we flash forward to 2030, will we see all those young women who thought
trying to Have It All was a pointless slog, now middle-aged and stranded
in suburbia, popping Ativan, struggling with rebellious teenagers,
deserted by husbands for younger babes, unable to get back into a work
force they never tried to be part of?
easy to picture a surreally familiar scene when women realise they bought
into a raw deal and old trap. With no power or money or independence,
they’ll be mere domestic robots, lasering their legs and waxing their
floors, or vice-versa, and desperately seeking a new Betty Friedan.”
Times Pulitzer Prize winning columnist
Dowd’s new book, Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide, reflects our age
of confusion. We may have come a long way; are allowed to vote, study and
apply for jobs, but we still think we need to look like Barbie dolls to
stay afloat and get ahead in a man’s world.
argues that today’s women have regressed into traditional, submissive
roles, not only retreating to our pink Barbie playhouses, but resorting to
plastic surgery to emulate the leggy fashion doll with oversize boobs.
herself a pretty leggy woman, still single at 53, contends that for all
the gains of the women’s movement, men still want fawning, brainless
caretakers. And women, she says, are only too willing to oblige
them—especially the daughters of baby boomers, who have discovered that
independence comes with a huge price.
message is that today’s women are discovering they can’t have it all
because if you are too independent, too bright, too go-getting, men are
threatened by you, and vanish from your life, so you are left alone on a
Friday night, despairingly watching your dying biological clock go tick
if you choose to be a wife and mother over your career, you’re in danger
of being pathetically financially dependent, in addition to having to act
like a performing monkey with your too-tight skirts, uncomfortable heels
and lipstick, to keep your man.
was fascinated but the reviews were mixed. Some women dissed Dowd’s book
calling it an “uptown treatise about the wealthy, neurotic, Beltway/New
York glitterati circle, where women have time and money for Botox
treatments, and worry about how to snare wealthy, vain, men.”
said her book didn’t reflect the real lives of ordinary women, who still
have fat in their derrieres and attracting men is the last thing on their
minds because they are too busy struggling with low wages, raising
children without affordable child or health care, and dealing with the
everyday, banal domesticity of marriage.
reviewers used lots of silvery words but you could tell they were dying to
openly call Dowd a frustrated bitch who couldn’t get a man, thus
validating their worldview that a woman without a man is nothing.
Dowd gave everyone the permission to bring their powder and locker room
girlie and man chat out in the open. Our worst fears were confirmed. One
reviewer, Katherine Corcoran wrote :
news from the younger generation is worse. Several young, accomplished
women said they routinely downplay their résumés for fear of scaring off
dates. Some marketing and sales guys working out at a Mountain View health
club agreed with Dowd that high-powered women are untouchables.
Cook, 29, of Brisbane, is married to a woman who has been a flight
attendant and a veterinary technician. A lawyer or investment banker would
be too intimidating, he said.
lose their feminine qualities because they’re career driven. They
don’t focus on things men find attractive, their softer side,” said
his friend, Marco Comianos, 30, of San Jose, noting that career women
dress and act too masculine.
on the heels of her book, Dowd’s October column titled, What’s a
Modern Girl To Do? made more waves on both sides of the Atlantic. She
wrote: “I knew things were changing because a succession of my single
girlfriends had called, sounding sheepish, to ask if they could borrow my
out-of-print copy of How to Catch and Hold a Man.