Single-Minded: 'White Girl Problems'

Black girls have them, too.

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Much has been made of the fairly recent alpha woman/beta man scenario in which the wife brings home most of the bacon, and instead of frying it up in a pan, the husband orders in dinner, using her credit card. The cover story of this month's Atlantic magazine announces, "The End of Men," in a report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way and its vast cultural consequences. My good friend Erica Kennedy wrote a novel, Feminista, which tracks 30-year-old feminist-fashionista Sydney Zimora, who, despite appearing put together, has a breakdown around page 352. Said breakdown can be summed up as this: I want someone to take care of me. I want to be the girl!

Being a modern woman is nothing like what Ann-Margaret would have us believe in Bye Bye Birdie when she sang, "How lovely to be a woman, the wait was well worthwhile. How lovely to wear mascara and smile a woman's smile." In Eat Pray Love, Liz is told to smile from her liver by a toothless Balinese medicine man. She doesn't learn to truly do so until a real man shows up to claim her.

"You don't need a man; you need a champion!" says Felipe, Liz's third and final lover. From the beginning of the end, it's clear that this is her man. He is world-traveler tan, with an accent that sounds better than yours. He is the man who throws Liz's hard-won balance off and into the throes of passion. In the final scenes of the film, she must decide whether to really let go and be the girl or tighten the chains around her newfound muchness. That sounds like less of a white-girl problem and more like some of mine.

 

Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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