“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. ” (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) The claim that all women desire the same thing is going to stereotype a whole gender. Dennis Prager’s explores this generalization in his editorial “What do Women Want? ” He bases his whole argument around one simple statement, ‘What a woman most wants is to be loved by a man she admires. ” Prager describes the archetype of an admirable man based on the three qualities of strength, integrity, and ambition.
His editorial, however accurate at some points, makes an incorrect assertion of what women really want the most. The evidence he uses to back up his argument is completely centered around men, making the assumption that women’s security lies in whether or not the man she marries is admirable. This does not take all the women who are unmarried, or do not even have an interest in men into account, and is even false for some women who are married. Even though Prager acknowledges that his theory could be seen as politically incorrect, he does almost nothing to defend it.
Instead, he just claims that it is true, even if modern feminists disagree. His only statement in defense is, “Admiring one’s husband doesn’t render a woman a serf. It renders her fortunate. ” Being able to admire your spouse for their positive qualities and success would make someone fortunate, but his theory is only one-sided. He gives men the more powerful position in the relationship. Women most want their men to be admirable and men most want to be admired. This means the happiness of both sexes is completely dependent on the male.
He says that if men do not have all three of the qualities it takes to make him admirable, then neither he nor his wife will be happy. To claim that his theory is not sexist is to ignore the fact that he focuses everything on the man. Some of his evidence in what women look for in men is true, however the qualities are more of what makes a person good and successful in life. Women do look for strong men who also have integrity and ambition, but men should also look for the same qualities in women. If a man does not have all three, according to Prager, he is either going to be submissive, bad or a crook.
If a women did not possess these qualities then she would also not be admirable, but he claims her happiness is not contingent on this. In his theory, all a woman has to do is find someone with those qualities, but she does not have to have them herself. Also, one of the biggest issues laid out in his editorial was the fact that a woman had to be married in order to have what she desires most. This is a narrow-minded viewpoint because it relies on the outdated view that all women need to aspire to marriage.
Women who are unmarried or those who do not want to pursue men romantically are capable of being just as fulfilled in life as those who are married. A source that helps refute Prager’s theory is The Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer. The wife of bath is a very confident woman who, in the prologue of her tale, talks about her five husbands. She seems very satisfied with her life and her choices; she is fulfilled regardless of the men she was married to. Even with all their deaths, she remains happy and independent.
“But even now I will strive to be merry. (Lines 478-479) The story she tells is about a knight who, after he rapes a young girl, is forced by the queen to find out what women desire the most. He finally discovers that what women want the most is to have sovereignty over their husbands. This goes directly along with the character of the wife of bath, who loved the control she had over her husbands more than anything else. The story proves that the answer to what women want the most is not just one static statement. What a person desires most in life depends on their own character and their own circumstances.
Prager’s theory that women most want a husband to admire is only true in some cases. Not all women desire to be married, and every woman is capable of happiness in her own right. Everyone should strive to be admirable, not just men. What women really do want most is love, and that could come from anywhere, not just her husband. Everyone in life wants most to be loved and feel loved, so that is really the only generalization you can make about a whole gender. Prager fails in recognizing that a woman can still have what she wants most in life without a m side.