Finding Mr. Right

February 14th, 2010 by Pelle Billing

I found this very interesting article about Lori Gottlieb and her book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. In the book, Gottlieb makes the case that feminism no longer means equal rights and responsibilities, it’s come to mean something entirely different for many young women:

“A lot of women took a you-can-have-it-all attitude and called that feminism, which it’s not. They confused feminism with you can have it all [...]“

If women and men alike were confined to strict roles in the past, the women’s movement has certainly taught women that they no longer need to stay attached to the traditional female gender role, but instead are free to make the choices they want. Now, teaching women about their choices and allowing women to be responsible for their own lives is a good thing. If feminism were content with transmitting that message, then the only problem at our hands would be the lack of a masculist movement that allows men the exact same freedom and liberation.

However, feminism hasn’t been content with liberating women; it’s gone way beyond supporting women in a healthy way. It’s told women that they can have anything, do anything and that any man would be lucky to have them. While aspiring to greatness and having goals in your life is one thing, programming women to believe that they are automatically princesses or queens is quite another one, and it leads to the kind of narcissism displayed in Sex and the City:

In the movie, Samantha tells her terrific boyfriend, who stood by her through breast cancer, that she’s dumping him because “I love you but I love myself more.”

When Gottlieb saw the movie, the audience cheered that moment — a reaction that left her baffled

What kind of world have we created when young women cheer at a woman who coldly dumps the man who’s stood by her during her cancer? It’s not that Samantha should be forced to stay together with anyone, but in the absence of pathological narcissism, most people wouldn’t consider that a happy scene that deserves cheering.

The “you-go-girl” culture has also led to double standards between the sexes. Mistakingly believing that only women were oppressed in the past while men were not, has served as the excuse for supporting almost anything that young women do, while similar behaviors from men would never be accepted. As Gottlieb says about the example from Sex and the City:

“Reverse the genders (she sticks by him through a gruelling bout of prostate cancer; he bails!), and I’m betting the entire audience would have booed and called the guy a total ass.”

The double standard is glaringly obvious.

The main message of Gottlieb is that this kind of immature feminism-a kind of feminism that I believe to be based on faulty premises-not only hurts men, but it can also hurt women in substantial ways. Believing that you are a queen who can have anything she wants makes it very hard to find a mate, or to settle down and start a family. Gottlieb even sent out a survey, to get a rough idea of how young women and men view relationships and settling down:

The majority of single women … said that getting 80 per cent of what they wanted in a mate would be ‘settling.’ The majority of single men said finding a woman with 80 per cent of what they wanted would be ‘a catch.’

The men seem to be realists, while the women are living in some kind of fantasy land created by misguided feminism that teaches entitlement and narcissism, instead of achievement and welcoming love into your life. It’s one thing to demand to be treated well, and waiting to settle down until you find someone you truly care about, but it’s quite another one to believe that you are a princess who can and should have every little detail the way you want it.

Something that Gottlied does not address, but which I believe to be just as important as the delusions taught to young women, is that young men have been just as affected by contemporary feminism. Not through believing that they are kings or princes who have the right to whatever they want, but through being taught that being a man is something to be ashamed of, and that manhood is synonymous with oppression and violence.

Is this what the future will look like? Young women who believe that they are too good for almost all men, and young men who believe that they are intrinsically flawed. What kind of world are we creating?

11 Responses to “Finding Mr. Right”

  1. Danny Says:

    What kind of world have we created when young women cheer at a woman who coldly dumps the man who’s stood by her during her cancer? It’s not that Samantha should be forced to stay together with anyone, but in the absence of pathological narcissism, most people wouldn’t consider that a happy scene that deserves cheering.

    I’ve never been a fan of Sex in the City but for people to cheer over her dumping that guy I can only hope that he was doing something wrong/immoral/illegal to her. But given the very attitude you speak of in this post I doubt it.

    Something that Gottlied does not address, but which I believe to be just as important as the delusions taught to young women, is that young men have been just as affected by contemporary feminism. Not through believing that they are kings or princes who have the right to whatever they want, but through being taught that being a man is something to be ashamed of, and that manhood is synonymous with oppression and violence.

    I’d say its a bit more than that. It seems that feminists (and through extension feminism) want to paint the image that as males we have been raised to think we are kings/princes who think we have a right to whatever we want when that is more often not the case than when it is. (Yet for some reason due to sharing gender with the ones that do its just fine not only judge us guilty by association but for our gender to called the root cause, aka patriarchy, rather than the greed that accurately links them all together and would not leave the rest of us guilty by association.)

  2. Mark Davenport Says:

    Here’s a link to a 17 minute video of a discussion of Gottlieb’s book by two articulate female liberal bloggers:

    http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/26015

    Some American politics is thrown in but all-in-all I was pleased with their reasonableness. But not much about men’s plight.

  3. Eivind Says:

    In my opinion, this may be the most important blog post you’ve written so far, Pelle. Young girls who grow up with fathers who don’t set clear boundaries and give them a healthy image of men and masculinity turn into intolerable narcissists. The feminized culture we live in is a deeply sick “I’m worth it”-culture where ever increasing numbers are more concerned about looking good than being good. It’s a culture of entitlement. Of getting something for nothing. This is what happens when the masculine gets marginalized.

    This is one of the main focuses of my spiritual mentor in the US. This is his pet peeve. Pet hatred more like. Our society is turning into a narcissistic madhouse because of this trend.

    If it’s okay with you, Pelle, I’d like to mention some of my own work. When I wrote about Gran Torino on my site, I was shocked by the Ashley character. This young little cretin can’t wait for her grandfather to die, so that she can get her hands on his car. She doesn’t even try to hide it. “What are you going to do with the car when you die?” she asks him. She is not only a cretin, she is borderline subhuman. She has lost touch with her basic humanity. It’s very serious.

    In the movie that I’m about to feature, Boy A, a boy is jailed for the murder of a young girl. But as the movie progresses, we see the intricate tapestry of tragic stories of fathers losing their sons, sons losing their fathers and boys being seen as savages. The scene in which the girl is dragged away to be killed by the boy’s friend (he’s merely a bystander) shows how the girl feels that boys are subhuman and that girls are inherently better. The girl is killed because she believes boys are scum. The friend is later lynched by a mob and he himself ends up committing suicide upon his release from jail because the collective hatred of society makes life impossible for him. Even though he was essentially a wonderful young man.

    If we had the full picture of the kind of damage this mentality is creating in the world, it would be unbearable.

    Eivind

  4. Mattias Says:

    In regard to what you wrote Pelle:

    At most workplaces, especially deskjob-workplaces, there is an unwritten rule – the older more experienced employees stand back and take the responsible role in conflicts of different sorts. I am very glad for that because I have said and done some things that werent very thought through in my early days. Now I can give that back by cushioning younger employees and perhaps keeping them from making the worst mistakes. It is the modern version of the veteran hunters taking the new hunter on his first hunting trip back in the days…

    In modern feminism it is somehow okay for very successful and very experienced older feminists to take advantage of the young mens vurnerability and use it ruthlessly to drive home their points about male worthlessness. As a young, pubertal male – how do you ever stand up to such a feminist? Or even to yourself?

    This is probably what makes me the most angry about feminism. :(

  5. Lavazza Says:

    Well, there is a lot of misandry in the media and high brow cultural discourse. A lot of men have been affected (liberal middle class), a lot of men have not been affected at all, since they are not in that loop (conservative upper class and working class).

    Earlier unsuccessful guys in their thirties and older with a good income who have not yet married can play the field quite successfully by tapping the “biological clock ticking” career girl ass.

  6. Jim Says:

    “The men seem to be realists, while the women are living in some kind of fantasy land created by misguided feminism that teaches entitlement and narcissism,”

    This really feels more like consumerism than feminism, although it can be very hard to distinguish between the two. The message of entitlement is the same in this case – the God-almighty consumer deserves the very best and only the very best, the customer is always right. It can train even a healthy person to behave like a narcissist.

  7. Lavazza Says:

    Jim: I think you are right. Feminists want to take credit for good things (and some bad things that they think are good things) that have their origin in much broader movements and societal/economic changes.

    But the same goes for some things that we blame feminists for (or rather criticise them for not fighting).

    Consumerism is such a broad trend that explains a lot of feminist/female attitudes.

  8. Jane McGillivray Says:

    I have been engaging on one of the most outstanding learning experiences of my life over the past few weeks….on a Teleclass called: Calling In “The One”. It digs deeper and straightens out all the nonsense that has brought our confused species to the place we now find ourselves.

    Pelle, Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit will very likely be at the ITC in the summer…. they both attended the ISE at New Years. My sense is that if you put your work together with theirs you may be able to create a similar class, perhaps marketed more directly to men, to help us ALL wake up to what has been going on, and to what we truly want in our lives….. which is NOT to keep putting each other down, and fighting over the scraps of who got the biggest pile of crap to digest in our difficult history, but to LOVE each other deeply, truly, full-out, and abidingly.
    love Jane

  9. Pelle Billing Says:

    Thank you for that inspiring message, Jane. I’m looking forward to lots of interesting meetings at the ITC.

  10. jhan Says:

    Finding Mr Right? PLEASE!!!

    In my daily commute to NYC, I see thousands of miserable looking women in their late 30′s, early 40′s. Why would ANY sane man want to attempt a relationship with such washed-up hags?

    This the REAL truth of Sex and the City: Women in their 20′s and early 30′s who put off relationships with good, honest, hard working guys in their search for Mr. Right; ping-pong back and forth between mealy mouthed ‘Nice Guys’ and oily ‘Players’ during that period until they’re turned into psychotic wretches; ignore biological reality and choose their ‘careers’ until they realize that the joke’s on them and a job is just a job, and the terror-stricken looks on their faces when they realize that they’re going to be FORCED to go to these jobs five days a week for the REST OF THEIR LIVES because no man is going to choose to support them at that point.

    The truth is that a great deal of Western women have become spoiled, narcissistic whiners that no real man would ever chose. When women learn how to cowgirl up, take responsibility for their own decisions and face reality, and stop blaming everyone else for their problems, they’ll be better off.

  11. unpas Says:

    unpas…

    [...]Finding Mr. Right[...]…


Google