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November 16th, 2012

Barreca Understands Broadwell

In a piece in today’s Huffington Post , author Gina Barreca explores the larger issues raised when a young woman attaches herself romantically to an older man in a position of power. Gina is also a professor English and feminist studies, a funny person and the editor of Make Mine a Double. Here’s an excerpt from the Huff Post piece:

True, Paula Broadwell — who is almost 40 — isn’t so young that she flies half-fare or orders Happy Meals on a regular basis. Yet her youth captures our collective imagination because she represents the quintessential girl-who-goes-after-the-boss.

What is she (this quintessential character) going after when she goes after the idolized older man? I want to claim it is pride, rather than lust, motivating her. The boss — genuinely, sincerely, absolutely — appeals to the young woman. There are kid sighs, pouts and swoons over the idea of him.


I feel confident about discussing the allure of the boss because I’ve been that kid. I’m not a kid anymore, however, and these days, for me to develop a crush on a much older man would involve learning advanced CPR in preparation. But in my day I’ve had crushes on pretty much every guy I looked up to, worked for or whose class I attended — even the ones who looked like extras from Ironweed.

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