Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Latest on Boob-Flashing "Choice" Feminism


Since I use "Grrls Gone Wild" in my subtitle, I keep getting asked what I think about Girls (minus the rr, which has a whole 'nother meaning) Gone Wild. Here tis: To my mind, slinking around a pole or writing about it is not the pinnacle of real-world empowerment, but nor are the women who do so and feel empowered being duped. I have no doubt that the women who flash their boobs for the camera on GGW feel powerful. In many ways, they epitomize the dilemma of our (Gen X *and* Y) generation: caught between the hope of a world that no longer degrades women and the reality of a culture that is still degrading. It's confusing to be girl these days--or for that matter, a lady--in a world only half-transformed.

But for much more on the subject, check out this piece by Lisa Jervis on Girls Gone Wild as symptom of our culture’s stunted view of female sexuality. Jervis is responding to Garance Franke-Ruta's proposal to curb young women’s participation in these televised boob-flashing-fests. With characteristic savvy, Jervis writes:
The trick is to help young women navigate and respond to the barrage without patronizing, faux-feminist posturing; reinforcing outdated virgin-whore ideas about what kinds of girls lift their tops; sighing over the outlandish behavior of kids today; or discounting or denying girls’ behavior as simple false consciousness—all of which is happening way too much, both in feminist circles and elsewhere. If we can’t widen our analytic lens enough to see this, then we’re going to be stuck in Joe Francis’s world forever.

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