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What’s a Modern Girl to Do? – New York Times

What’s a Modern Girl to Do? – New York Times
Published: October 30, 2005

--這是零五年十月份NYTimes.com的Most Read Article

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.

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 conformity.

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.


  1. sue says:

    Rebukes on Dowd that I find somewhat valid:

    Maureen Dowd’s penchant for provocative overstatement has found its most recent outlet in a much talked about excerpt of her new book, Are Men Necessary?, in the New York Times Magazine. …..

    ….. Like the crude, sexist men she lampoons, Dowd is extremely fond of clever stereotyping. But this strategy is better-suited to satirizing a real person (say, President Bush) than it is to offering insights into the already cartoonish “war” between the sexes. In Are Men Necessary? she gravitates toward quotes like this: “Deep down all men want the same thing: a virgin in a gingham dress,” or “if there’s one thing men fear it’s a woman who uses her critical faculties.” To support these generalizations, Dowd relies on the faux journalism of women’s magazines. She cobbles together anecdotal evidence from people she encounters. The formula is basically this: “Carrie, a 29-year-old publicist, says … ” And from Carrie’s experience she extrapolates to the universal. The problem with this approach is that one could go out and find a 29-year-old publicist who would say the opposite. It would be one thing if Dowd were writing pure, straightforward polemic, ranting against the people she feels the need to rant against. But Dowd is pretending to cover cultural trends with journalistic accuracy, and it is this pretense that gives her arguments a shoddy feel. ….

    rest at http://www.slate.com/id/2129290/

  2. chor says:

    sue, thanks a lot! this is surely important to cross-reference from multiple sources. from the abstract you’ve quoted here, i must say that i agree with this piece from the slate.com
    i guess that Dowd’s over-generalization or her rather loose supporting evidents is a common practice of journalistic writings, particularly feature articles alike. of coz, it shouldn’t be overlooked as if it’s just a matter of “style”. we got to hold necessary skepticism.
    yet still i share some views of Dowd’s piece on the trend of backlash in the 21st century, they maybe too under-developed and not wisely presented, but that gives a good start for a more thoughtful discussion. at least she has named it.
    well, honestly, it’s the first time that i read Maureen Dowd, if i’d known that she authored a book called “are men necessary?” i might be quite hesitant to start reading….
    anyway, thanks again :)

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