When I shared on Facebook an excerpt of Suzanne Venker’s new book, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage: How Love Works, out this week, many people dismissed it entirely because it was on Foxnews.com, a network where Venker is a frequent contributor. Prepping for this interview, I asked my boyfriend if he thought I was an alpha, and if so, difficult to date. He recoiled at the notion that anyone could be boxed into any category (I’ll take that as a ‘yes’ and a ‘yes.’).
All perfectly reasonable reactions, but let me tell you this:
Read the freaking book.
If the title alone irritates the crap out of you, it means it triggers something deep and important in you.
So read the book.
Since New York Times bestseller got a deal to write this book is only a testament to the fact that there are a lot of alpha women out there — women with difficult marriages, women searching for romantic love, women who worry their skyrocketing career and direct ways threaten her marriage — or the prospect of finding one.
Progressive brethren, I hear your objections. I get that women should not hold themselves back for the sake of their relationship. That men need to step up and accept strong women.
But what if you are just an intolerable, domineering bitch who needs to be called out?
What if you are just annoying?
What if you tried an experiment, and simply tried a new way of interacting with the men in your life? Just as a test, to see if it works?
I read the book, and I am here to tell you that Venker — a longtime married, Midwestern mom of two teenagers — has a refreshing new way to manage your relationship. Maybe you follow her recipe, step-by-step (I suggest you don’t as there are some very flawed messages, read on). Or maybe you glean a few tips, a strategy or two to reinvent a relationship that isn’t working so great, or to attract one that really, really will.
I can tell you that I am trying out some of this advice with my new man (“Have zero expectations.” The root of all misery, after all), and some of the insights are golden when dealing with my ex (“A man’s reaction to being told what to do by his wife is to do the exact opposite,” and “Stop arguing with him.” Golden, ladies. Golden.).
Ultimately, this book recognizes feminine power, and encourages women to use it to better their relationships and family life by taking control of their own happiness and wellbeing – and stop trying to control men. It’s about recognizing that you want a masculine man, and that men like feminine women, and ultimately, women want to feel feminine. This is truth:
Most women do want to feel safe in the arms of someone who is stronger than they are. They want their man to be the dominant partner in the relationship, and the only reason they don’t feel comfortable admitting it is because the culture won’t let them. The culture wants women in charge.
The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage isn’t perfect. My beefs include:
- Her only answer to the very real problem of breadwinning women being a challenge to heterosexual marriage is for women to hold themselves back professionally. Reject!
- There is a difference between controlling your own behavior for the sake of changing your relationship dynamic and manipulating your significant other. She advocates for full-frontal manipulation in many cases.
- There’s hardly any sex in this book. The topic of alpha, breadwinning women is really about sex. The lone, final chapter on this book dedicated to having more and willing sex with your husband struck me as dated and not relevant to the unabashedly sexual women that I know. Plus, I just wanted more sex in this book.
Additional reading: The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today’s Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling by Dr. Sonya Rhodes
About Like a Mother
Celebrities, bestsellers, turd-stirrers, advocates, everyday people with amazing stories, and call-in guests to discuss what smart moms really care about: Career, money, business, parenting, feminism, dating, sex, success, love and relationships.
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Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post’s ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.