Sunday, October 30, 2005

Watchoo talkin' 'bout MoDo?

It's a 5200 word exploration by Maureen Dowd on why she can't find romantic happiness, and what's wrong with today's women--too much for me to parse. But this part irritated me:
Many women now do not think of domestic life as a "comfortable concentration camp," as Betty Friedan wrote in "The Feminine Mystique," where they are losing their identities and turning into "anonymous biological robots in a docile mass." Now they want to be Mrs. Anonymous Biological Robot in a Docile Mass. They dream of being rescued - to flirt, to shop, to stay home and be taken care of. They shop for "Stepford Fashions" - matching shoes and ladylike bags and the 50's-style satin, lace and chiffon party dresses featured in InStyle layouts - and spend their days at the gym trying for Wisteria Lane waistlines.
Of course she's talking about the two-dimensional women in the fashionable crowds of New York, but still, if this is being "taken care of" I should have married a richer man. I'd
like to point out her insensitive remarks regarding women of suburbs. We don't walk to the market, drycleaners and other errands, we drive. We have to drive. And we don't cook on plate warmers; our kitchens are full. That combination makes for broad waistlines. If we don't go to the gym, we're more likely to put on weight, compared to our counter-parts in the city.

A lot of this article is a re-hashing of an article she did a year or so ago. She even used some of the same quotes, I think.

I find her point of view very baby-boomer centric, and I'm not talking about the comparison with gen x or y. Her study of pre-baby boomer women doesn't go any farther than the books and advice her mother gave her: " The third, when I was 25, was "How to Catch and Hold a Man," by Yvonne Antelle."

It is absurd to judge generations of women by a few books. My guess is women today, baby boomers and women of generations' past weren't all that different from each other. Some wanted to work, but didn't or couldn't because of cultural expectations, family expecations, or childrearing duties--basically what life handed to them. Some went to work, cultural expectations be damned. My grandmother was one of them.

Many women, myself not included, are extraordinary domestic managers who create beautiful homes, sumptuous meals and orderly homes. Me? I suspect I'm like most, somewhere in between. But that's because--Maureen, if you're reading this--I'm human. I don't easily fit into some writer's pre-conceived notion of what I should or should not be doing. And neither do you--give yourself a break, why don't ya?

Update: Roger Simon reminds me:
Dowd seems to have missed the most astonishing statistic to be revealed lately. Fifty-seven percent of the college population is now female. Men are going to have to get used to intelligent women or turn celibate. An incipient social revolution may be in the cards that will dwarf the bra burning of the sixties.
Who knows?


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