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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If looking like Paris Hilton is your goal...

...you might be a bad feminist. (Apologies for the bad Foxworthy reference.) By owning a pair a playboy bunny panties, you might be a female-male chauvinist pig...if you're female that is. If you are male and own panties...that's called something else. Ariel Levy writes:

Women had come so far, I learnt, that we no longer needed to worry about objectification or misogyny. Instead, it was time for us to join the frat party of pop culture where men had been enjoying themselves all along. If male chauvinist pigs were men who regarded women as pieces of meat, we would beat them at their own game and be female chauvinist pigs: women who make sex objects of other women and of ourselves.

How is resurrecting every stereotype of female sexuality that feminism endeavoured to banish good for women? Why is labouring to look like Paris Hilton empowering? And how is imitating a stripper or a porn star - a woman whose job is to imitate arousal in the first place - going to render us sexually liberated?

Time out. Too much imagery. Who the hell wants to look like Paris Hilton? I always felt sorry for her because she had the misfortune of looking like herself...slightly amphibian, but with too-close-together eyes. If we are going to lend ourselves to objectification, I think we raise the bar a little higher than that. Ok, time in:

If we believed that we were sexy and funny and competent and smart, we would not need to be like strippers or like men or like anyone other than our own specific, individual selves. That won't be easy, but the rewards would be the very things female chauvinist pigs want so badly, the things women deserve: freedom and power.

Oh, believe me, I agree wholeheartedly. But the problem is not that there aren't other options available. It's just that no one takes them. I think most women (excluding co-eds with IQs moderately equal to their bust size) would agree that they don't need to adhere to the status quo to feel sexy or sexually liberated. The problem is finding partners who agree with them. All the cool kids stick with the chauvinist "sexy means looking airbrushed" tactic.

That said, I think there is a major cultural attempt to disguise rampant sexual objectification as feminist liberation. Ladies, if you want to go to the male-target strip clubs, or if you like to kiss other girls, that is completely your business and more feminist power to you. But if you do these things just for approval, get your goddamn head out of your nipple tassels and realize that the joke is on you... ... ... and you are a bad feminist... ...