Remind me why anyone should take dating advice from Maureen Dowd. This is the woman who regularly uses her New York Times column for content that belongs in an F4M classified ad. Asking Maureen Dowd for perspective on intimate relationships is like asking Judy Miller for advice on journalistic ethics.
Nevertheless, an excerpt from Dowd's forthcoming book, "Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide," appears in today's New York Times.
Be warned, as Amanda says, Dowd's essay is embarassing.
Dowd's ovarching thesis is that feminism cheated women and broke the sexual marketplace. Feminism tricked women into thinking we could "get away" with being smart, confident, and financially independent without decreasing our marriagability. Dowd recalls that there was a lot of heady talk in the late sixties. One thing lead to another, and pretty soon women felt entitled to be loved for who they were.
Dowd thinks she's finally gotten the last laugh on those ugly, slutty, Birkenstock-wearing feminists from college. She and her mom knew all along that the feminists were kidding themselves. It's just a Fact of Nature that men hate self-actualized women. Always have. Always will. (Details are sketchy, but apparently Science has established that it has something to do with dopamine and ev psych.)
Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men, it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and complain of a case of springtime giddiness.
Apart from a few sketchy studies mentioned in passing, Dowd doesn't substantiate her gloomy impressions with evidence. She prefers to fill out the essay with hand picked quotes.
Here are some gems:
"Now dating etiquette has reverted. Young women no longer care about using the check to assert their equality. They care about using it to assess their sexuality.
Going Dutch is an archaic feminist relic. Young women talk about it with disbelief and disdain. "It's a scuzzy 70's thing, like platform shoes on men," one told me."
"One of my girlfriends, a TV producer in New York, told me much the same thing: "If you
offer [to pay], and they accept, then it's over.""
"Kate White, the editor of Cosmopolitan, told me that she sees a distinct shift in what her readers want these days. "Women now don't want to be in the grind," she said. "The baby boomers made the grind seem unappealing.""
Dowd's bitter takehome message is that women have to play by The Rules, whether feminism endorses them or not--because otherwise, they'll end up as barren old maids in corner offices. Feminism has confused women, Dowd thinks: Those women's libbers convinced us that, at least in the abstract, women ought to be able to enjoy sex, power, and money without alienating men. They gave us the (probably correct) idea that it's degrading to hide your personality in order to manipulate some poor sucker into marriage. Therefore, Dowd concludes, it must be feminists' fault for creating so many uppity women who can't get and keep a man.