Not Your Mother’s Rules, the latest in the Rules franchise of advice books by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, came out this January, approximately 18 years after the original Rules. [Why won’t it die????] As soon as I heard that Fein and Schneider were repackaging their shit for a new generation, I immediately purchased it.
SPOILER ALERT: This is only "not your mother’s Rules" insofar as het women reading the original didn’t have to deal with the same technology that het women reading this version face. Other than that, it’s completely the same.
Cover: Wow, they really cheaped out on the cover design. That rhinestone-studded key pendant is available at Claire’s, your neighborhood purveyors of tacky shit, for ~$3.99. I know because I have one. Makes a great 1:6 scale key. Is this an indication that this is some sort of half-assed, shoestring project?
"Now with their daughters, too!"
Oh jeez, what fresh hell is this? Some marketing peon no doubt thought that a Rules update should include actual perspectives from the target demographic, so they hauled Fein and Schneider’s kids in to shill for their moms’ insecurity industry.
Page 3: "But the truth is, all the old Rules still apply!"
Then why does this book exist?
Page 4: "In fact, one of the guys we interviewed said, ‘I could never be a girl — you talk about relationships too much!’ LOL!"
You can tell they’re totally hip to the millennials’ jive because they’re using chatspeak.
Page 4: "…[M]en are extremely visual and cannot be attracted to a girl just because she is nice, smart or funny. … It may sound bad, but physical attraction is everything for a guy."
"May" sound bad? It does sound bad. It portrays het men as stupid subhumans with an inability to think critically or perceive anything beyond the surface. It also perpetuates the bilgey stereotype that men only think about sex, and they do so constantly; thus they are pretty simple-minded.
You know what also sounds bad? Throughout their series, Fein and Schneider refer to woman as "girls," but never to men as "boys." Men are always "men" or "guys." But women are always infantilized and trivialized through their terminology.
Page 8: "We’ve also included special commentary from our daughters, who grew up with the Rules and can help you apply them to a younger generation and the latest technology. Sometimes a twentysomething can best understand what another twentysomething is going through."
Translation: We brainwashed our kids into accepting our retrograde heteronormative dating bullshit. Also we’re woefully out of touch. OMG! LOL!
Page 10: "Our moms never pushed this way of dating on us, but we both have traditional values and believe in old-fashioned courtship, even today."
That’s "their daughters" talking [supposedly]. I bet they’re contractually obligated to say that.
Page 13: "We … have come to the conclusion that those who became promiscuous or acted out sexually did so because they did not get enough attention, affection or approval growing up. … [W]e … have been shocked to find out how many of our clients who have trouble dating had disapproving or absentee mothers."
If your daughter’s a slut, it’s your fault, you frigid bitch.
Page 18: "Don’t react or overreact when your daughter tells you something you don’t like. … If she tells you, … ‘I’m pregnant’ or ‘I think I’m gay,’ just say, ‘I’m so glad you told me. I love and support you no matter what. It’s your life, so how would you like to handle it?’"
Being queer: now just as horrific and shameful as becoming pregnant while a teenager!
Page 24: "When your mother or friends suggest the Rules, do you say, ‘I have an MBA. No one is going to tell me what to do’?"
Wow…they’re still harping on women with MBAs, even two decades later. Someone ought to tell them that holding grudges is a waste of life.
Page 30: "Alexa, a 32-year-old MBA, called us crying after her boyfriend of 3 years walked out. She was up all night reading the Rules and hysterical after finding out that she had broken every single one of them."
Holy cannoli, here we go again. Will you please stop displacing your own personal frustrations onto women who don’t even know you exist? Quit having an external locus of control and take some responsibility for your life.
Yes, I understand — you have no control over the fact that you didn’t get into Harvard Business School. However, if you’re that hung up on the concept of an MBA, you do have control over whether you waste your life raging about it or instead do something constructive with your piss.