9780743249898

Female Chauvinist Pigs : Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780743249898

  • ISBN10:

    0743249895

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2005-08-30
  • Publisher: Free Press
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Summary

If male chauvinist pigs of years past thought of women as pieces of meat, female chauvinist pigs of today are doing them one better, making sex objects of other women -and of themselves. With a wink and a nudge, they are welcoming back strippers, porn stars and Playboy Bunnies as the heroes of post-feminist culture. Taking off your bra used to mean liberation - now it's just the sign of another girl gone wild in her attempt to win favour from the boys. In FEMALE CHAUVINIST PIGS, journalist Ariel Levy asks the question: What's in it for us women? In her quest for the answer, Levy interviews the college women who flash for the cameras on MTV and teenage girls raised on Paris Hilton and thongs. She talks to the high-powered women who create 'raunch culture', the new oinking women warriors of the corporate and entertainment worlds. And she sits down with Second Wave feminists, such as Susan Brownmiller and Erica Jong, to find out where they think women are headed today. As she explores the phenomenon of the Female Chauvinist Pig, Levy explains that these new women believe they are expressing sexual liberation and female empowerment, when really they are only conforming to stereotypes cooked long ago. Terrifically witty and wickedly intelligent, FEMALE CHAUVINIST PIGS stands firmly in the tradition of Susan Faludi's BACKLASH and Naomi Wolf's THE BEAUTY MYTH. It is the first book of its kind to emerge in more than a dozen years - and it's not a moment too soon.

Author Biography

Ariel Levy is a contributing editor at New York magazine.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Raunch Culture
The Future That Never Happened
Female Chauvinist Pigs
From Womyn to Bois
Pigs in Training
Shopping for Sex
Conclusion
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

Excerpts

Introduction I first noticed it several years ago. I would turn on the television and find strippers in pasties explaining how best to lap dance a man to orgasm. I would flip the channel and see babes in tight, tiny uniforms bouncing up and down on trampolines. Britney Spears was becoming increasingly popular and increasingly unclothed, and her undulating body ultimately became so familiar to me I felt like we used to go out.Charlie's Angels, the film remake of the quintessential jiggle show, opened at number one in 2000 and made $125 million in theaters nationally, reinvigorating the interest of men and women alike in leggy crime fighting. Its stars, who kept talking about "strong women" and "empowerment," were dressed in alternating soft-porn styles -- as massage parlor geishas, dominatrixes, yodeling Heidis in alpine bustiers. (The summer sequel in 2003 -- in which the Angels' perilous mission required them to perform stripteases -- pulled in another $100 million domestically.) In my own industry, magazines, a porny new genre called the Lad Mag, which included titles like Maxim, FHM, and Stuff, was hitting the stands and becoming a huge success by delivering what Playboy had only occasionally managed to capture: greased celebrities in little scraps of fabric humping the floor.This didn't end when I switched off the radio or the television or closed the magazines. I'd walk down the street and see teens and young women -- and the occasional wild fifty-year-old -- wearing jeans cut so low they exposed what came to be known as butt cleavage paired with miniature tops that showed off breast implants and pierced navels alike. Sometimes, in case the overall message of the outfit was too subtle, the shirts would be emblazoned with the Playboy bunny or say Porn Star across the chest.Some odd things were happening in my social life, too. People I knew (female people) liked going to strip clubs (female strippers). It was sexy and fun, they explained; it was liberating and rebellious. My best friend from college, who used to go to Take Back the Night marches on campus, had become captivated by porn stars. She would point them out to me in music videos and watch their (topless) interviews on Howard Stern. As for me, I wasn't going to strip clubs or buying Hustler T-shirts, but I was starting to show signs of impact all the same. It had only been a few years since I'd graduated from Wesleyan University, a place where you could pretty much get expelled for saying "girl" instead of "woman," but somewhere along the line I'd started saying "chick." And, like most chicks I knew, I'd taken to wearing thongs.What was going on? My mother, a shiatsu masseuse who attended weekly women's consciousness-raising groups for twenty-four years, didn't own makeup. My father, whom she met as a student radical at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the sixties was a consultant for Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW. Only thirty years (my lifetime) ago, our mothers were "burning their bras" and picketing Playboy, and suddenly we were getting implants and wearing the bunny logo as supposed symbols of our liberation. How had the culture shifted so drastically in such a short period of time?What was almost more surprising than the change itself were the responses I got when I started interviewing the men and -- often -- women who edit magazines like Maxim and make programs like The Man Show and Girls Gone Wild. This new raunch culture didn't mark the death of feminism, they told me; it was evidence that the feminist project had already been achieved. We'd earned the right to look at Playboy; we were empowered enough to get Brazilian bikini waxes. Women had come so far, I learned, we no longer needed to worry about objectification or misogyny. Instead, it was time for us to join the frat party of pop culture, where men had b

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