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Maureen Dowd Can’t Get Laid, Or: Should Feminism Embrace Objectification?

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Columnist Maureen Dowd, the well-known Queen of Snark, tackles feminism in a NY Times piece called “What’s a modern girl to do?”

She explains that instead of clearing things up between the sexes, feminism has intensified the confusion between the sexes. “Men and women are still in a muddle in the boardroom, the bedroom and the Situation Room.”

She makes these six points:

1. Women have gone back to pre-feminist womanly wiles to attract men, like playing hard to get and being soft as a kitten, and avoiding sarcasm altogether.

2. No more going Dutch for dinner. Today’s woman offers to pay her half-share afterwards, but if the man accepts, he won’t get a second date.

3. Ms. Is dead; most women prefer to be Mrs. and take their husband’s last name when they marry.

4. Women have to suppress their intelligence to catch a man. A 2005 report indicates that the prospect for marriage increased by 35% for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40% drop for each 16-point rise.

5. A successful career stops a woman from marrying and having children. A survey found that 55% of 35-year-old career women were childless. Among corporate executives who earn $100,000 or more, 49% of the women did not have children, compared with 19% of the men.

She tells this story from her own life.

At a party for the Broadway opening of “Sweet Smell of Success,” a top New York producer gave me a lecture on the price of female success that was anything but sweet. He confessed that he had wanted to ask me out on a date when he was between marriages but nixed the idea because my job as a Times columnist made me too intimidating. He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there’s one thing men fear, it’s a woman who uses her critical faculties.

He had hit on a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality.

That’s the nub of her complaint. Feminists don’t get laid. She doesn’t get laid because she’s successful.

What a crock. The man who is intimidated by a woman’s intelligence or success isn’t worth having by that woman. As a man, I want a woman who is intelligent. Also, I’d love a woman who is more successful and makes more money than me; what a relief not to have the role of breadwinner. The idea that being a breadwinner makes you a man is just too fifties for me. And the idea that economic success defines your character is just too shallow. My advice to successful women: be grateful that your success as a woman scares off the ninnies you don’t want to be involved with anyway.

6. The final point she makes is about objectification.

Women have moved from fighting objectification to seeking it … When Gloria Steinem wrote that “all women are Bunnies,” she did not mean it as a compliment; it was a feminist call to arms. Decades later, it’s just an aesthetic fact, as more and more women embrace Botox and implants and stretch and protrude to extreme proportions to satisfy male desires. It’s clear that American narcissism has trumped American feminism.

It was naïve and misguided for the early feminists … to disdain such female proclivities as shopping, applying makeup and hunting for sexy shoes and cute boyfriends and to prognosticate a world where men and women dressed alike and worked alike in navy suits and were equal in every way.

She’s on to something here. One of the charges against early 2nd wave feminism was that it was anti-sex; yet there are enough pro-sex feminists to belie the stereotype. It’s OK to be a pro-sex feminist — or for that matter, a lipstick lesbian.

But can you be a feminist and actively embrace objectification? I believe you can.

It’s time to change the view that dressing up for the opposite sex, and making your sexuality obvious to males in a way they enjoy, is anti-feminist. It’s not. It’s playing the sexual game. Instead of disdaining the male view that women be girly and sexy, women should require from men that men themselves stop being slobs and dress and look sexy.

The proper feminist stance would be to require an equal effort from men to dress and look sexy – for men to ascribe to the female view of what a sexy man should look like. Women should be free to “objectify” themselves, and demand from men that they “objectify” themselves for women.

Blame the patriarchy not for requiring you to look like a sex kitten, but for allowing men to dress and look like slobs. If you dress to appeal to the opposite sex, you’re not “objectifying” yourself: you’re not playing up to the patriarchy: you’re simply wanting to get laid.

And what’s wrong with that?

(FOUND this interesting? More stuff like it on my irreverent, fun blog at Adam Ash.)

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About Adam Ash

  • Aaman

    You’re not married, are you?

  • adam

    No. Used to be.

  • Maurice

    I agree with everything you said.

    Especially the part about most men wanting a smart wife.

  • RogerMDillon

    There’s plenty of guys who are intimidated because they have their priorities screwed up. I have met them at my wife’s work.

  • Nancy

    I don’t care about the weenies who are intimidated; but I DO care about the assholes who are intimidated and then get hostile in order to cope. Especially older men; it makes it really hard to work well when they’re always trying to shove a knife in one’s back because they don’t like women who know more than they do.

  • Disco Stu

    mmm I think the real reason Feminists don’t get laid is because most of them are man hating, flannel wearing, butch, dykes.

    You want proof?

    Just go on any so called Feminist website such as National Organization for women, Feminist Majority and other sites and look at the pictures of the women involved in these organizations.

    Most men would say that these are not very attractive women. They’re not very feminine appearing, and I bet if you met one in person you’d see how brash and garish thier personalities were.

    Now you may say who am I to set expectations of what a woman should be or the characteristics they should possess let me just say that there is nothing worng with this. If you are a feminist and one of the things you desire is to have sex and/or a relationship with a man then it would seem only logical that you take into consideration the things that the average heterosexual man wants and desires in a woman.

    I think I speak for the average heterosexual man when I say looking like the women who support NOW is not what we want. We also don’t want to hear your far left propaganda as to how women in America today are the victims of the right wing patriarchy and how it’s holding you back or how any man who doesn’t find you and your feminist friends attracive is “threatened by women.”

    I see nothing wrong with a woman having a career and making more than a man. Nothing wrong with a woman climbing the corporate ladder and being the boss of men. However I would prefer that while they do it they act in the traditional social norms of women and that men behave in the traditional social norms of men.

    Chivalry died because feminists killed it but it seems as if most Americans today long for the traditional roles. I know this may be hard for you “progressives” to wrap your minds around but we conservatives aren’t the sexist baffons you’d like to make us out to be.

    We’re just traditionalists.

  • bhw

    I know this may be hard for you “progressives” to wrap your minds around but we conservatives aren’t the sexist baffons you’d like to make us out to be.

    Now that’s hilarious, given your diatribe against women. And I’m talking about you, not the whole lot of conservatives. Too bad you tried to speak for them.

  • alienboy

    conservative=traditionalist? No news there!

  • ryan

    you should have written more. i read the article by dowd and there was def. more you could have talked about. good job though

  • Forshorn

    As an educated, successful, guy, I was always looking for a smart woman in NYC, and had a hard time finding such a person till I found my wife. I’m bookish and like to talk about literature etc. I went on many dates with women who seemed to be caught in a world of personal or interpersonal subjects: relationships, their lives and families, gossip, standards of beauty – things related to the ego. I’m not generalizing this to all women, but it’s what I ran into while dating. Then I got lucky and met and married an author. Ms. O’Dowd should avoid crass generalizations about men and smart women. The use of statistics is shoddy; if women with higher IQs are less eligible this could be for many reasons. The use of an anecdote from a party is equally absurd. If she is not succeeding in love, rather than writing a “who needs men” book to add to the large library of such books, she ought to consider a little self-examination. Perhaps she doesn’t like men very much? Perhaps she is not welcoming or ingratiating? There are altogether too many empty generalities on the subject of sex roles.