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Feb 7, 2010 | The self-righteousness of women

Woman adrift
Mujer a la deriva / Woman adrift, private collection.

The more I think about it, the more angry I get. Just recently, a columnist for The Atlantic, Lori Gottlieb, published a book called “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough”. It was based on the columns she had written, which began with The XY Files (September 2005) in which she described how she felt the need to become part of Single Mothers by Choice by breaking up with her boyfriend and becoming pregnant by artificial insemination. It only took her about 2 and a half years to come to the realization that it would be better just to settle for a partner with marriage, as she described in her March 2008 article. She writes:

My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.

In her recent interview (see video), she mentioned how women in their 30s often pass up the “8s” in search of the “10s” only to realize when they’re older that they can only get “5s” and therefore the “8s” were a “catch”.

Naturally, this feminist perspective is rife with one-sided observations that sadly betray a rather (American, if I may say so) problematic approach to relationships. Were a man to suggest that a woman were to have some fault or another and therefore should discontinue the relationship, he would be considered a prick. In the inverse, the woman is considered a survivor of sorts who has deftly avoided the likes of a unfaithful, ugly or otherwise misshapen man. There’s the Everest to climb to for women, and none for men. There’s also a hint, an insinuation in Lori’s words that men never need to “settle” because they fall for anything that has, well, you know what I mean. Granted, it’s probably not too far from the truth, but the idea of “settling”, regardless of gender, for the sake of procreation and sustenance is horrifying to say the least.

Men have annoying habits. So do women. Women are picky. So are men. Call me naive, but I believe that above and beyond it all, passion and intense connection needs to be at least an element in a relationship, not something we imagine only happens to movie stars as they lock lips with a camera revolving around them. I don’t want to be considered a “safety”, like some leftover and forgotten item that’s just useful to have a semblance of a family and children.

The scary thing is that I think this has a lot to do with the current philosophies surrounding relationships and marriage. All too often it’s a lopsided equation where because women can be independent they almost then have to be, and to not be is then categorically to be submissive and backward and wrong. Men are given no such expectations – leave them be and they should fend for themselves.

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2010 at 8:12 pm, EST under the category of Life, Oh Life. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.