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 be 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.