How "Free to Be ... You and Me" emasculated men

The most quintessentially, insufferably Ms.-y moment, though, is the reinterpretation of a Greek myth that you’d swear was written as satire for “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.”

Atalanta, the hero, is an athletic young woman who rejects her father’s notion that he should choose a husband for her. She says she may never get married at all but allows that if she loses a footrace to a man, she’ll marry him. A pleasant, harmless, socially conscious and vaguely neuter young fellow named John trains as hard as she does, and the two of them cross the finish line at the exact same moment. Get it? Perfect equality.

Atalanta is too busy with her plans to see the world to marry him, but the two agree to spend a co-respectful, non-gendered afternoon together. “Atalanta told John about her telescopes and her pigeons. And John told Atalanta about his globes and his geography studies. And at the end of the day they were friends.” Closing shot: On top of a hill, as the sun sets, the two share a nice strong . . . handshake.