“Men are dogs”: Maureen Dowd Scorches Weiner

Maureen Dowd just published an earth-scorcher on the Anthony Weiner scandal entitled “Your Tweetin’ Heart.”  It’s in the NYT and is well-worth reading (HT: Mike Cosper).  Dowd relishes a fine skewering of bad men, and she’s up to the task in her piece.  I found it interesting given that just last week I tackled this theme in a Gospel Coalition piece.

Dowd takes note of a trend among famous men nowadays.  They marry very well, hitching up with women who graduate summa cum laude from Smith, manage 100,000-person companies, have their dresses cut for them by Kate Spade herself, and run marathons in Zimbabwe on free weekends.  Quickly, though, they grow bored.  Online or in person, they prowl for young girls, women of a certain profession, married women.  Quoth Dowd:

The weenie Weiner married up to Hillary Clinton’s aide, the glamorous and classy Huma Abedin, and only 11 months later got caught e-dating down with a Vegas blackjack dealer, a porn star and a couple of college students.

This time, no feminist umbrage rang out — and not merely because Weiner is a liberal Democrat. Women have been conditioned by now to assume the worst.

All this has changed the woman-to-woman code, according to Dowd, a lifelong bachelorette:

In five decades, we’ve moved from the pre-feminist mantra about the sexual peccadilloes of married men — Boys will be boys — to post-feminist resignation: Men are dogs. And there’s no point in feminists wasting their ire at women being objectified because many women these days seem all too ready to play along.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be a single twenty- or thirty-something woman in the broader culture today.  It must be a ghastly experience.  Following feminist tenets, you’ve worked your way to a fantastic job in an ultra-urban setting.  Because you’re responsible, you’ve been able not only to save money but to buy a nice apartment.  You take care of yourself, eat good food, go to fun shows and movies, and generally live a glamorous lifestyle.  There’s just one thing missing: a good man.

While you were pushing your way to the top, he was floating through his twenties, leaving this job, taking another, never committing to anything.  He spent copious amounts of time reading comic books, watching his favorite Judd Apatow movies, and whining about his lack of direction.  He’s shluffy.  He looks nothing like the man you used to look up to, the grandfather you adored, who wasn’t a perfect man but who did hard things, took care of his family, and would have looked at you speechless if you asked him how he found himself and his purpose in life.  He’s sweet-hearted and cuddly, but something about that rubs you wrong.  Aren’t you supposed to be the one who epitomizes those traits?

Actually, this dude has a brother.  This guy is a man, a mensch.  He’s a power-broker, ambitious, handsome, devastating in conversation.  Your knees go weak every time he talks to you.  He has the bearing of a Greek philosopher-king and the confidence only a financial whiz can possess.  He’s taken you on a few dates, and you were held in his thrall, but then he went weeks, even months, without calling you.  You were confused, but you shrugged it off.  Later you heard he proposed to a Chilean government strategist who modeled on the side.  You sighed at the news, but moved on with your life.  A year or two later you were surprised–though not shocked–to find that he had compromised his marriage by a bender in Las Vegas.  Turns out that the bender wasn’t isolary, either–the guy had cheated on his wife ten times over.

Let’s switch back to the real world here and end our David Brooksian tour of modern secular men.  It’s a brave new world out there, one forged by a diverse combination of factors–feminism, WW2, the sixties, the rise of boy culture in the early twentieth century, a corresponding condemnation of men.  In some ways, it offers modern women most everything they could want–money, success, status, stuff.  But it takes off the table the one thing that many women want more than anything else: a good man.

I write this all in a sprightly tone, but this is a dastardly situation.  It signals the devolution of the family.  It promises suffering and heartache for women and, if men will have them, children.  Christians should realize that this new narrative for men and women is playing out all around them.

We don’t look at Anthony Weiner and the state of marriage today and scoff.  We grieve.  We know that outside of the grace of Jesus Christ we could well be wreaking that kind of havoc.  We feel just anger at what is transpiring, anger that inspires us to break awkward silences and share the gospel with those we encounter.  In our churches, through the fellowship of brothers and much prayer to a great God, we show the world a better way, a new breed of men, redeemed, not boys, not unfaithful, not dogs.

(Image: NNDB)

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  • GRD

    “I cannot imagine what it is like to be a single twenty- or thirty-something woman in the broader culture today. It must be a ghastly experience.”

    And it ain’t so hot in the Christian culture, either. Too much of the mentality you describe — and you describe it extremely well — has seeped through to single men in the church. I’m not saying we women are faultless, either; we’re not. But the upshot of it all is that the Christian singles scene looks more and more like a junior high dance, with all the boys on one side of the room and all the girls on the other, and not a hope of anyone ever actually getting together.

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  • Andy

    GRD – a lot of the Christian singles I know (I was one of them until a few years ago) hang out together, but for some reason are not pairing up. It’s baffling to me, although with some of them, it’s obvious why they’re not. One of the guys is extremely friendly and outgoing and good-looking and loves the Lord, but unfortunately, he has a huge fear of commitment, probably related to fidelity issues passed on from his own father. Meanwhile, one of the girls is a “bff” with this guy, even though he’s said he doesn’t want any relationship, she’s still holding out for him, spending all her time with him, etc. Another of the girls is in a situation where she’s stuck looking for the perfect guy and thinks any flaws (or sometimes her own anxiety about the flaws) are God’s way of telling her to hold out for something better, so she ends the relationship prematurely, for fear of “disobeying God”. And one of the girls, though she wants to date, seems to have bought into quite a bit of the feminist narrative about the oppressive/incompetent male patriarchy, etc. “Conditioned to assume the worst” as Owen puts it.

  • owenstrachan

    Great comments, GRD and Andy. Really appreciate these. I think you’ve both identified major problems in evangelicalism. You’re right, GRD. These mindsets/types have seeped into the church.

  • http://www.bereansnotepad.com Diane Woerner

    Thank you, Owen, for your perceptive assessment of our crisis of identity–what you aptly termed a “dastardly situation.”

    I have examined these issues and the modern challenge of singleness in particular in a document called “Dear Young Single Christian.” It can be found at http://www.bereansnotepad.com/4.html . I would be grateful to know what you think of my thoughts.

  • GRD

    Thanks, Owen! I too have written a little something that might interest you. (Sorry, bet you didn’t think you were going to get bombarded with reading material! But this is short, I promise. Just seven paragraphs.)


  • Donna

    I am a Christian woman of two beautiful, accomplished, pure, Christian daughters in their late 20s. They are college educated, work hard, serve in their churches and the secular community, own their own home, have bank accounts with more money than I and they can not find a good, Christian man. Not one. Nada. None. They have done the Christian internet thing. They have looked amongst the single groups at all local churches. Nope. The good Christian man does not exist. One daughter is ready to settle. The other will never settle. As their mother, I have no idea of how to advise them. It is a very sad state the church is in.

    • Deborah

      Donna, I am in lockstep with you. I, too, have a stunningly beautiful Christian daughter (age 25), college grad, money in the bank, works hard at her job, loves the Lord…but can’t find a man. Oh, there are plenty of mid-20s who want to hang out with her and bask in her beauty and dazzling personality, but none of these guys want to grow up, get serious, get a job, and commit. Where are the young men who love the Lord and want to share their lives with sharp-as-a-tack solid Christian women?

    • FSM

      it’s too bad they a deluded in Christianity. The Great FSM would use his noodly appendage to drag a great man to them and bind the together in noodly matrimony

  • BV

    I enjoyed Dowd’s article and your thoughts. I was struck by Dowd’s idea of “fixing men”? My understanding of feminism is that it is designed to produce “autonomous woman,” paralleling modern western philosophy in it’s goal of producing “autonomous man.”

    why then does feminism care about “fixing men”? very bizarre statement by Dowd.

  • KD

    This seems appropriate: “A poem for all single people”

  • Tom

    “In some ways, it offers modern women most everything they could want–money, success, status, stuff. But it takes off the table the one thing that many women want more than anything else: a good man.”

    You hit the nail exactly on the head. A pithier analysis can hardly be written.

  • Reg Schofield

    It is too simplistic to say all men are dogs and that there are no good men. As a father of 2 young men who can’t find females who wish to be serious , I see this whole affair as a symptom of the feminist movement that has infiltrated into our Churches as well. Females wanted to be free from marriage and being mothers, they wanted sexual freedom and wanted a male and females roles to be redefined. They have achieved much but here is the thing , Mothers raise sons , who will become fathers and husbands . So fine point the finger rightfully at men , we are a fallen broken race but at the same time , the tables go the other way as well.

  • http://www.bereansnotepad.com Diane Woerner

    At one level, the problem didn’t begin with our determination to morph women into men and men into women so no one would be constrained from the “freedom” of all possible options. The source of our cultural demise came with Adam and Eve’s decision to center their thoughts and choices on themselves, rather than on the Creator whom they intimately knew. Our society is now approaching the inevitable end of that rainbow. However, the church need not and must not follow them there.

    It is helpful for us who know Christ to contemplate the obvious benefits of healthy manhood and womanhood with regard to our families and our future. But for the full measure of sexual redemption to be realized (and it will happen, I perceive, only for those who are willing to “come out from among them,” not for society at large), we must begin to contemplate what God Himself receives when authentic masculinity and femininity become increasingly visible in His people. For these characteristics–these roles if you will–were designed specifically to model His nature and His chosen form of relationship (Ephesians 5:32).

    Until we see our deliberate decision to add full masculinity to our given maleness and full femininity to our given femaleness as being one of our greatest acts of worship, we will continue to reap the whirlwind that presently threatens to consume us.

  • owenstrachan

    Really appreciate all this thoughtful feedback. Will respond more in detail at a later point. Thanks all!

  • GRD

    I agree it’s too simplistic, and far from fair, to say all men are dogs. There are a lot of good Christian men out there. I just wish there was a way to get their attention. My friends and I have tried every bit of advice the church has to offer — dress nicely, dress plainly, spend time in groups, don’t spend time in groups, talk to them, don’t talk to them, flirt with them, don’t flirt with them, flatter them, don’t flatter them, you name it. NONE of it works. Pardon the bluntness, but it’s like the church has trained the libido right out of them.

    • Josh

      Hah, it’s odd, but I feel the exact same way as a guy. I appreciate that the men and women in church don’t shamelessly flirt as the world does, but that also makes it more difficult to get a read on the situation. It’s definitely a delicate balance in getting to know the person, essentially courting them, and then asking for their hand in marriage. Either way, the Lord knows the desires of our heart, and He’s already stated that it is “good” to be married, so when you run into situations where potential partners seem scarce, keep praying and trusting the Lord, while pursuing Him first in all things.

  • GRD

    And before anyone asks, no, I don’t ignore my personal hygiene, wear burlap sacks, and look like Godzilla. :-)

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  • Rose

    Thank you for a great article! ( I linked to it from )

    I think one of the most effective ways the church could raise up good men is serious men to men mentoring.

    I believe the times call for something stronger and serious than the normal mens’ activities and buddy mentoring. As a thirty year old, never married single woman, my request to my mature older brothers in the Lord is please, please take a bold step into the lives of the young men around you. Adopt them, teach them to have a heart after the Lord and how to be good men. Fight for their maturity. I really notice that men need older, wiser men to specifically show them the way, esp. since so many didn’t have good fathers.

    My three brothers lack a godly father, and I am so grateful for the many men who reached out to them over the years. Still, I can see that they needed more.

    The church could rethink youth ministry. Scripture directly tells parents to train their own kids to follow the Lord, but most church youth ministry doesn’t focus on parents at all. I think support and teaching for parents (esp. fathers) would be great.

    My last thought is a confession, and I want to apologize for myself and my sisters. I think we women are really hard on young men. We need to repent, and change to a Christ-like attitude of respect, of politeness, of looking for the good in our brothers, and of gratefulness. The complaining bitterness I keep seeing in women when they talk about the lack of good men is counter productive and mean. I would love to see more teaching from older women on how to support our brothers instead of hindering them. We are pretty clueless about it.

  • Andy M

    Let me risk opening a hornets nest and simply say that pickin’s are slim for many of the solid Christian guys I know as well. Yup, men are dawgs and there are many more than a few who are guilty of everything mentioned here, but in my experience I have seen many young women living the worldly life in as many different ways as their guilty male contemporaries.

  • scotty prague

    Here’s the hornets nest: most good guys don’t want girls who just want to be impregnated and a housekeeper (as complementarianism often teaches our women on the practical level). Bad guys want these kinds of girls, as is the case for most of history. Good guys, on the other hand, are looking for women who can stand up on their own legs and walk with them. I was one of those single guys in the singles group. I found “good” women. But I wanted a “great” woman, strong-willed, a true complement who could challenge me and read the books I read and be a partner in ministry (rather than a behind the scenes kind of gal as some groups continue to promote).

    I was in my late twenties when I found her. She was fresh out of college. I had decided i would be forever single until I met someone like her. I was okay with that. It had nothing to do with the diagnoses I’m reading in these comments (which feel rather stereo-typical).

    We have to get out of our bubbles and gender-tribalism to see a bigger picture, one that is filled with great guys and gals… I know many… I recommend most singles who are perplexed in their inability to find lasting relationships to seek therapy for a while. There they will find honesty and reasons why they may repel others unawares…. ;)

    p.s. why do so many conservative evangelicals side with feminists in man-bashing?