Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide
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.
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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,
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.
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