Jezebel’s tag line used to be “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion. Without Airbrushing.” Now, it’s “Celebrity Sex, Fashion for Women.” After their latest relationship post, “Twelve Anti-Rule for Love,” I can see why. Love just got airbrushed.
Jezebel is normally one of the smartest sites around – for men or women – so it’s a bit of a shock to see them publish something that would normally be more at home in the latest issue of Seventeen, sandwiched between diet tips and the obligatory “Which Nail Polish Color are you?” quizlet.
Self-help author Mari Ruti’s 12 rules are presented as a level above your average relationship claptrap, but its really just the same old stuff, gussied up as empowerment. It falls victim to every over worn trope, cliche, and mixed metaphor in the book. Maybe worst of all, it’s self-contradictory. An example: #1 is to “Stop trying so hard,” while #2 is “Stop being so cautious.” Sure, those sound nice, in the same way that libertarianism sounds nice until you think about it practically for a minute.. Let’s put it to the test:
Say I’m trying to decide whether or not to get back together with my ex-boyfriend. He used to be the love of my life, but he cheated on me, and we broke up. Now he wants another chance. So, 12 Anti-Rules, what do I do? Do I “stop trying so hard” and tell him no, because “love is not a Rubik’s Cube”? Or do I listen to #2 and throw caution to the wind, and get back together with him? After all, “applying caution to love is like driving uphill with your emergency brake on.” Dear god, these metaphors.
So Jezebel published some useless advice, a thought-free thought piece. So what? The problem is that not only is the content bad, it propagates some very anti-female sentiments. The offenders are everywhere (emphasis added):
“Love is one of those human experiences where caution is overrated. If you want to be safe, go shopping at Zara with your best friend. The worst that can happen to you there is that you won’t be able to resist the adorable little black dress on sale.”
“The great thing is that when you stop insist- ing that your guy is the direct descendant of an ape, you might end up with someone as glossy as Gossip Girl’s Nate. Okay. Maybe not the actual Nate. But someone who is willing to furrow his brow, flash a smile, and chatter away just like the real one.”
“9. Stop Manipulating the guy you love…. Once he realizes that you’ve turned your relationship into a papier–mâché project, he’ll resent you. A lot.”
So let me get this straight. We ladies need your anti-rules, because if we didn’t have them, we’d probably manipulate our boyfriends until they hate us. Then Once they dump us, we will shop until we can’t feel feelings (and maybe drink an appletini or two, right ladies? Right?!), until we meet our next furrowed brow, dead-eyed mannequin boyfriend who will whisk us away to Tahiti. Girl Power! Barf.