Feminism gone wild...
Gee, we've gone from Victorian feminism to raunchy feminism...
They're the faces of feminism in the 21st century: Girls Gone Wild flashers, porn star Jenna Jameson and the Sex and the City supershoppers.
If that sentence made your head explode, you're on the same page as Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. If it made perfect sense, you may find yourself in her pages.
In Female Chauvinist Pigs (Free Press, $25), Levy takes a sharp-eyed look at perceptions of feminism in two very different generations. She asks whether Brazilian waxes really are more empowering than unshaven legs and, more important, whether the recent resurgence of sexual stereotypes means women are strong enough to transcend them -- or are just giving up.
In a phone interview from her home in Manhattan, as she begins afive-city book tour, Levy says, ``There's more to female empowerment than sexual freedom.''
She is not some old-school scold. A columnist for New York magazine and Slate, she's a smart, witty observer of American culture and, at 30, "fluent in raunch."
Raised by parents who were student activists in the 1960s and educated at the zenith of political correctness in the '90s, Levy says she ''pretty much took for granted that everything feminism said was true,'' including the idea that seeing women as sex objects is discriminatory and damaging.
But, as she writes in Female Chauvinist Pigs, in the last few years she noticed her female friends going to clubs to see female strippers, digging on Howard Stern and The Man Show, and explaining that it was all ``liberating and rebellious.''
The trend rubbed off on her. A graduate of Wesleyan University, where "You could pretty much be kicked out for saying `girl' instead of 'woman,' " she found herself calling women "chicks" and wearing thongs.
"My best friend from college was really into this stuff," Levy says. "This is a really smart woman. . . but she became completely fascinated with porn stars.
"It was so incredibly weird. In the last five years or so, there are just these fake boobs everywhere."