Click here to
March 27, 2008
Click Here to Order!
Return to Home Page Return to Old Archive Home Page Doctrine, Scripture, Morality, Vocation, Community Identity, Sexuality, Family, Healing, Work Art, Ideas, Technology, Science, Business Politics, Bioethics, Ecology, Justice, Peace Spirituality, Prayers, Poems, and Witness Archive of top news from around the web Columns, Reviews and Personal Essays What is Godspy?
faith article
Andrea Dworkin and Me, by Maggie Gallagher
To most conservatives, Andrea Dworkin was an expletive to be deleted. But her recent death brought back the time when the infamous feminist invited me, the unknown young conservative, to tea, where we shared glimpses of the same truth.

The Dawn Patrol
The Exploits of Dawn Eden

Dispatches From 'Girls Gone Wild', by Ariel Levy
“I ask GGW's tour manager, Mia Leist, and VP Bill Horn what they think. Do they have any ambivalence about what they do? Do they ever feel there's something vaguely ugly about watching drunk, attention-hungry girls expose themselves to video cameras for a living? ‘…We know the formula,’ says Leist. ‘We know how it works. In a perfect world, maybe we'd stop and change things. But it's a business.’" [Slate]

Sexed-Up New Haven: Yale hosts a campus-wide orgy.
“Strangely enough, Sex Week was put on with the help of Yale's Women's Center, the locus of radical feminism on campus. Feminists are always decrying the objectification of women, and yet pornography is one of the most demeaning and widespread means of objectifying women available.” [National Review Online]

Telling Lies with the Body: Expert Christopher West explains Pope John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body,' a reflection on sexual love
“…we no longer understand what it means to love. So often what we call love in our culture is nothing but a man and woman or two men or whoever using one another for our own selfish pleasure… The opposite of love is to use someone as a means to my own selfish end. This is not some abstract theology-we know this to be true. When somebody uses us, treats us as a thing rather than as a person, we feel violated.” [Beliefnet]

The Meaning of Sex: Fertility and the Recovery of Human Sexuality, by Juli Loesch Wiley
Few dare talk about it, but beneath the surface of elite opinion there's growing unease about the sexual revolution. Not only hasn’t it delivered happiness, it’s brought the opposite. Juli Loesch Wiley explains why misery is the natural result of severing the connection between sexual fulfillment and fertility, and what it will take to restore whole sexual love between men and women.

Click here to buy the movie...
Click here to see the video!
Click here to buy!
Click Here to Order!
Click here to buy!

Boinking Without Oinking: A Review of ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs’

Ariel Levy’s new book on the rise of ‘raunch culture’ and its effect on women has gotten raves for challenging sexed-up feminism. But its daring is only skin-deep.

Early this month, after a federal court struck down Seattle's 17-year moratorium on new strip clubs, the leaders of the notoriously liberal city—fearing an onslaught of new venues—opted to make them as unsexy as possible.

In a vote that made international headlines, the Seattle City Council passed strict new rules for strip clubs. The Associated Press noted that there would be no more lap dances, nor dollar bills placed in G-strings:

“Under these rules, dancers would have to stay 4 feet away from customers, private rooms would be barred, customers couldn’t give money directly to entertainers, and the minimum lighting would be increased”—think parking-garage brightness.

When she describes the sordid scenes at a 'Girls Gone Wild' video shoot... her attention to detail puts the reader in the picture.
Female Chauvinist Pigs
, Ariel Levy's dissection of what she calls America's "raunch culture," lists at $25—which I'd venture is about the same as one of Seattle's newly sanitized, no-longer-lap dances. If you live near the Emerald City and want to learn what emotions underlie women's sexual expression, your money would be far better spent on five minutes with a talkative "adult entertainer" than on Levy's pretentious excuse for biting social commentary.

Compared to a Seattle strip-club special, Female Chauvinist Pigs is the literary equivalent of the apocryphal Mexican donkey show. Levy promises bold insights into the psychological underpinnings of women's deepest and kinkiest sexual desires, only to drop the reader in a dead-end alley.

The Free Press's promotion of the book relies heavily on the "wow" factor: At last, a liberal young woman who dares challenge the fruits of her peers' "sex-positive" feminism. The publisher is counting on an audience too young to remember Levy's idol, Susan Brownmiller, who—in fighting pornography—believed she was, in Levy's words, "liberating women from degrading sexual stereotypes and a culture of male domination and”—consequently—“making room for greater female sexual pleasure."

In other words, while Levy, like Brownmiller, believes pornography creates a culture that permits and even encourages violence against women, she has nothing against sexy photos of nekkid women. She writes quite affectionately of Candida Royalle, the prolific producer of female-friendly sex films. Levy's beef with pornography stems solely from its embodiment of male fantasies. The idea that the very nature of pornography—whether produced by women or not—demeans human dignity, is never addressed, and indeed, it appears to have no meaning to Levy.

Levy blames conservatives for women's desire to assume male-created sexual stereotypes.
The author is a contributing editor for New York magazine, and her reporting shows a talent for wry observation. When she describes the sordid scenes at a "Girls Gone Wild" video shoot or a New York City sex party, her great attention to detail puts the reader in the picture. These you-are-there sections are the book's strongest points. 

Unfortunately, Levy is determined to synthesize her anecdotes into social criticism. To make that leap, she tries to widen her net to address deeper social issues—and fails miserably. The farther she stretches, the more her shoddy research shows through.

The weak spots are evident when the author looks for backing for her philosophy—and when she doesn't find it, either makes it up, or finds a straw man to knock down.

Early on, Levy establishes her liberal credentials by arguing that the Left doesn't have a lock on raunch culture: Conservative Middle America made Paris Hilton a star. A fair point—but then she can't leave well enough alone:

“The values people vote for are not necessarily the same values they live by. No region of the United States has a higher divorce rate than the Bible Belt. (The divorce rate in these southern states is nearly fifty percent above the national average.)”

The source for Levy's statistics is a New York Times article which, in turn, doesn't list its source. But the slightest research would have turned up plenty of reasons to question the Times' statistics. As Maggie Gallagher noted in her article debunking the Times piece:

"In 2001, Massachusetts had a lower-than-average divorce rate (2.4 per 1,000 residents, compared to a national average of 4 per 1,000 residents). But it also had a lower-than-average marriage rate: 6.4 per 1,000 residents vs. 8.4 in the national average. Texas was the exact opposite: a higher-than-average crude divorce rate and a higher-than-average marriage rate."

That the very nature of pornography demeans human dignity is never addressed.
When the conversation goes further into the Planned Parenthood agenda, Levy goes into full propaganda mode. "We are pouring an enormous amount of money into abstinence-only education—that is, sexual education that promotes virginity and discredits or disregards contraception—despite the fact that not a single study has shown this approach works.”

Levy doesn't give a source for her sweeping generalization—and, indeed, no source exists. With apologies to Al Franken, Ariel Levy is a skinny little liar.

A number of studies show the effectiveness of abstinence education, and a simple online search would have turned them up—like a study in the April 2003 Adolescent and Family Health journal which found that increased abstinence among teens was the major cause of declining birth and pregnancy rates among single teenage girls. But actual evidence would get in the way of Levy's true intent: to blame conservatives for women's desire to assume male-created sexual stereotypes.

"Our national love of porn and pole dancing is not the byproduct of a free and easy society with an earthy acceptance of sex," Levy writes. Would that it were! No, "[i]t is a desperate stab at freewheeling eroticism in a time and place characterized by intense anxiety."

Hmmm. And who do you think might be the cause of this anxiety?

Oh, I don't know ... could it be....


"In 2004, our forty-second president, George W...."

Ha! What do I win?

Levy goes on.... "proposed an amendment ... to forever ban gay marriage"... blah blah blah...

Here we go: "...If half this country feels so threatened by two people of the same gender being in love and having sex (and, incidentally, enjoying equal protection under the law), that they turn their attention—during wartime—to blocking rights already denied to homosexuals, then all the cardio striptease classes in the world aren't going to render us sexually liberated."

Yes, ladies, this is about sexual liberation—and the only things preventing it are those nasty masculiheterodubyacentric fantasies perpetuated by red-state raunch culture.

Marriage never fits into Levy’s equation... it’s just a battering ram against conservatives.
That's why marriage appears in Female Chauvinist Pigs only as a battering ram against conservatives—to accuse them of divorcing too readily, or to criticize them for allowing homosexuals to wed. The truth is, marriage never fits into Levy's equation. Her book ends with an answer to Freud's perennial question, referring to the things "…Female Chauvinist Pigs want so desperately, the things women deserve: freedom and power."

Which brings us back to Seattle and a better use for your 25 bucks. If you spoke with a female employee of the strip-club industry that fuels America's raunch culture—something Levy never did—you'd find that what they really want is the same thing women have wanted since time immemorial: a loving husband. If they don't have one, it's Levy's vaunted radical feminist movement—and not "our forty-second president"—that's to blame.

Come to think of it, Bush isn't No. 42. He's No. 43. Levy couldn't even get that right.

October 28, 2005

DAWN EDEN works for "New York's Hometown Paper", and has written for Touchstone and National Review Online. Her blog, The Dawn Patrol, is currently in hibernation while she writes her first book, 'The Thrill of the Chaste', due from W Publishing Group in fall 2006.

©2005. All rights reserved.

Email A Friend
02.06.07   leclta says:
Wow, we are asking an awful lot of one woman's book. Seriously, we expect her ideas about feminism to "take women out of the "freedom and power" of being sexual objects" all by themselves? Come on, let's just see the book for what it is -- a great opener to a much-needed conversation. I am so grateful to Ariel Levy for being brave enough to stand up and say that objectifying women is not feminism -- even if women are the ones objectifying women. I agree with the previous poster -- this is not a book about statistics, it is about observations. Instead of slamming her for not being in line with abstinence-only sex ed, can't we find where we as women meet intellectually? We all agree that all people have dignity and worth. Let's start there.

12.04.05   kkelly says:
Ariel Levy is making VERY valid points about the generation of women growing up in our society. This is not a book about statistical research. It is commentary, observation, and a way of growing awareness among those who might not otherwise be aware of what is happening to the feminist movement in America. This is a book written by a woman very sensitive to the values of the people who fought for women's liberation in our country. She is concerned about the trend away from true equality. This is an exceptional book for women who like to think for themselves; a book written by a woman who knows that George W. Bush IS the 42nd president.

11.04.05   klossg says:
karenanderson:<>No marriage is a not redemption; it is a sacrament from time immemorial. It began sometime around Genesis time "and the two become one flesh." Christ redeemed it and elevated it through his entire redemption of all us humans. But, as you say, marriage itself is not redemption, even post Christ's resurrection. It is a shame. But Christ did not make his redemption a requirement. We still choose it or reject it. I am bummed by the number of men who call themselves Christians who do not accept Christ's redemption of marriage. They accept his redemption of their sins but not the reality of Christ's call to go to the beginning!I think Eden's point is that Levy's book does not do justice to a feminism that will improve women's plight. It does not take women out of the "freedom and power" of being sexual objects. Levy points to political answers. As if some more properly focused "freedom and power" (feminine taste to pornography and homosexual sex) would bring about a better reality.But, if you do think better pornograpy and more free homosexual sex will help women get what they are after, then Levy is right! And with a little more political action ... women will be on top of the "heap" soon. Just a little more freedom ought to do it. Then we'll be there.Men who watch a more feminized pornography will treat women better. And men will definetly treat women better if they agree that homosexual sex is just as good as feminized pornography sex. That will really help women! All will be fair then thanks to Levy's wisdom!

11.04.05   dannyboy says:
Karenanderson,Uh, she didn't write "all women" -- just women. Your insertion makes a convenient straw man of a relatively moderate argument. In reality, the majority of women do tend to want to marry, despite all of the horrors and abuses you attach to the institution. In fact, in our culture, many women seem to like the idea of marriage so much that they want to do it many times! I think Ms. Eden is well aware that many women (nuns, for example) have chosen not to marry. She wasn't making a completely exhaustive logical notation designed to apply in every single case known to humanity. Nor does she make any claims about a connection between marriage and redemption -- you seem to have done more than just insert a word here. But I suppose taking on the real, complicated arguments of one's opponents is much more difficult than just setting a match to a straw man.

10.30.05   karenanderson says:
Dawn Eden has some decent critiques of Ariel Levy's "Female Chauvanist Pigs," but then she goes and commits the same error. With supernatural insight, she claims at the end of her review to know not only the secret desires of "employees of the strip-club industry fueling" the raunch culture (a completely unsubstantiated claim begging the chicken or the egg question...), but of ALL WOMEN SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL -- "a loving husband." Um. That's just not true. Can we have some of the citations and studies she asks of Ariel Levy? Or is it supposed to be an unimpeachable fact that marriage is always good for, and desired by, women? I'm sorry, I know it would help traditional marriage advocates to believe that all women need for liberation is to get married, but for many of us, given the ugly history of marriage as an oppressive institution legitimizing the sale, abuse, and slavery of women, marriage is not redemption. Dawn Eden's utopian illusions of strippers secretly hoping a good man will make a decent woman of them don't take the place of actual sociological research.

10.28.05   Godspy says:
Ariel Levy’s new book on the rise of ‘raunch culture’ and its effect on women has gotten raves for challenging sexed-up feminism. But its daring is only skin-deep.

Click to buy at Amazon.com!
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Advertise | About Us