I have been pelted with exhortations–by which I mean, four or five people have expressed a passing interest–to rip Maureen Dowd a new one for an excerpt in the NY Times Magazine from some book she’s got coming out. Apparently the book is a lament on how "the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men" and other 21st century dating dilemmas causing such consternation among that segment of female society who think they’re Carrie Bradshaw but wish they were Pamela Anderson.
But Jesus Christ, are you people crazy? Do you mistake me for a Dowdian scholar? The excerpt in question is seven pages long! If I didn’t finish Proust I’m sure as hell not sloggin’ through that thing!
Instead, I have just read a dumb article of a more suitable length, the premise of which is that "women’s stories don’t sell." As proof of her thesis, author Carrie Rickey gesticulates wildly at a film that, because I ritually ignore Hollywood, I have never heard of, but which I suspect, based on the fact that it stars the repellent Cameron Diaz, sucks chunks: a bildungsmovie about, I think, shoes, entitled In Her Shoes. Unlike similarly heartwarming dude-o-centric films such as About A Boy and The Full Monty, In Her Shoes has apparently performed like dog crap at the box office, for which pathetic loserness the author blames its Hugh Grant-less chickitude.
To which I say: Bridget Jones? Erin Brockovich? Thelma & Louise? Laverne & Shirley?
Oh wait, not Bridget Jones. I forgot it has Hugh Grant. But isn’t it possible that the appeal of that movie is its validation of widespread public surmise that Hugh Grant is a schmuck, combined with the satisfaction of seeing a waifish Hollywood actress put on a few pounds?
If I appear to be giving a free pass to the patriarchy here, fear not. I agree completely with the argument that men would rather have root canal than see movies about women or shoes. I disagree, however, with Rickey’s supposition that men are afraid that watching a "chick flick" will actually turn them into women. The real reason is that they are culturally prohibited from expressing an interest in women as human beings. Or, to put it mildly: they hate movies about women because they hate women.
As Maureen Dowd says, Bill Maher says men just want women to shut up!