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December 1, 2010

Men like you better when you’re mediocre!

Filed under: issues,media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:16 am

Really, New York Times? The Gray Lady is at it again, telling women — in a dippy, unmoored “trend” piece — that you can be successful in work. Or love. Not both. See, because successful women scare the men away. That’s the price we pay, ladies, for liberation. “Is female empowerment killing romance?” asks the article, in a sentence so backlashtastic it’s not easy to cut and paste on a full stomach. I don’t know, I thought when female empowerment brought us the freedom to date and marry for love, not to mention use the Pill (speaking of which, must read this), that was kind of romantic. There’s so much else to eviscerate in this piece that I’m not even sure where to start, other than to say that when I opened the page and started reading, I literally had to scroll back up to the top to see if someone had accidentally sent me a link from 1997. Or 1957. Or — whatever.

Look, I’m sure there are men who are put off by “successful” — “ambitious,” “strong” etc. — women. I’m sure there have always been men like that. Even since before women were “liberated.” So, um, maybe that’s their problem? And even, even to the degree that men, en masse, are scared by female success, again: THEIR PROBLEM. Why is always women who have to dial it down? What’s more, the suggestion that so many menz are SO SCARED of SCARY SCARY WOMEN is ridonkulously insulting to men, too.

And then there’s this advice, annotated by BG in brackets:

Leave the snazzy company car at home on the first date [because MEN HATE SNAZZY CARS]; find your life partner in your 20s, rather than your 30s, before you’ve become too successful [show of hands: who in her 30s wishes they’d married that guy from their 20s?] [also, by the logic herein, that guy from your 20s will dump you when you become “too successful”]. And go after men who draw their confidence from sources other than money, like academics and artists [avoiding people who draw their confidence from money is sound advice for anyone; however — oh, for God’s sake, this is just silly].

The article does showcase some excellent boyfriends (who appear to be European. COINCIDENCE?!). See:

Ms. Kiechel in Paris says her boyfriend actively encourages her career and brags to friends how intelligent and hard-working she is. Ms. Haag and Ms. Domscheit-Berg both earn more than their husbands and report that their men actually enjoy watching the waiter’s reaction when they say their wife will pick up the tab.

That’s great and all, but it’s kind of like saying “How nice that your husband HELPS OUT with the baby!” The above attitudes should be a given, not a plus. And I know they are held by far more men than this article gives credit to. The day we’ve really achieved — or at least driven our snazzy cars closer to — liberation is the day we start to see articles telling the fellas that if they’re scared of successful women, they’re just gonna have to man up.


  1. The NYT piece begins, “Remember ‘Sex and the City’…?” NUFF SAID.

    (As you can tell, BG, you’re my favorite means of procrastination this morning.)

    Comment by Rose — December 1, 2010 @ 11:55 am

  2. I know. I got out my red pencil RIGHT THERE.

    Comment by BG — December 1, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  3. And then there’s this: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/delayed-childrearing-more-stressful-lives/

    Comment by Louisa — December 1, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  4. It’s Backlash Week! (Though at least the delayed-childrearing one is more about both parents…)

    Comment by BG — December 1, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lynn Harris and Lynn Harris, Farren Square. Farren Square said: RT @lynncorinne: Backlashtastic! RT @Breakup_Girl » New York Times: Men like you better when you’re mediocre! http://bit.ly/f8iCIQ #dating […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Breakup Girl » Men like you better when you’re mediocre! -- Topsy.com — December 1, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  6. Also, if you’re already out of your 20s, TOO LATE, EMASCULATING BITCH-WOMAN! Now you will SIT ALONE AND CRY!

    For the paper of record, the NYT sure is behind the times.

    Comment by Fawn — December 1, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  7. My long and so far fruitless search for a worthy feminist article on something important instead of silly another ridiculous, cliched and unecessary ‘defiance’ article men along the lines of ‘men will have to put up with it and whatever we want to do, who cares about them, they owe us. Will do the complaining thanks.’ Are the sisters ever going to grow out of this inconsequencial drivel?

    Comment by John — December 1, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  8. Hey Breakup Girl,

    “What’s more, the suggestion that so many menz are SO SCARED of SCARY SCARY WOMEN is ridonkulously insulting to men, too”

    Thanks for that. Also for noticing that to the extent men were squeeny scaredycats we were squeeny before feminism, in which case how exactly would that be feminism’s problem?

    Good point too that the sign of real completion will be when men stop bragging about how much more our partners earn than we do as if we were letting you do it.

    Final point: when I read articles like, and your response, that I just shake my head and wonder how people like that go around claiming feminists hate men. I mean sheesh!


    Comment by figleaf — December 2, 2010 @ 1:43 am

  9. @John — I thought you would at least like the part where I talked about how insulting this kind of thing is to men! 😉 Seriously, as Figleaf here underscores, my issue here is not, not, not at all with individual men. Not at all. It’s with the belief and intimation, presented and reaffirmed over and over in weird, lazy articles like these (and elsewhere in our culture), that it’s *feminism* (or women’s “liberation,” whatever) that has caused all these problems. In fact, it’s feminism (and me, in my own humble superhero way) that/who is trying to free women AND MEN from the dumb stereotypes and expectations that limit and even damage us, and — yes — our relationships with each other. Thanks to you both for commenting — please keep visiting!

    Comment by BG — December 2, 2010 @ 6:01 am

  10. It seems to me that this discussion is somewhat missing the point. Isn’t one of the points of feminism to liberate women from being dependent on what men say, do, and think?

    If women are worrying about how what they do will affect what men think, then they still have a long way to go.

    Comment by Mike — December 2, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  11. @Mike, well, that’s exactly the point. Articles like this — and this is like #67,463 — imply that women SHOULD worry about this stuff. Whereas in fact, yes, feminism, not to mention reality, suggests that people should value/like/love people for who they are.

    Comment by BG — December 2, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  12. As a avaialbe male in my early 30s, where can I meet these successful women? Competance is Hot!

    Comment by J — December 2, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  13. re “J”: I rest my case.

    Comment by BG — December 2, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  14. Also (@mIke and @john): THIS is what I’m talking about. http://www.tbd.com/blogs/amanda-hess/2010/12/new-york-times-trends-women-5379.html

    Comment by BG — December 2, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  15. OMG!!! I didn’t really know how pussified my gender has become. Ironic. As a man, I’d LOVE to have my spouse earn more than me. She loves to trot out her credit card in almost every situation,”to get miles” she says…in reality I pay the credit card bill…so what? The banker who dumped his woman what a d*ckless wonder. The answer is just let those emasculated types find the weak willed women who would caress their men’s overinflated egos and leave the successful, motivated, competent females to those of us who value contribution more than subjugation. ttfn.

    Comment by The Observer — December 7, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

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