Wednesday, February 20, 2008

settling is the new black

This month's Atlantic features an article by Lori Gottlieb called Marry Him! In it she makes the case for settling for Mr. Good Enough when you're in your thirties, because god knows, by the time you're in your forties you are so fucked.

In the worst article I've read in a long time, Gottlieb contradicts herself and tries to claim she's a feminist while spewing out super anti-feminist generalizations:

"And all I can say is, if you say you're not worried [about being over thirty and unmarried], either you're in denial or you're lying."

"Settling is mostly a women's game. Men settle far less often and, when they do, they don't seem the least bit bothered by the fact that they're settling."

I saw Gottlieb on The Today Show (of course) a couple weeks ago and I thought then, Here's a woman who is unmarried and miserable. So rather than do something positive and proactive about it, she's on a mission to prevent women from making the same "mistake" she made---of not marrying when she had the chance. She could have married any number of men, after all, when she was in her thirties and still desirable. But now she's in her forties, and no one wants her, or if they do she doesn't want them. Oh, the drama of it all.

I find this article sickening. I find the hysteria around getting married and having children (my god, before you're forty or else!) to be incredibly anti-female. And it's mostly women who are doing it to each other. Why do so many women get their panties all up in a wad over other people's decisions about partnering and child-bearing? Why do so many women assume that their goals and aspirations are the ones against which all other women on the planet are measuring their own?

Most women who are self-proclaimed feminists, and pro-woman, actually believe that women have options and that women are capable of having full lives without getting married and bearing children. Until we reach a place where lots of people believe this, and we're oh so very very from from it, we are apparently required to grin and bear it when mainstream media decides that they are going to barf all over us. Again and again and again.


1 comment:

Joan Price said...

I agree completely, Brooke. I heard this author interviewed on the radio, and I was so agitated that I wanted to rebut her argument loudly and vehemently. Thank you for doing it for me, Brooke.

I can't bear the ageism and sexism in her attitude. Plus it's just plain false. It's never too late to find love that's thrilling and soul-satisfying. As you know, Brooke (because you were my wonderful editor!), I met the love of my life at age 57. I'm 64 now, and we're closer than ever.

Hold out for the right person, anyone who's single and reading this. "Settling" is a roadmap for unhappiness.

Joan Price

author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty (

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