By MAUREEN DOWD
October 30, 2005
When I entered college in 1969, women were
bursting out of theirs 50's chrysalis, shedding girdles, padded
bras and conventions. The Jazz Age spirit flared in the Age of
Aquarius. Women were once again imitating men and acting all independent:
smoking, drinking, wanting to earn money and thinking they had
the right to be sexual, this time protected by the pill. I didn't
fit in with the brazen new world of hard-charging feminists. I
was more of a fun-loving (if chaste) type who would decades later
come to life in Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw. I hated
the grubby, unisex jeans and no-makeup look and drugs that zoned
you out, and I couldn't understand the appeal of dances that didn't
involve touching your partner. In the universe of Eros, I longed
for style and wit. I loved the Art Deco glamour of 30's movies.
I wanted to dance the Continental like Fred and Ginger in white
hotel suites; drink martinis like Myrna Loy and William Powell;
live the life of a screwball heroine like Katharine Hepburn, wearing
a gold lamé gown cut on the bias, cavorting with Cary
Grant, strolling along Fifth Avenue with my pet leopard.
My mom would
just shake her head and tell me that my idea of the 30's was wildly
romanticized. "We were poor," she'd say. "We
didn't dance around in white hotel suites." I took the idealism
and passion of the 60's for granted, simply assuming we were sailing
toward perfect equality with men, a utopian world at home and at
work. I didn't listen to her when she cautioned me about the chimera
On my 31st birthday, she sent me a bankbook
with a modest nest egg she had saved for me. "I always felt that the girls in a family
should get a little more than the boys even though all are equally
loved," she wrote in a letter. "They need a little cushion
to fall back on. Women can stand on the Empire State Building and
scream to the heavens that they are equal to men and liberated, but
until they have the same anatomy, it's a lie. It's more of a man's
world today than ever. Men can eat their cake in unlimited bakeries."
I thought she was just being Old World, like my favorite jade, Dorothy
Parker, when she wrote:
By the time you swear you're
Shivering and sighing,
vows his passion is
Infinite, undying -
a note of this:
One of you is lying.
I thought the struggle for egalitarianism
was a cinch, so I could leave it to my earnest sisters in black turtlenecks
and Birkenstocks. I figured there was plenty of time for me to get
serious later, that America would always be full of passionate and
full-throated debate about the big stuff - social issues, sexual equality,
civil rights. Little did I realize that the feminist revolution would
have the unexpected consequence of intensifying the confusion between
the sexes, leaving women in a tangle of dependence and independence
as they entered the 21st century.
Maybe we should have known that the story of women's progress would
be more of a zigzag than a superhighway, that the triumph of feminism
would last a nanosecond while the backlash lasted 40 years.
Despite the best efforts of philosophers, politicians, historians,
novelists, screenwriters, linguists, therapists, anthropologists
and facilitators, men and women are still in a muddle in the boardroom,
the bedroom and the Situation Room.
My mom gave me three essential books on the
subject of men. The first, when I was 13, was "On Becoming a Woman." The second,
when I was 21, was "365 Ways to Cook Hamburger." The third,
when I was 25, was "How to Catch and Hold a Man," by Yvonne
Antelle. ("Keep thinking of yourself as a soft, mysterious cat..
. .Men are fascinated by bright, shiny objects, by lots of curls,
lots of hair on the head . . . by bows, ribbons, ruffles and bright
colors.. . .Sarcasm is dangerous. Avoid it altogether.")
Because I received "How to Catch and Hold a Man" at a
time when we were entering the Age of Equality, I put it aside as
an anachronism. After all, sometime in the 1960's flirting went out
of fashion, as did ironing boards, makeup and the idea that men needed
to be "trapped" or "landed." The way to approach
men, we reasoned, was forthrightly and without games, artifice or
frills. Unfortunately, history has shown this to be a misguided notion.
I knew it even before the 1995 publication
of "The Rules," a
dating bible that encouraged women to return to prefeminist mind
games by playing hard to get. ("Don't stay on the phone for
more than 10 minutes.. . .Even if you are the head of your own company.
. .when you're with a man you like, be quiet and mysterious, act
ladylike, cross your legs and smile.. . .Wear black sheer pantyhose
and hike up your skirt to entice the opposite sex!")
I knew this before fashion magazines became
crowded with crinolines, bows, ruffles, leopard-skin scarves, 50's
party dresses and other sartorial equivalents of flirting and with
articles like "The
Return of Hard to Get." ("I think it behooves us to stop
offering each other these pearls of feminism, to stop saying, 'So,
why don't you call him?"' a writer lectured in Mademoiselle. "Some
men must have the thrill of the chase.")
I knew things were changing because a succession
of my single girlfriends had called, sounding sheepish, to ask
if they could borrow my out-of-print copy of "How to Catch
and Hold a Man."
Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men,
it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have
to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming
little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy
eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing
and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie
on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and
complain of a case of springtime giddiness.
Today, women have gone back to hunting their
quarry - in person and in cyberspace - with elaborate schemes designed
to allow the deluded creatures to think they are the hunters. "Men like hunting,
and we shouldn't deprive them of their chance to do their hunting
and mating rituals," my 26-year-old friend Julie Bosman, a New
York Times reporter, says. "As my mom says, Men don't like to
be chased." Or as the Marvelettes sang, "The hunter gets
captured by the game."
These days the key to staying cool in the courtship
rituals is B. & I.,
girls say - Busy and Important. "As much as you're waiting for
that little envelope to appear on your screen," says Carrie
Foster, a 29-year-old publicist in Washington, "you happen to
have a lot of stuff to do anyway." If a guy rejects you or turns
out to be the essence of evil, you can ratchet up from B. & I.
to C.B.B., Can't Be Bothered. In the T.M.I. - Too Much Information
- digital age, there can be infinite technological foreplay.
Helen Fisher, a Rutgers anthropologist, concurs
with Julie: "What
our grandmothers told us about playing hard to get is true. The whole
point of the game is to impress and capture. It's not about honesty.
Many men and women, when they're playing the courtship game, deceive
so they can win. Novelty, excitement and danger drive up dopamine
in the brain. And both sexes brag."
Women might dye their hair, apply makeup and spend hours finding
a hip-slimming dress, she said, while men may drive a nice car or
wear a fancy suit that makes them seem richer than they are. In this
retro world, a woman must play hard to get but stay soft as a kitten.
And avoid sarcasm. Altogether.
In those faraway, long-ago days of feminism,
there was talk about equal pay for equal work. Now there's talk
about "girl money."
A friend of mine in her 30's says it is a term she hears bandied
about the New York dating scene. She also notes a shift in the type
of gifts given at wedding showers around town, a reversion to 50's-style
offerings: soup ladles and those frilly little aprons from Anthropologie
and vintage stores are being unwrapped along with see-through nighties
and push-up bras.
"What I find most disturbing about the 1950's-ification and
retrogression of women's lives is that it has seeped into the corporate
and social culture, where it can do real damage," she complains. "Otherwise
intelligent men, who know women still earn less than men as a rule,
say things like: 'I'll get the check. You only have girl money."'
Throughout the long, dark ages of undisputed
patriarchy, women connived to trade beauty and sex for affluence
and status. In the first flush of feminism, women offered to pay
half the check with "woman
money" as a way to show that these crass calculations - that
a woman's worth in society was determined by her looks, that she
was an ornament up for sale to the highest bidder - no longer applied.
Now dating etiquette has reverted. Young women
no longer care about using the check to assert their equality.
They care about using it to assess their sexuality. Going Dutch
is an archaic feminist relic. Young women talk about it with disbelief
and disdain. "It's
a scuzzy 70's thing, like platform shoes on men," one told me.
"Feminists in the 70's went overboard," Anne Schroeder,
a 26-year-old magazine editor in Washington, agrees. "Paying
is like opening a car door. It's nice. I appreciate it. But he doesn't
Unless he wants another date.
Women in their 20's think old-school feminists looked for equality
in all the wrong places, that instead of fighting battles about whether
women should pay for dinner or wear padded bras they should have
focused only on big economic issues.
After Googling and Bikramming to get ready
for a first dinner date, a modern girl will end the evening with
the Offering, an insincere bid to help pay the check. "They make like they are heading
into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge," Marc Santora,
a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says. "They know
you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don't,
they hold it against you."
One of my girlfriends, a TV producer in New
York, told me much the same thing: "If you offer, and they
accept, then it's over."
Jurassic feminists shudder at the retro implication of a quid profiterole.
But it doesn't matter if the woman is making as much money as the
man, or more, she expects him to pay, both to prove her desirability
and as a way of signaling romance - something that's more confusing
in a dating culture rife with casual hookups and group activities.
(Once beyond the initial testing phase and settled in a relationship,
of course, she can pony up more.)
"There are plenty of ways for me to find out if he's going
to see me as an equal without disturbing the dating ritual," one
young woman says. "Disturbing the dating ritual leads to chaos.
Everybody knows that."
When I asked a young man at my gym how he and
his lawyer girlfriend were going to divide the costs on a California
vacation, he looked askance. "She never offers," he replied. "And I like
paying for her." It is, as one guy said, "one of the few
remaining ways we can demonstrate our manhood."
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. Men,
he explained, prefer women who seem malleable and awed. 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. Will she be critical
of absolutely everything, even his manhood?
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.
A few years ago at a White House correspondents'
dinner, I met a very beautiful and successful actress. Within minutes,
she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married.
Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful
men took up with young women whose job it was was to care for them
and nurture them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies,
caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers.
John Schwartz of The New York Times made the
trend official in 2004 when he reported: "Men would rather marry their secretaries
than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame." A study by
psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college
undergraduates, suggested that men going for long-term relationships
would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors.
Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat
on them. There it is, right in the DNA: women get penalized by insecure
men for being too independent.
"The hypothesis," Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author
of the study, theorized, "is that there are evolutionary pressures
on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring
that are not their own." Women, by contrast, did not show a
marked difference between their attraction to men who might work
above them and their attraction to men who might work below them.
So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? Do women get
less desirable as they get more successful?
After I first wrote on this subject, a Times
reader named Ray Lewis e-mailed me. While we had assumed that making
ourselves more professionally accomplished would make us more fascinating,
it turned out, as Lewis put it, that smart women were "draining
Or as Bill Maher more crudely but usefully
summed it up to Craig Ferguson on the "Late Late Show" on CBS: "Women
get in relationships because they want somebody to talk to. Men
want women to shut up."
Women moving up still strive to marry up. Men moving up still tend
to marry down. The two sexes' going in opposite directions has led
to an epidemic of professional women missing out on husbands and
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the author
a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children," a book
published in 2002, conducted a survey and found that 55 percent of
35-year-old career women were childless. And among corporate executives
who earn $100,000 or more, she said, 49 percent of the women did
not have children, compared with only 19 percent of the men.
Hewlett quantified, yet again, that men have
an unfair advantage. "Nowadays," she
said, "the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful
the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear
a child. For men, the reverse is true."
A 2005 report by researchers at four British universities indicated
that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to marry, while it is a
plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for
guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40
percent drop for each 16-point rise.
On a "60 Minutes" report on the Hewlett
book, Lesley Stahl talked to two young women who went to Harvard
Business School. They agreed that while they were the perfect age
to start families, they didn't find it easy to meet the right mates.
Men, apparently, learn early to protect their
eggshell egos from high-achieving women. The girls said they hid
the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it
was the kiss of death. "The
H-bomb," they dubbed it. "As soon as you say Harvard Business
School . . . that's the end of the conversation," Ani Vartanian
said. "As soon as the guys say, 'Oh, I go to Harvard Business
School,' all the girls start falling into them."
Hewlett thinks that the 2005 American workplace
is more macho than ever. "It's actually much more difficult now than 10 years ago
to have a career and raise a family," she told me. "The
trend lines continue that highly educated women in many countries
are increasingly dealing with this creeping nonchoice and end up
on this path of delaying finding a mate and delaying childbearing.
Whether you're looking at Italy, Russia or the U.S., all of that
is true." Many women continue to fear that the more they accomplish,
the more they may have to sacrifice. They worry that men still veer
away from "challenging" women because of a male atavistic
desire to be the superior force in a relationship.
"With men and women, it's always all about control issues,
isn't it?" says a guy I know, talking about his bitter divorce.
Or, as Craig Bierko, a musical comedy star
and actor who played one of Carrie's boyfriends on "Sex and the City," told
me, "Deep down, beneath the bluster and machismo, men are simply
afraid to say that what they're truly looking for in a woman is an
intelligent, confident and dependable partner in life whom they can
devote themselves to unconditionally until she's 40."
Ms. Versus Mrs.
"Ms." was supposed to neutralize the stature of women,
so they weren't publicly defined by their marital status. When The
Times finally agreed to switch to Ms. in its news pages in 1986,
after much hectoring by feminists, Gloria Steinem sent flowers to
the executive editor, Abe Rosenthal. But nowadays most young brides
want to take their husbands' names and brag on the moniker Mrs.,
a brand that proclaims you belong to him. T-shirts with "MRS." emblazoned
in sequins or sparkly beads are popular wedding-shower gifts.
A Harvard economics professor, Claudia Goldin, did a study last
year that found that 44 percent of women in the Harvard class of
1980 who married within 10 years of graduation kept their birth names,
while in the class of '90 it was down to 32 percent. In 1990, 23
percent of college-educated women kept their own names after marriage,
while a decade later the number had fallen to 17 percent.
Time magazine reported that an informal poll in the spring of 2005
by the Knot, a wedding Web site, showed similar results: 81 percent
of respondents took their spouse's last name, an increase from 71
percent in 2000. The number of women with hyphenated surnames fell
from 21 percent to 8 percent.
"It's a return to romance, a desire to make marriage work," Goldin
told one interviewer, adding that young women might feel that by
keeping their own names they were aligning themselves with tedious
old-fashioned feminists, and this might be a turnoff to them.
The professor, who married in 1979 and kept
her name, undertook the study after her niece, a lawyer, changed
hers. "She felt
that her generation of women didn't have to do the same things mine
did, because of what we had already achieved," Goldin told Time.
Many women now do not think of domestic life
as a "comfortable
concentration camp," as Betty Friedan wrote in "The Feminine
Mystique," where they are losing their identities and turning
into "anonymous biological robots in a docile mass." Now
they want to be Mrs. Anonymous Biological Robot in a Docile Mass.
They dream of being rescued - to flirt, to shop, to stay home and
be taken care of. They shop for "Stepford Fashions" - matching
shoes and ladylike bags and the 50's-style satin, lace and chiffon
party dresses featured in InStyle layouts - and spend their days
at the gym trying for Wisteria Lane waistlines.
The Times recently ran a front-page article about young women attending
Ivy League colleges, women who are being groomed to take their places
in the professional and political elite, who are planning to reject
careers in favor of playing traditional roles, staying home and raising
"My mother always told me you can't be the best career woman
and the best mother at the same time," the brainy, accomplished
Cynthia Liu told Louise Story, explaining why she hoped to be a stay-at-home
mom a few years after she goes to law school. "You always have
to choose one over the other."
Kate White, the editor of Cosmopolitan, told
me that she sees a distinct shift in what her readers want these
days. "Women now
don't want to be in the grind," she said. "The baby boomers
made the grind seem unappealing."
Cynthia Russett, a professor of American history
at Yale, told Story that women today are simply more "realistic," having
seen the dashed utopia of those who assumed it wouldn't be so hard
to combine full-time work and child rearing.
To the extent that young women are rejecting
the old idea of copying men and reshaping the world around their
desires, it's exhilarating progress. But to the extent that a pampered
class of females is walking away from the problem and just planning
to marry rich enough to cosset themselves in a narrow world of
dependence on men, it's an irritating setback. If the new ethos
is "a woman needs a career like a
fish needs a bicycle," it won't be healthy.
In all those Tracy-Hepburn movies more than
a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between
equals that was so exciting. You still see it onscreen occasionally
- the incendiary chemistry of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie playing
married assassins aiming for mutually assured orgasms and destruction
and Mrs. Smith." Interestingly, that movie was described as
retro because of its salty battle of wits between two peppery lovers.
Moviemakers these days are more interested in exploring what Steve
Martin, in his novel "Shopgirl," calls the "calm cushion" of
romances between unequals.
In James Brooks's movie "Spanglish," Adam Sandler, playing
a sensitive Los Angeles chef, falls for his hot Mexican maid, just
as in "Maid in Manhattan," Ralph Fiennes, playing a sensitive
New York pol, falls for the hot Latino maid at his hotel, played
by Jennifer Lopez. Sandler's maid, who cleans up for him without
being able to speak English, is presented as the ideal woman, in
looks and character. His wife, played by Téa Leoni, is repellent:
a jangly, yakking, overachieving, overexercised, unfaithful, shallow
she-monster who has just lost her job with a commercial design firm
and fears she has lost her identity.
In 2003, we had "Girl With a Pearl Earring," in which
Colin Firth's Vermeer erotically paints Scarlett Johansson's Dutch
maid, and Richard Curtis's "Love Actually," about the attraction
of unequals. The witty and sophisticated British prime minister,
played by Hugh Grant, falls for the chubby girl who wheels the tea
and scones into his office. A businessman married to the substantial
Emma Thompson, the sister of the prime minister, falls for his sultry
secretary. A novelist played by Colin Firth falls for his maid, who
speaks only Portuguese.
Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish
narcissists and objects of rejection rather than of affection.
It's funny. I come from a family of Irish domestics - statuesque,
6-foot-tall women who cooked, kept house and acted as nannies for
some of America's first families. I was always so proud of achieving
more - succeeding in a high-powered career that would have been closed
to my great-aunts. How odd, then, to find out now that being a maid
would have enhanced my chances with men.
An upstairs maid, of course.
Cosmo is still the best-selling magazine on
college campuses, as it was when I was in college, and the best-selling
monthly magazine on the newsstand. The June 2005 issue, with Jessica
Simpson on the cover, her cleavage spilling out of an orange croqueted
halter dress, could have been June 1970. The headlines are familiar: "How
to turn him on in 10 words or less," "Do You Make Men M-E-L-T?
Take our quiz," "Bridal Special," Cosmo's stud search
and "Cosmo's Most Famous Sex Tips; the Legendary Tricks That
Have Brought Countless Guys to Their Knees." (Sex Trick 4: "Place
a glazed doughnut around your man's member, then gently nibble the
pastry and lick the icing . . . as well as his manhood." Another
favorite Cosmo trick is to yell out during sex which of your girlfriends
thinks your man is hot.)
At any newsstand, you'll see the original Cosmo
girl's man-crazy, sex-obsessed image endlessly, tiresomely replicated,
even for the teen set. On the cover of Elle Girl: "267 Ways
to Look Hot."
"There has been lots of copying - look at Glamour," Helen
Gurley Brown, Cosmo's founding editor told me and sighed. "I
used to have all the sex to myself."
Before it curdled into a collection of stereotypes, feminism had
fleetingly held out a promise that there would be some precincts
of womanly life that were not all about men. But it never quite materialized.
It took only a few decades to create a brazen new world where the
highest ideal is to acknowledge your inner slut. I am woman; see
me strip. Instead of peaceful havens of girl things and boy things,
we have a society where women of all ages are striving to become
self-actualized sex kittens. Hollywood actresses now work out by
taking pole-dancing classes.
Female sexuality has been a confusing corkscrew
path, not a serene progressive arc. We had decades of Victorian
prudery, when women were not supposed to like sex. Then we had
the pill and zipless encounters, when women were supposed to have
the same animalistic drive as men. Then it was discovered - shock,
horror! - that men and women are not alike in their desires. But
zipless morphed into hookups, and the more one-night stands the
girls on "Sex and the City" had,
the grumpier they got.
Oddly enough, Felix Dennis, who created the
top-selling Maxim, said he stole his "us against the world" lad-magazine attitude
from women's magazines like Cosmo. Just as women didn't mind losing
Cosmo's prestigious fiction as the magazine got raunchier, plenty
of guys were happy to lose the literary pretensions of venerable
men's magazines and embrace simple-minded gender stereotypes, like
the Maxim manifesto instructing women, "If we see you in the
morning and night, why call us at work?"
Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria move seamlessly
from showing their curves on the covers of Cosmo and Glamour to
Maxim, which dubbed Simpson "America's favorite ball and chain!" In the summer
of 2005, both British GQ and FHM featured Pamela Anderson busting
out of their covers. ("I think of my breasts as props," she
A lot of women now want to be Maxim babes as
much as men want Maxim babes. So women have moved from fighting
objectification to seeking it. "I have been surprised," Maxim's editor, Ed Needham,
confessed to me, "to find that a lot of women would want to
be somehow validated as a Maxim girl type, that they'd like to be
thought of as hot and would like their boyfriends to take pictures
of them or make comments about them that mirror the Maxim representation
of a woman, the Pamela Anderson sort of brand. That, to me, is kind
The luscious babes on the cover of Maxim were supposed to be men's
fantasy guilty pleasures, after all, not their real life-affirming
While I never related to the unstyled look of the early feminists
and I tangled with boyfriends who did not want me to wear makeup
and heels, I always assumed that one positive result of the feminist
movement would be a more flexible and capacious notion of female
beauty, a release from the tyranny of the girdled, primped ideal
of the 50's.
I was wrong. Forty years after the dawn of feminism, the ideal of
feminine beauty is more rigid and unnatural than ever.
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. Now that technology is biology, all women
can look like inflatable dolls. It's clear that American narcissism
has trumped American feminism.
It was naïve and misguided for the early
feminists to tendentiously demonize Barbie and Cosmo girl, 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.
But it is equally naïve and misguided
for young women now to fritter away all their time shopping for
boudoirish clothes and text-messaging about guys while they disdainfully
ignore gender politics and the seismic shifts on the Supreme Court
that will affect women's rights for a generation.
What I didn't like at the start of the feminist movement was that
young women were dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike.
They were supposed to be liberated, but it just seemed like stifling
What I don't like now is that the young women rejecting the feminist
movement are dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. The
plumage is more colorful, the shapes are more curvy, the look is
more plastic, the message is diametrically opposite - before it was
don't be a sex object; now it's be a sex object - but the conformity
is just as stifling.
And the Future . . .
Having boomeranged once, will women do it again in a couple of decades?
If we flash forward to 2030, will we see all those young women who
thought trying to Have It All was a pointless slog, now middle-aged
and stranded in suburbia, popping Ativan, struggling with rebellious
teenagers, deserted by husbands for younger babes, unable to get
back into a work force they never tried to be part of?
It's easy to picture a surreally familiar scene when women realize
they bought into a raw deal and old trap. With no power or money
or independence, they'll be mere domestic robots, lasering their
legs and waxing their floors - or vice versa - and desperately seeking
a new Betty Friedan.
Maureen Dowd is a columnist for The New York
Times. This essay is adapted from "Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide," to
be published next month by G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company