succumbing to peer pressure

Monday, October 31, 2005

Why is it all about the women?

A asked me to read it, and Amelia has already posted about it - Maureen Dowd's "What's a Modern Girl to Do?" in Sunday's Times Magazine. This will be easier as bullet points:

1) Yes, many of the things Dowd says are true, but

2) They come worded in her grossly cutesy language and with far too little anger for my taste -
2.1) "To the extent that young women are rejecting the old idea of copying men and reshaping the world around their desires, it's exhilarating progress. But to the extent that a pampered class of females is walking away from the problem and just planning to marry rich enough to cosset themselves in a narrow world of dependence on men, it's an irritating setback." no longer trying to reshape the world around our desires is 'exhilarating progress' but turning the clock back 50 years is merely 'an irritating setback'?! not to mention that whole copying men thing is one of those awful urban legends perpetuated by the backlash.
2.2) "It was naive and misguided for the early feminists to tendentiously demonize Barbie and Cosmo girl, to disdain such female proclivities as shopping, applying makeup and hunting for sexy shoes and cute boyfriends and to prognosticate a world where men and women dresed alike and worked alike in navy suits and were equal in every way." female proclivities? is she serious?

3) overall, my problems are a) she perpetuates the negative stereotype of feminism without appearing to make any effort whatsoever to research what the word actually means or what the movement actually represents and b) where's the anger? she reinforces this notion that women must either raise babies or have careers but never both and that that choice is strictly one for them to make and never for one second even questions that the mere existence of such a choice might, just might, have something to do with, oh yeah, the other 49% of the population! Instead of decrying the current sad state of things (something which she does do with some degree of accuracy) why not actually buck the system and ask why, over the past 50 years are we, women, stuck with this apparently dichotomous choice? (which, if you think about it, means to a certain extent that men are too) Why not use the article as an opportunity to discuss sharing of household and career duties and flexible work hours and all sorts of things that might one day lead to something more closely resembling actual equality? And why sound so resigned to the whole thing? I repeat - where's the anger?


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