Empowerment literature takes on gender

By Alexandra Jacobs
Updated April 18, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Remember when girls were girls and men were men? Those were the days. Now men are from Mars, and girls — whoops, they want to be called women now! — are from Venus. Guys have Robert Bly’s Iron John, and dolls, we’re tickled to report, have the following below-the-belt-minded pair, fresh from the racks of empowerment literature. Both left us feebly mumbling ”You go…girl?”

Book: Dick for a Day, edited by Fiona Giles · Message: Let’s just say it’s not about a 24-hour stint as a detective. The guileless Guiles has canvassed 50 or so prominent broads on what they would do if they could briefly possess the opposite sex’s member. · Choice quotes: Terry McMillan (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) would want ”a big one — and I’d show everybody…. I would like to see if having [one] really makes all that much difference.” Patricia Cornwell (Hornet’s Nest) says, in brief, she’d ”live just as I do now…it really has nothing much to do with adventure and strength.” So there!

Book: How to Succeed in Business Without a Penis, by Karen Salmansohn · Message: Loading up on the double entendre, this former ad exec (she coined the Croissan’wich) advises occasionally shopping in the boys’ department — metaphorically speaking, that is — for boardroom skills, while still holding fast to one’s maternal, nurturing nature. · Choice quote: ”A woman doesn’t need a penis to succeed in business. Though she does need balls. Also a good set of boobs doesn’t hurt either…. Basically, every businesswoman needs to learn how to juggle all four entities: balls and boobs.” Nice work, if you can get it.