Friday, 29 January 2010

Step forward Mr Not Bad.

Women should settle for Mr Not Bad. Don't hold out for Mr Right. He doesn't exist, he's a romantic conspiracy cooked up in the suspect minds of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones.

American writer Lori Gottlieb has been in the papers this week for daring to suggest that old women, translated in our youth obsessed culture as any lady over thirty, should give up on the notion of their Prince Charming and instead settle for Mr Right Now. From my reading of all this in The Guardian and The Mail (whose comments section inspired copious unintentional chuckling), I gather Gottlieb has no truck with the hideous idea that a woman might settle for herself over the M&S wearing Mr Average. For while it might appear Gottlieb is striking a blow to the phony heterosexual ideology of 'romantic love', so favoured in Rom-Com's and the pejoratively named 'chic-lit', she has instead played into the hands of the kinds of sexism our Second-Wave sisters (god love them) fought so hard against. Its almost as if The Feminine Mystique never happened.

'Settling' is a concept all too familiar with most women. We settle for less pay, yet we do 70% of the world's work. Many settle for loveless marriages, domestic and emotional abuse for the sake of their children. We all settle in the West for the relentless objectification of our bodies from an all pervasive media of advertising, fashion and pornography that sexualises and in turn dehumanises our gender. In the face of all this inequality, the notion that we should settle for 'Mr Average', is as ludicrous as holding out for 'Mr Right'. The odds are stacked against men, 'Mr Right' doesn't exist. And as far as I know he's not included in the Mr Men series.

But did it ever occur to Gottilieb to ask for Mr Equal, or god forbid, to see herself as a Ms Equal? And I know this is radical, but did she consider that being on her own might not mean spinsterdom, a lonely death and a partial eating at the mercy of Alsatians?

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