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She may be smart, incisive, witty, and keenly observant but with the release ofAre 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 ofThe New York Timesare 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 theToronto Starto Kenneth Starr, fromCosmopolitanto 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

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ISBN-10:  0399153322
ISBN-13:  978-0399153327
Author:  Maureen Dowd
Publisher:  Putnam Adult
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review by . April 21, 2012
   I never like those "Men are from . . . . Women are from . . . . " formulations because they are usually trite and forced, and Dowd would agree.  She is from everywhere in this collection of essays on different fronts of the gender gap.      I'd say "gender wars" but she would blame George W. Bush for starting them, which she does, actually.  Most of the pieces, about dating, money, work, body image, and politics in the post-feminist …
review by . January 31, 2006
Is this the bashing of a gender? I picked up the book with curiosity piqued by a controversial title, "Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide" by Maureen Dowd, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times op-ed columnist, who has long been a favorite of mine because of her biting and inciteful (and insightful) commentary. The noir cover incites nearly as much as the title, with a redhead in a bright red clingy dress and red stilettos, surrounded by a busload of leering men. One might think this tome will …
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