When Mars Women Date: How Career Women Can Love Themselves into the Relationship of Their Dreams by Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a dating book that provides different tips on how to date successfully, although with a different approach, and a different message, to traditional dating books.
When Mars Women Date is aimed at what Kouffman Sherman calls Mars women: successful, independent women who value work and work performance and who are economically high achievers. Many of these women want marriage and children and their main priority is finding a partner that will support their careers and their career goals.
Kouffman Sherman mixes her own experiences with those of her clients and talks about a variety of topics such as money and economy, gender roles, and most of all being open and honest about what you want out of a relationship.
What I like about this book is that it mixes Kouffman Sherman's own experiences with current studies and articles on how men and women perceive their roles in a marriage or relationship and looks at studies on unpaid work in the home etc. It is also refreshing to read a book that is critical of how men and women are "supposed" to act. When Mars Women Date does not urge women to be passive or to downplay their achievements but instead analyses the changing social structures and takes a critical look at gender stereotypes.
When Mars Women Date is not only concerned with dating as such but also mentions the pressure on women to find a partner, marry and have children and how this can negatively affect us. This pressure is described well when Kouffman Sherman states that:
"She's been receiving a lot of fear-based energy around dating from her bosses, her family, her co-workers and herself. Her parents are worried that she'll end up alone (and they have an assumption that being alone is bad) and they constantly question her about her life priorities and about finding love. Her co-workers notice that she doesn't have a partner to bring to company dinner parties so they inquire about her love life, and her grandmother keeps asking when she'll have kids" (p. 61).
On the downside, Kouffman Sherman's at times make use of the same gender stereotypes that she dismisses and there is common use of stereotypes in order to categorize women as "more masculine" or men as "more feminine". Instead of seeing these traits as personality traits that have been divided into gendered categories, or traits that have been expected in men or in women, Kouffman Sherman at times appears to agree with the stereotypes.
For example, Kouffman Sherman shows that she is critical of the use of gender stereotypes when she writes "...so-called Feminine side" (p. 28) but then later states that: "Of course it's okay if, as a Mars woman, you're attracted to more Feminine men who complement you, but you can also partner with career men who'll respect and support you" (p. 36) thereby inferring that "feminine men" probably will not be career oriented or will not support a woman that is concerned with her career.
When Mars Women Date is an easy read and is suitable for a wide range of individuals. It is perhaps most beneficial for those who identify with "the Mars woman" and who are looking for advice on how to date with a work situation that is taking much of their time. When Mars Women Date could also be used in the class room in an informative manner when looking at gender stereotypes and how society views dating and the often expected passive role of women in dating situations.
© 2013 Elin Weiss
Elin Weiss has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Women's Studies from University College Dublin, Ireland.