Aug 19, 2006

Dear Nirav

In my daily perusal of the newspaper, I usually read "Dear Abby" in passing (because it's right underneath the comics). What I've found is shocking: Abby does indeed promote intolerance. For example:
One day, I saw a column about a woman who, while having happily married parents and a six-year long relationship with the perfect man for her, wanted to run every time marriage was talked about. Abby's response? It's perfectly natural! Having such happily married parents sets the bar quite high for your own marriage.
All right, that's fine. But take a look at another day.
The column was about a letter sent in again by a woman, but this time, her boyfriend was the one who "couldn't commit". I read further, expecting a reasoned response from Abby showing the woman how her boyfriend might have had parental issues to work through. But no! Instead, this was cause for the woman to "keep her options open". Keep her options open? That brings to mind a Desperate Housewives-esque (the version of the show that non-viewers assume, not the version it actually is) fling with all the pool boys and milkmen in sight.
So, this double-standard can be two things. It can either be Abby always siding with the letter-writer (which does often happen), or it can be Abby always taking the woman's side. I'd like to know which one it is.

Now that that's over, I'd like to note that this is just an examination of a couple letters to Abby. In truth, I can't even find the first one anymore - it may have been in some other article. Also in truth, Abby's viewpoints are generally socially liberal and pretty dead-on. In searching for that first article online, I ran across all sorts of critiques of Abby's columns, ranging from taking offense on her view that homosexuality is genetic to everything else. Her advice is typically sound and open-minded. But this blog post was fun to write nonetheless.

1 comment:

Summer said...

i'd like to think of Abby as an intolerable feminist =)