Basing any relationship on a lie is a bad idea. Pretending to be weak and hard to get while "catching" a man (I love that imagery. Don't they realize they're using barbless hooks to go fishing?) just leads to having to pretend for the rest of your life. I guess actresses might not mind, but that's way too much work for me. I much prefer to associate with men and women who aren't afraid that who they are will piss someone off. Acting and putting up a mask is *certainly* going to piss me off, why not go for the possibility of acceptance?
Practically speaking, I'm not really surprised at the swinging of the pendulum back toward more conservative/patriarchial positions. Any change is like that, swinging the pendulum back and forth until the new middle ground is reached. We've seen it with every other societal change, so why should feminism be any different? It's going to take a while, and a lot of effort, so that the ability of women to determine what they want to do with thier lives free of socially imposed roles is the norm and not the exception.
I used to feel secure in the progress of women in general toward acceptance for whatever choice they made with their lives until recently. The backswing on the pendulum seems to be speeding up, not really in my personal life but rather in the political arena. I think that folks raised with women who were strong and independant (my mother, her female line back to my great grandmother and my paternal grandmother are shining examples) are less likely to be proponents of the game playing and manipulation, men and women included. Frankly, I think it's going to be a while before most of the society is ready for strong women, partially because several generations will have to die off for it to happen. This form of bigotry is like any other - it takes education and time to weed it out.
My niece is growing up with strong women, men that are comfortable with that fact and supportive family. I'm fairly sure that she won't have to resort to the manipulation and game playing that Dowd seems to be pushing. But then, I'm also hoping that someday she'll enlighten those around her with her acceptance of educated high powered women with families as the norm. And until the day comes when people stop talking about it as an exception, I'll be a feminist.