Feminist Meets Cowboy
A reader sends in this Slate review of a current memoir by a feminist who fell head over heels in love with a cowboy. Excerpt:
The cowboy is 6 feet 2 inches tall with a cleft chin, strong jaw, and well-formed lips (“mama said meow”). He could buy all his accessories in a Brooklyn men’s shop, but he doesn’t have to because he’s the real thing, a real rancher in a real cowboy hat who herds real cattle and wears his faded Wranglers so well that they turn the heads of the gay couples at the hipster bar where they go on their first date (back when [the author] still believed it was OK for the woman to pick the location of a date).
Our heroine’s attraction to him—that is, the animal attraction of a trash-talking feminist who grew up in a Marxist, Barbie-free household to this … this … caveman, this brute with a pickup truck and a gun rack who watches Fox News and eats steak—comes as an unwelcome surprise to her at first. She wonders: Aren’t all conservatives “stupid! Or evil!”? Shouldn’t a good feminist only be into guys in tweed suits who recycle? Isn’t it a liberal sin to be turned on by big, strong, leathery, tanned hands? But then she turns to Google and realizes that science and biology are on the side of her libido. Feminism may have covered our eyes with its “dreary shroud of lies,” but nature knows the truth, which is that men and women are different. After that, the revelations come fast: “We are the vessel. They are the elixir and the funnel. We are the earth. They are the plough and seed. They give, we take. We open, they enter.” [The author], like all womankind, was “programmed, sexually and emotionally, to get excited by a man who took charge.” Her first night at the ranch, Al Green on the radio, the “angels sang arias” and “the earth moved.” She would tell you more details about that night, but the cowboy has forbidden it.
The author of the deeply un-p.c. memoir is named Alisa Valdes. The reader who sent it in wonders how the book would be received if a conservative-ish Anglo woman had written a memoir exploring the deep satisfaction of dating a traditionally, even stereotypically, masculine man. Great question.
Judging from the review, Valdes sounds about two tics away from Elizabeth Wurtzel crazy. Still, her book may be another example of how generalizations (in this case, about what women and men look for in a sexual partner) really are true. That is, what makes a stereotype a stereotype is not that it is untrue, but that it purports to be the whole truth.