Shocking Spoils of Feminism's Victory; NON-FICTION

Article excerpt

Byline: MELANIE MCGRATH

Female Chauvinist Pigs

Ariel Levy

DURING the recent spate of balmy evenings, it has been hard to avoid the depressing spectacle of women, usually young, often drunk, staggering around central London after hours in teensy po-mo T-shirts bearing - or is it baring?

- slogans like "Porn Star" or "Will F**k for Shoes".

These are the Female Chauvinist Pigs of New York journalist Ariel Levy's clever polemic about the rise of Raunch Culture, and their Queen is Paris Hilton. You know these women. When not simulating lesbo sex on street corners or vomiting into gutters, FCPs are to be found in lap-dancing clubs practising their pole work or at irony-laden parties getting their t*ts out for the boys.

Their role models are plastic porn star Jenna Jameson and all-purpose blow-up blonde Pamela Anderson.

FCPs are not quite what Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Nancy Friday, or even Erica Jong, had in mind when they championed women's liberation 30 years ago, argues Levy. But they're no zombie Stepford Wives either. These postfeminist-women are the willing, active and conscious participants in a "tawdry, tarty, cartoonlike version of female sexuality", which offers up boob jobs and stripper chic as emblems of sexual liberation and personal empowerment.

And while there's much to celebrate in the fact that the women are no longer expected to carry the burden of " respectability" at the expense of their sexual pleasure and cultural freedom, Levy laments its crass antithesis in the Female Chauvinist Pig.

To illustrate her case, she takes us on location with Girls Gone Wild, a boys' wet-dream reality peepshow where young "hotties" flash their assets in exchange for GGW T-shirts. Then she's off once more to the strange "bois" bars of San Francisco, where "butch" dykes outmacho one another to hump and dump the "femmes". …