Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christina Hoff Sommers on Maureen Dowd

Christina Hoff Sommers reviews Dowd's new book - Are Men Neccesary?
Beth at Brocilli for Breakfast reviewed it a few weeks ago too.
Hoff Sommer's book "Who Stole Feminism?" is a must read for anyone interested in feminist issues.
Her review is excellent.
To the extent that Are Men Necessary? has a grand thesis, it is that feminism has been a colossal failure. Dowd says, "The triumph of feminism would last a nanosecond while the backlash lasted forty years." But Dowd gets this wrong. There are different schools of feminism. Some succeeded, others failed. It is certainly true that the "a woman-needs-a-man-like-a-fish-needs-a-bicycle" feminism that Gloria Steinem inspired did not last. (Though it certainly had more than its 15 minutes of fame.) But there is a calmer and saner equality-of-opportunity feminism that has been an abiding success in the very decades Dowd claims feminism languished. Hasn't she noticed that American women are among the freest and most liberated in the world? Women are now approaching parity with men in law school, business school, and medical school. More women than men go to college.

Equality feminism, which goes back to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, has certainly lasted longer than a nanosecond. And try as they might, Susan Faludi, Naomi Wolf, and their like-minded sisters cannot point to a genuine backlash. What is Dowd's evidence for it?

For Dowd, the smoking gun is the "fact" that even in this new millennium, men prefer women who are less intelligent and less accomplished than themselves for mates. Feminism promised to change this state of affairs, says Dowd, but it failed. The smarter and more successful a woman is, the less her chances are for finding true love.

UPDATE - The Anchoress has just finished the book too.
I love this line - You’ve been too long naval-gazing, too long in the throes of a mental masturbation that seemed unable to find release. Consider Are Men Necessary? your primal scream sans-orgasm or whatever, and for crying out loud, CHANGE THE SUBJECT.
Then she gives Dowd some advice on writing other things....



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