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Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collideby Maureen Dowd
Synopses & Reviews
Fresh from her success with the best-selling Bushworld, Maureen Dowd turns her sparkling prose and wise wit to a topic even more incendiary than presidential politics: sexual politics.
Four decades after the sexual revolution, nothing has worked out the way it was supposed to. The sexes are circling each other as uneasily and comically as ever, from the bedroom to the boardroom to the Situation Room, and now the New York Times columnist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for saucy and incisive commentary about the dangerous liaisons of Bill, Monica, Hillary and Ken Starr digs into the Y and X files, exploring the mysteries and muddles of sexual combat in America.
In a new book filled with chapters that surprise and amuse, Dowd explains why getting ready for a date went from glossing and gargling to Paxiling and Googling; why men are in an evolutionary and romantic shame spiral; why women have reeled backward in many ways; why men may be biologically unsuited to hold higher office, given their diva fits and catfights, teary confessions and fashion obsessions; why women are fixated on their looks more than ever, freezing their faces and emotions in an orgy of plasticity that makes the Stepford Wives look authentic; why male politicians and male institutions get tripped up in so much monkey business; why many alpha women, from Martha to Hillary, can have a successful second act only after becoming humiliated victims; and why the new definition of Having It All is less about empowerment and equality than about flirting and getting rescued, downshifting from "You go, girl!" to "You go lie down, girl."
In addition, Dowd, who has reported on historic moments on the sexual battlefield, from Geraldine Ferraro's vice-presidential run to the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings to Hillary Rodham Clinton's reign as copresident, explores not only how many of these shining feminist triumphs backfired on women but also how Hillary, a feminist icon busy plotting her campaign to be the first woman president, delivered the final blow to female solidarity herself.
Women's liberation has been less a steady trajectory than a confusing zigzag. Feminism lasted for a nanosecond and generated a gender tangle that has bewitched, bothered and bewildered men and women for forty years. Now comes a woman to cut through the tangle and tickle Adam's rib. The battle of the sexes will never be the same.
"Dowd's Bushworld, collecting her amped New York Times op-eds, hit big during the 2004 presidential campaign. This follow-up is as slapdash as the earlier book was slash-and-burn. What Dowd seems really to want to do is dish up anecdotes of gender bias in the media, which she does with her usual aplomb — everything from how Elizabeth Vargas was booted out of Peter Jennings's vacant chair at ABC during his illness ('I'm not sure if she has the gravitas,' opines an exec) to the guys who won't date Dowd because she's got more Beltway juice (and money) than they. The rest is padding: endless secondary source and pundit quotes ('In Time, Andrew Sullivan wondered: 'So a woman is less a woman if she is a scientist or journalist or Prime Minister?' '); examples of gender relations gone wrong in books, film and TV; random interview blips ('Carrie, a publicist in her late twenties from Long Island, told me....'); little musings from girlhood that are rarely revealing enough; endless career rehashes of everyone from Anita Hill to Helen Gurley Brown. A chapter on dating is a mishmash of everything from The Rules to He's Just Not That into You; one on reproductive science (that asks the title question for real) ends up referring a lot to orgasm. It's intermittently entertaining, but neither sharp enough nor sustained enough to work as a book. Agent, Esther Newberg. (Nov. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Dowd is hilarious, cutting, and provocative — in other words, perfectly willing to express her vision of the truth without an ounce of reservation." Brad Hooper, Booklist
Four decades after the sexual revolution, nothing has worked out the way it was supposed to. The sexes are circling each other as uneasily and comically as ever, from the bedroom to the boardroom to the Situation Room. Dowd explores the mysteries and muddles of sexual combat in America.
"In this witty and wide-ranging book, Maureen Dowd looks at the state of the sexual union, raising bold questions and examining everything from economics and politics to pop culture and the "why?" of the Y chromosome."--"Salon"
Are men afraid of smart, successful women? Why did feminism fizzle? Why are so many of today's women freezing their faces and emotions in an orgy of plasticity? Is "having it all" just a cruel hoax?
In this witty and wide-ranging book, Maureen Dowd looks at the state of the sexual union, raising bold questions and examining everything from economics and politics to pop culture and the "why?" of the Y chromosome. These new writings will delight her devoted readers - and anyone trying to sort out the chaos that occurs when sexes collide.
About the Author
Maureen Dowd has written for Time, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, Sports Illustrated, The New Republic and Redbook, among many other publications. She became a New York Times Op-Ed columnist in 1995, having written about the White House and its occupants since the Reagan era. Previously, she wrote the "On Washington" column for The New York Times Magazine.
Dowd joined The New York Times as a metropolitan reporter in 1983. She began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for The Washington Star. When the Star closed in 1981, she went to Time magazine. Dowd is a native of Washington, D.C.
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