I have just finished Female Chauvinist Pigs; in a previous post I stated that I was conflicted about Ariel Levy's writing. I'm still a little bit confused as to where I stand with Levy, but I've come to more of an understanding. At first I thought her prudish, but in the chapter entitled Pigs in Training, I saw that she isn't; rather than teaching teenagers to practise abstinence they should be taught about how to achieve pleasurable sexual relationships and how to obtain contraception.
Female Chauvinist Pigs reads like a piece of journalism, not surprising considering Levy's credentials as contributing editor of New York Magazine; most of her information comes from interviews and personal experiences rather than from studies or surveys (although these do appear from time to time). Sometimes I feel that Levy is making huge leaps between arguments whereas at others that she is being perfectly coherent. Her book explores the effect of Raunch Culture in America as well as its proliferation. She does make some pretty good points about how women feel the need to "be like a man" in order to succeed and this shouldn't be a societal expectation. However, her chapter on "Womyn and Bois" looks at LGBT a little bit too simplistically for my liking; the impression that I got from her discussion of female-to-male transgenders is that she feels that they are women hoping to adopt a male gender role by escaping the female role. Firstly, I thought there shouldn't be a gender role to escape. Secondly, I think the issue is a little bit more complex than a simple women "trying to be like a man" because men are seen as somehow superior. If that were there the case why are there male-to-female transgenders at all?
I'm going to keep my copy, but I don't consider this book essential reading to aspiring feminists in the same way as the Feminine Mystique (which I still have yet to finish) or The Female Eunuch is. And on a final note, does anyone have any book suggestions for me?
Over and Out,