Two new books promise to help women come to terms with money but instead sink into hysterical left-wing cliches about the gender gap and consumerism.
BY ANN MARLOWE
March 13, 2006 | There’s a newish genre of books that aim to position a big, common, ancient human problem — how to love or eat or invest or run a business wisely — as specific to women, and then tell women how to solve it. Some of these books are transparently commercial. And why not? It’s a no-brainer to target female readers. That’s why we don’t have gender-inspecific titles like “The French Don’t Get Fat” and “Your Lover Just Isn’t That Into You.” The more interesting of the group are sincere, motivated by passion of one kind or another, but so obsessed with the idea that the problem in question is a female problem that they ignore the very facts that could help everyone solve it.
Journalist Liz Perle’s “Money, a Memoir” is a case in point. The crucial error occurs very early in the book. After recounting the end of her first marriage, she describes her long-delayed “examination of my convoluted relationship with money” at the age of 42. “[That examination] ultimately lead[s] to my conversations with hundreds of other women,” she continues. “When it comes to money, women everywhere have so many fears and fantasies in common.” Huh? How did we go from Perle’s anxieties and issues to surveys of hundreds of women? In the next 240 pages, she never convinced me that women have any more convoluted relationships with money than men do, or even that her relationship with money has much to do with her being female. Don’t people everywhere have fears and fantasies in common having to do with money? But that observation wouldn’t necessarily sell books. (more…)