In the middle ages an Anchoress was a woman who lived in a small, sealed room inside a church;she would have visual access to the Sanctuary and to Holy Communion. Usually there was also a small side window at which she could converse with visitors, receive foods, etc. Usually an Anchorite was rather a mystical and wise sort of person, steeped in prayer. Whether I am wise or holy is for The One to decide - I make no claims for myself, but as a shy type of person with a liking for anonymity, I don't mind being rather like Julian of Norwich, the wise Anchoress in Britain whose name is lost except as to the patron of her church. Consider this my window. Instead of passing me food, comments will do! I ask only that you be civil, because I do believe that decent people can disagree and still be decent people. Everything is copyrighted, 2005 The Anchoress.

October 30, 2005

Maureen Dowd asks a question

She asks, What’s a Modern Girl to do?.

She’s been asking this question, in one way or another, in ever-more-bitter tones, for over a year now.

I DID tell answer her, ‘way back in January of this year, when she was sniffing about her life, and licking her wounds after making a harpie-spectacle of herself over Christmas, and I tried to tell her again, in March - but she never listens to me. In fact, I believe I then stopped writing about Mo because she wasn’t listening and I got bored.

Actually, Ms. Dowd is asking a second question. She is now wondering “if the feminist movement was just a cruel hoax?”

Hey, I think she’s catching on!

Yes, Maureen, the feminist movement, which seemed to be all about “celebrating women” and “slamming (or feminizing) men” was in actuality all about devaluing traditional femininity, completely ignoring the peculiar genius of the feminine, and over-valuing male standards to such a degree that some women have recently begun to declare they needed “wives” to help them run their lives sensibly. It was a giant hoax that compelled you and many of your sisters to believe that sex could be casual and abortions could be, too (I don’t know anyone that served except caddish men and abortionists and psychiatrists) - that children didn’t really need their mothers, and hell, women didn’t really need children, either.

The feminism you’ve embraced and still champion has made for lots of lonely women keeping cats and buying very expensive clothing to wear at supper, which they - all too often - eat alone, or with other women who wonder about hoaxes, too.

But hey, you belong to YOU, doncha? Except for all those pieces of yourself you gave away, for nothing that lasted.

And now you’re cringing because some women are entering college with the idea of actually having children and part-time careers, instead of careers with part-time children! What a waste, eh? I bet you’re glad you didn’t do that!

But you sound pret-ty teed off at these gals, all the same, which is surprising, because…I thought the feminist movement was all about “respecting women’s life-choices.” Now if YOU, a leading feminist - I guess - can’t respect women’s choices, how in the world will anyone else?

In the spirit of “sisterhood” I’m going to repost
the what I wrote when you were really pissed-off because all the men seemed to marry women in “woman-y” professions. Just so we all know exactly where so many of us stand in the mind of a leading uber-feminist, who grows increasingly sad and bitter, almost before our eyes.

Modo’s Keep - The Sterile Castle
January 13, 2005

The more I read Maureen Dowd the more I’ve come to believe the woman is staggeringly ill-equipped to deal with life.

In today’s rant - the poor thing can do nothing unless ranting is involved - she is going after men, all men. An entire gender has ticked her off.


They don’t want to date her, or to marry her.


Because she’s a strong woman who wants to be treated as an equal! She actually implies that she is the equivalent of Katharine Hepburn, in my beloved old movies of 50 or 70 years ago, and that modern men cannot deal with the likes of la Dowd, or Carrie Fisher.

In Maureen Dowd’s world, all men want their mommies - or worse…they want women of the “service” class to be their mommies!

Okay, all you secretaries, administrative assistants, nurses, personal assistants, housekeepers, nannies and event planners, listen up, because Dowd is going after you, too: You may have fallen for the pretty idea that there is such a thing as “sisterhood” out there, you may have been naive enough to believe that the career choices you make are YOUR choices, and therefore completely worthy of respect, but don’t be fooled. Maureen and her ilk are the strong women in non-traditional, non-nurturing, masculine-scented professions, and (pay attention to this, because it is very important you understand it) sisterhood be damned, they are your betters!

Got that? If you have chosen some namby-pamby, girly profession - if you are a florist who owns a small business, for example - you’re simply not on the same tier as Dowd and her rarified Miss Lonely Hearts. Oh, you might have a “career” but everyone knows you’d give it up in a heartbeat to (shudder) breed, or to move if your better-employed, more powerful husband’s job decrees relocation. So, you know…your little flower shop, your little bakery, your little assistant’s desk, while very nice, are in the end simply irrelevant. Like you, they exist only as a means to an end.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I call you a “means to an end?” Forgive me, but these are not my sentiments, they are Ms. Dowd’s. She may not have used those exact words, “a means to an end,” but make no mistake, Dowd has reduced you to that cold, pragmatic category in order to make her point that men only want women they can depend upon, look to for support, companionship, advice and yes, nurturing (because healthy and strong relationships require that both partners be able to nurture each other.) You people are a means to an end, you get men what they want and need so they can keep on being…you know…(wrinkle the nose)…men!

That’s the problem, you know. The nurturing. You “little” women are too soft, too willing to nurture.

You’re too interested in looking outside of yourself and actually considering your partnership with a man as something larger than both of you. You’re too willing to believe that in a relationship a man and a woman might actually evolve from being two separate and befuddled entities, melding into a cohesive single unit that sustains itself through selflessness, consideration and - gasp - reciprocal nurturing!

You see what fools you are? You’re too stupidly willing to be giving up some portion of yourself to the man! And the man is only going to exploit that and make you his mommie. You’re not supposed to be giving up anything! If any giving-up-of-oneself is to be done, it had better damned well be the man who is doing it, otherwise the relationship you are in is not a “good” one. It is not politically correct. It is not affirming. It is not the feminist ideal.

Until you get the testicles into the mayonnaise jar and stored properly out of sight in some cobwebby cupboard, your “relationship” is a grand delusion, and you’re just mommying the man.

Listen to Maureen - she knows! She’s been writing about the problem of those rotten men since before Christmas. In Maureen Dowd’s impovished and bitter world, men and women really don’t understand each other, and don’t want to understand each other. They are warring entities who circle around each other but who never quite pierce each other’s core to come to the place of grace.

It’s very sad, really. Terribly sad. Apparently women who are in Ms. Dowd’s position, whose identities are completely wrapped up in what they do, cannot let their guards down, cannot let anyone in - really in - because they are afraid (oh so very, very afraid) that if they let someone in…they might be exploited, that the inborn gift of nurturing that is so much a gift of what Pope John Paul II calls “the feminine genius” might be coaxed out of them…and then trampled upon.

Nothing great comes easy. And being trampled on is a risk you take when you’re out to gain something great.

Really, how sad. How bleak. It seems there is a castle and a Keep, but it is not a romantic castle housing a princess eagerly awaiting the arrival of her prince, with airy rooms and open-access. Rather it is a cold and dank castle, its walls un-scalable, with drawbridge drawn and crocs in the moat, a prison of choice, a separate and protective keep. Should a prince approach, he will have to woo the princess from a distance, as she gazes down upon him with narrowed eyes and inquires as to whether he completely understands the primacy of her title; she warns that he’d better know right now exactly what-up-with-which-she-will-not-put.

And he’d better be happy with steel wool and scouring powder, because that’s basically all she’s going to bring to the party, until she knows with some certainty that her consort understands his place and will not usurp, will not harbor expectations, will not ask for anything he cannot get on his own.

Horrible. Unhopefully bleak. I read this and look at this sterile castle and my heart just breaks for this woman and all the things she simply does not get, and all the gifts and pleasures she will never have, as she wanders through her empty Keep.

There is some comfort, of course, in noting that this does seem to be one issue on which she cannot blame George W. Bush. Yet.

Posted on:
  1. Anchoress, MoDo is just a dowdy old spinster…

    Comment by Kimsch ? October 30, 2005 @ 8:40 pm

  2. […] I would have paid money to watch The Anchoress tell Maureen Dowd this in person. Filed under: […]

    Pingback by The Sundries Shack ? October 30, 2005 @ 9:13 pm

  3. Oh, my guess is that MoDo will find some way to connect it to Duyba. “The GOP’s Reign of Repression has deadened the souls of millions of women, making them give up fabulous dreams of power and prestige for 2 a.m. feedings and dirty diapers,…,”

    You know, I should be offended by Kimsch’s use of “old spinster,” since I’m 46 and single, but I’m not. I made bad choices when I was young, got involved with highly unsuitable men - and so here I am. Do I put a bullet through my head? Do I cry and whine about how terrible men are and how unfair the world is? I won’t say I’ve never done it, but after I come out of my funks, I try to make the best of my circumstances and recognize that life ain’t a bed of roses for anybody, honey - not for the single, the married, the childless, parents, Manhattanites or farm folk.
    Everyone’s got their crosses.

    I know Maureen has siblings - they live in Northern Virginia (and they’re Republicans!), and I would guess that MoDo has some nieces and nephews. I wonder how much time she spends with them - instead of crying because she’s alone on Saturday night, why not take the shuttle to DC (we know she can afford it) and take the kids off her siblings’ and inlaws’ hands for a while. No, MoDo, you might not be a wife or a mom, but you can be a good sister, a good aunt,a good friend. Concentrate on strengthening the relationships God has seen fit to bless you with instead of throwing spiteful temper tantrums because you haven’t had it all your own way. It’s especially unbecoming because you’ve already been rewarded far beyond your level of talent (If the world was just, James Lileks would have that spot in the NY Times.)

    Comment by Donna ? October 30, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  4. Comment removed by administrator. Remarkably off-topic.

    Comment by Tony ? October 30, 2005 @ 9:52 pm

  5. Really want to make the feminist mindset do a double-take? Single women, insist on that old-fashioned title, MISS! I don’t think they even teach it anymore; I tried to insist on it the other day, only to have the woman insist that’s what she had typed! (She had typed “Ms.”) She was not aware that a separate title for single women even existed!

    Personally, I object to being addressed by a so-called “abbreviated” title that doesn’t stand for anything. “Mrs.” at least stands for “Mistress,” once the proper title for a married woman. “Ms” is not a word; its a meaningless sound. The only “Ms” I approve of is the one that’s actually an abbreviation for manuscript.

    And what, the “Modern Girl” asks, does one use if the woman in question is a single mother by choice? Why, “Mrs.,” of course. She’s doing the job of a mother, and deserves the dignity of “Mrs.” as a title of respect, married or not.

    Yes, I’m hopelessly retro. And happy to be that way.

    Comment by JMC ? October 30, 2005 @ 10:10 pm

  6. What a depressing article. It really sounds like Miss (ha!) Dowd is bitter because she can’t get a man. Can’t get a man because of The Patriarchy and the ominous Return to the 50’s. MAYBE the men she sees just aren’t into her. MAYBE her inflated sense of self has gotten in the way, especially how she obviously believes herself to be more worthy of male attention because she has a successful career and “can manage” (as though us little people can’t) on herself.
    “Hey, I’m an intelligent professional, I don’t need men! Why don’t they want me!?”
    What an arrogant beeyotch. And for a feminist, she seems to find nothing wrong with demonizing other women, at least the women who don’t make the same choices she does. How could any self-respecting woman want to be a mother to her children, or not want to work?!

    Of course, that’s no surprise, nothing new from the feminist Left.

    She decries the “game-playing” of the “retro” women (a really retarded euphemism), but she does just as much–if not more–game-playing than any of them, with her overanalyzing of things like picking up the check, etc. Here’s a “retro” idea: quit analyzing relationships between men and women to death! Be yourself, talk WITH a man, not AT him. Quit dictating to him the politically correct dating behavior; if he doesn’t meet your standards, jettison him for someone who does–if he exists–and know that some people are simply just not meant to be together.

    Don’t you just want to tell her (and others like her), life’s too short to spend it worrying about what everyone ELSE is saying or doing or dating or marrying?


    Comment by Beth ? October 30, 2005 @ 10:14 pm

  7. Comment removed by administrator, original comment to which it referred is gone.

    Comment by Alexandra ? October 30, 2005 @ 10:15 pm

  8. Comment removed by administrator, as original comment to which it referred is gone.

    Comment by TheAnchoress ? October 30, 2005 @ 10:26 pm

  9. Comment removed by administrator as original comment to which it referred is gone.

    Comment by Tony ? October 30, 2005 @ 10:36 pm

  10. Comment removed by administrator.

    Comment by TheAnchoress ? October 30, 2005 @ 11:06 pm

  11. Thank you. :)

    Comment by Tony ? October 30, 2005 @ 11:12 pm

  12. Do you think Mo’s mom ever used the word “chimera” in the 60’s?

    As a man, I cry every day knowing that I am part of a group that let Mo down so! I picture her on that barstool saying “I am every man’s dream girl…Dammit! No. I’m serious! Stop laughing!” I think it’s time for Mo to consider the other half of the population. Then she can write about how women have let her down.

    Comment by Darrell ? October 31, 2005 @ 1:50 am

  13. Is the MoDo brand of feminism the kind that vacillates between woman as strong human/woman as victim? I’ve heard her a few times on TV and she has a voice made for silent movies. I couldn’t stand to be around that whine for very long and I can’t blame any man who takes a pass. Note to MoDo: Quit whining and take some voice lessons.

    Comment by Evon ? October 31, 2005 @ 8:52 am

  14. I gave her some advice, and a makeover.

    The Anchoress is exactly spot-on, They are warring entities who circle around each other but who never quite pierce each other’s core to come to the place of grace. And that is what marriage means.

    Comment by Fausta ? October 31, 2005 @ 10:09 am

  15. . . a place of grace.

    Comment by Fausta ? October 31, 2005 @ 10:10 am

  16. MoDo needs to quit it and get a man.

    (I know you have said it in other ways before, Anchoress, but I know you agree with me. I wanted to use the ‘l’ word - as in ‘laid’… :) )

    I actually think she has gotten much worse since some famous fella dumped her like a sac of potatoes for a much more glamorous, much more willing-to-be-nurturing, famous woman, years ago…

    Comment by newton ? October 31, 2005 @ 11:42 am

  17. MoDo: Sad and embarrassing

    Pretty much everything that can be said about her article has been blogged. My two favorites are from the Anchoress and Steve Sailer.

    Trackback by Lead and Gold ? October 31, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

  18. I do feel a little badly for her. She seems to believe that she has a high-powered career and is doing something important and that that intimidates men. My question is this: What does a columnist really contribute to the world? Especially one who engages mainly in sarcasm, not analysis? At least reporters do the leg work, investigate, etc. But a columnist? I think Ms. Dowd has an overly high opinion of herself. One might choose to have no husband and no children because they are a brain surgeon or something, but to forego these most meaningful things in life to become a columnist? Such a loss.

    Comment by fschmieg ? October 31, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

  19. I don’t know anything about Maureen Dowd (except what I read at The Anchoress), but I suspect that her problem is that she has been dating/talking to/hanging out with…adolescents disguising themselves as men.

    Here’s how to find out if they are men or not: watch TV news with them. Find out if they have a dog. Ask about their sister.

    Real men are looking to connect with real women who will bear their children, love their dog, and make them meatloaf and other stuff that’s not good for them. Real men will WORSHIP you if you let them smoke their cigars indoors, even with a fan in the window. Real men understand that, even if we like to pretend otherwise, all women are potential victims, and the world is divided into those who protect, and those who victimize.

    Get away from the media, academia, and other places inhabited by adolescents (some geeks are men, most engineers are). Refuse to date anything that isn’t a man. If they are too different for you, then get a cat and shut up about it.

    Comment by Sally June ? October 31, 2005 @ 3:07 pm

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