What a laugh! They tear down restraints and then wonder why there are none! An excerpt from an article in The Age
"Feminism set out to free women from roles imposed on them by males, but a new book accuses women of building a new, self-imposed prison by acting like sex objects and tolerating sexism. In Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, New York Magazine contributing editor Ariel Levy slams both celebrities who act like porn stars, and the women and girls who want to be like them. Levy says it's absurd that stars such as heiress Paris Hilton and singers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera - who dress like "hos", fake orgasms in video clips and pose for men's magazines - have become role models. She says they exude a commercialised concept of sex that is about performing for men and has little to do with their own sexuality.
Levy says trends in everyday life, such as teens who wear skimpy clothes to school and female bosses who bully employees, make poor substitutes for true liberation. "If male chauvinist pigs were guys who treated women like pieces of meat," says Levy, "then female chauvinist pigs are women who make sex objects of other women, and of themselves, and think of this as empowerment. "If we use porn stars and strippers as our role models, if they're going to teach us about sexual liberation, I think that's misguided, because these are women whose jobs it is to fake lust. "So if we imitate them, then we're imitating an imitation of real sexual pleasure and power, and that's just too far removed from authentic personal pleasure."
Speaking by phone from her Manhattan home before this week's Australian promotional tour, Levy, 30, told The Age she wrote the book in response to seeing raunch "everywhere I looked". "As I say in the book, it was as if Britney Spears' body, the sight of her half-dressed and undulating, became so familiar to me, it was as if she and I had dated. It was becoming ridiculous. "And the Playboy bunny was suddenly everywhere. Girls were wearing it on T-shirts. When I was growing up, Hugh Hefner and that whole Playboy image was, like, a bad joke. It was something that was tacky. But all of a sudden, everyone was in love with it again. "One of my best friends from college, who'd been involved in women's groups and who was smart and probably considered herself a feminist, started getting interested in porn stars and reading books about them - she was engaging with what I call raunch culture. And as I started to talk to more and more women, I came to believe that women were a very important motor behind this trend."
In the book, Levy questions the values of a world in which porn star Jenna Jameson's recent memoir, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, stayed on the US bestseller list for six weeks; a world where elite female athletes interrupt training to appear in men's magazine FHM; and where "harem-themed" reality shows such as The Bachelor,Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire? and Outback Jack portray women "in competitions, many of which involved bikinis, to show who among them was the hottest and the hungriest". She writes that the number of US women undergoing breast augmentation soared from 32,607 a year in 1992 to 264,041 in 2004. And she points to the success of Aguilera, "who titled her 2003 album Stripped, mud-wrestled in a humping fashion in her video (for the song) Dirrty, and likes to wear assless chaps".
She added it was sad that Paris Hilton "the breathing embodiment of our current, prurient, collective fixations - blondeness, hotness, richness, anti-intellectualism" - had told Rolling Stone magazine: "My boyfriends always tell me I'm not sexual. Sexy, but not sexual." "I don't think that's a great thing for us to idolise," Levy says. "Again, it's performance over pleasure. This is a person who got famous when amateur sex tapes of her were published. It would be interesting to see what she could contribute, artistically or otherwise, to the culture. "But it's not like I think she's like the devil, going to hell. I'm sure she's a nice person; it's just that I don't think we need to be looking up to her as a heroine.".......
Levy says the saddest thing she experienced researching the book was a high-school girl who told her she and her friends competed to see who looked the "skankiest". "She asked me, ‘Was it that way when you at high school?'. "I told her, ‘In my day, you always wanted to be the prettiest and most popular, and you would have been embarrassed to look slutty'. And she looked at me and said, ‘Then how did you get the guys? Charm?' She couldn't see there was any other way to relate to the opposite sex...."
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