43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Fun, easy read that doesn't completely satisfy.....,
This review is from: Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Hardcover)Ariel Levy is a journalist, and her book "Female Chauvinist Pigs" reads like it was writtten by someone accustomed to fitting complex issues into an article-length, palatable piece of writing. This is not necessarily a bad thing - her style is engaging and colorful, and the book can easily be read in a single sitting. But the conventions of writing for newspapers and magazines seem to have left their imprint on Levy when it comes to delving deeper into her subject matter, which will probably be disappointing to anyone expecting to read the book and come away with in depth analysis. She occasionally touches upon truly refreshing insights, but seems to lack the ability or desire to pursue them to a point of thorough explication. There are also few, if any, remedies proposed for alleviating this cultural problem, and when they are, they are softened in an unappealingly cagey ("perhaps we ought") way. Why does Levy shy away from simply, clearly stating "we need better sex ed," when all the information she has presented undeniably supports such a conclusion?
Levy most grieviously falls flat when she comes to her chapter "Shopping For Sex" which, for me, dealt a major blow to her credibitility. I was devestated by her entirely uncritical embrace of radical feminist Melissa Farley's highly idealogy-contaminated research on prostitution, and Levy's confusing insistence that "most women in the sex industry have been victims of sexual abuse," despite the fact that she admits 1) this is a cliche and 2) it is a cliche largely unsubstantiated by studies not undertaken by "biased extremists." It seemed that Levy was willing to include sources here primarily because they readily lent themselves to her conclusion, and not because they were the most accurate or intelligent.
The book is posited as a serious feminist text (see the blurb on the back from feminist icon Robin Morgan and the cover jacket's attempt to put her in the ranks of Susan Faludi), but reads much more like a series of human interest stories. The entire book concept arose from her work on an article for New York magazine, and this also shows in the book's construction; it seems like it was cobbled together and rushed to press without serious revision and reflection. There are plenty of interesting anecdotes but the commentary and subsequent assertions don't always carry the weight they are intended to. You can actually google Levy and find some pieces of FCP published in various free online news sites (like Slate) to get a taste of her style, and the way in which she tends to let her accounts of personal exchanges and situations stand in for actual analysis.
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Initial post: Jan 16, 2011 11:06:55 AM PST
Posted on Mar 4, 2011 8:31:12 AM PST
This book popped as a recommendation for me, so I looked it over. I'm guessing it's because I ordered "Yes Means Yes", a truly useful book that discusses many of the same topics, but does so intelligently and insight-fully without a title that, for the millionth and one time, puts down women for the choices they are making about their sexuality in a relentlessly critical, non-supportive culture. Thanks for saving me the need for a further look, your review confirmed what my perusal indicated.
Posted on Feb 16, 2012 12:51:29 PM PST
Thank you for your review. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who feels that this book is shallow and doesn't quite take a 'stance'. She has a lot of good insight and I like her premise, but after reading the first chapter I started to get the feeling that she was never going to offer a fix, nor was she really going to get serious about what was (is) wrong with female sexuality today. I may not keep reading. I'll find something with a little more to it.
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