My Unsolicited Advice to the Women of “Dating a Banker Anonymously”

Check out smarty pants Linda Holmes interesting research on the legitimacy of lack there of, of the DABA ladies on NPR.
Warning: best read on an empty stomach. This one is a puker.
The New York Times rounded out its seemingly never ending informal series on how the economy’s downturn is affecting wealthy white people with a special little story yesterday entitled, “It’s the Economy, Girlfriend.” It turns out that women accustomed to dating men with lots of money (Do these women have jobs? Is heterosexuality a prerequisite for making it into the series?) are gathering online and in hot spots around New York City to commiserate about these tough, tough times. An excerpt:

In addition to meeting once or twice weekly for brunch or drinks at a bar or restaurant, the group has a blog, billed as “free from the scrutiny of feminists,” that invites women to join “if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life.”
Theirs is not the typical 12-step program.
Step 1: Slip into a dress and heels. Step 2: Sip a cocktail and wait your turn to talk. Step 3: Pour your heart out. Repeat as needed.
About 30 women, generally in their mid- to late-20s, regularly post to the Web site or attend meetings.
“We do make light of everything on the blog and it’s very tongue in cheek,” said Laney Crowell, 27, who parted ways with a corporate real estate investor last month after a tumultuous relationship. “But it all stems out of really serious and heartfelt situations.”

Prepare for feminist scrutiny ladies. Here’s the thing: humor is good. I’m glad that you’re poking fun at yourselves (I have to believe this is the case or I would lose a lil’ bit of my faith in humanity). I also understand that privileged folks feel pain too. I consider myself one of them in more ways than one and I bleed red like my less economically stable, less educated, less supported friends and allies.
But here’s the other thing. Commiserating about the new lack of bottle service in your life is not going to make you feel any better. It’s going to perpetuate your psychology of deprivation (an ironic state for a group of women who can still afford to sip cocktails). What will actually make you feel better, I promise, is to get sober about who is most deeply affected by economic downturn in this country and start seeking justice more sustainable than getting rich dudes to take you out to dinner at fancy restaurants. Here are a few stats to start you off:
Women make up 30% of borrowers for mortgages, but are 32% more likely than men to receive sub-prime mortgages, despite slightly higher credit scores (682 versus 675).
-The National Council for Research on Women
The gender wage gap is now 22.2 percent.
-Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Annual earnings for young men who are employed full-time year round are about 10% higher
than for young women who are employed full-time year round — $30,786 compared to $28,008.
Annual earnings for all other young men with earnings, which include part-time and/or part-year
earners, are about 32% higher than for all other young women with earnings, $15,033 compared
to $11,393.
-Legal Momentum
In other depressing news: word on the street is that ex-Lucky Beauty writer Dawn Spinner, Laney Crowell, a beauty editor at StyleCaster, and lawyer Megan Petrus (the shallow minds behind DABA) are getting a big juicy book deal. This from an industry that consistently tells brilliant, hardworking women that there’s no market for books on feminism, class etc. Ugh.
Thanks to J. Courtney Sullivan for the heads up.

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37 Comments

  1. Amanda
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Wow….just wow.
    This is an incredibly provocative post.
    I’m not really sure how I feel about it…yet.

  2. Kate
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    It’s women like this who perpetuate the disgusting stereotype that all women want is a man who has money.
    I just have to comfort myself by thinking that they’re in a minority, that I’m sure more women would prefer self-respect over having a rich boyfriend.

  3. FrumiousB
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    It’s not just the women who disturbed me in this story. It’s the men who date them, too. They are getting something out of their high-rolling girlfriends. I want to say it’s the status of having a hot woman with them, but that’s insulting to both parties and depressing to me. I briefly dated a guy in finance, and based on his girlfriends since then, I wonder now if he left me because I am not status conscious and didn’t like it when he bought my meals. My mind is boggling.

  4. dondoca
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I agree, women like that do perpetuate and give hard working women a bad name. There are lots of men out there who do not trust women for those reasons.
    My bf makes way more money than I do. But I don’t ask him to take me to fancy restaurants or expect him to pay for everything. He will pay for me when he wants to and does not complain. His bff, whom is a misogynist to begin with, thinks all women our out to get him and take his money from him. He refuses to marry anyone unless a prenup is signed. Obviously, this individual has deeper rooted issues.
    These women need to get a life of their own and stop being dependent on men. Isn’t that one of the reasons women fought so hard?

  5. SarahMC
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Would a non-feminist please consider making a transcript of the DABA blog for me? The site won’t load in my feminist-leaning browser, thus I am prevented from scrutinizing.

  6. Cassius
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Everybody who has to cut back is bummed. Its human nature. When you are born in Germany and work a job at McD you feel like a loser, when you are form somalia make your way to Germany and have a job that provides food and shelter you are happy.

  7. Cassius
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    What browser are you using ? Just click in the text bar and hit Enter usually that helps.
    Or were you just joking ?

  8. Cassius
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I thought feminism is about choice. Are you really calling women who have other goals in life than you disgusting ? WHat if I want to be a househusband to a well off woman, does that make me disgusting ? Well thanks a lot.

  9. gordon.gecko
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I wonder how much of the gender inequality statistics below can be explained by the phenomena above? Honestly, if either men stopped financing pretty girlfriends or women started financing pretty boyfriends I assume wages would be a lot more gender neutral. Note that one of those girls above is a lawyer and something tells me her lower pay isn’t because of sexism.

  10. xocoatl
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    agency rocks! feministing seems to go back and forth on the question.
    I don’t think all women need to act the same way in much the same fashion that I don’t think all people need to act the same way.
    I think that, to the extent that the lifestyle exists, it’s probably fine. If the social space exists for these people to adopt that role, I think they should be able to do so without judgment.
    Even their stated reason that they were “outside the scrutiny of feminists” I think makes an excellent criticism of the supposed objectivity of the “essential feminine” idea of most feministing posts.
    It makes little difference that the “essence of woman” or “essence of personhood” that feministing seeks to rescue is one of humility and “social change” (whatever that means), humans will inevitably rupture the boxes we put them in.
    A better approach might be to examine the stories of these people.
    3 billion people live on 2 dollars or less a day, but many of them in cultures that don’t give a fuck about capitalism and don’t need more “stuff” in order to be actualized. People inhabit the social locations where they are, and I think that’s okay.

  11. jele
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I have no idea what “bottle service” is.

  12. Courtney
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Word to the wise-feministing is not one entity, it’s a group of individual editors who have their own unique takes on just about every issue. Contrary to what it may look like sometimes, we don’t share the same brain.

  13. snapdragon
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    While I agree with other posters that the goals of these women feed negative stereotypes, I am trying not to judge them for participating in and forming expectations for their own (sub)culture.
    What I would like to do is highlight one gem in particular that may provide some insight into the DABA pov. This is purported to be a communication of some type submitted by a reader:
    “Dear Nancy,
    I regret to inform you that I will be cutting you out of my life completely in FY09. Having just reviewed my entertainment spending for the month of December, I discovered that, while I spent an exorbitant amount on alcohol throughout the month, I spent an exorbitant-er amount when you were in my company, and or involved in the evening in some way shape or form.
    Please note, this is a decision I make with a heavy heart, but it is a necessity. I will be 30 years old in 2009?! The amount I am spending on Nancy-related-boozing would be better served in mutual funds, an IRA or put towards a down payment on a home. The unfortunate fact is, Nancy-related-memories don’t accrue interest. Nor are they easy to remember.
    Please send all formal protests to my future progeny.
    Thank you for your understanding in said matter and keep your chin up. Like all things, this too shall pass.”
    For me, it is extremely difficult not to make value judgments on both sides. I am glad not to be a part of it.

  14. miki_mouse
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I may not get this exactly right, because I first heard the term “bottle service” two weeks ago. I went to a fancy club in Toronto (Canada) and in order to be able to sit at one of the booths in the place (the only seats available), you had to pay for bottle service. At this place, for every 5 people you had at your booth, you had to buy a full bottle of alcohol (at $150 each). My friends and I definitely didn’t partake in this expensive service, but we did see groups of people with 3 bottles of alcohol at their booth. My boyfriend and I, on the other hand, each got one $6 drink and that was all we wanted to spend (being from a much smaller city in Ontario, we are used to beers being around $3.50 each and even liqueur drinks being less than $5)

  15. Ashley L.
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    As always, a news outlet in America takes it upon itself to be a loud, opinionated arbiter of the morality of women.
    First, as the post indicates, it involves picking and choosing the women to feature in their stories… (young? Check. White? Check Well-off? Check and check)
    Second, what newsworthiness is there in this story? Ostensibly, it’s that the economic downturn affects even the well off and white. Well, duh. I could have told them that. What other purpose does it serve, beyond that obviousness, than to set up these girls for just this? The chance for every reader to shake their head and cluck their tongues at the state of womanhood. I certainly agree with what this post is saying, but the very nature of the article we’re all commenting on is such that we’re being invited to judge these women for how they’re choosing to lead their life. As soon as a similar article arrises taking a group of well-off white men to task for their approach to the crisis, I’ll rethink this article as anything other than judgmental fluff.

  16. Arvilla
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    This is a great point. I think it’s important that we don’t get caught up in the trivial. Do I think this group is ridiculous? Of course. But how does it negatively affect anyone?
    The New York Times’ coverage of this issue, and well, pretty much anything to do with white women and money is atrocious. We frequently cover their more ridiculous articles on elites at Pink Scare http://www.pink-scare.com A newspaper with so much power and influence focusing on issues like this when there are so many other ways they could be using their resources, and seemingly doing anything possible to reinforce negative stereotypes is far from trivial, and I think the real issue is the Times’ editorial decisions, not the daba girls…

  17. TroubleBaby
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    No, if you actually read her post instead of just picking out random words to try to be argumentative, you would notice that she said that the STEREOTYPE that women ONLY WANT A MAN WITH MONEY is disgusting. Not any woman personally, not any woman’s choices personally. Also, as has been endlessly noted on this site, just because a woman makes a choice does not make that choice feminist, or exempt from scrutiny.
    I’m sure you think you’re oh-so-clever to try to turn “feminism is about choice!” back on feminists, but 1) you’re really, really not and 2) I promise you everyone here has heard it before. Ditto your obnoxious, dismissive comments on every single thread about how whatever is being discussed is “just the way it is” and everyone attempting to have a discussion just needs to deal with it.

  18. jele
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I just read some of the blog entries on D.A.B.A. Girls. I can’t even get upset over it because it’s so unbelievable. It’s like reading The Onion News.

  19. Julia
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    After reading this…man! These girls give hardworking ambitious women like us a bad name. I know it’s only those select fiew, but it only takes a few to start change. Even if it’s not in a good way (ie, backlash against feminism)
    It’s always those very few that tarnish our reputation as proud feminists. When will people learn that not all women are like that?

  20. Casual Malex
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Um, I find it extremely amusing AND hypocritical that J. Courtney Sullivan pointed this out to Feministing. Sullivan is the author of the dating book, Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man. It’s all about how to land wealthy men.
    Check out the book’s description on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dating-Up-Dump-Schlump-Quality/dp/0446697605

  21. Wendell
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear me! The belly-laughs made it difficult to view the screen! (Does Feminist laughter have a similar effect as the Feminist browser?)

  22. ShifterCat
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t about women who decide to be stay-at-home moms. This is about women who treat men like meal tickets.
    Sexism hurts men too.

  23. revivingemma
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I totally forget that people like this exist in real life.
    Ya know, I would expect a prettier blog from socialites. (are they socialites? is there a difference?)

  24. Arvilla
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Linda Holmes at NPR thinks this blog/support group is a great bit hoax: http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2009/01/is_dating_a_banker_anonymous_f.html?ft=1&f=93568166
    And I think she’s probably right, which makes condemning or correcting these women even less necessary, and makes the Times’ reporting even more egregious–not just because they couldn’t spot a hoax when they saw one, but because they seem to want so badly to find and believe women are vapid, self-obsessed gold diggers.

  25. Cassius
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Well if men are fine to be treated as meal tickets by women, thats their decision. Nobody is forcing them, unless they divorce, then the state forces them. You know what ? Sexism hurts men too.

  26. Qantaqa
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Since the “feminist” (keep in mind folks, that term has many meanings, so those of you who try to argue against it must do your homework) criticisms being aimed at these women are somewhat controversial, I would like to point out that one of the reasons our current economic crisis occurred was due to corporate greed and underhanded financial practices in the name of greed. Having a high-ended lifestyle is one thing; the stereotype perpetuated by these women is quite another. Far be it from me to judge, but if one penny of the money they love to spend is ill-gotten (which recent events have shown that it is certainly possible) then this is the only “moral” judgment I can make which has public ramifications.

  27. ShifterCat
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Again: he’s not making his decision in a vacuum, nor is it exempt from scrutiny and criticism.

  28. ShifterCat
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    I think Ms. Holmes is right.

  29. justsarahbarah
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Um, Cassius is clearly a troll. Don’t respond to him.

  30. Cassius
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    True but I believe everybody should be able to make his decisions without being looked down upon or criticised. If a woman wants to be a race car driver instead of a stay at home mom what good does it to anybody to blog or remind her about how you do not approve of her choices. I would keep it to myself if I do not approve and it does not hurt anybody. What good does it to anybody if we tell each other how the choices you make annoy me ?

  31. Cassius
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    How am I being a troll ? I did not insult anybody or used foul language. I criticize an article that criticises women for the choices they make and you call me a troll for it ?
    I think many of the women on here are too young to know what it is like to be criticsed and looked down upon because of the choices you make in life, although they do not hurt anybody.
    That is one of the things feminism fought against, or at least criticised and now a site which labels itself feminists is doing exactly that to other women. The revolution eating its own children ?

  32. SarahMC
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    You’d keep it to yourself if you disapproved of something, huh? Your frequent comments on this blog prove otherwise.

  33. Cassius
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Well doing that on a blog that clearly invites discussion is something else.
    Criticizing somebody for their life choices is different, or for the way they are. Do you think gay people need constantly to hear from you or on blogs how you dissaprove of their sexual orientation assuming you do dissaprove of gays, I do not if you do, it was just meant to be an example.
    Now if you criticize something in a forum that clearly invites discussion thats different.

  34. Jessica
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Cassius, you’re derailing threads – consider this a warning. Please check out our comments policy.

  35. Newbomb Turk
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have much sympathy for these women, but I think they’re being criticized unfairly. They’re shallow and not very bright so odds are, their job prospects aren’t all that great even when the economy isn’t in the shitter. So maybe banging a rich guy is their best ticket to a higher standard of living.
    I see a lot of this attitude towards pro athletes. But if you’re in their shoes, playing a game for money is a better option than say, medical school (which most aren’t qualified for).

  36. ShifterCat
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Um, hello? The entire point is that these women (assuming they actually exist and aren’t a prank) are perpetuating a harmful stereotype.

  37. Alex101
    Posted January 31, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t anyone else think it’s a parody site?

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