Karrine Steffans — The Vixen Manual

Dear God Almighty. The Vixen Manual: How to Find, Seduce & Keep the Man You Want is a misogynist, anti-feminist piece of crap. In Steffans’ view, women have too long relied on the assumption that they’re the more emotional sex (!!!!!!!!) to get away with not acting responsibly (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). She suggests women have to act like ladies to get respected, which includes not giving it up easily, and playing the submissive role in the relationship (“too much independence can Vixen Manual bookbe a bad thing”). She also suggests that even as women take on this submissive role, they have to act as though they are constantly on trial. Everything, every part of your body, at all times, should be perfect. In Steffans’ world, love is always conditional, and if you let your junk get out of control, then you deserve to be left.* You also deserve to be left if you lean too much on your partner by venting to him — that kind of conversation is girltalk only.

On top of all this, there’s a surprising amount of sex shaming (she goes on at length about “porn pussy” and the badness of promiscuous sex), too. This sex-shaming extends into a policing of gender as well, with Steffans suggesting that women befriend men, and hang out in “guy spaces” but not the other way around.

Finally, feminism’s what’s going to leave you single. The movement’s guilty for a lot. For example, it’s feminism’s fault that women are expected to be monogamous daters (yeah, the ’40′s push for a stable “home front”, the ’50s ideologies, and the REAGAN ERA had NOTHING to do with that). After I read that, I started skimming — whenever she said “feminism” or “postfeminist era” I skipped to the next paragraph.

While there’re some pluses, like Steffans’ discussion of age, desire, and sex, the rest is a lot of woman-blaming. If you don’t have a man, it’s because you aren’t putting the right energy into the universe.* Bah. Bah, I say!

*”She writes, “Marriage means you now have a legal obligation to impress this man for the rest of your life, a legal obligation to have sex with him…”, which I guess means you are legally obligated to be a hot mama in the heteronormative sense for the rest of your life as well.

*BTW your desire for a man defines your existence.

Comments

  1. Scarlett says

    Is this anything like The Rules, ten years later? Didn’t read that, either…

    My brain hasn’t come up with a more coherant comment then a bunch of four-letter words. Will come back if I ever think of something beyond that.

  2. Eileen says

    Wow, I have to go tell my husband of ten years that my lifelong feminism is why I’ll always be single. Oh, hold on. That makes no sense.

    • Maria V. says

      Maybe he’ll be gratified to know you’ve eagerly fulfilled your LEGAL OBLIGATION to have sex with him. :eye roll:

  3. Anemone says

    There are some really strange mixed messages there, with the cover and the word “vixen” on one side, and woman-blaming and the need for submission on the other. I always figured vixens did their own thing, and if they left a trail of damage in their wake, so what? After all, vixens (foxes) are generally solitary animals, more like cats than dogs.

  4. sbg says

    O.o

    Wow.

    In Steffans’ world, love is always conditional, and if you let your junk get out of control, then you deserve to be left.

    This must be why I’m single right now – I never had my junk in control. Love me, love me the way I am right now, warts and all, as they say. I’m not putting on a show to “get a man”. I simply don’t have the energy or the desire. I’d rather be single. ;)

  5. says

    I don’t knock Ms. Steffans’ Hustle however I must take issue with the fact that she’s asking for women to put themselves in “boxes” just for the pleasure of men.

    Isn’t that what she hated about men putting her in the Box labeled “Supahead”?

  6. says

    See, I tend to flip things like this around and note that in describing all the hoops women must jump through to get and “keep” men, she’s describing a man who is shallow, entitled, and narcissistic enough to cook and serve his firstborn for dinner and complain it was too fatty. I would want him why?

  7. SunlessNick says

    For example, it’s feminism’s fault that women are expected to be monogamous daters

    Wait, what?

    I tend to flip things like this around and note that in describing all the hoops women must jump through

    Most things that require so many hoops, we’d wonder if it’s worth going after at all.

  8. Scarlett says

    Anemone, great point. I’ve always been baffled when people use the term ‘vixen’ to mean some kind of subservient male fantasy, because foxes are known for being self-reliant, resourceful and often loners. Somehow, I just can’t see the girl foxes pottering aftrer their men subserviently :p

    The first thing that grabbed me was the cover picture; lying down, face partially concealed by her hair, shirt open with the strategically placed title. Ugh.I can’t see myself buying a book which had such a cover. Something tells me that unless it was obviously intended to be ironic, ANYTHING marketed in such a fashion wouldn’t pique my interest.

  9. says

    Thanks, Maria, sometimes I get confused and think I’d be happier alone because I am. ;)

    Most things that require so many hoops, we’d wonder if it’s worth going after at all.

    By “we”, do you mean men? Because while I can’t speak for all or even most women, I certainly was trained to feel my entire life would be about jumping through hoops to please men, and this was just natural and there was no point complaining about it. I decided early on, if men were that fussy, who wanted ‘em? Then I discovered they weren’t and, you know, we are all being lied to about, at last count, um, everything.

    And, dear Nick, it’s also feminism’s fault that men have to PAY for the dates. I know; I read it on a male right’s activist forum. I couldn’t believe they were serious, but they were. They yammered on about it at length.

  10. sbg says

    And, dear Nick, it’s also feminism’s fault that men have to PAY for the dates. I know; I read it on a male right’s activist forum. I couldn’t believe they were serious, but they were. They yammered on about it at length.

    Does not compute.

    But, oh my, women are teh evil, aren’t they? I’m beginning to think there isn’t a single thing in the world that can’t be pinned on feminism.

  11. Maria V. says

    < sarcasm> Heh. Look, all I’m saying is that if you’re going to bore me by talking about golf, the LEAST you can do is buy me dinner. Men are SO stupid. Am I right, ladies?? < /sarcasm>

  12. SunlessNick says

    By “we”, do you mean men? Because while I can’t speak for all or even most women, I certainly was trained to feel my entire life would be about jumping through hoops to please men, and this was just natural and there was no point complaining about it.

    Not intentionally, but you’re right; sorry. What I was trying to get at was this – if men were that fussy, who wanted ‘em – that if “getting a man” needs as much crap as that book claims, surely “is ‘getting a man’ worth it in the first place?” becomes a reasonable question.

  13. Charles RB says

    So women should be submissive, less independent, constantly perfect, and not venting to men. Well, that’s an interesting view, Steffans.

    However, according to Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, if women weren’t independent, not submissive, and vented to men, the monstrous Gyaos would have wiped out Japan. Now that may not be true in real life, but would you want to take the risk? For the sake of global security, humanity has to ignore this book!

  14. SunlessNick says

    Well, to use their EvoPsych against them, back in the cavedays, when Woman the Gatherer provided 70-90% of the food, human survival depended on women speaking up and saying which way the tribe should go.

    • Maria V. says

      Well, as long as she only that to her girlfriends and never told Man the Hunter how stressed she was about the growing season, I’m sure that was okay.

  15. says

    SunlessNick: Yeah, that’s the thing.

    Back in my single days, I was wicked picky, and I used to get the occasional “but if you have such high standards, you’ll never find anyone!” comment. Ignoring the fact that this is blatantly untrue, it begs the question: so I’m supposed to lower my standards in order to…be with someone I don’t really want to be with?

    Your second prize is *two* weeks in Philadelphia!

  16. caroline says

    “Marriage means you now have a legal obligation to impress this man for the rest of your life, a legal obligation to have sex with him…”,

    So does this mean if you put on weight and he doesnt like it you can be arrested (for failing to impress your husband)?

    More seriously, does it also mean that there is no such thing as rape within marriage?

    So women only exist to please men, and can’t say no. That’s just great – and hardly a new concept.

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