Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, November 03, 2006

Female Chauvinist Pigs;when it comes to raunch,are women their own worst enemy?

Recently,I've been reading this book called Female Chauvinist Pigs:Women and the rise of raunch culture by Ariel Levy,who says that the trend of glamorized sleazy girls is largely due in part to women actively participating in promoting this image in the name of "female empowerment." She makes a damn good point,in this day and age where Paris Hilton is considered a major celebrity for making sex tapes and acting like a moron for hire and MILF t-shirts are sold as casual wear.

Levy did alot of hands-on research and interviewed many women in the entertainment industry who work behind the scenes of Girls Gone Wild,The Man Show and Playboy who sprout a "just one of the guys" attitude about women being sexual self exploitators. The mainstreaming of porn stars into pop culture,Sex and the City becoming a major hit show and stripper exercise classes are other factors discussed as contributions to the Stupid Girl scene.

I'm sure some of you are saying"Aw,lighten up a little! Why bash other women for having fun with their sexuality?" Well,there's a world of difference between being comfortable with your sexual image and selling yourself short in order to be seen as cool and funny. Saying that it's just a joke and that women are more empowered by controlling their own bimbo-ization is like saying that it's better to be a self employed hooker than work for a pimp. Either way,you're being marketed as a piece of male dominated meat. Pat Benatar said it best here,I think:

The saddest part of this whole thing is the affect on the younger generation. Levy argues that some of this phenomenon started as backlash towards the anti-porn feminists of the '70s and '80s but most of the young girls today don't have clue one regarding the history of the feminist movement and see this as the norm. They're not in on any joke;to be the sexual object of male attention as early as can be is what they strive for.

Well,this book is sure to spark some great conversations and perhaps get folks to thinking about these issues in a whole new light. The author made a recent appearance on the Stephen Colbert Report(which is how I found out about this book)and that alone will get more readers. In my opinion,it would help to have more pop culture role models that were successful due to their talent than their image,to balance things out better. Joan Jett and Pat Benatar were some of the strong singers back in the day that prove gals could rock without shoving their cleavage into your face. Nowadays,we have Pink and KT Tunstall to keep the door open for the next group of strong,emotionally secure women to make their mark.


David de Beer said...

>to be the sexual object of male attention as early as can be is what they strive for

yup, very true that. Couple years ago, I found myself in a rather delicate situation, having to explain to some girls: "You're 14, I'm 23. That's just a bad idea any day of the year."

PAris Hilton - don't get me started on She-who-shall-not-be-named! I take it you saw her, ahem, guest appearance on South Park?

Thing is, those two are connected - young girls learn to behave and what they should think and say from the idols they are given. Oh, yes, we blokes too!
It's really bizarre, actually, once women were freed from beign objectified by men (in theory), they seem to be the ones most ardently pursuing the image.
I don,t get it, (I don't get women logic most days though). And then, women go and get mad when we act in inappropriate ways - I'm not excusing guys who should know better, but it bears thinking that men are also getting confusing signals nowadays.

We are told - no means no/ respect and treat her like an equal/ behave in a proper manner, and don't be patronizing. Women want to be desired for their minds and personalities.

What we see is - guys who walk over women get all the chicks/ women are attracted to men who couldn't be bothered whether they have thoughts, and forgive a lot of severe personality flaws for a hot body/ nice guys don't get the girl, ever - they're there to pick up the pieces after, "the friend".

no means no - when exactly? because a lot of the time in the exact same scenario, a girl will want one thing and other times another thing.

I am not armed with tons of research and facts, but yes, in this regard I'm going to have to agree - women are far more active in maintaining the "woman as sex obect" status than men are today. Or, perhaps we are at last equal on something?
lol! wouldn't that be something!

Look - I like girls in skimpy bikinis, and fully support girls using pornography in the cause of feminism, but, seriously - pretty girl but dumb as a brick wall and irritating? major turn-off.

lady t said...

Yes,I saw that episode of South Park and it's so damn true that it's almost not funny. I don't think there's anything wrong in enjoying your sexuality but when people forget to respect others or do harm,that's when I get riled up.

Mixed messages are sent to both genders,IMO,but not everyone falls in step with the social sterotypes. With women,part of the probelm seems to me to be that many are taught to compete with other women and to trust only yourself. My mother didn't raise me or my sister that way-we're the kind of people who watch two(or more,sad to say)women on a talk show beating each other up over some smirky guy and saying to ourselves"Why don't they kick his sorry ass for cheating on them?"

There needs to be a balance between healthy use of sexual expression and sexploitation. I just watched The Notorious Bettie Page on DVD and it really looks tame compared to alot of stuff going on today.

Anonymous said...

Lady T, what a terrific post. I completely agree with you. You and I both saw Little Miss Sunshine and were both creeped out by the little girl beauty pageant at the end. But as disgusting as those images were, it's just as disturbing to see elementary and junior high girls out there dressed so provocatively.

I always think, "Doesn't that girl have a mother?" But the South Park clip you included seems exactly right--mothers are going along with all this sexual dress for their daughters because it's "in" and cool.

Yuck. It's hard to raise a generation of strong, self-assured girls when parents are letting them dress as sexual objects.

And I'm with David: don't get me started on She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. All I can say is look away.

David de Beer said...

I wonder if confidence hasn't a lot to do with it? By that, I mean women as a group - we do live in a fairly unique era where women are allowed to stand next to men and say "I'm your equal/ better", whereas before they were raised with the concept of women as inferior.

The one thing that's a fact is that men respond to what they see first, beauty beheld as it were.

But, sadly unlike the "freedom for the sake of freedom is enough"-type movies like to preach, freedom/ emancipation/ or simply change in ways, can be pretty scary and confusing to cope with.
I wonder - would I be out of line to say that women as a group don't have the necessary confidence for the modern era? That maybe that's one reason why they fall back on the sex-doll image.

But I think Robin has an important point - parents need to take the responsibility and awareness of how they are raising their daughters (or perhaps that's "as what they are raising them to become"?)
I prefer to say "Parents" as opposed to "mothers", since I think fathers don't often realize the impact they have on their daughters as well.
I remember an interview I saw on BBC, with a porn star, and she mentioned that getting into adult films was a way of getting back at her dad, of saying: "See? I am pretty, and desirable."

lady t said...

It all goes back to the parents(both Mom and Dad or whatever the arrangement is);letting your kids follow a trend just because you want them to fit it with others is not being a responsible adult. If it was trendy for teens to jump off of buildings,would you let your kid do that to?

Remember when Paris' mom had a reality show,where she was teaching people how to behave in society? What a joke that was!