The feminists are gloating. Riding the coattails of the left's Long March Through the Institutions, they now have a sizable chunk of taxpayer dollars at their disposal through the pretense of "women's studies" departments. This is in addition to already controlling entire institutions such as Wellesley, Smith, and Mills colleges and the double-standard storming of the barricades at Citadel and VMI. And now Soul Sister Hillary has landed a perch in the US Senate, bathing us hopelessly benighted peasants in the sunlight of her peerless wisdom.
Sure, there have been plenty of setbacks. The ERA. Clarence Thomas. The whole Lewinsky matter where feminists were put in the most uncomfortable situation of defending a sociopathic sexual predator. And now Shrub in the White House, whose wife Laura was just named by People magazine as one of the most beautiful people in the world a distinction, it's no surprise, that hasn't been earned by many feminists.
Run-of-the-mill setbacks aside, there's nothing more aggravating to establishment feminists than a popular book or personality that successfully convinces women that traditional, heterosexual relationships are not only desirable but reinforces the notion that they are the only path to true happiness and fulfillment for most women. The most flagrant violators of this procrustean feminist imprimatur are books such as The Rules and The Surrendered Wife.
It's old news by now that Ellen Fein a co-author of The Rules along with Sherrie Schneider is divorcing her husband. But you'd never know that by a recent, self-admittedly gloating column written by Claire Dederer on MSN's Women Central. According to Dederer, The Rules was "notoriously retrograde" and "degrading." Ironically revealing her own wealth of ignorance of what constitutes a viable relationship (and committing more than one logical fallacy to boot), Dederer declares Fein's divorce "proof" of The Rules's "obsolescence," and sets out to re-write The Rules in order to help Fein acquire a new husband.
In the process Dederer comes up with some real male-catching dandies such as:
- Stop self-improvement in favor of a "a strict no-ornamentation, no-make-up policy." Wow, that's a winner. But it gets even better:
- Stop wearing deodorant. According to Dederer, when Mr. Right "comes along, you will know he really loves you for yourself." Really. Of course Dederer has more gems where that one came from.
- To The Rules's admonition that women not ask men to dance, Dederer recommends that women dance with themselves. To The Rules' advice to show sexual restraint Lederer's answer is quick and concise:
- Be a slut. "Shag like a minx, baby…lay big fat tongue kisses on your man any old time you want."
In the interests of full disclosure, let me say that I was never in favor of the strict and literal application of every rule in Fein and Schneider's book. The proscription against accepting Saturday night dates after Wednesday was a bit silly. Accepting a date on Thursday is not necessarily a sign of desperation. Busy careers and business trips can easily fill up a week.
Playing hard to get can easily go too far as well, but to the extent that Fein and Schneider were championing modesty, femininity, and traditional male-female roles, then their book was a positive contribution.
Dederer's no-makeup, no-deodorant, stop-shaving-your-armpits re-writing of The Rules is a good recipe for attracting motorcycle dikes rather than decent, respectable men. But this is no accident. Although I'm not a fan of Phyllis Schlafly, her observation made in the early 1970s, that the ineluctable logical outcome of espousing the tenets of feminism was lesbianism, was right on the money. Witness a letter written to Ms. magazine a few years ago by a young teen girl saying she supported feminism despite not being a lesbian. Apparently the correlation between feminism and the lesbian movement mendaciously downplayed by feminist proponents was too blatant for even a young teen girl to ignore.
These days on campus armpit-hair feminists are not so much interested in "overthrowing patriarchy" as they are in recruiting young, attractive, impressionable women into the lesbian camp. This is evident from the many posters, signs, and rallies around campuses urging women to "Come Out!" of the closet. Many women who are sexually confused or have been badly burned by self-absorbed hunks become unfortunate prey in these pitches to make a full conversion to the lesbian lifestyle. The long-term results are predictably disastrous.
The self-serving recruitment nature of these lesbian "come-out" campaigns is one of the great taboo subjects of campus life. The mainstream media are quick to cover straight-male-on-straight-female sexual harassment on campus or in the workplace. What they will never cover is the rampant lesbian harassment on campus in English, Women's Studies, Art, and Drama departments in which lesbian professors flagrantly sexually harass female students in a way that would never be tolerated from heterosexual males.
On the other side of the fence it would be nice to say that the dating and marriage picture looked healthier among at least ostensibly conservative women, but sadly they're not doing well either. This leads me to suspect that women conservative and liberal share an intriguing sisterhood in terms of the mistakes they commit choosing mates. (More on that later.)
The Surrendered Wife's author Laura Doyle recently walked into a viciously-catty buzzsaw on Fox News' Judith Regan Tonight. Regan is an attractive, successful, and wealthy career woman. She is also a divorcee who could hardly be an expert on keeping a marriage together, but that didn't stop her from trying to claw the happily-married Doyle to pieces throughout the entire "interview."
Actually it wasn't an interview at all. Regan pitted a feminist and herself against Doyle throughout the segment. When Regan has an author guest on her show, the contents of the author's book are usually discussed in a polite, respectful way. Not so with Doyle.
Throughout the segment the contents of The Surrendered Wife were straw-woman caricatured by Regan and her feminist guest with Doyle having to take on the unenviable dual task of stating what she actually wrote and then defending it. Time constraints alone made such a task impossible, but for good measure Regan and her feminist guest made sure to constantly interrupt and hysterically shout down Doyle every time she started to make a good point.
During the Doyle segment, Regan's venomous, deep-seated hatred of men couldn't help bubbling out and must have been a real surprise to her male viewers (mostly smitten with her good looks and superficial amiability, which likely don't hold up much longer than once a week for an hour on Fox). I don't suspect the very bitter Judy will be getting married again any time soon.
The real problem with contemporary male-female relationships that the Judith Regan's of the world will never understand is not so much men but the unrealistic expectations of women. Women constantly pursue male paragons of narcissism and irresponsibility with a pathological My Fair Lady fantasy of remaking them into civilized, caring, responsible men.
This futile endeavor is nowhere more visible than on the popular show The Sopranos in the character of Carmela Soprano. A doormat for a lying, cheating husband, she uses the standard threadbare excuses for not divorcing Anthony; she'll have to find a lawyer, move her belongings out of her current residence, get an apartment, go through a custody fight for the children, and on and on. She prefers the security of living with an unfaithful murderer to walking the tough road to true independence and fulfillment recommended by her therapist. Very plausible.
(In fact, a psychologist friend of mine told me he could make a bundle of money seeing only what he called "the almost endless hordes" of Carmela Sopranos of the world. Instead, he's banned them from his office until they become truly serious about changing.)
The unrealistic Sopranos contrast is found in Carmela's daughter Meadow. Meadow dated the stupid, lying, cheating, but gorgeously-handsome Jackie Aprile, Jr. Meadow caught Jackie cheating on her one night and ended their relationship for good. Quite farfetched by the standards of today's women.
Contemporary women (I would say a clear majority) seem to have no problem with cheating if the man, like young Jackie Aprile, is handsome and hunky enough. The perennial fantasy more seductive to collective Woman since time immemorial than all the young Jackie Apriles is "I Will Change Him Through…(are you ready for this?!)…Marriage!!"
Only the female mind could conceive such a jaw-dropping insanity. But utterly undaunted, our female Pygmalions don blinders, marry the hunk, have one or two children with him (like Carmela), and then sometime in their mid 30s (if that early) finally give up the ghost.
Contrary to some New Age mystic feminist nonsense, women have no collective historical consciousness, otherwise they would have learned something by now. They haven't and instead go on to, again and again, repeat the same foolishness. Witness the spectacle of Pamela Anderson thinking she could instantly do what Heather Locklear couldn't do for years: re-make the criminal wife beater Tommy Lee into a civilized man. And that case is realistically one among literally hundreds of millions given the current divorce rate.
Ladies, men are on their best behavior when they date us. If his habits and affectations annoy you while you're dating, it's only going to get worse as time goes on. If his dirty finger nails and farting at the dinner table drive you up a wall, think of the habits he's ashamed for you to see now but will undoubtedly unveil after marriage.
Women have always held far greater potential power in relationships than men because it is women who give the ultimate "Yes" or "No" and control the timing of every critical juncture of a developing relationship, from acceptance of a first date to the date of the wedding day. All women know this yet we have the nerve to cry, complain, and sulk when we don't exercise this power wisely and responsibly. Sadly, it seems to be a rare exception when we exercise it in our favor.
Quiet, reliable, well-mannered, intelligent men who make a decent living (not necessarily rich, but not living at mommy and daddy's house either) may rate only a six, seven, or eight on the hunk or excitement scale but are a much better long-run bet than the Jackie Apriles. The almost ineluctable fate of contemporary women is to fail to understand this until they're in their mid thirties to forties, twice-divorced with children, and with half their looks gone.
The many decent, single, professional men I know who have pined away for a wife for decades are not attracted to these used-up women and they shouldn't be. The "empathetic" sex ironically has a hard time understanding this point, so let's put the shoe on the other foot: How would the average single woman react if a strange man approached her on a Friday night wanting to dump his kids off at her house to be fed and babysat while he drove around cruising for women?
My guess is she wouldn't react too kindly. Yet is it really that much different when women spend the youth, beauty, slim waistlines, and virginity of their teens and twenties chasing after handsome jerks and then, after decades of getting burned, hit up "the nerds" for college tuition for two or three of another man's children? In other words, we had a great party, didn't invite you, but we'd like you to pick up the tab.
Yet I know so many attractive yet bitter, cynical women (fiercely angry over their string of Pygmalion failures) in their 30s with kids (male-hating Judith Regans all) who believe that since they're now willing to go out with the guys who wear glasses, these never-been-married men their age should be forming lines to date them. Of course these programmers, engineers, accountants, and even MDs men who spent their 20s working hard in college and graduate school instead of partying and "shagging" surfers, lifeguards, and other sundry misfits with no futures aren't stupid. Many of them have chosen to remain single and who can blame them. It sure beats dealing with O.J. ex-husbands and other men's snotty kids who view you as nothing more than a piggy bank.
The lesbian feminists would love nothing more than for young, impressionable women to become convinced that the antidote to the abusive hunk is the "empathetic" dike. It is a lie from the pit of Hell. Stable, good men are out there. (My father, brothers, and their friends are excellent examples.) There are, however, two surefire ways of never meeting good men: one, imitate the Judith Regans and two, follow dating rules for lesbians.
May 17, 2001