Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Raunch Culture

(Note: I don't actually have much to say about Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture that hasn't been said better by Jennifer Egan over at The New York Times.  Basically, all I can really say is: read it.)

I have pretty much spent the last ten years stumped by the brand of female sexuality that's being marketed to the masses: shows like The Bad Girls Club, The Girls Next Door, and any number of other reality programs show women pushing the envelope of in the name of "empowerment," while Jenna Jameson's How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Tera Patrick's Sinner Takes All, and Izabella St. James' Bunny Tales prove that Americans view sex workers as symbols of female sensuality rather than women forced into unfortunate circumstances. 

There is a plasticizing of feminine sexuality--rather than re-defining sex and gender roles, (some) women are embracing sexual stereotypes in an effort to attract male attention.  In the last month, I've had (girl) friends tell me about how much they love going to strip bars, because the strippers give them lap dances and all the guys sit around them paying attention to them.  It's a way for women who don't fit the stripper mold to partake in the stripper fantasy, although the reality of strippers (which often include histories of sexual abuse) is far from ideal.

Perhaps my favorite quotation from Female Chauvinist Pigs comes from the mouth of a seventeen-year-old young man Levy interviews: "What girls don't understand is guys always want girls.  If every girl dressed casually, you'd still like girls.  It's like, you don't have to exhaust yourselves." 


Homero said...

I'm looking for the article to give you, but I remember reading this article that stated because of the widening gender gap in China, stereotypical gender roles have mostly reversed-- marrying age men gussy themselves up to attract women, who have their picks of husbands. They dumb themselves down in order to attract a suitable wife.

It's a fascinating thing.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Really? That's really interesting. (Wolf touches on something kind of like that in The Beauty Myth, but her information's twenty years out-of-date.)

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