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Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise…

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (2005)

by Ariel Levy

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Levy does a great job of exposing and critiquing the dangers of our current culture's view of the "liberated" woman. She challenges directly, and I believe accurately, this myth that things like Playboy and likes are some how testimony to women's liberation. Her critique is not just against the men who run or benefit from these degrading institutions, but also at the women who falsely see these things as liberating rather then degrading (like wearing a Playboy logo on their shirt).
It's definitely an interesting read if your looking for a hard hitting intellectual critique of a raunch culture. ( )
  ariahfine | Jan 21, 2014 |
Definitely a must read for any feminist, young or old.

The structure sort of comes undone in the final 50 pages or so but the book's a refreshing and often merciless expose of the rise of raunch culture, where Playboy bunnies, porn stars and pole dancing classes are seen as signs of a post-feminist liberated woman. Levy effectively dismantles the notion that these are good things and shows how they do more harm than good. It was also refreshing to see the chapter discussing the lesbian point of view and how such changes in culture have effected the gay community. There aren't a whole lot of feminist books out there doing that. The most interesting stuff came when Levy examined the rise of the feminist movement in the late 60s onwards and how it evolved into this new culture we see before us.

Raunch culture and this idea that selling yourself based on your sexuality is something that my mind's battled with since my adolescence and Levy manages to put into words what I spent a lot of my teen years trying to do. I'd love to see an updated version of this book, possibly covering the Disney franchise and their habit of selling sex to little girls in the safe form of silver rings and the child beauty pageants that scare me so much. I highly recommend this book (I'd also recommend Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth - which tackles the abstinence movement Levy briefly touches upon in her own book - for some follow-up reading.) ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
This brief book covers a lot of ground: a capsule history of the feminist movement; a dissection of the Playboy universe; the rise of pornography as a defining cultural ideal; and more. Levy is persuasive, perhaps most persuasive when she points out the intersection of consumption and sex and the way it limits and distorts our ideas about gender equality, sexuality, and values. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
[Did you know that Barbie dolls are modeled after a German adult, quasi-sex doll named Bild Lilli? How do you like that, America?! You sick fuck!:]

Levy’s argument can be summed up in one sentence: “Rauch culture is not essentially progressive, it is essentially commercial.” I enjoy her analysis, but wish she wasn’t so persistently anecdotal. And I wish I had possessed the willpower to stop looking at her picture in the back of the book…the steely eyes, the soft lips ever-so-slightly parted as if she’s about to tell me something, the self-assured unkemptness of her hair. Feminists are hot. ( )
  KidSisyphus | Apr 5, 2013 |
Overall this was an easy and fast read, with some of valid points. However, I read this a few years after it first came out and the main premise of this book seems very obvious to me, especially now that many of her examples (Girls Gone Wild, stripper culture) are so widespread in popular culture (Girls Gone Wild even seems outdated now). ( )
  serrulatae | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
As a consciousness-raising call to arms, "Female Chauvinist Pigs" is clearly to the good.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743284283, Paperback)

Ariel Levy’s debut book is a bold, piercing examination of how twenty-first century American society perceives sex and women. Writing vividly, she brings her readers to places she visited to make her assessment; the elevator of Playboy Enterprises with women auditioning to be Playmates in the fiftieth anniversary edition, a Florida beach where sunbathers urge a woman to take off her bathing suit for the camera crew of Girls Gone Wild, a San Francisco Italian restaurant where a lesbian worries she’s not dressed up enough for her date, a CAKE party in New York, with women grinding each other’s pelvises in time to pulsating dance rhythms, and outside a juice bar in Oakland where a beautiful high school student shares disappointment at her experiences with sex.

Levy cleverly leads us to explore the role models women aspire to emulate. We are not pursuing the confident, self-determined, powerful, free ideal the women’s liberation movement would have dreamed for its daughters. Instead, our icons are porn stars and strippers and prostitutes. Paris Hilton and Jenna Jameson flaunt their successes in the pornography industry, and in doing so seem to earn our adulation.

Levy relates our embracing of this raunchy culture to unresolved tensions thirty years ago between the sexual revolution and the women’s liberation movement, and amongst feminists; joy at discovering the delights of our clitoris conflicting with disgust at pornography’s objectification of women. She creates a convincing argument by analyzing a diverse spectrum of material; presents a fascinating palette of interviews with revolutionary women’s libbers, nouvelle raunchy feminists, and everyday women and men. Detailed facts and recurring names are sometimes cumbersome, albeit worth ploughing through for the ‘a-ha moments’.

The reality that we model ourselves on images whose "individuality is erased" is harsh, yet Levy’s work is imbued with hope – hope that women can celebrate their uniqueness instead of their ‘hotness’, explore their sexuality as delight rather than consume sex as currency, and succeed professionally because of their brilliant minds and personalities, not because of their brilliant bodies.--Megan Jones Ady

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:33 -0400)

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Examines how some women are promoting chauvinism by behaving in sexually compromising ways, in an account that evaluates how women may be contributing to misogynistic and stereotyped belief systems.

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Average: (3.74)
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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1863950869, 1863955003

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