Is Maureen Dowd Necessary?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Is Maureen Dowd Necessary?

In a word? No.

I just wasted half of my lunch hour milling around the local Border's. I even picked up Dowd's new "Are Men Necessary?", read the first chapter, and put it down. My blood pressure was at a low boil but quickly went to rolling when I saw that she was downstairs that very minute for her booksigning. It took a great deal of self-control and willpower to stop myself from marching downstairs and chucking her book at her. For starters, I don't really like her, but now I feel like she has committed a pretty unforgivable sin, a sin that I see committed all of the time by so-called feminist women against "all men." A sin that makes smoke come out of my ears. What is it? Blatant, unapologetically sexism against men by feminist women who fail to see the hypocrisy, the kind of sexism if reversed would make most women apopletic and provoke them to draw their virtual daggers.

I admit openly that I haven't read the whole book and don't plan to but I read enough to get steaming mad. I have troubles with the title of her new book for philosophical reasons as well as the more obvious socio-political frustrations. What kind of question is "Are Men Necessary?" besides a really frivolous, offensive one? Are any of us "necessary"? Next, if some high-profile male writer penned a book called "Are Women Necessary?" he'd have to go into hiding. I truly loathe women like Maureen Dowd who thoughtlessly undermine the modern feminist movement as well as give the anti-feminists fresh ammunition with their sexist, degrading mainstream work. Why? I just don't get it?

I think this rubs me wrong in an extra-special way because I am supposed to be the epitome of a man-hater-- I'm a socialist-leaning, hyperliberal lesbian feminist. In theory I have less use for men than over 95% of the female population. Except that I do have a use for men and not just because I want to have kids someday. I have a lot of men in my life whom I adore, men who are kind, thoughtful and worthy of the utmost respect. For starters, there are the men I write alongside every day. (I'm the only female voice on this blog.) I am close to a lot of men in my family, my two wonderful fathers (bio and step), my brother-in-law, a handful of wonderful male cousins, I have a beautiful godson and I was particularly close to both of my grandfathers when they were alive. I hope someday to be fortunate enough to be the mother of a son.

Additionally throughout my life the majority of my close friends have always been male, even now. (It's not because I'm a "dyke," I am much more of the lipstick-wearing variety than the tie-wearing kind, I don't think most people who know me would call me masculine.) I think it's because as a queer person I have a tendency to see beyond gender, to actually forget gender much of the time, to treat it as an incidental characteristic and see merely people as individuals. In my mind people are not divided into two categories the way it seems to be for most heterosexuals, men on one side and women on the other. Therefore the "war between the sexes" crapola is pretty meaningless to me, except as a frustration because it is so clearly a social construction. Regardless, time and again I find myself in the awkward position of having to repeatedly "prove" that I don't hate men because I'm a women with a wife instead of a husband.

Anyways, I hope Dowd's book tanks, I hope that feminists everywhere mock her and criticize her for her lack of self-awareness and for needlessly making the struggle that much harder for people who care about working for equality. Ultimately I hope people see this book for what it is-- Maureen Dowd advertising the fact that she herself is an unnecessary asshole.

(/feminist screed mode)

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