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Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide [Paperback]

Maureen Dowd
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Feb 2007

Was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? Do women get less desirable as they get more successful? These are just some of the questions asked by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Maureen Dowd in her controversial new book.

Four decades after the sexual revolution, nothing has worked out the way it was supposed to and the sexes are circling each other as uneasily and comically as ever. In Are Men Necessary? Dowd explains why getting ready for a date went from glossing and gargling to Paxiling and Googling, why men may be biologically unsuited to hold higher office and why the new definition of Having It All is less about empowerment and equality than about flirting and getting rescued.

The triumph of feminism lasted a nanosecond and generated a gender tangle that has lasted 40 years. Now along has come a woman to cut through the tangle and tickle Adam's rib. The battle of the sexes will never be the same again.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New Ed edition (5 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755315510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755315512
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,049,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is an entertaining work: funny, fast and peppered with collected gems about how the female revolution has gone a bit wonky (Glasgow Herald)

'A rumination about the inscrutability of men, the perils of dating, male anchor clones, makeup, shopping and the demise of feminism in a sex-drenched society - all while showing a little leg' (Washington Post)

'An accessible, enjoyable work exploring the situation of women 40 years after feminism began effecting change in western society... Are Men Necessary? is just about as provocative as they come' (Sunday Business Post (Eire))

'If you care at all about a fair society, the message contained within this breezy, funny book is just as relevant to men as women' (Stoke on Trent Sentinel Series)

'A blistering critique of modern gender relations...Dowd has clearly touched a nerve. And you only touch a nerve by telling the truth' (

Book Description

The controversial bestseller on sexual politics by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has been described as 'the most dangerous columnist in America'

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I don't understand men. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp writing and interesting arguments 25 May 2007
This book isn't simply about man bashing. Both genders get it in equal measures. Dowd is a perceptive observer and touches on a number of issues, including marriage, gender, appearance, biology and pharmacology. It may appeal more to an American audience, but it's worth a look all the same. Dowd has a great sense of humour which means the book isn't a mindless rant. She gets it wrong sometimes, but I think that there is enough right in this book to recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Dowd is a fabulously sarcastic writer. When my opinion synches with hers, I revel in the deliciously wicked way that she expresses herself. It is a good laugh and the writing is truly unique. But when I don't agree, I find her style and opinions irritating and superficial, that is, unwilling to look beneath the surface in either a constructive or a genuinely insightful way. I suppose that is why she is a great columnist - you never have to get beyond about 800 words and you can forget her opinions as you step off the subway.

Well, this book in my opinion brings out the worst in her. She masses statistics about why so many talented women remain unattached, and makes an argument that it proves feminism has failed: because men basically want bimbos and women want to "trade up", the most interesting women (like, uh, her) get left without enduring relationships. Behind this funny and elegantly written argument, Dowd utterly fails to ask herself any of the harder questions that require introspection. Why can't she find a good relationship? Why do certain types of men approach her? Etc. It is not she who is deficient or somehow repellant to those who might love her, but men as a category and even society as a whole that come up short. This is OK for a pithy column, but in a book it wears awfully thin after the first chapter. Her lack of introspection is, well, depressingly relentless on such a personal subject. This is singularly unimpressive.

Moreover, what about all the talented women who DO find relationships that work? I am married to one of great talent and intelligence, who challenges me constantly and does not allow the marriage to stand still, even when it hurts. To have it any other way would be boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pollitt-in-waiting - but get the US edition 18 Feb 2013
I thought Katha Pollitt was a little hard on this gushy but sassy book in her Virginity or Death!; maybe it's a generational thing. But Headline never shoulda ditched the original Dowd-commissioned Owen Smith 'pulp' cover (see hardback); it tells you all you need to know
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good subject wasted 14 Aug 2006
I bought this after hearing the extremely eloquent author interviewed on Radio 4. As a man, I'm appalled by the way that women seem to be reversing away from all the gains they've made over the years, so I thought I would find much here to applaud, and I expected the book to be a fascinating read. Nicely started, Ms Dowd. Your points are valid, which is probably the reason you make them over and over and over.... Also, as a British reader, I was left totally confused by perpetual references to American TV stars, anchor men, journalists and politicians. I know nothing of these people, and therefore have no idea whether they illustrate the point. I forced myself through over two thirds of the book (and give it 2 stars because there are some good points well made), but I'm sorry, I had to give up.
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11 of 33 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I work in a bookshop and receive many sexist comments from women about my general male inferiority (women buy tonnes more books than men). I personally think women are being had. I full respect women and see them as being equal, but I get offended by the amount of women who intimate to me that because I'm a man I'm less of a person. Wrong, If I'm less of a person it is because of my general character or personality rather than because I have something dangling from between my legs. I don't recall ever causing a great amount of pain to women. In fact, when it comes to relationships I think both sexes are as bad as each other (my mother abondoned my sister, my brother and myself to run after another man). I know that men are responsible for massive historical bludgeoning of women but from the things that women say to me, it seems more of a case that men are being blamed not for what they've done but in order for some women to avoid taking responsibility, in order to have an excuse for being a victim.I don't blame my mother for leaving. Why would I: I don't want to be a victim. All books like this do, is soften up people's (in this case womens) minds to make them more pliable to consumer culture, to soften them up to put them in a better buying mood. If you look carefully,you will realise that modern empowerment for women always seems to involve them spending their money in some way. Afterall women hold the buying power in this country. In order to be a high-flying women who is in control then you have to have things which you have to buy. Just look at the images of female empowerment. For example, a woman in an EXPENSIVE DESIGNER suit walking assertively with handbags and carrying lots of SHOPPING bags etc. Read more ›
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