Monday, February 26, 2007

Where have all the feminists gone?

This post has been a long time abrewing. Me and Sar have been talking about this one a lot lately. The gist is "why the hell are young modern girls totally in denial that a movement called FEMINISM ever happened (and they are loath to claim to be a feminist" and "why the HELL if women have achieved some measure of equality are they pissing it away on being slappers and "girls gone wild" whose only sense of achievement comes from getting boys excited (like that's so hard)".

Many years ago I read the newskool feminist works like "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf and "Backlash" by Susan Faludi that looked at why women are still so objectified (for an even the older piece, see Valerie Solanas" S.C.U.M. Manifesto, which is a pretty brutal anti-men piece). But I think things have got waaaay worse since the early 90s when new feminists were examining the movement's success of lack of.

More recently, Ariel Levy's book Female Chaunvinist Pigs: Feminism and the rise of female raunch culture really lays bare the strange place women now dwell in. Where empowerment is flashing your tits at strangers. Some of the reviews of this book are spot on:

"With Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy becomes feminism's newest and most provocative voice, brilliantly laying bare the contradictions and evasions and self-deceptions that pass for empowerment."
-Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point

New York magazine writer Ariel Levy strips the Girls Gone Wild culture of its cuteness in her provocative Female Chauvinist Pigs, arguing that post-feminist poster girls such as the Playboy Bunnies offer only faux empowerment."
-Vanity Fair

"Ariel Levy understands that while we may defend to death every woman's right to look and act like a whore, it doesn't mean we're prigs if we find it unfortunate."
-Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century

They put it so damn well! This subject is a mass of contradictions and thorny issues. None of us want to take away other women's right to behave and live as they believe, but are there really so many women who want to be hos - or do they think they have to be, to compete with other women, and to get men's attention? Just look at the whole Anna Nicole Smith debacle. Did she really starve her baby so it would be slim and sexy?

Yesterday's Sunday Star Times (February 25) again trawled over this issue, with some NZ examples like the World designer who has made a t-shirt for toddlers saying "future porn star". Surely there is a point where witty irony becomes tacky tacky tacky.

The sad thing is it mostly women making this happen. Who can blame guys for just sitting back and smirking when girls are leaping around flashing their g strings and kissing each other on the dance floor for just one moment of male attention. Why are girls competing for the glory of hanging out with old wrinkly tosspots like Hugh Hefner?

So what do we do? I don't know. Be aware. Don't fall for it.


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