As you guys already know, I've been reading Steve Harvey's book. I started on it Sunday night, didn't give it much thought through the rest of the week. But today, I figured since I would be in the museum for four hours, it was the best time to read it without interruption. Took me less than two hours to complete it and, brace yourselves ladies:
I thought the book was a load of shit.
I know that a few of you reading this are probably like, "This bitch can't be serious. This book was soooo informative, so useful. Steve was on point!" Now, I'm not saying the book wasn't useful. I know it helped somebody. I just happened to think it was a bunch of generalized, ego-driven, one-sided hooey. But, as much as it would please me to, I'm not going to merely say the book sucked. Like a good reviewer, I'm going to give you examples of why I thought it sucked.
Act Like a Lady...
Even though I've have issues with the fact that Steve's writing was kind of atrocious, I'll let it slide for now. I understand he's not a writer so I won't hold that against him. My biggest fault with this book is in his over generalizations of women and his definition of what 'acting like a lady' is.
For starters, the "undesirable" women that he writes about are incredibly stereotypical. Undesirable Woman #1 is an emotional, clingy, gossipy, knit-picky Girly Girl who wants to sit around all day and talk about feelings. Undesirable Woman #2 is an independent, belittling, self-important, ball-busting New Millennium woman who wants quick and dirty, not strings attached sex. Both women embody everything a man doesn't want to settle down with. Steve's advice in a nutshell: Don't be either of these women and you'll keep/get you're man. He fails to acknowledge, however, that the women who fall in the middle still have trouble finding and keeping a man. He simply outlines key behaviors not to engage in (or vice versa) to be the 'lady' men want you to be.
Apparently, to Steve Harvey, one of the key components of acting like a lady is being a kiss ass. In his chapter, The Three Things Every Man Needs, he writes, "We've got to feel kingly even if we don't act kingly." Nothing wrong with a little encouragement. But what he suggests is for women to constantly compliment and validate their men. That's right ladies. If you want to keep your man, stroke his ego and stroke it well. Make him feel wanted, needed. Say to him, "you so big an strong and you're everything I need". And those are Steve's words, not mine.
In addition to ego-stroking, according to Harvey, being a lady means being a damsel in distress. Have an adventurous spirit? Not anymore. Harvey explains how his wife was a thrill-seeker before they married, but changed her ways for him. "Her life is in jeopardy and I can't do anything about it? No sir. No more of that." You see, being a 'lady' is all about making your man feel like your Protector. Don't put yourself in situations where he feels like he can't protect you. Oh, and being a lady also means minimizing your attributes so that you don't make your man feel like less of a man. If you're financially successful, don't flaunt it. Don't display your accomplishments because it may emasculate him. That would be baaaaad.
...Think Like a Man
Men are simple, Steve says. They only need three things, Steve says. Loyalty, support, sex, Steve says. These are their basic needs. If you're lacking in any department, than expect your man to stray. Fair enough.
Women, I'd argue, are simple as well. We want from a relationship, what we put into it. That's what we need. We show our love and devotion to our man, and we expect the same. Seems fair right?
Unfortunately, things aren't that open and shut. You see, according to Steve, our love isn't like their love. "Nothing on this planet can compare to a woman's love--it is kind and compassionate, patient and nurturing, generous and sweet and unconditional. Pure...Well, I'm here to tell you that expecting that kind of love from a man is unrealistic. That's right, I said it--it's not gonna happen, no way no how. Because a man's love just isn't like a woman's love." According to Steve, a man's way of showing he loves a woman is by professing it to people around them, protecting her, and providing for her.
Um, that's all well and good, but isn't that kind of expected in a long-term committed relationship? Hell, we do that shit in our own feminine way. Can't we get some of that sweet, nurturing, unconditional, love--the kind that makes us feel loved--that we give them in return? Steve says no. Because that's just "not in their DNA".
What frustrates me about this book, and in general, is the fact that women are expected to change for men. Think like a man. Know what they want and cater to it. Know what they hate and don't do it. But when there is something we don't like about them, we have to live with it because "you can't change a man". We have to accept that men don't like talking about things, cuddling after sex, cheat just because "they can", and that there's nothing we can do about it. Because that's 'just the way they are'. We stroke his ego/kiss his ass, and hope that it'll be enough to keep him from going astray. Forget the fact that they we have unmet needs and desires. We just have to do everything in our power to keep them satisfied.
You've got books like this, shows like Tough Love, and movies like He's Just Not That Into You telling us everything we're doing wrong and how to change it. Maybe I've taken one too many feminist classes, but when the hell are we going to see a how-to guide for men? When is someone going to show them what they're doing wrong? Why does the woman have to think like a man? Why can't the man think like a woman for once?
Ughh. But I digress.
Unfortunately, my overall impression of this book was a big fat Meh/Womp. All it really did was confirm that men are complete self-righteous douchebags by giving me specific examples of how. And to top it all off, it told me that I have to accept the epic flaws of Man, kiss his ass, and be a modern day Stepford Wife if I want him to stick around and do right by me. If this is what it takes to find and keep a man, I might as well shave my head and go lesbo, because I am guaranteed to be single for life.
The only positive thing I can say about this book is, after explaining all the male bullshit, there is a chapter called The Playbook. Tips on how to 'win the game'. It was pretty basic really. 1) be upfront about what you want and don't settle for less 2) hold out on the sex if you want him to take you seriously. Um. Duh. Though we don't always obey these rules, most women know them. So, for me at least, this book didn't offer anything new.
Despite my obvious opposition, my final word would be to encourage women to read this book. Yeah, I hated it, but maybe it'll be useful to you. I understand that my take on this book is drastically different from many women. I'm reading it from a feminist perspective while others may be reading for a solution to their biggest relationship mistakes. My mother thought the book was wonderfully insightful. I thought it was wonderfully archaic and chauvinistic. The point is, different women have different views. So, don't let my review sway you. If you were considering it, I still say give it a read and see what you think. All I'm saying is it wasn't for me. And no matter how much praise this book gets, I ain't drinking the Kool Aid.
Source: Steve Harvey. Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man. 2008.