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53 of 106 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars May cause more problems than it seeks to eradicate, September 25, 2005
This review is from: Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Hardcover)
I don't doubt there are many problematic images of women interspersed throughout our culture, but this book looses audiences and potential supporters through its completely defensive approach. It had so much potential too!

Instead of encouraging women to define by what and how they are individually comfortable expressing themselves, Ariel Levy rushed to insist that women are 'different' from men. She then argues that society should therefore have a 'different' standard of culture for women and men. This is a tired and worn argument which (ironically) was used to justify sex discrimination throughout American society.

Levy ironically is so concerned about protecting 'women's freedom' that she subsequently attempts to channel us into her own uniform definition of what is 'good'. Anybody engaging in her subjective definition of 'raunchy' then becomes suspect; they are presumed to work against 'the feminist movement'. In this book, the feminist movement is narrowly defined as everything which agrees with Ariel Levy's world view and there is no room for dissent.

She forgets that many of the women's rights advocates interspersed throughout this same manuscript pointedly fought for women's bodily autonomy. We grew up with unprecedented public sphere freedoms compared to those revolutionaries. We thus have an obligation to use our freedoms when and how we are personally comfortable, individual women can choose individual options.

Her prescription is also inadequate in the eras of the metrosexual and queer politics. Ignoring these critiques of heteronormative masculinity, she pretends that men=heterosexual raunch. Upon finishing the book, I wondered if she inadvertently sought this book contract as a parody just because its scope is so shallow.

Levy's manuscript could possibly have a point if women are literally being forced to wear certain clothing styles and adopt certain behaviors. Yet, I've always been able to wear what I want and act in the manner which is most comfortable for me.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2007 4:15:52 AM PDT
A Cynic says:
Thank You. I always belived that no one can define who you are but you. Not society,or a relationship, or even Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Posted on Oct 10, 2008 9:04:11 PM PDT
H. Saenz says:
I don't agree with your opinion about the book, but I think you have an interesting point about it being out of touch with metrosexual politics. I hope she continues on this subject, because its definitely worth writing about. From reading the book, I felt Levy concluded that women were using raunch culture (Cake parties, Man Show, etc.) to falsely empower their sexuality (using it without any self-pleasure) and, yes, do what we feel comfortable doing whether its at home alone or on Girls Gone Wild.

Posted on Dec 15, 2010 12:58:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2010 2:17:51 PM PST
Anon says:
The strong human desire for acceptance has a "force" of it's own. Her point is that our human nature is being used against us. I don't completely understand your use of quotation marks around the word "different." Do you have a penis? Do your male counterparts harvest children in their bodies and breastfeed? Okay then, just use the word. We also have different hormones and a different sex drive depending on where we are in our ovulation cycle (unless we're on the pill, and it's own hormonal concoction, still separate from a man's) that makes our sexual desire and experience different than a man's as well. Maybe our differences were used against us in the past, but I think that her point is that true feminism would be fighting for the Celebration of those differences (that Do exist), rather than for some merging that defies biological and psychological facts, as we've been seeing. She isn't saying that there aren't also differences within women, only that there are obvious, inherent differences between women and men. Her point is that many of these women Aren't honestly comfortable with their behavior (or aren't deriving any pleasure from it), but that they do it to be liked because it is taught to be desirable in obvious and subliminal ways. A lot of women get sucked in as girls before they have the strong sense of self that you seem to have, and by the time they reach an age where they would likely gain this trait they've been brainwashed. I don't think that we've seen true sexual liberation, and her point is don't get fooled and think that this is it. Men are still holding the strings, they're just throwing some mind games in there now too, and we're playing along. If you've ever managed people you know that the best ways to get someone to do what you want are to make them think that it's their idea and/or praise them during and afterwards. Many of the women who cater to this definition of "sexy" suffer from body dysmorphia or aren't actually enjoying themselves, so how are we holding the strings?
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