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Are Men Necessary?:
She may be smart, incisive, witty, and keenly observant but with the release of Are Men Necessary?--a series of pithy (some might say piqued) ruminations on the sexes--Maureen Dowd will never, ever be championed by guys. Not that she cares. Even those who seek to avoid her columns in the august pages of The New York Times are certain to stumble over her invective in syndication. Dowd, it often seems, is everywhere. So those seeking even more via this book should be warned: Are Men Necessary? not only asks the eponymous question; it seeks to answer it with myriad examples (some convincing, some not) drawn from the Toronto Star to Kenneth Starr, from Cosmopolitan to Condoleezza Rice. You can bet a lot of folks aren't going to relish the answer.
With hands on hips and eyes wide open, Dowd surveys gender relations in contemporary settings such as the workplace, the White House, the mall, and the media, comparing and contrasting as she goes. And while her secondary sources are endless--and, let's face it, the subject of gender inequality is not exactly new--Dowd manages to produce a fair share of bons mots. To wit, this pearl on the subject of plastic surgery and men: "I have yet to see a man come out of cosmetic surgery without looking transformed into some permanently astonished lesbian version of himself," Dowd quotes a source as saying. "It's terrifying. My friend's father had just his eyes done by the best, most highly sought-after cosmetic surgeon in New York City. And he doesn't look refreshed or well rested. He looks like he's being stabbed to death by invisible people." Dowd's generously dispersed anecdotes, though seldom as funny, are equally readable. In the end, though, one wishes Are Men Necessary? went beyond simply grocery listing examples of sexual disparity to offer concrete suggestions for change. Then again, maybe that's too great a task even for a woman like Dowd. --Kim Hughes [via]