Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Up Paris Hilton's Skirt, Such As It Is...

Before we return to our ALL GUNS ALL THE TIME format, I wanted to make note of a new book from Ariel Levy, FEMALE CHAUVINIST PIG: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Levy's thesis is that (duh!) something has gone terribly wrong with feminism, which has lead to the strange situation of women adopting perhaps the worst traits of men, especially in the sexual "arena." Haven't read the book yet (it's on the way from Amazon), but some of the articles are fascinating.

This from OpinionJournal's Wendy Shalit:
It [modern academic life] was merely the academic groundwork for what she calls "raunch culture," now so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. Young women wear shirts emblazoned with "Porn Star" across the chest. Teen stores sell "Cat in the Hat" thong underwear. Parents treat their daughters' friends to "cardio striptease" classes for birthday parties. This is liberation?

Ms. Levy is baffled. "Why," she wondered, "is laboring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering?" Why did female Olympic athletes pose for Playboy before the summer 2004 Games? Why did Katie Couric feel the need to point to her cleavage and gush "these are actually real!" when she guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" a couple of years ago?

Some sort of pervasive pressure, apparently, requires "everyone who is sexually liberated . . . to be imitating strippers and porn stars." Ms. Levy describes the perfect distillation of this impulse--a social group called CAKE that hosts steamy, hooking-up parties in New York and London. CAKE makes big bucks advertising "feminism in action"--it claims to be the place where "sexual equality and feminism finally meet"--but its events are indistinguishable from those held at the Playboy Mansion.
I could crack a joke here, largely because I'm a guy and I benefit — even if only visually — from the triumph of raunch culture. I've said before that being in Boulder when Boulder High, which is a couple of blocks away form both the University of Colorado campus and the only gunstore in town, let out is...interesting. The trick is telling the high school girls from the college women, easy once you get the hang of it. The college women, having just discovered the Demon Rum big time, dress in ratty sweats, have lank hair and look like winos coming off a five day bender; the high schoolers look like moderately expensive call girls.

I can crack jokes because I don't have any kids. My producer and friend Robin has a baby daughter, and he doesn't think any of this is funny at all. He's right. of course. It's a scary thing to watch culture slide off the edge of the world.

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