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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dowdy and the Patriarchy: A Match Made in Heaven

[A Parody...of sorts]

Poor Dowdy. Despite her "pink Burberry trench coat" and her "distressed denim skirt and very tight high-heeled, knee-high black boots," she can't seem to get herself a man. She likes to bemoan that "famous and powerful men [are taking] up with ...their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers, " (fact checkers? FACT checkers? Methinks she's referring to the not-so-egalitarian Times here--for shame, Times!). She worries that her castrating tongue has sent all the really smart men out there packing--if uber-misognyists like Aaron "fetish for blonde Christian chicks and crack-cocaine" Sorkin (or the Sork) and Michael "fetish for Catherine Zeta Jones" Douglass (or Dougly) count as really smart men.

But Dowdy's problems just start there. Not only do men totally suck, but feminism has kind of let her down too! Why you gotta do that, feminism?
"Before it curdled into a collection of stereotypes, feminism had fleetingly held out a promise that there would be some precincts of womanly life that were not all about men," she says.
Like, wouldn't it be awesome if everyone could emulate her utopian life surrounded with her girlfriends "Alessandera" and "Michi" who also like cleverly phrased put-downs and also enjoy bemoaning the lack of men in their lives---oops. I guess that man-free paradise hasn't quite arrived yet. But seriously, if only feminism had lived up to its promise --then every woman could get together with her girls and come up with new, nasty invective that may gloss over facts the way Bobbi Brown glosses over their lips! That'd be so groovy. And none of those bra-burning stereotypes are invited, for heaven's sakes. Dowdy loves bras. And shoes. And Bobbi Brown makeup too I'll wager.

Yes, she cultivates her image. And why shouldn't she? That shock of red hair helps her flirt with famous people and then quote them in her columns, which is super-awesome and important. That's why when male politicians start worrying about their own images, like a snarling dog, Dowdy's out defending her territory. Fortunately, her column about (arguably) the most femme-friendly candidate, John Edwards, really focused hard on the issues, like his progressive stance on health insurance, reproductive rights, gay rights and poverty. See, here's what she said: "Americans aren't ready for a metrosexual-in-chief." Oh, she was talking about his haircut. Never mind.
"Following his star turn primping his hair for two minutes on a YouTube video to the tune of “I Feel Pretty,” Mr. Edwards... seems intent on proving that he is a Breck Girl — and a Material Boy."
Therein lies the main problem with Dowdy. Here's John Edwards, a "smart" man who isn't afraid of smart women. You know, the kind of guy that Dowdy says are extinct. His wife is in charge of his campaign, he's got Kate Michelmann on board, and if elected he would make the lives of women in our country really better, unlike her ex The Sork, who plasters stereotypes across the screens of millions each night. I don't know if Dowdy can handle the reality that such men exist.

But guess what? The guy Dowdy has referred to as "The Breck Girl" five-plus times got a pricey haircut because image matters now. It matters a whole lot--thanks to none other than, you guessed it, Dowdy and her ilk. You see, Dowdy was more into in Kerry's windsurfing than Bush's windbagging. She cared more about Al Gore's Earth tones than his Earth-friendly strategy, was more interested Hillary's shrewish image than her shrewd understanding of policy. Yup, it's true. Hil's a wonk. She certainly wouldn't know what to talk about with Michi and Alessandera around Cosmos and a rerun of Sex and the City. But would Hil know how to run the country? Let's not be ridiculous. Dowdy doesn't really care! She's a "color" columnist, remember?

Thanks to Dowdy's fun with shameful gender-based character assassination, the nebulous border between the Male and the Female in our political world will remain guarded for a long time. But you know, I think it sucks for her in the end, because every time she attacks a liberal man for being too feminine and a strong woman in politics for not "throwing like a girl" the chances that she'll ever meet a gender-hang-up free guy, the type of real man who doesn't give a shit that she's smart and likes her anyway, are diminished. Let's hope The Sork gets over his drug problem real soon and takes her back.

Modo on JE
NYM on Modo
Modo on Women
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip--every episode.
A whole bunch of liberal bloggers who attack the Maureen Dowd/Edwards phenomenon from a more political stance. (Yglesias, Greenwald, the American Prospect etc. Go you!)


  1. I loved it and linked it. Good toast, methinks.

  2. Here via Shameless Sunday, and it was definitely worth clicking. Before the NYT columnists went behind the pay wall, I used to read her (usually when I was looking for Krugman or Herbert columns), and she always irritated the hell out of me. It is quite obvious that she wants to date "up". Ya know, as opposed to dating a fellow journalist, a lawyer, an academic, somebody she'd meet in the course of her daily life and who wouldn't have a private jet. There are plenty of intelligent, liberated women who are dating or married to men who are their equals, intellectually and in terms of their accomplishments.

    She doesn't want an equal, she wants someone rich and famous. And she shouldn't be especially surprised when movie stars and TV producers turn out to be narcissistic assholes who dump her for bimbos half her age. She's all about having a man whose high status allows her to bask in reflected glory. Well, if she's that shallow, she's probably going to end up dating guys who are shallow enough to decide their status will be higher if they ditch her for the aforementioned bimbos.

    It's kind of sad, especially because Dowd is an accomplished and successful professional woman, and she doesn't NEED to bask in reflected glory. She's the only female columnist at the NYT, for fuck's sake. That's an achievement she should be proud of, and gives her plenty of status regardless of whether she has a rich and famous man in her life or not. Not that she DOES much with her plum slot. All her obsessing on politicians' image seems to be very much in line with how she runs her personal life. It's all about the image her date presents to the world at large, not about whether he's "husband material" on the inside.

    Mind you, she gets props for referring to Judith Miller as "the Becky Sharp of the NYT."

  3. prufrock1:19 PM

    Jebus, you are good.

    I came here looking for Dowd material, because I want to be her lovah, and now I feel another gravitational pull.

    She is, however, a good yin to Coulter's yang, though I wouldn't consider sex with Coulter with Hitler's dick. (I know, I stretched that one a bit too far.)

    I have to say, still, that I would gladly be MoDo's boy if I had the chance.