If you were to read a book, written by men, giving straight women advice on how to turn themselves into acceptable romantic partners
-- a book consistently advising women to adhere to a rigid, narrow window of traditional gender roles if they hope to find and keep a man -- what would be your reaction?
Would your feminist sensibilities be horrified? Would you be writing angry letters to the publisher, or posting angry rants about it on the Internet? Would you mock it as a hilariously campy example of '50s and '60s social propaganda... and be shocked to realize it had actually been published this year?
So what would you think of a book written by women, giving straight men advice on how to turn themselves into acceptable romantic partners... which consistently advises men to adhere to a rigid, narrow window of traditional gender roles if they hope to find and keep a woman?
If you're a feminist -- and I'm going to assume that if you're a regular reader of the Blowfish Blog, you're probably a feminist -- you're familiar with how social programming guilt-trips and fear-mongers women into rigid and sexist gender roles. It's not like it's hard to find examples of it. It's freaking everywhere. But I think we're less familiar with how social programming guilt-trips and fear-mongers men into rigid and sexist gender roles. Our feminist sensibilities aren't on as much of a hair trigger for male gender-role propaganda. And when this propaganda is subtle, I think we often overlook it.
But we have a magnificently un-subtle version of it in a new book: Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex.
Thus begins my latest piece on the Blowfish Blog, How Sexism Hurts Men: "Undateable." To find out how exactly this light, silly bit of pop-culture fluff works to perpetuate narrow and rigid gender roles for men -- and how it supposedly applauds men's confidence in their masculinity while spending 184 pages undermining it -- read the rest of the piece. (And if you feel inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comment to the Blowfish Blog -- they like comments there, too.) Enjoy!