Oprah recently aired a show entitled “Stupid Girls” which tackled the role of women in our society. Ariel Levy appeared on that show after Pink talked about her song “Stupid Girls.” Levy wrote Female Chauvinist Pigs – Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture and as she spoke about it I was instantly intrigued.
Levy was on the show along with a girl who was a recruiter for the Girls Gone Wild videos. Levy talked about how if men were male chauvinist pigs before – exploiting women – now women were taking over for them by exploiting each other and ourselves. The girl from GGW talked about how she convinced women to appear on the videos FOR FREE and how it was their own fault if they regretted it. These women were somehow convinced that appearing on these videos was empowering.
Levy and Pink both mentioned on the show that almost anyone could name a sleezy star (Paris Hilton, Jenna Jamenson, etc), and yet we are hard pressed to name an intelligent successful young woman who isn’t getting ahead through sex.
At the same time, our culture is leading us to believe that in order to be sexy, we need to be like porn stars or strippers. Breast implants jumped by about 700% between ’92 and ’04, from 32,607 a year to 264,041 a year. Surgeries are on the rise for vaginoplasty and labia operations that do not increase pleasure, but make it look more like a porn star or stripper’s parts. Are we completely forgetting that their job is to IMITATE arousal? They are a cheap replica of the real thing, and women are now being led to believe that to be sexy we must imitate the imitators! How ridiculous is that?!
This may seem confusing considering the “swing to the right” this country has taken, but raunch culture transcends elections. The values people vote for are not necessarily the same values they live by. No region of the United States has a higher divorce rate than the Bible Belt. (The divorce rate in these southern states is roughly fifty percent above the national average.) In fact, eight of the ten states that lead in national divorce are red, whereas the state with the lowest divorce rate in the country is deep blue Massachusetts. Even if people consider themselves conservative or vote Republican, their political ideas may be just that: a reflection of the way they wish things were in America, rather than a product of the way they actually experience it.
She talks about how at the same time Bush was elected to his second term, the number one tv show in red areas like Atlanta (which voted 58% for Bush) was Desperate Housewives, which far from promotes family values or great women role models.
She then says
Playboy is likewise far more popular in conservative Wyoming than in liberal New York
Ah. That’s nice to hear.
So why is it that we accept the porn stereotypes as the norm? Why are we considering that to be sexy? Why do women go around wearing Playboy bunnies and “porn star” shirts and consider themselves liberated and sexually free? That is the most ridiculous thing I can think of!
I’ll definitely write more about this later