Female Chauvinist Pigs – Ariel Levy

I loved this book. I first heard about it from Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency videos, and it seemed to be well-known in feminist circles, so I thought I’d try it.

Most of it was inspiring. Every time she smacked down some self-righteous commenter on women, it was so satisfying. Sometimes it’s easy to think “Well, maybe I am just a prude to be offended by Playboy and Anne Summers and fake plastic sexiness being shoved in my face all the time”, but reading this made me resolute in my convictions and reassured me that it isn’t just me. In fact, it even offers compelling evidence about why nobody wants to argue against raunch culture: it’s because to question it at all is to be a prude, to be ugly, with no sense of humour and no sense of fun. It is the reason it’s so hard to argue against lads’ mag style BANTER – as I’ve just been reading in Gender and the Media, “discourses of laddism and sexism together with feminism and equality are purposely reconciled to rebut critique” (215). Irony means never having to say you’re sorry.

I found the middle a bit confusing, as Levy introduces a lot of different factions of the gay subculture in America that I didn’t know about, and I’ve found the same views echoed in other reviews. I’m not sure whether this was because Levy was not so knowledgeable about this subject, or because it is so unknown to me that I had to learn a lot as I was reading through, but the ending was really hard-hitting and inspiring. I lent this book to a friend who loved it as well and we spent a whole afternoon talking about it and all the issues it brought up. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone.

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