Try to define raunch culture. What are some examples you've noticed? What are the values expressed in raunch culture?
Levy asserts that raunch is not essentially progressive, it's essentially commercial. Do you agree with her?
To what extent do you, or people you know, participate in raunch culture? Has this book made you reconsider any of your habits or assumptions?
Is there anything positive about raunch culture? Are there ways in which it demonstrates women's success?
How does the rise of raunch affect teenagers? Can education help them cope with the messages about sex they find in media and entertainment?
How do you think we should be educating young people about sexuality? Is this something best taught in school or at home?
If you had a daughter, or if you have one, what would or do you tell her about sex? If you had a son, or if you have one, are those messages different?
What does feminism mean to you and what influence does feminism have on your life? Has it always had the same value to you, or has it meant different things at different times?
What do you think would be the single most empowering thing that could happen to women? Electing a female president? Seeing a female anchorwoman on television? The passage of the ERA? What did the women's movement leave unfinished?
What does it mean to you to be "like a man?" Or "like a woman?" Is there any such thing? Do you believe there are any inherently female or essentially male traits?
What would you ask or say to a friend who had decided to "transition" from female to male?
What are your thoughts on cosmetic surgery? Do you feel it is something people take too lightly? Is it an expression of a vain and shallow culture or is it something positive people can do to improve their looks and self image? Or does it depend upon the context?
What can we do to make progress? What are some positive ways for women to pursue freedom and power?
Azuline, January 26, 2010 (view all comments by Azuline)
This book changed the way I think about feminism, pop culture, and myself. Ariel Levy's exploration of Girls Gone Wild, Playboy, and the sexual revolution are sometimes hilarious, sometimes downright frightening. Altogether a quick, enjoyable, illuminating read.
But I wonder if the use of anti-depressants and other drugs to treat emotional issues in young women coupled with alcohol use adds fuel to the fire? Are we assuming that the women who are doing all this stuff are emotionally mature and capable? So many are opening themselves up to current physical danger getting drunk and stripping naked in public, which could cause present and future risk to reputation. The beauty queens getting fired from their jobs is proof of that.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
"Review A Day"
by Christine Smallwood, Salon.com,
"The picture that Levy paints is more than a little grim: raunch culture, which is essentially misogynist, callow, simplistic and ubiquitous, breeds women-hating-women who angle for power with men and propagate more raunch under the deceitful guise of feminist empowerment." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review A Day"
by Larissa N. Dooley, Boldtype,
"Sharp, witty, and utterly convincing, Levy's book is a call to arms for women who have fallen into the trap of phony feminism. The new Uncle Tom is a woman looking to the male chauvinist pig to find out who she is. If Levy's book has the impact that it merits, this won't be true for long." (read the entire Boldtype review)
by Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review,
"[Levy's] forays into a Girls Gone Wild shoot, several parties hosted by the neo-feminist group Cake, the lesbian subculture of New York and San Francisco, and the private lives of sexually active teenagers make for smart, acerbic reading."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"An assertive blast, filled with punchy language and vivid images."
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"A piercing look at how women are sabotaging their own attempts to be seen as equals by going about the quest the wrong way, Levy's engrossing book should be required reading for young women."
by Cindy Adams, The New York Post,
"Ariel Levy has become feminism's newest and most provocative voice."
by Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point,
"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."
by Vanity Fair,
"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."
by Cathleen Schine, author of The Love Letter and She Is Me,
"Female Chauvinist Pigs is smart, alarming, and extremely funny. With nuance and humor, Levy has written both a convincing expose of sex and desire in contemporary America and an important cultural history. I'm giving a copy to my mother. And my sons."
by Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century,
"As everyone knows — we people generally, Americans in particular — let sex drive us mad. Female Chauvinist Pigs is a heroic (and smart and entertaining and disturbing) stab at looking very sanely at one rampant form the insanity is taking these days. 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."
by Robin Morgan, author and activist,
"Ariel Levy has given us an important, lively, shocking investigative report about how and why — in an age of HIV/AIDS and religious fundamentalism — U.S. commercialism has mainstreamed pornography, popularized raunch images (and practices), and revived female 'bimbo' roles. This is a call to arms for women and girls who are being sold pseudo empowerment, phony liberation, and fake rebellion — instead of the real thing: freedom. A must-read for young women — and everyone else."
In this passionate report from the front lines, a New York magazine writer examines the enormous cultural impact of the newest wave of post-feminism.
Meet the Female Chauvinist Pig — the new brand of "empowered woman" who embraces "raunch culture" wherever she finds it. In her groundbreaking book, New York magazine writer Ariel Levy argues that, 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. Irresistibly witty and wickedly intelligent, Female Chauvinist Pigs makes the case that the rise of raunch does not represent how far women have come; it only proves how far they have left to go.
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