Monday, November 28, 2005

Wait, What?

Among the articles I finished this weekend was the one by Maureen Dowd in the Times magazine about the subject of her new book, Are Men Necessary? which is a silly question I won’t even try to answer cuz I think the real question is, Are People Necessary? Ponder that. The article was interesting – in a section about the influence of women’s magazines – many of which I think do foster some self-image problems – I was especially amused by a sex tip from Cosmo, “…yell out during sex which of your girlfriends think your man is hot.” - What? Wait, what? Anyway, I don’t disagree with some of her points, yes, I think that feminism has changed, and yes, I think it’s okay to be a sexy feminist, although I won’t be posing for the cover of Stuff anytime soon even in the bizarro world in which this might be a possibility, but my answer to this question: Do women get less desirable as they get more successful? to which Dowd suggests the answer is yes, I suggest back that I had a long and protracted history of unsuccessful relationships during my unsuccessful era (er, most of the 80s and a substantial part of the 90s), started dating Ben three months after I published my first book, so you tell me. Do I believe it can be a challenge to date a complicated, successful woman who has opinions on stuff? Yes. Can you take “woman” out of that question and replace it with “man”? I certainly think so. There’s a whole section on “The Rules” which is one hundred percent not my experience of relationships, especially not the one I’m in, starting with “play hard to get.” One woman says, “It’s not about honesty.” Excuse me? Wait, what? Anyway, I just don’t think this subject matter is as black and white as Dowd makes it out to be. Maybe I live in a universe where men are interested in interesting women. Maybe I live in a universe where, even if I acknowledge that there are certain gender differences or even broad generalizations to be made or trends that take place, there are also individuals, and I personally judge accordingly.

5 comments:

DAM said...

Interesting. While we read the same article, I heard something different. Well, not different, but with a different accent.

Dowd, I thought, was talking about a "bill of goods" sold to women. Go for it. Create the career. Focus on it AND you can still marry and have children later in life. Well, as someone who's at the "later in life" point, she spoke to me. I only wish I heard her message years ago. Chances are great that I can't have kids. Chances are even greater that I don't have the energy to keep up with a little one.

I think she was also talking about a backlash by the younger generations. They see some of us and don't want to repeat our lives. The danger, however, is that these girls are returning to an attitude from a bygone era that should always be bygone...stroking a man. Playing less smart. Coquette.

I agree that a "good" man will find a smart, successful woman desirable. But many men are threatened by this.

Are men necessary? Yes. Are succesful, smart women necessary to some men? Not too sure about that.

teo said...

I think you could turn all the genders around and ask the same question, as Betsy suggested.

I like smart women. Accomplished and driven, too. Complex. That's all good stuff.

Betsy said...

Yeah, I don't necessarily disagree with any of the points you make, DAM, and although supposedly the money we make can help us have babies later via the miracle of technology, it's not easy. I think what's hardest is just to ignore everything the mainstream universe, particularly here in America (which I love anyway) sells us and make choices that best suit us, male or female.

Thanks, Ted. I mean not Ted.

Dean said...

There’s a whole section on “The Rules” which is one hundred percent not my experience of relationships, especially not the one I’m in, starting with “play hard to get.” One woman says, “It’s not about honesty.” Excuse me? Wait, what?

I read an excerpt of 'The Rules' some years ago, and if any woman treated me the way The Rules said she should, I'd have been out of there. See, if I ask(-ed, it's past tense, as it's no longer an issue) a woman out and she plays hard to get, I'm probably going to assume that she's not interested and move on, at least partly because everybody has read 1000 articles on stalking, and lord god I wouldn't want to be accused of that.

Anyway, it IS about honesty. As someone in an honest relationship, if you don't got honesty, you don't got nothing.

Honestly.

Donny B said...

Dowd also seems to say that her lack of a serious relationship at the present time is due to men being threatened by her success. But other people around Dowd have said that men are actually attracted to her because of her wit and intelligence, as well as her good looks. To blame all of her relationship woes on "men are insecure" theories is to maybe overlook some of her other personality traits that may be her problem (if she does have a problem, and I'm not saying she does, just pointing out a few things).