Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Response to Samantha Daniels' "10 Types of Women Men Do Not Want to Marry"

Samantha Daniels, a professional matchmaker, has written an article on the Huffington Post's Women blog. The Huffington Post's Women blog is just lovely by the way. Among the blog categories HuffPo thinks women should care about: Healthy Living, Weddings, Divorce, Style, Fifty...Parents...you get the idea. We don't care about sports and foreign policy, am I right, ladies? I'm telling you this so you understand the context for why Daniels is publishing her wonderful matchmaking advice on The Huffington Post Women's blog as opposed to anywhere else.

She provides a few tropes of women men should avoid marrying. This is not groundbreaking. Women have written pieces about types of men you shouldn't date or marry as well. Some of the qualities are understandable. Why would you want to be with a jealous woman or a woman who is trying to fundamentally change you? But some of the descriptions on the list are innately gendered.

Like Miss Bossy Pants:

This woman usually can't help herself; she has bossy in her DNA. When a man first meets her, he might think this character trait is cute, for awhile. However, once he starts to feel like he is in grammar school being told what to do by his second grade teacher, he will give this woman her walking papers.

First of all, she thinks the term "walking papers" is clever. Secondly, she isn't saying this woman is abusive or controlling. She doesn't say she's the female version of Patrick Bergen in "Sleeping With The Enemy." But good lord, don't you hate it when a woman tells you to do something? She's just like that second grade teacher who thought she could tell you what to do just because you were acting like a  child. How annoying.

It reminds me of how Neil Cavuto of Fox News once spoke of how men couldn't handle the idea of Hillary Clinton as president because they would hear their wives nagging them. The fact that assertive women are perceived as "nagging" is the whole reason Daniels lists Miss Bossy. However, you will see other traditionalist matchmakers like Patti Stanger tell women they should expect men to lead the date and pick the place. A "bossy" man isn't supposed to be a turn-off for women.

But I saved the best for last. Miss I Don't Eat is the worst offender.

Miss "I Don't Eat": This woman picks at her food, is on a never-ending diet or doesn't eat pretty much everything that most people eat. When a man first meets her, he thinks to himself, at least she will never become overweight, but eventually he realizes that it's no fun to eat alone. The fact is men like to eat; they like steak, they like trying different foods, they like dessert and women should be eating too, at least sometimes.

Part of me thinks the author ran out of tropes so she started scraping the bottom of the trope barrel. This stereotype exists thanks to a sexist expectation of "effortless perfection." It isn't enough to BE perfect, or at least very close to perfect according to mainstream beauty standards. You also have to act as if you didn't even try to achieve it. So instead of simply eating less or eating differently to maintain her weight, the skinny girl should eat whatever makes her significant other happy, then work out for hours to burn off that fried fish sandwich, or perhaps take a trip to the bathroom...? I would hope that the author would never advocate for bulimia, but she clearly thinks the man's expectation is that she stay thin and eat "normal" food. There are only so many options available.

I find it especially funny that most of the commenters on the article are men, all of whom agree with her, except one, who appreciates Miss I Live For You and Have Nothing Else Going On:

I agree with most these, although I've never experienced a woman waiting by the door for me and I believe it would be nice.

It looks like Daniels may have read her audience wrong. The kind of men she is appealing to ARE looking for Miss I Live For You and Have Nothing Else Going on. Because that is the only kind of woman who would take this advice seriously.

If you want to check out Lindy West's takedown of Daniels' listicle, here is the link. She takes it as seriously as it should be, which is not at all. My favorite is Mr. "Nyeeehhhhhhh, I Work for the Phone Company and I'm Wearing a Windbreaker." I would totally go on a date with that guy.

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