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Why the High-Value Woman Concept is Damaging

Note: I am mostly using the term “woman” in this post because I relate to women, as a woman myself. However, some of my opinions here apply to the concept of a “high-value man” or a “high-value human” in general, as well. 

I saw some clickbait-y article recently about the traits of a high-value woman. You’ve probably seen this stated a few ways: the high-quality woman, the high-status woman, etc. “Ew!” I immediately thought to myself. That term just feels…icky.

Now, don’t get me wrong. In many cases, people are using this term to encompass a cornucopia of traits that describe an ideal person. And to be fair, many of these traits are good. But in this article, I want to explore why the idea of a high-value woman (or man, or person) could be damaging.

What is a High-Value Woman?

“High-Value Woman” (or HVW for short, so that I don’t have to keep typing it out!) is one of those internet terms that

Celebrate your successes – but don’t forget that you’re valuable, no matter what! (Photo from pexels.com)

has evolved over time and used in different ways. At a basic level, an HVW is a woman who knows her worth and won’t settle for less in relationships. There is nothing wrong with this idea. In fact, it’s fantastic that we’re encouraging people to see their worth and to understand what they bring to the table in a relationship.

Personally, I found that my self-esteem dramatically improved when I married my husband. As a result of how I’ve been treated in this relationship, I like to think that I wouldn’t settle for less if I were suddenly thrust into a dating situation again. And we probably all know people who seem to endlessly cycle through poor-quality relationships, despite being great humans.

Sadly, I think many of these women don’t recognize their worth, even if they have amazing attributes. Recognizing your personal value is essential, inside and outside of relationships – there’s no doubt about that. When you value yourself, you’re more likely to set and respect boundaries in relationships and to build meaningful connections.

The HVW Concept as a Lifestyle

However, the HVW concept doesn’t stop there. An entire lifestyle has been built around the high-value woman idea. This often involves things like indulging in complex morning and/or evening routines, pursuing professional excellence (or excellence in the home, for those who aren’t career-focused), jamming one’s schedule with social engagements and hobbies to be well-rounded, and…of course…being beautiful.

A simple YouTube search yields plenty of results about becoming a high-value woman, and many of these videos involve women describing the array of beauty products and procedures they use to look their absolute best. And these are often NOT simple things like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. We’re talking full-on haircare routines, nail care routines, health and fitness routines, and expensive beauty procedures to look youthful and fresh. Many of these women feel strongly about looking your best at all times, whether you’re visiting a grocery store or getting your nails done. They may eschew traditional indulgences that they associate with the general population, like drinking alcohol, going clubbing, or casually dating around.

These content creators may also talk about making yourself “irresistible” to attract others, “manifesting” your dream life, or using “dark psychology” to manipulate people.

In their collective view, HVW are savvy and adept at playing the game of life. They don’t settle for less in social interactions, romantic relationships, professional settings, or in their home lives. They also invest heavily in their appearance and care deeply about the image they project to the rest of the world.

So…What’s the Problem?

Striving to be the best version of yourself is good, right?

Trying to put your best foot forward at all times makes sense, correct?

You shouldn’t settle for less in any social situation, right?

Yes…BUT. The issue for me lies within the term itself: “HIGH-VALUE woman”.

All women, and all humans, have value. Only YOU can diminish your value. People can attempt to strip you of your value through abuse, humiliation, pain, and other terrible means, but ultimately, the things you have (or haven’t) endured do not dictate your worth. 

In my view, the main things a person could do to diminish their value would be exploiting, hurting, abusing, or killing others (so basically, doing horrible things that harm other people). However, even the worst offenders among us have inherent value in our legal system. We generally don’t jump to capital punishment and immediately deprive someone of their rights, even in cases where it’s clear they committed a heinous crime. 

There is an unsaid expectation that a HVW is mentally and physically on point at all times, emotionally even-keeled, and adept at juggling all the balls that life throws at her – and that her value comes from this ability, and the physical representation of it

This idea is damaging because it’s unrealistic, and wrong. We all have value. Some of the most incredible people – the most loyal partners, the most dedicated parents, the most loving humans – have been through hell and back.

Do you think they wore heels the whole time and completed a 20-step morning routine while enduring all of life’s challenges?

If someone shows up to a social event in a t-shirt and jeans, or wears her heart on her sleeve when she meets a man she likes instead of being coy and “playing the game” – does that diminish her worth?

In a nutshell, my issue with the HVW concept is the idea that a woman’s worth is perceived (and possibly defined) by external factors, such as how she presents herself, what she wears, the condition of her hair, skin, or nails, or her salary. Even the idea that a HVW is defined solely by specific traits – confidence, self-assurance, or assertiveness, for example – may be damaging since these traits aren’t consistent, and it takes time and effort to develop them. 

To be fair, many of the people who make HVW content talk about recognizing your inherent worth, standing up for yourself, and treating yourself the way you’d want to be treated by a partner. These are all good things, but when the messaging piggybacks on these lifestyle concepts, people might get the wrong idea. A misguided man might think a wife who is struggling with post-partum depression is no longer “high value” because she struggles to get ready each day. Or a woman going through a career change or a phase of unemployment might think she’s “less than” due to her lack of income.

The High-Value Woman is a Modern Concept

While researching, I came across another blog post critiquing the HVW idea. This author pointed out how many of the attributes a modern high-value woman possesses, such as a focus on achievements outside of the home or financial success, wouldn’t apply to earlier generations of women. These women didn’t have the same access to opportunities and resources that modern women enjoy, but by no means were they “low-value” people. They simply lived in a different time.

I don’t know why the HVW idea has soared in popularity in recent years. In part, I think it’s due to rapid changes in the dating landscape. I remember talking with my mom 15-20 years ago about online dating (before all the apps people use today), and she mentioned how uncomfortable it was to talk with strangers online.

In those early stages, dating websites seemed to attract people who wanted romantic relationships but struggled to approach people. Today, online dating is the norm. Modern apps boast plenty of attractive, confident “normal” people who probably would do fine in the dating world, with or without technology. The apps are just a convenient way to see who else is hunting for a relationship.

With this in mind, there’s more competition than ever to stand out in a vast multi-state (or even multi-country) dating pool. It’s not enough to be nice-looking with a decent career – people are feeling more pressure than ever to be “the whole package”.

Additionally, women specifically have a growing awareness of their worth and influence (as we should…girl power!). Many women are passionate about self-improvement and self-actualization, and these women aren’t settling for less in relationships.

While this is admirable, women with good self-esteem and a strong sense of self may not always have the desire to look, dress, and act in a way that matches the curated HVW image. This does NOT diminish the fact that they possess great attributes. And potential romantic partners shouldn’t have alarm bells going off in their heads because some TikToker assured them that a worthy mate will have shiny hair, impeccable makeup, and flawless skin, along with a fancy job title, great self-esteem, and a slew of hobbies, all at once. 

Final Thoughts

I understand why the high-value woman concept is appealing. After all, most of us want to put our best foot forward, and it feels satisfying to level up in the different dimensions of our lives. However, there is a time and a season for leveling up. And leveling up isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s messy, scary, and filled with unknowns. To some extent, we’re all beautiful messes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve meaningful relationships with fantastic partners. 

What do you think of the high-value woman idea? Share your thoughts below! 

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