may be even more ignorant of me to believe that more men than not will welcome, rather than reject, the advances of women as long as women realize their rise doesn’t have to result in our fall. I think we can all agree that the game has changed. Maybe it’s time men and women accept that the rules need to change, too.

Ladies, has your income or education been a hindrance in dating? What is the main reason? What, if anything, have you had to do to overcome it? Do you still prefer a man that has more education or makes more money than you?

Fellas, would you date a woman that is more educated or makes more money? Why or why not? What made your relationship succeed or was it a non-issue? Has a woman’s income or education ever caused a problem in your relationship? Did she ever “throw it in your face” and how?


  1. Do men prefer women who are dumber than they are sure? Sure. From what I have seen, most men can't stand to have a woman know more and better than them.

    1. Not really, I think a lot has to do with someone using their intelligence as a weapon to be mean spirited and belittling their partner, kind of like the couple in the movie "The Family That Preys." I don't care if your a man or women, no one wants to be with someone who is verbally and emotionally abusive, crazy, or whatever you want to call it, no matter how intelligent or smart they are.

    2. DONT LIKE WOMEN WOMEN who know more and are BETTER THEN THEME??????? your pretty ignorant kid and if your not a kid lmaoooo then that makes it that much worse….what theeeee fk did women ever invent?????besides sex toys to get off and they probly didnt invent that…better?????in what?????we are still and always will be stronger…if men did go to college as much as women your talk bout women graduating woul be out of the question also..ive worked many of jobs lifting heavy boxes things so on were women couldnt do there fair share of work and me and other men found ourselves doing there work also so they wouldnt be fired….you have the reasoning of a 12 yr old lil girl

  2. Excellent post!

    Now, to answer the question…<insert obligatory "some do and some don't">.

    I don't think any man wants a dumb woman. But, men like to feel like they are a "superior" in some aspect of their relationship. It more has to do with our competitive nature.

  3. Black men are more likely than black women to bring home at least $75,000 annually. Plus, double the number of black men than women make at least $250,000 annually. Because of pervasive gender gaps in income, black men remain the breadwinners in the African-American community. – Source: About.com.

    I am 100% sure this is not true! About.com is not a credible source.

      1. I was mobile earlier. Wanted to provide context… To clarify, this is a blog, not a PhD thesis for Harvard. I include sources for readers’ reference just in case folks are interested in the piece itself or simply to see where I’m quoting from. I don’t think #thepeople want chicago manual of style sourced blogs or at least that hasn’t been my experience. That said, here’s the biography of the author of the piece, also for reference: http://racerelations.about.com/bio/Nadra-Kareem-60956.htm.

  4. Well the NYT quote you posted specifically states that men who "earn more than women do" are ***traditionally*** considered to be marriageable. That's true. It's a traditional definition, not necessarily a contemporary one.

    I think there are a lot of women who are holding it down in their households doing the domestic thing, even with college educations, and expecting their husbands to be the breadwinners. And although I don't, as a "modern, progressive," and career driven woman, I see nothing wrong with that. There are many women that want to be the stay at home mom, and they're going to want men who are certainly earning more than they are, given that they're probably earning nothing.

  5. Yeah, for sure as I’ve progressed in education my dating pool has shrunk. But I’m not going to pretend like a lot of that wasn’t my choice. Also, in the same way that my progression in life has “hindered” me in some areas and with some groups of men, its also opened up me up to a lot of different things too. I’ve experienced a lot more and have been exposed to lots of different things. I’m more open to different types of ideas and ways of thinking. I’m definitely more interesting and have a wider array of things to talk about with people, so I think that there are guys who would be interested in me now, who wouldn’t have been interested in me before and vice versa.

    So it goes both ways. I am one of those “half full” types, so things might be a little rosier from my perspective than from the next person’s lol.

  6. Honestly, sometimes reading the posts here that gripe about double standards with women or whatever when it comes to feminism and progressiveness…. it's like listening to white folks talk about reverse discrimination or the double standard that comes with affirmative action. Some men are truly blind to their privilege and the flawed logic they have when it comes to issues to do with women.

    My recent post Dentist pulls out all of her ex-boyfriend's teeth

    1. Just like women never talk about there privilege of being celebrate just for existing. I know, cause women have NO privilege to pull on, the game is totally rigged to benefit men.

      But I am happy for feminist & progressiveness, cause it loosen my supposed responsibility to women, while still getting the s*x & babies if I choose.

    2. I can’t speak for the post you’re referencing in the abstract. However, I do find it interesting that in the same way white folks being up issues they legitimately dot understand and would like to discuss openly, black folks – in today’s case, possibly women – shut down the conversation with a simple “you wouldn’t understand,” because that clearly does a lot to move the understanding of both parties forward rather than dismissively sweeping the conversation under the rug.

      I’m not griping. I’m seeking to understand a topic which I admitted in the very post that I do not fully understand – you know, as a man.

      1. I appreciate that you're seeking to understand, but you have to realize your tone here comes off completely differently than the language you use in the original post–which sounds a bit presumptuous and generally off putting for me as a woman.

    3. As a black man I am more likely to be unemployed, homeless, murdered and openly discriminated against than any other group of people. When people talk about male privilege in America, they are usually referring to the white male power structure. To lump black men into the privileged demographic, when we have less power than every other race/gender combination, is disingenuous at best and an outright lie at worse.

      So I agree with you on one point, I am truly blind to whatever privilege you are referring to.

      1. Duly noted but trust, I do not lump you or other black men in with white males when i say "male privilege."

  7. No, men do not want dumber women. WE want CO-OPERATIVE women.

    And ironically, intelligence IMO increases me getting cooperation from a woman. I can't spit this HOT FIYA to a chick that is dumber than the box of rocks. But knowledge & being able to eloquently articulate it is also power. And I know IME, that dominating a woman intellectually definitely helps the romantic process.

    But degrees & earning power got SOME women trippin'. So, the best thing for a male is to avoid those women and find a compliant, docile, acquiescent, CO-OPERATIVE woman. If she make $250,000+ & has a Nobel Peace Prize, that is a bonus. I am still interested in the kind the energy she brings to an environment & what kind of culture she will pass on to her children (because the child learns from the mother even in the womb)

    The professional women will eventually breed themselves out & be statues in a museum in the future, if they don't change their mode of thinking. Also, if he is at a job that induces high amounts of stress will also undermine her femininity.


  8. Also, the pay gap is more MYTH than fact. It is being intellectually dishonest. And no one ever provides context, reminds me of the 70% of BW are single w/o context.

    The wage gap statistic, however, doesn’t compare two similarly situated co-workers of different sexes, working in the same industry, performing the same work, for the same number of hours a day. It merely reflects the median earnings of all men and women classified as full-time workers.

    The Department of Labor’s Time Use Survey, for example, finds that the average full-time working man spends 8.14 hours a day on the job, compared to 7.75 hours for the full-time working woman. Employees who work more likely earn more. Men working five percent longer than women alone explains about one-quarter of the wage gap.

    There are numerous other factors that affect pay. Most fundamentally, men and women tend to gravitate toward different industries. Feminists may charge that women are socialized into lower-paying sectors of the economy. But women considering the decisions they’ve made likely have a different view. Women tend to seek jobs with regular hours, more comfortable conditions, little travel, and greater personal fulfillment. Often times, women are willing to trade higher pay for jobs with other characteristics that they find attractive.

    Men, in contrast, often take jobs with less desirable characteristics in pursuit of higher pay. They work long hours and overnight shifts. They tar roofs in the sun, drive trucks across the country, toil in sewer systems, stand watch as prison guards, and risk injury on fishing boats, in coal mines, and in production plants. Such jobs pay more than others because otherwise no one would want to do them.

    Unsurprisingly, children play an important role in men and women’s work-life decisions. Simply put, women who have children or plan to have children tend to be willing to trade higher pay for more kid-friendly positions. In contrast, men with children typically seek to earn more money in order to support children , sometimes taking on more hours and less attractive positions to do so.

    <a=href"http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/04/16/its-time-that-we-end-the-equal-pay-myth/"&gt; It's Time That We End the Equal Pay Myth

    1. I am sorry the wage gap is real. I am a degreed planner with professional certifications and 10 years experiences within my field and work along side men with less education and experience that make more or at least what i make.

  9. I have read this blog for quite some time now and have never felt it important for me to comment. In fact, I normally looked forward to reading the comments for my morning chuckle. However, after reading both the post and the comments that followed I couldn't help but think…

    1. How people subconsciously and consciously define or interpret what it means to be dumb or intelligent plays a significant factor into how they "felt" during and after reading.

    2. I always find it interesting when the focus is on income and not what someone does with his or hers respective income. An individual can make 40k or 250k that does not mean that a. they are living within their means, b. they are adequately saving for their desired retirement age, c. their income to debt ration isn't grossly disproportionate

    I'm not sure if the focus should be on degrees and income or on something different.

    1. 2. I always find it interesting when the focus is on income and not what someone does with his or hers respective income. An individual can make 40k or 250k that does not mean that a. they are living within their means, b. they are adequately saving for their desired retirement age, c. their income to debt ration isn't grossly disproportionate

      This. My dad STRESSES a college degree and (no shade to my dad) but he has a college degree, a good job that hes had for over 25 years with a lot of benefits but he has NO FINANCIAL PLANNING SKILLS. None. This is something I noted growing up. Having a good job/education means absolutely nothing if you do not know how to use it.

      While I personally have a degree, a degree for my spouse is not necessary if he has a good work ethic (I know many people who get jobs and either a) just wont wake up in the morning to go to the job or b) have no goal/plan for themselves at the job and are content with coasting) and is financially responsible. Also, there was a post on this site where it discussed whether or not a college degree is worth it and I believe the conclusion (correct me if Im wrong) was it is only worth it if you know how to maneuver college.

      While these are my preferences, I really dont know whether or not its hindered my dating life. Personally, I dont think it has but then again maybe there is someone out there who has been apprehensive about approaching me due to my education.

    2. I was concerned as well there seems to be a strict relationship (causation) associated with degree=intelligence=income/wealth when there should be more a correlation. Much of this I attribute to male vs. female competition. In my culture, men look to a women's intelligence for the betterment of the children, as women typically spend more time rearing children; not for earning power. In regards to income here is some information from the Millionaire Next Door: the US millionaire has (taxable) income is $131,000 (median), and $247,000 (average income). However they drive used American cars and 1/2 of their wives stay at home. Most interesting 75% are self employed which does not require years of specialized education but, intelligence.

  10. “The article defines marriageable men as those who are “better educated and earn more.” This seems counterintuitive to the progress modern women claim they want to make.”

    I think this is better understood when we realize that female empowerment meant that most women wanted the opportunities of the male gender role but not the downsides. If a woman is making more than the man and he has equal say in how the money is spent, not having control over how that resource is used can be see as a loss of power for her. At the same time, if a man makes more than a women, she will want to have equal say in how the money is spent.

    It is a mistake to think that, because women wanted to be unbound from limiting gender roles, they wanted men to be unbound from theirs. Gender roles always reflect a power transfer TO the other gender.

    1. Stephen: "It is a mistake to think that, because women wanted to be unbound from limiting gender roles, they wanted men to be unbound from theirs."

      I know it's early, but this is the quote of the day.

    2. This!!! Wanting all the benefits that men have, and keeping all the benefits that women have too isn't equality; that's seeking superiority.

    3. If a woman is making more than the man and he has equal say in how the money is spent, not having control over how that resource is used can be see as a loss of power for her. At the same time, if a man makes more than a women, she will want to have equal say in how the money is spent.

      This line really has me at a loss for words…

      1. Along with my horrible spelling, I could have worded that better.

        My general point was that money is seen differently by women than by men. Women usually prefer to “marry up”, even when they make decent money, because men are universally viewed as resource providers. Long-term house-husbands are anathema to almost all women for just this reason. Women are not viewed as resource providers, but to be provided for, so men are often willing to provide for a woman long-term, even if she doesn’t work, as long as he earns enough.

        Men are hesitant to “marry up” because sometimes women will throw his lesser financial status in his face. Women don’t like making more than a man and have him share in how to spend it so men in that situation will either get belittled or weeded out before the dating process begins. This is also why I think society is reluctant to accept the idea of a stay at home father. Therefore its often a safer bet for guys to “marry down”.

        1. Great comment Stephen!
          You definitely shined a light on the finance situation. Hmmm yup…Can't say ish!

        2. I appreciate the additional context, but I wasn’t orginally agreeing or disagreeing. I thought it was an interesting perspective. For the most part, I also agree with what you’ve added here. Obviously ‘gender roles,’ traditional or modern, aren’t going to change overnight especially when gender roles themselves are subjective based on who you ask.

  11. I think the whole college degree is often about security. There's some people (not just women) who define themselves by what school they graduated from. Sometimes it reeks of unwarranted arrogance. And to that I say, it's tons of women touting their college degrees, but are completely remedial at real life. Countless college-educated women are walking around mad at the world because theyhave a history of picking terrible guys. So this whole I need/deserve/will only date a man w/ a college degree? Somebody lying. That may be what they ideally want to snatch up. But it's clearly not what they put into common dating practices.

    Fellas, would you date a woman that is more educated or makes more money? Why or why not? What made your relationship succeed or was it a non-issue? Has a woman’s income or education ever caused a problem in your relationship? Did she ever “throw it in your face”?

    For me, I'd like my woman to have a college degree. However, that's not even in my top 10 of must-haves. I care more about her ability to have a goal and see it through. Obviously graduating from college is slightly indicative of focus and determination. But I look at how she applies those character traits in other aspects of her life. I've never had a woman make more money than me, but I've dated a woman who went to a better school than I did. It only bothered me when she'd complain about how an interview didn't go how she wanted or how a job hadn't called her back with her reasoning being; "I went to Brown, how could they not hire me?"
    My recent post Stuff NY Giants Fans Say [Video]

  12. “If I want to have a policy discussion on current events in America and abroad, I will find someone who is interested in those topics.” Yes to this! I used to have those expectations but I have plenty of friends that like to have those conversations. I’m more interested in him being a provider, present in our lives, strength of character and listener. I went on date with a construction worker a couple years ago. He made more money than me, but only had a high school education. I didn’t really care, but it seemed to be a chip on his shoulder. When I told him I read a lot of books (I forget how it came up), he was like “well, I don’t read sh*t and I don’t care.” Umm, at that point I was ready to go. He kinda made me go back to dating men with a college degree. I’m having a potluck with some friends today….I think I will pose this question. Good writing!

    1. He is a woman hater and even if he had a degree he would have probably still had that chip on his shoulder…SMH.

  13. I wonder what the context of "dumber" would mean? I mean, if we're talking about the stereotypical Hollywood depiction of the intelligence blondes, then that's one thing. But if we're just talking about degrees, pay scale, or even labor categories, I think its a limited description of intelligence. I really don't think that there's a concrete way of describing this so there's really no answer to your question.

    If I'm a guy who's into sports, I'd think that having a lady by my side who's not going "what's happening now" every two minutes is desirable. If I'm into music, I'd think that somebody who has similar taste in music or can compare and contrast our differences would be nice. I can break it down like that, but in just about every way I can think of, I'd think a guy'd want a relationship with someone on his level.

    If we're not talking about relationships, but something like one night stands or just hittin the sheets, then that's a whole different discussion.
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  14. Education doesn't translate to common sense, motivation, discipline, self-respect or confidence; things that are all more important in the context of a relationship. With that said, I've never cared how many degrees a woman had or if she makes more money. However, I've always expected to marry a woman that has completed her Bachelors. It's not about her smarts, but the college experience — a shared experience even if we went to completely different schools. I also think that at least having a Bachelors degree increases the likelihood of career success (or that she at least has a career in mind) and an increase in financial potential, as Wis indicated/cited in his article.

    I will also semi-cosign the tweet about "throwing accolades in the face" being a sign of insecurity. I've been through several conversations where I was talking about my experience at school or stuff I've accomplished and could see the change in the person's posture or interest in the conversation. I've also dealt with the "Just because you went to X doesn't mean you know everything." For a while, I stopped telling women I met where I went to school or I gave them some vague description like "Oh, in X town" unless they probed further. Pause.

    People should be able to speak freely about their education and accomplishments without it meaning they're being condescending (I say this acknowledging that some people are just plain snobby). If someone doesn't allow you to do that, then maybe they're not the right person for you.
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    1. I can relate to that – as a chemist there was a time when I stopped telling men my occupation or what my degrees were in, because I constantly got the same response, which was some derivative of “oh you must be a genius! ooh you too smart for me girl! you know you smart right!”. UGH

      There are folks who are defined by what they do/where they went to school/how many degrees they have just like there are folks who are defined by what car they drive or the letters they wear. But there are also folks who see anyone who possess what they think they are lacking as a threat.

    2. Slim Cosign on all that especially this – "Education doesn't translate to common sense, motivation, discipline, self-respect or confidence; things that are all more important in the context of a relationship."
      Everyone wants and needs different things in a relationship in order for them to feel happy and satisfied. These things are all respective to the individual; however many people who put too many material and superficial things at the top of their lists need to get their priorities straight and recognize whats really important and what will be important and matter the most in the long run.

      1. As for why folks throw accolades in their partners faces; from what I've seen and heard this typically almost always happens during an argument. When a woman is pissed with her man and she feels like he is throwin his masculinity at her and trying to check her she will check him on whatever she can. So if he makes less money or is less educated than she, in the heat of the moment in anger she will remind him that she brings home more bacon than him and fries it up. She will remind him that she is more educated not so much in a condescending manner always but in an "I don't need you" attitude. So I don't think throwing accolades around is insecurity, as much as it is checking a person when they come at you wrong and you defend your intelligence and what you have. It's human nature, people do it all the time when they feel they are being insulted, belittled or just pissed the hell off.

        1. But if you are using things outside of the current topic of the argument because you are losing, feeling insecure, isn't that the same thing. If that is not the point of the conversation/argument, what is the point of bringing it up. It on breeds resentment because it is how you truly feel, that these things make you better or sets you apart from your partner that you are suppose to be bonding with.

        2. COP sometimes it may come from a place of insecurity. But many times in an argument it comes from a place of anger and trying to hurt and belittle the other person, not so much insecurity. It's more of a defense mechanism than insecurity. If a person truly thinks they are better than someone because of what they have, they aren't insecure at all because they think they're better. If you took away their money, status, and title that may cause some insecurity, depending on the person. A degree and your knowledge can never be taken away. So if people with degrees are insecure it's in other areas that have little to nothing to do with their degree and intelligence.

    3. I sort of agree and experiencing both sides I can't help but to disagree a little as well. You should be able to talk about your education or experiences in college no matter what setting or whatever company you're around. That's understood, certain folks tend to come off snoby though when they are talking about it. The person who hasn't met that goal is nine times out of ten intimidated or ashamed. Some people might say, "That has nothing to do with me." Thats agreed, however I'm just saying there's nothing wrong with relating with or wanting someone with high achievements. I feel like the person with the highschool diploma shouldn't be discriminated against simply based on the level of education they have. Just because you have a degree doesn't make you smart or entitled to anything; on the flipside though just because you have a highschool diploma and can add/subtract doesn't mean a person has to give you a chance.

    4. it’s all context i think.
      going to Harvard is awesome. being proud to be a Harvard grad is awesome. being obnoxious about having gone to Harvard …isn’t.

      when i meet Ivy or highly successful black folks i feel proud and happy for them. but i met a woman at an event in michigan before that found a way to put the fact that she went to Harvard in every other sentence (“oh you write poetry? i used to lay out on the lawn and write poetry when i was at Haahvard.” “oh yes, well you know they pay us Haahvard people more to do the same work, so it’s fine with me!” <—both real quotes) it was a little funny and uncomfortable for everyone in the conversation, and other people who were there, even fellow Harvard grads, had a not-so-nice impression of her by the end of the night.

      but in the context of a relationship, you should definitely be able to speak about accomplishments and be proud of each other for achievements. if there is a superiority or inferiority complex lurking in the relationship, it is sure to fail.

    5. "However, I've always expected to marry a woman that has completed her Bachelors. It's not about her smarts, but the college experience — a shared experience even if we went to completely different schools. I also think that at least having a Bachelors degree increases the likelihood of career success (or that she at least has a career in mind) and an increase in financial potential, as Wis indicated/cited in his article. "

      All of the above I AGREE with Bro!

  15. Ladies, has your income or education been a hindrance in dating? – Never.

    What is the main reason? – I like successful men…because it gives them an inner confidence and satisfaction with themselves that makes them easy going and…happy. But, success is measured by obtained goals…not degrees.

    Do you still prefer a man that has more education or makes more money than you? – No…and no. But, I must have a successful man. A man that had a vision for himself, pursued it, and achieved it…at minimum, actively pursuing it. That speaks to who that man is and his ability to build and lead a family…to me. It doesn't tell it all, but it says a lot.

    I will say that I know what kind of life I ultimately want…car, house, shopping budget, vacations etc. I want my man to be able to partner with me to reach these goals eventually (sooner than later). So, dude can't be good to go making $30K. He can start out there, if need be…cause coupled with what I bring in, that $30K will keep us from being house poor in a $500K house, lol. But, he's gotta be pushing for more.

  16. I saw this convo unfold on Twitter this weekend & I think you summed it up well. Just a few thoughts:

    * I think women seeing men who are more educated & earn more than them as “marriage-able” is a throwback. Thousands of years ago, men showed they were the best provider by clubbing the largest wooly mammoth; nowadays, ability to provide is indicated by career, earning potentional, etc & that is often dictated by level of education. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that approach, but women have to be clear that they are shrinking their pool of eligible men.
    * I’ve seen first hand the issues around men being cool with a woman making more/being more educated as long as she “doesn’t throw it in his face”. As you stated, 1 person could be stating something simple & the other party takes it as a diss. Where do you draw the line? If I talk abt going to an alumni association event or remark that I wanna go to The Capital Grille for dinner, and you can’t relate, is that a diss or are you just being sensitive? Insecurity is rampant out in these streets & as the saying goes “a hit dog hollars”.

  17. Ladies, has your income or education been a hindrance in dating? No never.
    What is the main reason? I've never allowed it to be. I've never been concerned about how much a man makes or what he does. I place the most emphasis on how he budgets, saves and his debt to income ratio and his spending habits. As someone said upthread, you can be making six figures, but if your debt is equal to or exceeds your income then your living paycheck to paycheck, and just like a person making minimum wage your a paycheck away from being broke, homeless, and in debt like most Americans nowadays. Very wealthy celebrities go broke and bankrupt all the time. It's not how much u make, but how your spending it.
    What, if anything, have you had to do to overcome it? Never been a problem for me.

  18. Do you still prefer a man that has more education or makes more money than you? No, but as Cyn said I prefer a man to have some type of career and/or career goals. I'm a pretty ambitious person. I know how I want to live and I know I need an income to support it. Therefore, I make more than enough money to support my lifestyle. I also know what I enjoy doing and what fulfills me careerwise. So thats what I do and I love it. I think when anyone is satisfied with their job/career and what they make they are much easier to get along with and much more balanced, happier, and well adjusted. So it's moreso the qualities and personality traits of a person who has a fairly successful career that are important to me. I could care less what he does, as long as it's legal and he's happy and satisfied doing it.

  19. The overlooked irony is that some of these same ones assuming men only want dumber women are assuming they aren't looked at as being dumber with a degree. Some are presenting themselves as college educated, but dumb in life and the way they deal with people. I (along with others no doubt) see the way some present themselves before their level of education is revealed on Twitter, FB, and in the streets, and if they aren't being approached then, surely their degrees have nothing to do with it. Not everything is about being intimidated, or insecure; sometimes you're just not likable. Sometimes you don't have to be chosen, it's just that simple.

  20. can't say i agree with you. one of the characteristics i look for (and is pretty high on my list) in a woman is ambition. in this technology and education driven world one of the key indicators of ambition is education. that being said i can't say i would take a woman seriously if she didn't have a college degree. more than likely the woman i marry will have a professional degree as well. i believe in some traditional gender roles but i still want a woman who is my equal. one who can hold an intelligent conversation and yet still make me laugh. not saying that i don't have anything in common with a woman who has a high school diploma but that certainly limits the amount of things we have in common.

    i would date a woman who is more educated and makes more money than me. i'm secure in my manhood and as long as its not something that she throws in my face then more power to her. i've never dated a woman with more education than me (equal to me but not more) and money has never been an issue in any of my relationships.
    My recent post All good things must end…

    1. " in this technology and education driven world one of the key indicators of ambition is education. "

      disagree. I believe ambition is important but I dont believe education indicates you have ambition especially because some people go to college because in this american society "college is where youre supposed to go after high school". I dont personally see that as having ambition but more as "this is where i was told to go so im going to stay here with my 2.0".

      1. I agree Nyah….I know several business owners with no college degree who are self taught and very ambitious. One thing folks tend to forget is the one simple thing you can do to educate yourself, READ. Reading is fundamental.
        I know several Engineers with no degree making six figures or close to it. They've taken classes and have all kinds of Certs in various programs, but no college degree.
        Also, everyone who goes to college doesn't get out of it what they should. I learned in college that u get out what you put in. You can graduate, but if you graduated by the skin of your teeth and barely went to class and really didn't learn anything then it's a waste. I know people who got BA's and BS's and couldn't get or keep a job to save their life because they learned next to nothing in college. They did more partying than anything else.

  21. I'm a bit confused; you make the argument that men may not want "dumber" women, but you talk more about men not wanting "uneducated" women. There's a difference; to be dumb is what it sounds like, but to be uneducated is to lack a college degree or other formal schooling (and even then that's debatable; I'm in college right now and I learn more outside of class than I do in it.) Men do like intelligent women, but education isn't a huge requirement, I think.

    This article discusses it better than I could: http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/why-dont-men-lik

    Also, this is my first time commenting. Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your blog.
    My recent post Is Chivalry Dead?

    1. Thanks for your comment. Regarding education versus intelligence, I used this correlation because that’s how most, but by all means not all, people measure the two in America. This is really a cultural norm given that we have been measured and tested in the abstract through formalized testing since grade school (see the Chicago strike as a most recent example of “does standardized testing really meassure intelligence). As I said in the most, I do not equate college education to a measurement of intelligence; however, I cannot disqualify it as one measure – and I also respect and understand people who use it as a measure. While people love to argue that college degrees don’t measure education, those people are suspiciously unwilling to admit that some people do not in fact make it through college (or school in general) because they are not very intelligent. Not everyone dropped out of school to start up Facebook. Therefore, it’s unfair to say “not everyone in college is intelligent” without allowing for the idea that “not everyone outside of college is intelligent” either.

      1. I see your point Wis and I agree to an extent.
        But based on what I've seen, folks who never make it through college or don't want to bother going, its moreso due to lazyness, as opposed to them not being intelligent. For instance when people say "Little Jimmy is so smart, he just doesn't apply himself." Actually this was me in grade school. I knew the work, I just didn't feel like doing it. I was lazy. It was my mom and grandparents who made me do the work and pushed me to stop being so lazy and "apply myself." Same thing applies to common sense. Many people have it, they just don't apply it.

    2. Good article morgan and I agree. Typically it's not that men want dumb women or uneducated women. Just as women don't necessarily want men who are jerks and treat them bad. I agree with the author of the article that women do want good guys. However they want them to be masculine and have a backbone and exude strength. Just like many men want a woman that won't challenge them constantly in a negative way and be too argumentative and too assertive in a way that overpowers his masculinity.
      As the author pointed out, it's not so much about being college educated in and of itself, but moreso the personality traits and qualities that people associate with being college educated that people seek in their partners.

    3. Valid point on learning more outside the classroom; college (unless you're studying engineering, business, health sciences, etc.) is more about the experience. I find that I learned invaluable lessons about survival and about myself in general throughout my college experience (mostly because I was a broke first gen from the hood at a white university).

  22. I think men say they want an intelligent woman to look good in front of everyone else. But most men are still controlled by their need to be dominant. With a woman that is smarter, has higher degrees, or higher status and higher paying job, they feel weaker and they feel like they aren't the dominant person in the relationship anymore. I think most men prefer their woman to follow them, and for this to happen most men think they need a dumber woman.
    My recent post Yeah…She’s Dumb…

    1. I think you're right. Most men won't admit it, for fear that they'll be perceived as a caveman, but that's what they want or what they look for. Maybe not a "dumb" woman per se, but one that has less education and makes less money.

      My recent post Are Men Less Concerned About STDs?

      1. Naw, I totally disagree. I want a smart woman so that I know if something goes wrong with me, she will be able to hold her own.
        I think also that if you are in a relationship with a smarter woman or a woman who makes more money than you, if you lead your family as man suppose to lead, she will know her place.

        1. Maybe. I guess it depends on the guy and where he sees himself. I've met men who were highly successful or sought to be and they preferred a woman who was more "agreeable." If the man wants a partner who is more so his equal and who would likely be a contributor to household income, he is more likely to want a woman who can "hold it down" if he should be unable to fulfill his duties.
          My recent post Are Men Less Concerned About STDs?

    2. based on what I've seen and heard, all the men I've known personally have more respect for women who are educated and/or have a degree. No man I know has much respect for an uneducated woman. jmo

  23. in my life, i have two groups of friends. one group who i attended various schools with, which all have degrees, and one group from home and high school, in which most of them don't.

    i will say that i think it's a mistake to equate dumb with uneducated and intelligence with education. i have friends from home that regularly have more intelligent conversation than people i went to school with. that are more well read, that know more about a variety of subjects, broader vocabulary, etc. of course this is not the case for all of them, but i don't think intelligence is as linked with education as we like to believe, especially seeing as how an american education is so sub-par in general.

    it does however, affect potential to be financially stable, which is important when considering a life partner. outside of entrepreneurship, it's pretty much a necessity to have some sort of degree. i will say that if i didn't want to teach creative writing at the college level though, i'd quit school RIGHT NOW. lmao.


    good post.
    My recent post Boomerang

    1. I feel you on that Muze. I'm not even using my degree. I'm seriously thinking about getting another degree just to learn what I need to know to be a highly successful business owner, and have the notoriety that comes with the letters behind your name. Bottom line is folks will think u know more, associate your degree and those letters behind your name with more intelligence and status and pay more for your services.

    2. "i will say that if i didn't want to teach creative writing at the college level though, i'd quit school RIGHT NOW. lmao. "

      I totally feel that. If what I want to do next didn't require more college…man please. I wouldn't even. I learn much more about life outside the classroom.

  24. WIM: "…some of these same women now perceive themselves to be above all men who are not equal to, and as the story explains, above them in education and income.

    Kate Bolic: "American women face 'a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be ‘marriageable’ men — those who are better educated and earn more than they do.'"

    So are those women who want men above them in education and income admitting they are, relatively speaking, the dumb one in the relationship?

  25. as slim said, there is a difference between intelligence, book smarts, common sense, etc. that being said, i suspect that for the majority of males, book smarts are as attractive as “niceness” is a factor in whether a male is attractive to a female.

    In other words, a chick having degrees, is equal to me being a nice guy, attraction-wise.

    Not saying its good or bad, just saying it is what it is.

  26. Men don't care about a womans intelligence until her intelligence revelas his own mental deficiences, then and only then will a man have to make a decision to get on her level, or get angry, make excuses, and admit that he cant supplant his own insecurities and that she intimidates him.

    Make more mula than me. it will only make me more focused!
    My recent post Friday Motivation: Adversity and Accountability

  27. “Do you still prefer a man that has more education or makes more money than you?”
    Yes, I PREFER a man that makes more than me. Education actually doesn’t matter a lot to me. As long as he is intelligent then I’m good. I know some very intelligent and successful realtors with only high school diplomas. Call me old fashioned if you want but I like dominant, powerful alpha type men. I’m not hung up on being equal. Most Women that complain about equality only want equality when it’s convenient for them.

  28. My mom told me "If you have a bachelor, he has to have a master… yall can't be equal, his ego won't take it"… But she told me that 15years ago… Its a throwback… There are still some men who are scared by a high qualified woman (But nobody cares about them, they are mentionned in some girls talk… ) Really men are aware that nowadays women go to college more than ever. And actually i think men take that as a challenge… It's more like oh this woman is coming with her A+ game, i have to back it up.

  29. I know folks don't like bringing race into these types of discussions, but I'll put it out there anyway.
    Based on my personal experience and what I've seen and heard, I think more white men and really wealthy or well off black men may prefer a less educated and intelligent woman because they don't need her to have a degree and make much money. These men also seem to like a more "submissive" woman who won't challenge his authority and manhood. If a woman makes less than a man in a marriage or relationship obviously she is more dependent on him and less likely to argue with him because she needs him financially. Not only that, more dependent partners are less likely to leave, or leave as quickly.
    Many of the black men I know don't mind a woman with degrees who make more than them. In fact they will take a woman with degrees and a career more seriously than a woman with no degrees and career.

  30. My ex college boyfriend actually told me he didn't take me that seriously and didn't want to pursue a really serious relationship with me because I had no career. I had pretty good jobs and I made ok money. Some jobs were temp jobs but at that time I wasn't that focused on a career and didn't have the finances to support the career I wanted at the time. After we were both out of college he fell way back from the relationship and it just fizzled out. He stopped making any efforts to be in it. Years later when I asked him what kept him from staying with me he told me that. I know in so many words he was saying he didn't feel like I was on his level. He was attractive, tall, a kappa, and going for his Masters degree and his goal was to be a business owner and have a few sources of income. I think he wanted a woman who was more of his equal and who he could brag about to his friends and family. Someone who could contribute financially to the lavish lifestyle he wanted and give as much as she took. Thats just the type of dude he was.

  31. So there are men out there, especially black men who want their lady/wife to be able to contribute to the household financially. If she has a degree and the more money she makes the more she is able to do that. Honestly I'm not mad at em, to each his own.

  32. I haven't had any problems dating because of my degrees. But I do find that having more education has changed my views a little. But i think that's natural. When I was a teenager, dating a guy with a car was awesome. I didn't have to walk home in the hot sun! When i was in college, it wasn't a car that i wanted, because i had my own, no, it was a guy with a job that wasn't in fast food or retail. What i'm trying to say is that i want a man that has what i don't have or with what compliments me. Not necessarily financially either, i like to think i'm past that. It doesn't mean that he needs to have more money or way more degrees (Since I'm doing for that PhD he would have to be a double doc, so no). Intelligence is necessary, but you can meet some ignorant and even downright dumb people with degrees. Someone that you an see yourself spending the years with, who can do what you can't and knows how to make you feel special is far better than someone who makes a quarter million dollars.

    I see people saying that women wouldn't take a house husband and i have to wonder why not? I lie the idea that if he wants he could work from home or take care of the kids. Notice the "if he wants". That implies that he's that he can work in an unstructured environment or that i make enough to support both of us. I'm tire of traditional roles and everyone else's ideas of how things should be getting in my way when it comes to dating.Seriously people, forget the stats and do you.

  33. LOL @ that pic. I bombed on a pageant question before too. She's making me feel better about myself though.
    I think for some women, the level of income and /or education directly correlates to the man’s level of ambition. If she is able to bring herself up to PhD level, then she can’t see why he can’t or why he wouldn’t want to as well. After all, that would seem to be equally yoked. As far as him needing to make more or have a higher degree of education, you’re absolutely right, women wanted to be equals but then they get mad because men refuse to compete. Some people are happy with stable steady lives while others feel the need to constantly pursue that next goal whether to prove something either to herself or to the opposite sex. It’s a personality thing it seems. Good interesting post. I'll have to read the sources later.

  34. Let's just say, I know for a fact that most men could care less how much money you make or how many degrees you have. Men will date a woman who makes him feel the way he wants to feel and looks the way he wants her to look even if she works at McDonalds! I don't think education and job status matter to men the way it matters to women.

    If he is a man of a certain status, he will want a woman that can carry herself in professional settings and such, but if she's not that educated (which doesn't mean she's dumb), he could care less.
    My recent post Are Men Less Concerned About STDs?

  35. From my perspective and knowledge, I learned that more money/status means only that, more money/status. A man having money does not speak to his ability to be a loving husband, good father, honest, etc. I hope men see that having a woman that is motivated yet grounded is a great thing. Her intelligence in any area and ability to earn can only uplift them both. The relationship will be in trouble either way if a balance doesn’t exist. If she gets big headed throwing off vibes of “I don’t need you”…that may actualize. If he feels threatened by her want to grow and learn, she may feel stifled and run.

    There has to be reciprocity in the relationship. No one likes to be the constant giver in any area (intellectual, financial, physical, etc.). So I hope men understand that it isn’t wise to want a woman you feel is less than just to appease some need to dominate. That will eventually get boring for both.

    I have learned to be more concerned with the things that really matter such as real love of God, self and others. Life has taught me that all else will fall into place as long as a person has the heart to back up everything else. A person tends to be more committed to things when they understand how love really works.

    When all the bells and whistles go silent, I want to like him. The core of a person matters more to me. Give me a good man with GREAT character above all else.

    1. Yeah must agree with your last sentence but from a male perspective. I just want to like my girl. That wins out over everything else.

  36. Me personally, in my dating experiences, I have only seriously dated educated women. I have never dated a woman who wasn't college educated so I don't even know if there is a difference per say? I would have no problem with my girl making more money or more educated than me. I am not dating you for your degrees or job, but who you are as a person. I am not going to lie, having a degree and a good job are added bonuses and are preferences of mine, but if I met a woman without these two, and she was honest, good hearted, has good credit, and down for a brother, than I would definitely make it happen.

  37. Peter Parker are u tryna wife her up that quick??? Why does she need to have good credit?
    Unless your marrying her, her credit doesn't affect u in any way shape or form.
    And I know you know because of student loans many people with degrees don't have the best credit
    and/or they have a lot of debt.

  38. I place more value on how he views education than how many degrees he has. Likewise I'm more interested in his long-term plans and sense of fiscal responsibility than how many zeroes are at the end of each check. I care about these things because while dating is cool, I'm more interested in knowing how a man fits into my life long-term. Can he be a good leader? Can I trust him with "our" money? What lessons will he teach our potential kids about planning for their futures? I find it hard to believe that a person who yells out "college don't mean nothing…" is going to instill the value of an education in a kid. I also find it hard to believe that a guy with a Ph.D. is somehow more qualified to hold me at night (or even more interesting to talk to) than a guy who lays carpet for a living.

    At the risk of sounding too independent, my financial security isn't wrapped up in my ability to date/marry well. I'm good on my own thanks to hard work and yes a couple degrees. I do need to be able to trust a potential partner if we're going to be all what's mine is yours and whatnot.

    Yes degrees are great and earning more money than me is welcome (let's just be honest here) but what's the point if you end up with a partner who can check those two boxes off your proverbial list and he still isn't worth the time you wasted having "intelligent" conversation?!

  39. Random thought…am I the only person here who's willing to admit that most of the time conversations with uneducated people are totally different than with educated people? It's fine but for a person who needs to be intrigued by conversation, talking about sports and the latest foolishness on VH1 gets old very fast.

    1. Eh, lol.

      I actually happen to know SEVERAL men with zero degrees who know more than most. They are information collectors…they can function doing dag near anything. One guy studied maps for fun…for fun, lol…was a whiz at math…dropped out of college to pursue artistic endeavors that really interested him. He can LITERALLY take anyone to task doing…anything…including dancing and singing. He's a freakin one man band, lol. That's just one guy.

      What I will admit is that its hard to talk to people that have no ambition, only been within a 30 mile radius all their lives, no goals, etc. These folks reside all over and come in all shapes and sizes, lol. Its IMPOSSIBLE for me to talk to them.

      1. Right! We all know plenty of people for whom this is the exception and not the rule, my point was just what you said in your second paragraph; it's hard to relate when you're on two different planets!

        LMBO at "one man band"

  40. This is epic. The points made no only in the post, but the comments provide fodder for both arguments really. Call me old-fashioned but it’s never much mattered to me whether a woman I dated had a degree or not. I, and others around me, consider me to be a well educated man. It’s true I’m working toward a college degree, but that is more for my own needs, not to say “look at me, I got the gold embossed paper”. I think the immediate association of degree=educated needs to be recalculated as well. This assumption is what the whole premise of the argument is based on. Reset the argument, and the discussion changes as well.

  41. I generally look for a man that will have a bachelor's degree and will make equal or more money than I. Why? A part of it has to do with having things in common and being able to talk about the world we live in. I absolutely agree that that may have NOTHING to do with your education level though. The other reason is that if I'm gonna be taking time off to pump out babies, then I need to know our lifestyle can be maintained. I guess I know what I'm willing to work for, and I want my partner to be ambitious as well. It doesn't have to be post-secondary though. For example, a guy I dated dropped out of college. He's working on the oil rigs, but is a passionate photographer and video editor. He does it on the side and will be using the rig money to capitalize on his own endeavours. THAT I can handle. Still a little sad that things didn't go further with him. Ahwell.

  42. As a black woman with a degree I am totally willing to date a man without one. Who cares. However, I do need you to be able to string together a sentence and speak to me like you have sense. I went out with this one guy a few times and he said something to his friend while I was talking him on the phone: "No, she's not white" (because his friend heard my voice). I once asked for my tab at a bar by saying, "Excuse me. Can I get the check, please?" And a brother next to me said, "It's like that? Very proper." I responded, "I can only be me." The fact is some of them don't want to date us. *Shrugs.* Good luck and God bless to them.

    1. and you lmaooooo dumb white women??????your african american rqace other then having 12 kids with 7 BABY MA MA S YOU ARE COMPLETELY worthless FREE LOADING OFF THE GOVERMENT THE 14 OR WHATEVER THAT MAKE UP THE BLACK RACE IN AMERICA lmaoooo 89 or so of you are either in prison or waiting for your welfare check to get to your mailbox…that i were you i wouldnt even open up my trap sorry ….i have no time for a dumb free loading black man that without the white race you d be living in mudhuts like in africa see ya holmesssss

  43. it was never about equality – it was about getting access to better marriageable men.

    just as men are said to like them dumb – which is wrong, since you just want to be short on conversation, cheap ( as in affordable ) and fast to bed.

    an intelligent man with a couple of PhD in esoteric areas and serious money has less to talk with a smart woman than you might think, also when you do have a lot of money to spend on ladies : marriage tends to be the last thing on your mind, believe me I know.


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