I think we can understand the attraction of “Girls Gone Wild” to men. Men, after all, are pigs. But what’s the attraction for the women (or, rather, “girls”)? Is this sort of soft-core porn exhibitionism empowering for these women? Or is it just more of the same?

Listen to the author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, Ariel Levy, on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross from Tuesday, November 28th.

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2 thoughts on “Girls Gone Wild. . . What’s the attraction for women?

  1. What’s the attraction for women? The attention. For a very simple and painless act, a whole crowd will cheer and applaud you. It comes down to basic positive reinforcement. And while it may feel empowering for the individual (false consciousness might be a useful concept here), it is certainly more of the same—-women performing for the male gaze. It is not about our own pleasure or desire, but somebody else’s. Women and girls are not taught to control our own sexuality. Rather we are expected to perform sexuality, to appear sexual, e.g. in the way we dress, but also to act as sexual gatekeepers. It is so cliché and unimaginative. And certainly not empowering. Since girlhood, women’s sexual natures are repeatedly stifled and controlled. As a result, many women have little sense of sexual agency-—we are reactors, responders, who desperately seek attention with ridiculous outfits or by baring our breasts on cheap videos. Women who are assertively sexual—-who claim our rights to an active, healthy, empowered sexuality on our own terms, not someone else’s–are judged and dismissed. I would also argue that many men find “Girls Gone Wild”, etc. problematic, too. The men I know feel pity for the girls and embarrassed for the boys in the crowd who are acting so sophomoric. Many men recognize that giggling, drunk, insecure girls—-bare-breasted or not—-are more pathetic than they are sexy. And what’s so attractive about that?So, to answer your questions–why do girls do it? For the attention. Is it empowering? No. Is it more of the same? Yes. The really sad thing is that this is the same conversation we have been having for 30 years. Sigh…

  2. The other thing about these videos is that, in so many ways, they are not about women. They are about masculinity. Women are there as the props in men’s performances of masculinity for each other.

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