What do women fear?

My friend Steve pointed out the article “What Scares a Man?” by David Zinczenko. In it Zinczenko illuminates 15 things that frighten men.

I was struck by how many of the 15 also apply to women. Things like rejection, being a lousy lover, living paycheck to paycheck, not seeing your kids grow up, losing a parent, public humiliation, getting naked and speedos (or for most midlife women, a bikini). And we can relate to the women’s equivalent of “not being a god to his kids” (not being loved by her kids) and “beautiful women” (stunningly handsome men). So we have nearly all the same fears on David’s list.

What are women afraid of that men aren’t? A few come to mind:

  • Being abandoned. This is a commonly quoted fear many women share. I don’t really understand why it is more of an issue for women than men, especially since many of our fears are established in childhood. I would think that little boys and little girls would share the feeling of vulnerability if their parents would leave them. But maybe it has to do with men being socialized to be tough and take care of themselves and others. And, although this has changed a lot, woman have been socialized that they need someone to take care of them, especially if they have children. So even with all the advances in society and plenty of women showing they don’t need someone to take care of them, the abandonment issue remains.
  • Being used for sex. I’ve never found a man who has this fear (although a few said they wanted to be used for sex!), yet many dating women have shared this one. Since a man can be used just for sex, too, isn’t it interesting that women are the ones who voice this fear?
  • Losing our attractiveness. While men fear some loss of physical attractiveness, I think it is not nearly to the degree that women do. Our society worships beauty. If a woman loses this, she can feel like an outcast, a crone, no matter what her age. We all like to think someone finds us appealing. So as we age, more and more women (and some men) are having billions of dollars of plastic surgery.
  • Being harmed physically or emotionally. Even if we have no past history of someone harming us, most of us have this fear. If someone has harmed us, it is nearly always still a fear.
  • Losing people we love. Death and loss is difficult for nearly everyone. Losing a dear friend or family member makes it especially difficult, even if we didn’t interact with them often. There is an emptiness in our hearts when we realize we can no longer pick up the phone and talk to him/her whenever we want

What do you think women fear that is different than what men fear?

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4 responses to “What do women fear?”

  1. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Yes, losing attractiveness is primarily a female fear, although I have a few male friends who fear losing their hair, (actually since they’ve already started to lose it, I guess they fear losing more than they already have). I don’t know why this is such a huge issue for midlife (and sometimes younger) men, heck, there are some of us ladies who find balding men very attractive and even prefer them to the hairier guys. Too bad there isn’t a similar group of men who find midlife women with bad skin attractive, I’d be in demand for the first time in my life. Thank goodness for makeup. 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  2. Frank Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I’m not overly concerned with physical beauty but much more on inner beauty, what is in their mind and heart. We put too many demands on women and beauty, yet practically nothing for men. Dare I say discrimination. I also prefer a clean natural look, not all made up. Guess I’m just different.

    Take Care & Enjoy!

  3. trixie67 Avatar

    like so many women friends, we don’t appreciate our achievements. we always think we are a fraud, someone will find us out & that we are one step away from the gutter.

    the bag lady picking out food scraps is scarily close to our inner selves.

    I’ve no idea why we think this, but we do. The Fraud Police are right around the corner.

  4. Strblonde Avatar

    These are so true and I have experienced every single one of them, and although men do tell me I’m attractive & that I look in my early 40s instead of 10 yrs older, I find it hard to accept those compliments. But I DO try to take care of what I have. I was never actually harmed physically but when I was PG with my first child I had nightmares of someone chasing me with a knife. Fear of the unknown perhaps? With my 2nd & 3rd child I did not have those dreams. I actually had relatively short and easy childbirths! The last one I experience all the time — my sister was killed in a car accident nine yrs ago, and though we were never close, yes, there are definitely many times I wish I could pick up that phone and talk to her. Abandonment? Of course that came with my ex leaving me and divorcing me. Being used? Of course, hasn’t everyone felt this one? When I lost my job in 2005 due to downsizing, I felt like I was literally kicked out on the street. Who was MY backup? There is no one there to support me but myself. That was scary! Yet God led me through all of these situations and still is. He is the ONLY one I can truly count on.