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review 2018-02-25 17:55
OK, no rules, but maybe some guardrails?
The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir - Ariel Levy


Ariel Levy has not had an easy time of it when she writes this book. My heart went out to her, and I respected her ability to form a sentence, let alone write a book after the horrible loss she endured.


It's hard to review these things. She does a remarkable job of explaining the loss of her child. It's truly moving. I wish she had stuck to just that event and the relationships formed around that child and the loss. It's so much more important than many of the other things that fill up this book. While her career might be of interest, it doesn't fit here, and it's why I never felt allowed to fully connect with the author or her pain.

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text 2015-11-08 00:28
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture - Ariel Levy

A friend lent me this 2005 reflection on the state of our Girls Gone Wild culture. It was a fascinating treatise on what we expect women to be and how we've reframed, "you can be sexually empowered" to mean "you must do these subjectively disempowering things to be Cool and we'll call that sexual empowerment."


I kept wondering if we've moved out of that stage... but I think I just spend my time with people who are so far removed from it that I've convinced myself the whole culture has started having more sophisticated discussions and a more complex understanding of sex and sexuality. Wishful thinking?

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review 2015-05-03 17:01
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture - Ariel Levy

There are things I liked about this book and things I did not like.

Overall, it was a quick and easy read. The reason for this is that the majority of the text is comprised of cultural/media examples and ancecdotes/interviews of female chauvinist pigs. While these were interesting, they showed limited viewpoints as Levy only included stories that supported her claim. Also, ironically Levy felt the need to describe the interviewees' looks as an introduction to their answers, usually including descriptors of attractiveness. This did not seem to mesh with Levy's overall point and often made her seem judgemental in the overt slut-shaming language that often comes up in the book.

Another drawback to this book was Levy's misunderstood and often offensive views of trans and queer culture. At one point she states, "The confusing thing, of course, is why somebody would need serious surgery and testosterone to modify their gender if gender is supposed to be so fluid in the first place" (127). Here Levy seems to have misunderstood the distinction between sex and gender, but such remarks undermine the issues people in the trans community face. Levy appears dismissive of such issues.

While I agreed with Levy's overall message that women should focus more on their own sexuality and sexual pleasure rather than their sexual performance for men, nowhere in the text is an example of healthy female sexuality provided. By giving a one-sided account of FCP, Levy's own goal seems unattainable as at no point is a good role model given.

This sounds like a pretty negative review, but there really were some very good points in the book. The analysis was strong and often very interesting such as her critique of Sex and the City. I think this is an important book, especially for people just getting into gender studies. The message was a very important one that should be taken seriously. I also enjoyed the mix of media and history throughout the text. Overall, this was a good read.

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review 2014-05-25 00:00
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture - Ariel Levy Female Chauvinist Pigs is an interesting read but unfortunately a bit dated. Although it was published in the middle of the last decade, it felt a bit old, especially when specific individuals were mentioned to support issues of FCP. However, many of the elements/issues it contained are simply common feminist issues and therefore were universal and not dated. The examples, however, were where things became rather dated. Girls Gone Wild, Paris Hilton and so on and so forth have, fortunately, seemingly been left behind. But of course there are always new individuals to take their place and I have no doubt that the same book could be written with different examples and it would work just fine.

One of Levy's quotes that I made a note of summarizes much of the book fairly well:

I suggested there were reasons one might not want to feel like a stripper, that spinning greasily around a pole wearing a facial expression not found in nature is more a parody of female sexual power than an expression of it. p98

Aka sexually expressing yourself in such a manner, including as porn stars etc., you are essentially only parodying a person that is imitating lust, sex, attraction etc etc etc. Not really a great foundation to base your actions/image on. (Of course, if you genuinely want to do those things, go forth, but don't let it be because "society" indicates that is how you gain power, notice etc.)

And want to get pretty irritated?

Princeton and Yale did not begin admitting female students until 1969; Harvard shared some classes with the women of Radcliffe as early as 1943 but did not fully integrate until 1972; Columbia was all male for undergraduates until 1983. p85

*sigh* Why do people still ask why we need feminism?
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review 2013-07-21 20:58
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Woman and the Rise of Raunch Culture
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture - Ariel Levy This doesn't offer any answers, just questions and the questions are pretty disturbing. This book was read while a man justifies a t-shirt that says "no+rhyphonol=yes" with a "not intended for ugly feminists"; where a book for children depicts a tomboy princess realising that dressing up is the way to win the boy; and where an orthodox Jewish girls school is picketed by ultra-orthodox men because the girls are "too distracting", and those were just what made it's way onto my twitter stream during the day I was reading this short collection of essays on women today. It's a scary read. Women are trying harder and harder to be men, rather than women, and are finding the task impossible. The behaviour many are emulating are teenage boys but they're failing to become adults, thus undermining the entire feminist agenda. Women's roles have become more constrained, more trivialised and this book asks many of the deep questions about why and how we've accepted this from the constant battering of our psyches by media.
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