The social significance and intellectual respect of women have come a long way since Emily Davison threw herself under the King’s horse in 1913 to further the suffrage movement.
However, there’s a certain type of advice, written ‘for girls, by girls’, that is undermining the cause with every trite, superficial recommendation it makes.
Every inquisitive boyfriend has leafed through his girlfriend’s magazines at one time or another. They’re a treasure trove of information and with even the most casual of inspections it’s immediately obvious what they’re all about. In essence they address the most common and ‘pressing’ female issues, namely how to look attractive and have successful relationships. This isn’t a big revelation and nor is it a bad thing; women as much as men need advice on how to live and prosper in our 21st Century world.
I was recently inspecting my girlfriend’s bookshelf while waiting for her to get ready to go out
(how’s that for a relationship cliché?) and noticed a book called Top Tips for Girls. ‘Top tips!’ I thought. ‘As advice for women goes, this book must surely contain only the purest and most helpful gems of wisdom for the fairer sex.’
To say I was wrong would be a gross understatement. What followed were several minutes of being floored and refloored by the some of the worst advice for women I’ve ever laid eyes on. Every recommendation was more ill-thought-out than the last.
What made it worse was that this book was a compilation of the best advice given by women on a website that was specifically designed…
Here are some of the wise words from the dating and relationships sections.
This first one comes from a woman who goes by the online name of ‘textinthecity’—a subtle nod to Sex in the City, I presume.
As lists go, this one isn’t hideous. It’s sensible and contains some decent attributes that any right-minded woman would certainly want in her boyfriend or husband. If I were to nitpick, I would say that it could do without the sentence fragments. ‘He shows you’ is great if the man in question is showing you his feelings, but not as ideal if he’s showing you his collection of Nazi memorabilia. And ‘he tells you’ is wonderful if he’s telling you how splendid you are each night when you return from work—not so good if he’s telling you to prance around in said Nazi regalia while he goose steps about the place. Clearly that’s unlikely to happen, but some extra specificity wouldn’t have gone a miss for this one.
Good advice score: 7/10
This list started fine—decent things you might expect a woman living in 2011 to live by. But then suddenly it degraded into a list of commands that would be more at home in 1928.
‘You impose a two-drink maximum on yourself.’
Why? Are the readers of Top Tips for Girls the biggest lightweights in the world, or are they liable to embarrass themselves and their partners at the first sip of their third drink?
‘You watch your language.’
A piece of advice more suited to an 11-year-old than a grown woman.
‘You say yes.’
Good advice score: 3/10
And that’s as good as the advice from this book is going to get. Behold these clangers.
Amazing advice! But only if you add the word suicide after commit. I can’t even begin to work out a) Why Cheekster might think this is a good idea b) Why Kate Reardon, the person who collated these ideas into the book, would decide it was good too.
Good advice score: 0/10 (Not a single point. Not even for trying.)
‘Oh! It’s a comedy book!’ I thought after reading this one. So I flipped it over to check the back cover.
Reference!? Not comedy, but actually a reference book. Let’s ignore this toilet-based titbit. I’m sure it’s just an anomaly. Slipped through the net, so to speak.
I guess not. Anyway, let’s get back to real dating and relationship issues — the kind all women worry about.
I can imagine that kind of advice leading to a situation not unlike the following:
Boyfriend: I’ve loved these past few weeks.
Girlfriend: Mmm, me too.
Boyfriend: It feels like our relationship is developing so much, don’t you think?
*Girlfriend abruptly hangs up*
Girlfriend (to herself): Hehe, that’ll keep him keen.
Boyfriend: Hello? Well, guess not. I’ll go to the strip club with my friends after all.
Which I suppose would explain the next extract:
Ludicrous. Anyway I thought I’d finish on these two extracts. One directly follows the other in the book.
Woah, woah, woah. Wait right there.
Then right after that comes:
Hmm, let’s see. Some signs your partner is cheating might be that they are receiving flowers with no name attached, they always hang up the phone halfway through the conversation, they poop like a ninja and they frequently congratulate you for sitting while you pee.
This book is objectively awful, but it’s not the only one. There are literally thousands of them out there, with new ones published every day, each packed full of inane, intellect-draining advice that has no place in any woman’s (or person’s) mind. Magazines are just as bad, if not worse, for attempting to help women conquer stereotypes and socially prosper, while at the very same time perpetuating the idea that women are harebrained, obsessed with beauty and genetically-programmed to fail with men.
Clearly there’s also some very good literature out there for women, and smarter girls have no problem with the crap I’ve dissected above because they simply avoid it — but even so, I think an upgrade of this kind of advice would be a very good thing.
Oh, here’s an extract that I simply could not understand no matter how many times I read it.
I must be missing something here. With interior design? Like, if he brings back lots of books on the subject and materials for sprucing up the place? Or does it mean if he comes back to your home, which happens to make use of interior design, then make sure the design doesn’t include lace and stuff? If you know what this nonsense is about, please leave a comment below. I’d love to know, just so I can be sarcastic about it.
Sigh. The end.