25th Ask Josh – Independent Women

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Ashlyn Marie asks:

Why aren’t LDS men interested in Independent women?

There is a question that could go a thousand different ways.


Dear Ashlyn Marie,

A fine question indeed. First, let me begin with a text from a source you will recognize as soon as you read it:

“All the women who independent, throw your hands up at me!”

I have to admire some of the amazing LDS women I know who have walked or currently do walk the road of independence, to go it alone as it were. They live in a world that I know nothing about, that I cannot even begin to understand. Why would any man be predisposed to avoiding these women (as your question implies) that you have decided to compartmentalize as “independent women”?

Now, before I answer, I should point out a certain pointedness in your question that assumes perhaps a bit too much. You assume that LDS men are not interested in independent women. Not fair. I have lived with a lot of different LDS single men and I have heard their grievances with their female counterparts. Of this laundry list of superficialities, I have never heard a man complain about a girl being too self-sufficient, or too career-oriented, or not domestic enough.

I don’t think that the issue is so much about independence as it is about the seeming lack of shared values. The typical LDS man you may be referring to is probably trying to live out “The Mormon Dream”: to prosper in his workplace, to come home everyday to find his wife and children anxiously awaiting his arrival. If there is any indication that the man’s role as the breadwinner may be threatened, yeah, I can see why he might scare easy. It doesn’t seem to be an issue of independence at all, just what the independence implies as far as values go.

But I see your point, it may appear that men, especially LDS men, do not take so much interest in a girl who can take care of herself. Why would this be?

Well, a broadway play, a classic movie, and a book all come to mind:

First, Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl:

“People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world. We’re children, needing other children.”

Second, in The Sound of Music, do you remember the rich baroness named Elsa? She plays a relatively minor role in the movie, but she makes a key point. In one of the great turning points of the movie, she ends her relationship with Baron Von Trapp. There wasn’t anything really terribly wrong with their relationship as far as we could tell. But here is what she said to him:

"Fond as I am of you, I really don't think you're the right man for me. You're much too independent. And I need someone who needs me desperately. . .  . . .or at least needs my money desperately."

Third, no direct quote, but remember the old book by Jack Weyland, Charley? You must know Charley. Well, the sequel to Charley is the story of the Charley’s widower, Sam. And his book is conveniently named Sam. Well, the title character of Sam is out trying to find a second wife. And he finds one girl who just seems to be better at him in just about everything that he does, she is so competitive, and it kills the poor man. He is afraid to pursue her because he would not be able to make as much money as her if they both continued working. She was so driven, and he didn’t want to spend his life racing against her.

Now, in the context of why an LDS man would not want an independent woman. Of course we are all turned off by those who come off as needy, but who does not enjoy the feeling that they are needed? Certainly nobody wants to feel useless. People who need people are lucky people, but perhaps people who are needed by people are truly the luckiest.

While the Sound of Music makes a good point about human relationships in general, I think it really could be the motto of male-kind: “I need someone who needs me desperately… or at least needs my money desperately.”

Okay, I have to cut myself off before my rambling becomes boring even to me. I know that the blog is becoming a chore to read if I can’t even pay attention to what I am reading.

Have a wonderful day. Keep at it.
  1. i beg to differ. not with you josh, with the submitter of the question. the question is not based on a sound assumption, and is therefor obsolete. i know this from personal experience in the matter.

  2. I agree w/ above comment. I have noticed that when a girl complains that guys don’t like her because she’s too independent, she is more often than not bitter towards men in general and just uses the front of independence to cover up her failings in other areas. I’m not saying whoever posted that question is bitter towards all men in general, because I don’t even know her. I’m just agreeing that independence isn’t a problem. I also agree that a lot of men agree with “The Family: A Proclamation to the world” when it states that the man’s role in the family is to be the breadwinner. “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” Of course there are always exceptions to that. We are also told that women should have a “fall back” plan in case something is to happen to the man. I know my husband appreciates my independence because I have my BA and I’m now getting my PhT (Putting Hubby Through). Of course he wants to have a large enough steady income as soon as possible so that I don’t have to work unless I want to. I think that is the ideal situation.

  3. Hey, hey, hey! Just a minute here. The questioner is not to be criticized. I happen to know her personally and the area in which she resides. May I just say that she is an amazing person who lives in an area where a good man is definitely hard to find, and she is far ahead of anyone her age that I know, male or female, in education and career. And many of the laid-back generation would be naturally scared and would hold their manhoods cheap whiles any spoke of such a person as Ashlyn Marie.Also, I see no bitterness in the question. So nobody can say that any person is bitter for wondering on a subject and allowing me to post my thoughts on it. Capiche?

  4. Loved the shout out to Destiney’s Child Josh, much appreciated. I think it is a fair comment to say, all people have the natural instinct to be needed. Perhaps there are different levels of independence.And you know me and know that I am not so much bitter as stubborn and rarely wrong. :-)Thank you for your words of wisdom,

  5. For the sake of everyone’s vocabulary…”the question is not based on a sound assumption, and is therefor [sic] obsolete”The final word of this statement would better be “irrelevant.”Obsolete means outdated, no longer in use, made relatively useless by something new which is superior. The word obsolete implies that something was at one time useful. In this case, the commentator is suggesting the the question was never useful.Better words to follow such an accusation include irrelevant, meaningless, or extraneous.Now go chew on a log.

  6. I think this really depends on the level of independence, like Ashley said. Men can be intimidated by a woman who has a lot of ambition for her education/career, not so much by the ambition, but maybe that the education and career seem to take precedence over raising a family? Josh brought up a lot of good points, but I think more often than not, people have a misunderstanding of what others prioritize, and that may be where LDS men don’t seem interested. Personally, I think it sounds desperate to answer the “What are you doing with school/ do you want to do with your life” question (or any of its variations) with “raise a family,” especially when a guy asks, so I answer with my “fall back” plan, “engineering, then medical school for pediatrics.” Nat pointed out to me that it doesn’t really sound like I have plans for a family. Medical school’s a lot of years by itself, let alone a career afterward. The commitment required for that doesn’t really foster time or further commitment for kids. Ambition is great, and education is great, but where does a family fit? I was given a great suggestion to answer that question to make my priorities clear, “Engineering. So I can teach my kids to make rockets.” The independent skills or goals we may have shouldn’t have to be lowered to find more interested guys (really, if they aren’t impressed with your ambition, you’re not going to be all that impressed with them), but maybe presented differently.

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