Filed under: News, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:04 pm
Chloe of Feministing, hilariously, on Tasmania’s (!) first female premier:
Lara Giddings was the youngest person ever elected to Australian parliament, winning her seat when she was just 23 years old…This week, she became the first woman to be sworn in as Premier of the state of Tasmania, after serving for two and a half years as the state’s second ever female Deputy Premier. This means that in addition to having its first woman Prime Minister, Australia now has a woman at the helm in three of our seven states. Which is all well and good…but…[l]et’s talk about what really matters: does she have a strong manly husband and lots and lots of babies to offset the unpleasant fact that she is a woman with power? The answer is no. She does not. She is 38, unmarried, childless and OH MY GOD FREAK OUT.
Clearly, this situation must be rectified immediately. If you are an eligible man who would like to marry, impregnate and raise children with the Premier of Tasmania, please consider applying for the position of Validator of Lara Giddings’s Existence. The ideal candidate will be manly enough to prove beyond doubt that the leader of Tasmania is not a lesbian, but not manly enough to prevent the newspapers from mocking him for being less powerful than his ball-busting wife.
The endless obsession with how women are going to die alone because they have brains and casual sex [and "post-feminist" "freedom" --BG] has truly become the gift that keeps on giving. Mix one part college student sample, a few scattered inconsistent findings based on loosely correlated “evidence,” sweeping generalizations reinforcing female anxiety around mating and some slut-shaming for good measure and voila, you have yourself “relationship advice” from a “doctor.” The CNN health blog writes about a new book, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying, by none other than “get married early” Mark Regenerus and sociologist Jeremy Ueker.
CNN concludes from a precursory look at the book men have the upper hand in the sexual economy. This is not because women are judged based on their promiscuity or lack thereof in a way that men rarely are or because men face pressure to have casual sex like a stud and deny their romantic feelings for relationships. Or because when you are a woman between 18-23 male attention and the desire to “be in a relaysh” has more impact on your self esteem then say when you are a 30-somethinger like me. Or maybe because by 23, you still don’t know what you want out of a relationship. No, no, men have the upper hand in sex and dating because women have too much freedom, sex and education. [See CNN file photo w/article, left, of young woman relishing her freedom.]
[CNN:] Researchers found that since women in the 18- to 23-year-old group feel they don’t need men for financial dependence, many of them feel they can play around with multiple partners without consequence, and that the early 20s isn’t the time to have a serious relationship. But eventually, they do come to want a real, lasting relationship. The problem is that there will still be women who will have sex readily without commitment, and since men know this, fewer of them are willing to go steady. [Go steady? - BG]
“Women have plenty of freedom, but freedom does not translate easily into getting what you want,” Regnerus said. ["So maybe you don't need it so much. At least not if you want a man." -- BG]
Though it’s not based entirely on fiction, it’s rife with unexamined assumptions. Bottom line, if women no longer need men then why would they be competing for men? Feh.
Bonus: Good stuff on men being humans! With feelings! here.
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.
We enjoyed this ruefully sweet essay by Sofi Papamarko in today’s Salon.com, in which she gets sucked into The Sims as an alternative to her — she felt — stalled single universe, which appeared to be late in delivering her standard coupled-up fantasies:
It is impossible to overstate how astonishingly easily my dream life came to me, how addictively its rewards added up. At the beginning of the game, for instance, I was given a charming little house in a nice neighborhood. Given! It was handed to me! I didn’t have to scrimp or save or deal with real estate agents or even apply for a mortgage! Landing a terrific job was as easy as showing up to the town hall in a pair of tight leather pants. I told my boss a couple of jokes and was instantly rewarded with a promotion and a healthy raise. In real life, my neglected tomatoes wither on the vine, despite my best intentions. In the game, I harvested huge, succulent crops after watering them no more than twice. I became a master angler and a gourmet cook, whipping up red snapper and catfish gumbo as if I were the secret love child of Nigella Lawson and Bobby Flay. Everything was easy.
And then I met Walter.
Ooh! Read the rest to find out how virtual Walter — and Bernie, and Jack — help Sofi discover that her reality is pretty fantastic, after all.
Perhaps the sight of Julia Roberts biking about Bali isn’t enough to convince you that a high-performance, career-empowered, smart, single, temporarily celibate (gasp!) woman over 30 can too find love, reclaim her libido and live happily ever after. That’s just a celluloid reenactment of one woman’s truth, after all — and, come on, who doesn’t fall in love with Julia Roberts?
Also debuting on Friday was author and professor Caryl Rivers’s fantastic, fact-fortified screed, published by Women’s eNews and entitled “Smart Women Take Heart: Your Love Life Is Fine,” rallying against the false notion of the “marriage penalty” — the myth that the Elizabeth Gilbert types are unhappy, destined for further unhappiness (which of course means never marrying), and themselves entirely to blame for their alleged unhappiness.
“What should smart ambitious women with some measure of career fulfillment do to prove they’re not miserable and sexless?” Rivers asks. “No matter how many times researchers debunk that story with real facts, it refuses to die. Feminism is always the culprit for women’s alleged unhappiness.”
What sets Rivers off is an Camille Paglia-penned op-ed piece blasting those very women for the nationwide “sexual malaise” that’s been spawned by their “priggish” ways; because “ambitious women postpone recreation,” Paglia opines, American office space is now a place where “physicality is suppressed, voices are lowered and gestures curtailed.”
And if you do become lucky enough to snare a mate and pop out a few kids? Then you’re at fault for emasculating America’s menfolk into “cogs in a domestic machine commanded by women.”
Rivers’s retort to all this is sweeping and gratifying. It’s worth a read in its entirety, but here are the highlights:
Data collected by the United States General Social Survey since 1972 finds no statistical difference in the overall happiness of adult women compared to adult men. (Men’s happiness average clicks in a half-point higher than women’s, a statistical blip that many media outlets have overblown.)
A certain “The smarter the woman, the less likely she’s married” chestnut is based on data collected in 1921.
Men and women with highly rewarding jobs are more likely to report higher levels of sexual satisfaction.
Your office is not a singles’ club… OK, that one’s mine, but seriously, Paglia — since when do we all meet our future mates at work? Since never.
“But don’t expect these facts to spoil the media’s love affair with the notion of a high-achieving woman sacrificing her sex appeal,” Rivers writes. Seriously. Gelato, anyone?
Single women are still feeling the “stigma” of spinsterhood, a new study of middle class, never married, women over the age of 30 has found. In fact, single women between the ages of 25 and 35 reported feeling both highly visible in certain social situations — like, God help us all, bouquet tosses at weddings — and highly invisible when it came to social status, in almost every situation from consideration by political representatives to expectations in office environments.
Despite the fact that 40% of all adults in The United States were single in 2009, it is women who often feel pressure to explain or justify their single status.
Pandagon goes into more detail about the humiliating catch-22 of the bouquet toss,and also explores the potentially harmful situations the pressure to be married can foster. That is: “men can make higher demands on women in exchange for their validation of women. Sometimes a woman’s devalued position in a relationship merely means she does most of the housework and emotional work, and her sexual satisfaction is a secondary concern. But in the worst case scenarios, culturally created female desperation can be used as leverage by domestic abusers to keep their victims in place.”
And here’s another antidote for all the single ladies, all the single ladies — and anybody who loves a great self-published comic: the amazingly funny and philosophic story, “My Every Single Thought” by Corinne Mucha. This comic chronicles the author’s attempt to get over an old relationship, and come to terms with a — yes — saucy new label: Single.
Author (and FOBG) Lori Gottlieb appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss her — to me, bizarrely — inflammatory book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, which basically urges women to be picky about the important stuff (kindness) and not picky about the not-important stuff (height), and which Lemondrop summarizes rather equitably here. What it’s left in its wake is a lot of women feeling very rankled and defensive about being told they should “settle,” which is not really what Lori is saying. That said, I understand the defensiveness. Women, rightly, do not like to hear, which they often do, over and over, that they are “too picky.” (Yes, picky. About the person you are going to spend your life with. Urr?) Not that there aren’t women (and men) who are indeed “too picky.” But to be told that, or to get that message from our culture, which single women do, over and over, can be insulting, dismissive, unsympathetic. For one thing among many, it puts the dating onus squarely and only on the woman, whereas it’s not like every still-single woman is surrounded by terrific uncomplicated men on bended knee, just waiting for her to get over her thing about bowties or “no lawyers” or whatever. Women who have gone on a million dates with and given a million chances to a million perfectly nice guys who for whatever legitimate reason leave them lukewarm do not want to hear that they are “just being picky.” They are tired. They are trying. Go away. That’s part of my theory, anyway, for why Lori’s message, fairly or not, has left so many women so totally steamed.
I also wonder this: to the degree that men are paying attention to this tempest in a coffee-date, how does this message make you feel? If I may render it in the shorthand of stereotype, it’s basically “give the short bald poor guy a chance.” Do you feel that Lori’s advice, for those who follow it, could spell triumph for the common man? Let us know in comments!
Filed under: Psychology — posted by Christina @ 6:09 pm
When will he pop the question? Many straight women in long-term committed relationships begin to ask herself — and all of her friends — this question. (Every straight woman, if you believe the hype.) When will he do it? Why hasn’t he yet? What can I do do make this happen? Where should I look in his sock drawer? Um when do I need to stop obsessing?
In Jag Carrao’s HuffPo blog “How To Be Engaged By Christmas,” we read some supposedly fail-proof ways to “get your man to pop the question” — and soon. I could relate to some of it, but other parts so didn’t feel right. It’s totally understandable to want to feel like your relationship is moving forward, it seems pretty manipulative to tweak your normal behavioral patterns to attain a sparkly rock on your left hand. Reading this blog made me wonder: have we really become selfish and retro enough to take this advice, or at least take it seriously?
Look, I have walked away from my fair share of stand-still situations. If you feel you are a hamster on a wheel looking out into the sunset but never quite reaching anything but your own cage, I totally agree that it’s time to bail. However, to say that you should have a ring after nine months of dating seems a little out-of-nowhere to me.
That, and the specific suggestions seem off, too. Like limiting the time you spend with each other, don’t accept his “game playing” (by which this means if he has had a terrible past relationships and has had the bejesus scared out of him … apparently this is by definition a “game”), and pretty much disregard his feelings altogether. By restricting your time together, limiting your feelings and going against your “gut instinct” you are in essence not presenting the real “you” — and isn’t that what relationships are all about?
What ever happened to just being happy? Society has given women this notion that they must get married within a set amount of time or else they are deemed as failures. Nine months, nine days, or nine years … who cares? Setting an oven timer doesn’t make you ready. If you’re going to be able to spend your lives together, you’re going to be able to talk about this. That’s what makes you ready. So when will he ask? Or when will you? If you want to get married in the first place? When the time is right. Hope that for Christmas, you get some better advice.