The sad spectacle of Dee Dee Myers
By Carey Roberts
Dee Dee Myers has just come out with her amusing tale, Why Women Should Rule the World. You may recall Mrs. Myers was the first female White House press secretary, appointed during the first two tumultuous years of the Clinton administration.
Simply put, Myers is a female supremacist. "Women tend to be better communicators, better listeners, better at forming consensus," she argues. That entitles women to run the world because they do everything better than those power-hungry men, Myers believes.
As the unsmiling Myers goes about promoting her book, one wonders what led her to pen a tome filled with crude gender stereotypes and doubtful claims.
After Myers left the hurly-burly of the White House in 1994, Myers married a handsome (and well-paid) magazine executive. They moved into a tony Washington DC home and had two children together.
But 14 years after leaving her heady White House post, Myers' career has stalled out. She has only managed to land a few part-time consulting jobs, like advising the now-defunct NBC series, The West Wing.
Hardly an inspiring role model for the female global domination wannabes.
If you go out and get Myers' book, don't expect to find a watertight argument.
According to Myers, women create a nurturing, idyllic work environment – well, with a few exceptions. In a 2000 Frontline interview, Myers made these remarks about her White House encounters with a devious Hillary Clinton: "Hillary tended to kind of campaign against people behind their back, and that was certainly my experience."
Women are the peaceful gender, as well. To prove the point, Myers highlights on page 125 how Queen Elizabeth I arranged to have Mary Queen of Scots beheaded, Indira Gandhi pushed for a sharp increase in nuclear arms, and Margaret Thatcher went to war in the Falklands.
Women never abuse their power, either. That's true for every woman in the world except Indira Gandhi who "used emergency provisions to grant herself extraordinary powers and quash dissent," Myers admits.
Women are gentle consensus-builders, as well. Myers recounts the story of Alexis Herman, former Secretary of Labor, who tried her hand at resolving a labor strike. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Herman grabbed one of the negotiators by the lapels and issued this threat: "Don't *&!@ with me."
Perhaps we should be grateful that Mrs. Meyers does not make the claim that women are the logical sex. And some of her factual statements raise eyebrows, as well.
Myers says back in 1998 the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition brokered the historic Good Friday Agreement, a claim that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also stands by.
Unfortunately, no one else saw it that way. As Irish historian Tim Pat Coogan noted, "It was a nice thing to see [Hillary Clinton] there, with the women's groups. It helped, I suppose, but it was ancillary to the main thing." The Women's Coalition disbanded in 2006 after its candidates lost in two straight elections, an inconvenient truth that escapes Meyer's notice.
There's this chestnut on page 56: "until recently, all the research into [heart] disease was conducted on men." But somehow that doesn't square with the FDA analysis that found, "women have been included in drug development studies at least since the early 1980s in approximate proportion to the prevalence of disease in them."
And as we all know, women are victims of the gender wage gap. Want proof? When the 31-year-old Myers worked at the White House, she was paid a measly $100,000. But there was another deputy assistant, he was paid $10,000 more.
True, he was far more experienced and qualified. He took a big pay cut to come work for President Clinton. But that didn't matter – Dee Dee was entitled to that extra 800 bucks in her paycheck.
Go call the lawyers!
Lest you suspect that Myers is totally unsympathetic to men, she proffers this reassurance on page 128: "That's not to say women should replace men altogether." And yes, she does thank her husband in the Acknowledgements.
See, not all men are that bad.
Dee Dee Myers comes across as a woman who hasn't figured out whether she wants to be a stay-at-home mom or go back to being a 60-hour-a-week workaholic. So every road bump in life is blamed on the heartless patriarchy. She publishes a book filled with odious stereotypes and half-truths, and then wonders why her colleagues don't take her seriously.
In the end, Myers' book becomes a feminist fairy tale that provokes sadness, not outrage. In its over-wrought quest to promote female empowerment, her work becomes a parody of the very movement she has chosen to embrace.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.