Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This Week in the News

First off, The Onion offers us an enlightening explanation behind Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Next up, Lori Gottlieb, an author best known for her belief that settling for a less-than-perfect man is better than never marrying, mentions feminism in an MSN lifestyle interview:
A Q&A with author Lori Gottlieb, whose new book "Marry Him: The Case for Mr. Good Enough" is coming out. Here, Gottlieb asserts that feminism has no place in love, dating after 40 is hellish and details why marriage should always be the endgame.

The reference to feminism happens briefly on page two, but here's the chunk of text where she discusses it:

Lori: I think feminism is great and I'm all for it, but we take the ideas of being self-sufficient and not depending on anybody and we apply them to our romantic lives. But it's antithetical to the whole idea of being in a relationship, which is about interdependence, it's about being with someone, it's about vulnerability, it's about all of these things that feminism is not. Still, a lot of us applied these feminist ideas to dating, but feminism never said apply this to your dating life — it wasn't about that. Feminism said: You should have equal opportunity in the workplace; you should have these opportunities that were previously closed off to you. But it never said: "If you want to be with a guy, that's really needy and dependent." Feminism never said there's anything wrong with wanting a man! But people ...

LI: Um, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"?

Lori: Well, I think our generation, the third wave, never said there's anything wrong with wanting a man. In fact many, many stay-at-home moms I know consider themselves feminists. There's all different ways to live your life, and then there are feminists who have very high-powered careers and are married and have kids all at the same time. So I just think the problem is, when this Atlantic article came out, people said, "If I have a daughter who grows up like you and wants a man half as bad as you ... "

LI: " ... I would have failed."

Lori: Yes. And it's like, what is wrong with wanting to be with somebody?! I think we put men off in a lot of ways. We have these attitudes that are very off-putting when you're trying to get to know somebody in a romantic context. And the whole: "Are you good enough for me?" Think too that's added to the "I don't need you" and "I don't think you're good enough for me." And it's really hard to meet a man like that.

But let's look at Lori's main two arguments -

1) feminist ideals exclude social interdependence and are thus destructive in relationships.

2) feminists only ever meant to apply feminism to the workplace and education, never to relationships!

I BEG her pardon? First off, feminist ideals most certainly do not, across the board, exclude interdependency. Do feminist ideals discourage codependency? You bet your cute little nose, they do. Codependency is a serious problem. When women define themselves by their relationships with men, that is a problem. When women think that they are incapable of functioning as adults or of being happy without a man, that is also a problem. But women must and should have close, healthy relationships with many people, men and women alike, and heterosexual women are most likely to be happy if they're at least open to interdependent relationships with men who are respectful, kind, and compatible with them. As a feminist, I am highly concerned about domestic relationships, and Lori has unfortunately revealed her own ignorance about feminism. Considering how reasonable her message is (don't turn a man away because of his height or hair, or because he snores...) it's really too bad she's tearing her own authority down like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment