Sex and the Single Girl, or How to Chase Men and Abide by Raging Gender Stereotypes

Weird. Odd. Bizarre.
I read this book because of how “liberating” and “progressive” and “forward-thinking” it allegedly was. Turns out, it wasn’t.

GRANTED, this book was written in 1962, but it was also written by the woman behind Cosmo….

And instead of using a diamond ring and a picket fence as the finish line, Gurley Brown advises women that everything they do should have passed the test “Will this impress/attract/otherwise entrance Men?” She encourages women to work, (sort of) economically support themselves, and become as fiscally responsible and self-reliant as possible…HUZZAH-time right? That’s where the catch comes: in her world, women do not do these things to find self-satisfaction or personal fulfillment– no, women do these things to ensnare more and more men. She encourages women to collect men, to manipulate men, to expect and encourage gift-giving (from men, to women)…. Marriage is a vague background idea, but it’s still there; she’s encouraging a single life for now, but still expects that women will one day be married, and this is just good practice. Have fun, be young, learn the tricks of the trade, and then settle down. There’s still the “and then” that annoys me.
This was like reading something out of a time capsule. It was frustrating, illuminating, and ridiculous, but at least it gave me an opposing viewpoint to consider for awhile

Has anyone else read this one?


2 responses to “Sex and the Single Girl, or How to Chase Men and Abide by Raging Gender Stereotypes

  1. I read it as a senior in high school, which was 10 years after the book came out. Even then I found it dated and annoying. Whoever suggested to you that HGB’s work was liberating, progressive and forward thinking must’ve been living in a time capsule of their own. Liberating only in terms of sexual freedom without guilt. Otherwise? Nada. It’s only about how to snare a guy and keeping him interested in your body. Did you ever read Cosmo when HGB ran it? Gross.

  2. But that’s what it’s all about! OK, I agree the book is very dated and probably always was. However, in my opinion, the message that the writer was trying to cope with (and probably didn’t understand herself) was that, although sex without guilt is great and that’s how it should be, now we’re all supposedly so equal, the days are long gone when men past their early twenties are going to want to screw anything just because it has a pulse!

    Whichever sex you are and whatever your orientation you have to make your partner, be it for an hour or for life, want to screw you. If can’t, or can’t be bothered, then there’s no point in even considering it in the first place and, at best, the sex will be crap, if it happens at all!

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