by Tammy Hepps

Maureen Never Murmurs

Are Men Necessary?, Maureen Dowd’s disjointed exploration of women in post-feminist America, fails to deliver on the promise of its titillating art and provocative title. The real question underlying this book (Putnam, 2005, $25.95) is whether women—who, she believes, have been failed by feminism—can extricate themselves from their current muddle on their own, since men, unhelpfully, are not evolving alongside them. Her points: Women now realize that they cannot have it all. Narcissism and materialism have undermined feminism. Moreover, women themselves arc subverting the movement’s original goals: The most stellar students at Yale dress like sluts, and Hillary Clinton, the woman who might have the greatest chance of becoming President, elected to stand by her philandering husband. As far as Dowd is concerned, the prospects for women are overwhelmingly bleak.

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