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Blakeley's article is based on the claim that women are buying the lion's share of self-help books.
74% of relationship and family books in 2008 were apparently purchased by women, and the Times' latest paperback advice bestseller list is certainly packed with titles targeting women (Hungry Girl 200 Under 200, Skinny Bitch, and How Not To Look Old are a few standouts).
Take Forbes's list of titles: "Women Who Love Too Much; Men Like Women Who Like Themselves; Smart Women, Foolish Choices; Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them; He's Just Not That Into You." All these titles imply that what's most important to women is men, and if a woman has no man, or the wrong man, she's probably screwing something up.It's not that all self-help authors are malevolent misogynists — it's just that it's not really possible to write a book called How To Figure Out What's Exactly Right For Your Unique, Individual Life, And Then Do That. Your Unique, Individual Life may include marriage, and you may even be making Foolish Choices that keep you from that goal, if in fact it is your goal.But assuming that it has to be your goal, and that you have to wait around for a man to make it happen, just reinforces the confining stereotypes that keep self-help authors in business.Alpert's statement implies a corollary: Society is set up for women to be passive, and it requires women to get married in order to be deemed successful.Thus it expects something of women while denying them actual control over it — basically, women are supposed to wait around for this socially-constructed metric of personal success to just happen to them.