This new raunch culture didn’t mark the death of feminism, they told me; it was evidence that the feminist project had already been achieved. We’dearned the right to look at Playboy; we were empowered enough to get Brazilian bikini waxes. 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 out of other women and of ourselves.
When I asked female viewers and readers what they got out of raunch culture, I heard similar things about empowering miniskirts and feminist strippers, and so on, but I also heard something else. They wanted to be “one of the guys”; they hoped to be experienced “like a man.” Going to strip clubs or talking about porn stars was a way of showing themselves and the men around them that they were “prissy little women” or “girly-girls.” Besides, they told me, it was all in fun, all tongue-in-cheek, and for me to regard this bacchanal as problematic would be old-school and uncool.
I tried to get with the program, but I could never make the argument add up in my head. How is resurrecting very stereotype of female sexuality that feminism endeavored to banish good for women? Why is laboring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering? And how is imitating a stripper or a porn star—a woman whose job is to imitate arousal in the first place—going to render us sexually liberated?
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, by Ariel Levy. Pg. 2-4.