Saturday, January 15, 2005

Girl Talk in the NY Times

The always entertaining Ann Althouse revisits the Maureen Down column and the subject of smart, beautiful yet boyfriendless women. Today Althouse asks: "why not think deeply about equality?"

But did Dowd think deeply? Should we even conflate public policy with personal happiness? Equality of the sexes -- if by that you mean equal recognition for equal accomplishment -- is a policy that can do much good in the workplace and academia, for instance. But it can't begin to address the intensely personal aspects of romance. And is feminism even synomous with "equality?" After reading Dowd and the reaction Althouse cited from the college students, I'm not sure. They seem to see feminism as an entitlement to complete personal happiness instead of as the freedom to pursue personal happiness.

I do know that the theme of the virtuous but lonely woman is not new. Ever see The Women -- from 1939? And that's just an example from the past 100 years.

Lastly, that Dowd is now the target of some truly nasty comments may be just the ugly flipside of equality. In a society that chuckles at a book titled "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot," both men and women will be victims of personal attacks merely for putting forth provocative ideas.

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