Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Worst Advice Ever Given

The worst book I have ever read in my life is Helen Andelin's "Facinating Girl." To be fair, I haven't read "Fascinating Woman", for tips on keeping your man happy once you catch him, or her books on parenting. Frankly, after reading the drivel/crap that filled "Fascinating Girl", I'm a little frightened about reading Andelin's parenting advice.

I read this book because a friend told me about it. She says that sometimes she and her husband pick up the book, read a random passage, and laugh and make fun of it. I had to see if it was truly as bad as she said. It was worse. The truly shocking thing about this book is that it has been reprinted several times, including the last few years. This was written in the 60's, during the time women were beginning to burn their bras and realized there was more to life than cooking, cleaning, and handing hubby slippers and newspaper when he gets home from work. Andelin's writing sets women's lib back at least a century, if not longer.

She recommends that women don't try to excel in subjects that are considered male oriented, such as math or science. She warns her readers against competing with men for academic honors, or attempting to get jobs in fields that have traditionally been dominated by men. No man, she warns, wants a wife who is smarter than him. It would be okay with Andelin to get a job working as a secretary for a man working in certain fields, but she would be expected to quit her job as soon as she was married. And if by some reason a marriage failed, or the husband died, Andelin suggests finding work in a womanly way. Since education, other than domestic arts, isn't recommended by Andelin, it is assumed that women in this situation will end up becoming cleaning ladies or day care providers. She certainly wouldn't believe in having a career/degree to fall back on.

One of the absolute worst suggestions she gives is on how to act when you are angry. She actually suggests that women act like little girls, pouting, stomping, and threatening to tell his mother. If I tried that on my husband, he'd either bust up laughing or get even madder. She also suggests women dress like little girls, using hair bows, ribbons, and lace.

Andelin repeatedly refers to Dora from "David Copperfield" as the ideal fascinating girl. If you can get past that Dora is a fictional character, and the fact that she has no skills, other than playing with her doggie and looking pretty, I still don't see how Dora could possibly be a role model for anyone. She's no Elizabeth Bennet, that's for sure.

If a woman wants to be a doormat to a man, have him make all the decisions, disregard her feelings and become a second class citizen, then by all means she should follow the advice in this book. If, however, she wants to be an equal partner with her husband, sharing decisions, finances, chores, child care, and respect, then she should do the opposite of what the book says.

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