- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Seal Press (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580053327
- ISBN-13: 978-1580053327
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life Paperback – September 27, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This books has helped me look at dating as a more fluid, less restrictive process. I really appreciate it.
The title is "Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining your Love Life." Yes, titles need to have a zing to bring sales. More accurate subtitles would be, "Why Stereotypical Ideas of Gender are Ruining Your Love Life" or "Why Feminism is NOT Ruining Your Love Life," or even "Why Being Marginalized is Cool."
The book has extensive citations, but it has no bibliography or index.
Mukhopadhyay says that society's expectation that conventional relationships lead to happiness puts pressure on women to be in conventional relationships, when sometimes conventional relationships don't lead to happiness. She advocates niceness and stability rather than legality and permanence.
She writes that John Gray's book, "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus," is "(out)dated now." Why? Does a book's age make it outdated? She says Gray "gave us a new and particularly harmful vocabulary for expressing gender difference in relationships." What was the vocabulary? Why was it harmful? Mukhopadhyay doesn't say.
Mukhopadhyay talks about how "gender variance, transgender identities," etc., are on the new and cool cutting edge. Mukhopadhyay's advocacy of gay rights and marriage, and how gays also suffer from society's expectation that everyone go toward a heterosexual marriage, are points worth making, but they are points that she makes over and over and over to the extent that the drumbeat of repetition is a distraction in the book.
Mukhopadhyay criticizes Helen Fisher for expressing "tired stereotypes, like women like to talk more, think more long-term, and lead with emotion, whereas men express their love through action." Tired stereotypes these may be, those statements are true for many women and men -- even those who completely accept gender equality. One wonders why Mukhopadhyay ignores the work of linguist Dr. Deborah Tannen, who wrote, "That's Not What I Meant!: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships," complete with many non-judgmental studies of how even the youngest boys and girls communicate differently based on their gender.
Mukhopadhyay criticizes those who reach too many conclusions from experiments, when "really they're inferences based on observations." And yet Mukhopadhyay draws her own conclusions on what's real and true, from much less evidence, principally from her own readings, experiences and conversations with friends.
Mukhopadhyay attacks the societal expectation of mandatory heterosexual monogamy by pointing out the sex scandals of Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, etc. She says, "These incidents suggest that mandatory heterosexuality is a socially constructed myth." Really? Wasn't it already obvious that many people are not heterosexual and/or not monogamous, before Bill got stupid with Monica? Strangely, for a feminist who just named ten public sex scandals all involving men, Mukhopadhyay doesn't discuss why cheating by the powerful is a male phenomena. Why do we read about Bill instead of Hillary, Newt instead of Nancy? An interesting perspective is in the 6/11/11 NYT piece, "When It Comes to Scandal, Girls Won't Be Boys."
Mukhopadhyay spends a paragraph describing Tim Wise's essay, "This is Your Nation on White Privilege (Updated)," on how the media's treatment of Sarah Palin shows our culture of white privilege, but Mukhopadhyay misses the best parts of the essay. Both articles may be found on-line.
Mukhopadhyay does a fair job of talking about societal expectations of gender roles, and how "even in today's society, people are not considered 'adult' until they're married."
In the course of describing the expectation that the man will pay for the costs of dates and eventually be the provider of the relationship, Mukhopadhyay states one of her most repeated, tiresome and stereotypical phrasings: "Women are expected to want a man with money.... And if he does pay, she puts out. Money guarantees an all-access pass to the vagina park." There are lots of women who make at least pro forma offers to share the dating cost, at least as dating continues. And there are lots of women who don't automatically "put out" because the man bought dinner.
Mukhopadhyay is correct that many of both genders hate some of the strictures of societal expectations: "Men don't want to always have to make the first move and women don't always want to feel like they have to wait or be passive," and she correctly describes the bizarrely bloated wedding industry, as well as the standard societal expectations of what it means to be "feminine" or "masculine."
Mukhopadhyay goes into a bizarre critique of the word "single." "Outside of social labels, 'single' is a census category that means little more than lacking a piece of approval from the state.... 45 percent of the adult population is unmarried, but that doesn't mean they are single per se, just not married." Well, yeah, "single" has lately generally transformed from meaning "I'm not married" to "I'm not in a relationship." But does that really make the census's use of the word in its original and slightly dated sense discriminatory? Mukhopadhyay could have written about how, in California at least, for purposes of real estate titles, someone not yet married is "single," but someone divorced is forever after "unmarried." At least for Californians, "unmarried" could have a bit of stigma which "single" does not have.
The statistic that Mukhopadhyay uses to support the assertion that 45% of the adult population is unmarried, uses "over 18" to mean adult. A lot of 18-22 year olds are still in school or just establishing themselves; many persons over 60 or so are unmarried not by choice, but because their partner died. Narrowing the age range would provide a better picture of how many remain single by choice.
Mukhopadhyay claims "the best-selling dating books are written by men, and ... the most popular self-help gurus are men," naming men like Dr. Phil, and, again, John Gray. What about Barbara DeAngelis? DeAngelis' many books on relationships aren't labeled "feminist," but at core they are very feminist, empowering women and men to analyze their situations and seek what they want in relationships. DeAngelis does not shame women or force societal expectations. DeAngelis is all about much of what Mukhopadhyay advocates. DeAngelis is a former wife of John Gray, not to mention that DeAngelis is a better author than Gray is. Mukhopadhyay writes six pages on "Sex and the City" and not a word for DeAngelis?
Mukhopadhyay has an implicit, perhaps explicit, assumption that only liberals can be feminists. This should be addressed. While many conservatives follow religious beliefs of male privilege, conservative feminists exist, and they should be acknowledged at least in passing.
Surely Mukhopadhyay could have asserted the validity of relationship choice without downgrading marriage, but she writes, "Marriage is not a permanent state, but a fickle and very much impermanent one. Marriage is a ritual...." For the Kardashians, yes; but for many, marriage is a viable and permanent lifestyle choice, and isn't feminism about choice?
I love Mukhopadhyay's admission that "For most of us, dating sucks." A friend of mine calls this status "dating hell." Mukhopadhyay's most valuable points IMO are that we should not feel trapped by society's expectations, and that a woman's -- or man's -- sense of self-worth and value are not dependent on whether they're in a relationship, or whether that relationship is headed toward marriage. These points get lost, a lot, in the other assertions and digressions.
The author's starting point is very personal, which one of the other reviewers, for some reason, takes as a weakness. For me, however, this is really helpful and honest. By laying out her perspective and making it clear that relationships are not one-size-fits-all, she really leaves a lot up to the reader in terms of where to go with the information and ideas presented in the book. Further, between the references and endnotes, there are a great many directions to go in terms of further reading. At first, it struck me as a little too academic how many citations there were, but, as I moved forward, I realized it was a way to give the reader the freedom to explore all the sources of the author's analysis and draw her or his own conclusions.
And that's one thing that really impressed me about the book, and sets it apart from other dating books: there's no "answer," strictly speaking. There is a lot of really solid criticism of the sorts of patters we're all trained to follow and how these can stand in the way of authentic relationships, but the reader's intelligence is respected enough to not offer a simple, pat alternative.
On top of it all, I couldn't help but bust out laughing in just about every chapter or subsection. The sarcasm and comedy flowing through what is a really heartfelt and smart book makes some of the hard truths in it (like that there's no easy solution) a little easier to stomach. Even the section titles are great (like "Hopeless Romantic or Glutton for Punishment," which is one of my favorites). That said, I think one of the other reviewers probably took a lot of the humor too seriously, though it's hard to tell since of lot of that reviewer's sentences are hard to decipher.
Finally, as someone who, like most people, hasn't lived a fairy tale, this book actually made me feel a bit hopeful and less alone in my struggle to find and build lasting and loving relationships. Between the humor and insight, there's a lot to gather and I left it feeling refreshed and excited to continue building meaningful relationships with friends and lovers.
Most recent customer reviews
The first chapter is about the assertion in many dating books that...Read more