Dowd on Dowd
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 01, 2005
One of the signature slogans of modern-era feminism was "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Women's lib meant not just emancipation from masculine values and male-imposed roles, but a radical declaration of independence from men themselves. The 1970s movement feminists must be cringing at Maureen Dowd's latest instance of emotional exhibitionism. The bitterest misogynist couldn't have drawn a crueler portrait of women than Dowd gives of her sisterhood and its 7th grader's craving for attention.
In a 1999 column, Dave Barry wrote, "to judge from the covers of countless women's magazines, the two topics most interesting to women are (1) Why men are all disgusting pigs, and (2) How to attract men." Dowd in a nutshell. I suppose, where pride has closed off the possibility of saying, "We blew it," self-hatred takes the place of good-humored acknowledgment of the constraints of human nature.
It's significant that Dowd sees women as torn between two and only two roles: the truculent professional feminist and the seductress, representing a choice between spinsterhood (with dignity intact) and marriage (with dignity forfeited). It never seems to occur to her that there are other possibilities, including that of Christian chastity. The woman who believes -- and lives her life consonant with the belief -- that sexual relations are the exclusive privilege of married love, may be an endangered species today. But even Dowd should concede that the principled Christian is preserved from the extremes of self-worship and self-abasement, and is in a position to receive from the opposite sex, and from her own, a respect worth having.
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