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Response to Violet_Crumble (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2012, 08:37 AM

2. love to reduce everything about women to catfights about sex


As Naomi Wolf wrote in the Washington Post: "The stereotype of feminists as asexual, hirsute Amazons in Birkenstocks that has reigned on campus for the past two decades has been replaced by a breezy vision of hip, smart young women who will take a date to the right-on, woman-friendly sex shop Babeland." Pick your caricature.

The same thing happens at the other end. "Third wave" was indeed intended to define a new generation – it was coined by Rebecca Walker, Alice Walker's daughter – in 1992. The original third wavers, with their reclaiming of "girl culture" and their commitment to the intersectionality of race, class and gender are now touching 40. They hung up their Hello Kitty backpacks some time ago.

The journey continues through interviews with a former lap dancer called Ellie, who helps illustrate just how sexist the culture has ­become: "Now," says ­Ellie, "women get told they are prudes if they say they don't want their boyfriend to go to a club where he gets to stick his fingers in someone else's vagina." She interviews a woman she calls Angela, who, in ­describing her work as a prostitute, says that "basically you've consented to being raped sometimes for money". And then there's pornography addict Jim, who says that "porn is way more brutalising than it used to be. There is this unbelievable obsession with [extreme] anal sex . . . It's far more demeaning to women than in the past."

One email in particular stuck out, a message from a 17-year-old girl called Carly Whiteley. She said that she was "starting to think it was time to give up and sit in silence while my friends put on a porno and grunted about ­whatever blonde, airbrushed piece of plastic was in Nuts this week. What you said gave me back the will not to give in . . . It's nice to see someone else saying it, makes me feel like less of a prude-type oddball."

The "prude" reference was key. In Living Dolls, Walter takes on the ­notion that, for example, stripping and pole dancing are ­empowering, ­liberating choices; instead, she ­suggests, it has become increasingly difficult for young women to opt out of this culture, to take any path other than that which leads inexorably to fake nails, fake tan and, finally, fake breasts. And, if they do, there are ­serious social penalties.

"I was surprised by the attitudes of the girls I interviewed," she says, "who seemed to feel that they would be mocked if they protested within their peer groups. You know, when I was at university [in the 80s] it was OK to be annoyed about ­sexism, to take it quite seriously – if you argued about it, it didn't make you the ­subject of ­mockery. Even if you didn't ­particularly identify yourself as a feminist, you could choose where you wanted to be on a spectrum, and you could still say, 'I really don't want Page 3 in the ­common room,' or, 'I ­really hate the idea of porn' . . . I was surprised when I was ­interviewing young women that they felt ­uncomfortable engaging in that way. Of course, a lot them would say, 'It's fine, we can choose whether to [interact with the sexist culture] or not,' and then you dig a little deeper, and you realise that it is more ­problematic than that."

. I believed that we only had to put in place the conditions for equality for the remnants of the old-fashioned sexism in our culture to wither away. I am ready to admit that I was entirely wrong."


original 3rd waver changes her mind.

many of us are too young to have gotten to play in 2nd wave. my two nieces, for different reasons and arriving to the opinion thru different experiences both oppose porn in their life. 20 and 24.

many of the blogs i pull my info from are young feminists. to suggest that all of the third wave is this.... is simply wrong.

thank you for this article. it is good stuff.

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Violet_Crumble May 2012 OP
seabeyond May 2012 #1
LineReply love to reduce everything about women to catfights about sex
seabeyond May 2012 #2
redqueen May 2012 #7
seabeyond May 2012 #8
redqueen May 2012 #10
seabeyond May 2012 #11
MerryBlooms May 2012 #3
BlueIris May 2012 #4
seabeyond May 2012 #5
redqueen May 2012 #6
seabeyond May 2012 #9
redqueen May 2012 #12
seabeyond May 2012 #13
redqueen May 2012 #14
seabeyond May 2012 #15
redqueen May 2012 #16
Violet_Crumble Jun 2012 #17
Little Star Jun 2012 #18
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