Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the
Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Free Press (October 3, 2006)
By Jessica Stewart, Courier Editor-in-Chief
“Women had come so far, I learned, 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 outdo them and be Female Chauvinist Pigs: women who make sex objects of other women and of ourselves.”
Female Chauvinist Pigs is one of the most interesting books I have read for years. As the title implies, it explores the new breed of chauvinist pigs: females. I do not say women because female chauvinist pigs (FCPs) can be found at any age, something one cannot help but notice when walking around Logan’s campus or flipping through a teen magazine. I definitely recommend this book in the hopes that some FCPs read it and realize just how ridiculous they and their confused excuses are.
Levy uses a combination of statistics, observations and interviews to tell the story of our modern-day raunch culture, providing the reader with an idea of the plethora of females out there who not only subscribe to the culture, but help it to grow. It was utterly bewildering to me to read about females who claim that their promiscuity and embrasure of porn and the objectification of women is okay, because they are merely expressing their sexual liberation. They are supposedly modern feminists, but I am curious as to how women who embrace the raunch culture in order to be like men in every way possible could ever possibly be feminists. It is my understanding that feminism is not just about fighting for equal rights, but also embracing one’s own femininity, individuality, and, yes, sexuality. Mimicking the antics of the male sex does not accomplish this (unless of course it is not mimicry but an acceptance of your true self, which I seriously doubt is the case in most women).
No stone is left unturned in this book. Levy explores our raunch culture thoroughly, from the girls flashing their breasts for Girls Gone Wild to the female executives joining their counterparts in strip clubs, paying to see fellow women in various states of undress hump a pole. She covers the world of teenage girls trying to gain popularity through “sexting” and other shameless methods, and the world of “bois,” lesbians who refuse to grow up and are more into "wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am"s than they are actual relationships.
I found it absolutely fascinating, and at the same time a bit scary. How have we allowed our culture to go so far down the tube? And, as more and more females are embracing it at earlier and earlier ages, will we ever get out, and if we do will it be through a conservative backlash that negates all that our female ancestors worked so hard to win for us?
I felt that Levy could have discussed the equal unacceptability of male chauvinist pigs a bit more, but perhaps she is saving that for another book. It is certainly possible to base an entire tome on the subject. Other than that, I thought Female Chauvinist Pigs was well-researched and well-written, and I applaud Levy for writing about such a controversial subject with wit rather than juvenile mud-slinging.