What the world does not need is another blog response to Elizabeth Wurtzel’s angsty personal essay in New York Magazine, “Elizabeth Wurtzel Confronts Her One-Night Stand of a Life.” But as a woman writer, I cannot resist. Because everybody else already has, I won’t get into the most obvious complaints. (The New Yorker offered my favorite critique; Slate’s was great, too.) I will focus on the two things that bother me:
1. She relates marriage to prostitution.
“I am committed to feminism and don’t understand why anyone would agree to be party to a relationship that is not absolutely equal. I believe women who are supported by men are prostitutes”
To which I say, what’s so wrong with prostitution (if it’s between two consenting adults)? Certainly that’s not my life choice, but I don’t begrudge the choices of others. Why would such a self-advertised feminist free spirit who is so proud of sleeping around be so into judging other women’s choices? It just seems so un-feminist and so un-free spirited!
2. Her self-imposed trainwreck of a life makes for some great rubbernecking. But all this self-indulgent self-destruction seems so dated. Her writing is like the literary equivalent of wearing Doc Marten’s and a flannel shirt. In a national climate where everybody is just trying to recover from the Great Recession, how can readers tolerate her gleeful boast of being poor because she chose a designer purse over a savings account?
“But I never saved or invested, because I believe if you take care of the luxuries, the necessities will take care of themselves. When I got a huge advance for Bitch, my second book, I bought a Birkin bag…”
Somebody introduce Wurtzel to Suze Orman’s Women & Money. This Huffington Post critique says it best, but it bears repeating: An independent woman has gotta be responsible for her own finances. How else do you keep from being a prostitute?