Search This Blog

Nov 9, 2011

Post-Feminism or Plain Old Sexism

“POST-FEMINISM” is the phrase du jour among mainstream political pundits, often accompanied by derogatory comments toward anyone who continues to complain that women lack equality. U.S. society has entered a “post-feminist” phase, a level playing field, according to this group of commentators. Women’s oppression belongs to a bygone era, and ideas of women’s liberation are merely outdated relics of that era. If anything, these pundits inform us, the women’s movement of the 1960s went too far and now must be reigned in. This is the typical rationale for curbing abortion rights.

But more insidious is the repeated accusation that feminists have created a “victim” consciousness among women by inflating statistics to exaggerate problems such as rape and sexual objectification. Without evidence, these claims have gained the status of conventional wisdom through sheer repetition.

Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, for example, regularly ridicules the problem of date rape, with comments such as: “The biggest myth that won’t die is that one of four college women is raped on campuses each year…If 25 percent of Daddy’s little girls were being sexually assaulted at college, there wouldn’t be any girls on campus.”

The figure Parker holds in such contempt is based on a study conducted in the 1980s by Ms. Magazine, surveying 6,000 students at 32 colleges which found that one in four college women had been a victim of rape or attempted rape–a figure now accepted even by the U.S. Department of Justice. Furthermore, less than one in every three rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement officials in 1996.

Date rape is not a figment of the imaginations of “hysterical” feminists, but an indisputable reality for women in the U.S. Nevertheless, in the age of “post-feminism,” demands for women’s rights are deemed a colossal act of self-indulgence.

Those who are offended by images of women in popular culture must be either pro-censorship prudes or outmoded feminists born without a sense of humor. After all, who but the most bitter feminist could fail to be amused by the plot line of Pamela Anderson’s new Fox television show, which finds the former Baywatch babe starring as a busty bimbo working in a bookstore? (And the show’s called Stacked!)

Those who are irritated by the show’s promotional ad (Anderson posing suggestively atop a pile of books, as her silicone-enhanced breasts defy the force of gravity) might be jarred by beauty standards and sexual ideals manufactured on Wall Street and in Hollywood yet absorbed by women throughout society.

“Manufactured” is no exaggeration, given that 9.2 million cosmetic surgery procedures, from breast augmentation to Botox injections, were performed in 2004–mainly on women–according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, up 24 percent from 2000. Ironically, this rise in cosmetic surgery coincides with a 10 percent decline in medically necessary reconstructive surgery procedures in 2004 alone, due to declining insurance coverage.

The beauty ideal, moreover, has changed drastically from the buxom Marilyn Monroe (size 12-14) to today’s undernourished supermodel (size 2-4). A woman between the ages of 18 and 34 today has just a 1 percent chance of being as thin as a supermodel.

As modeling executive Jennifer Venditti explained in a 2001 Cosmopolitan article, “The smaller the sample, the better [the clothing] drapes…It’s almost like the body is not present.” This can be a problem for human beings. Yet this image permeates popular culture with unrealistic images that negatively affect self-esteem among females from a very young age.

Thanks to these airbrushed beauty standards, 80 percent of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance, according to the National Eating Disorder Association, contributing to the incidence of anorexia and bulimia currently suffered by up to 10 million women in the U.S. By the age of 10, 80 percent of girls in the U.S. have already tried to diet to lose weight.

“Post-feminism” is a term brimming with hypocrisy–promoted primarily by those who oppose women’s rights–turning women’s bodies over to the control and judgment of others. The need for women’s liberation is far from antiquated–it is, in fact, thoroughly modern.
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Thanks, that was a really cool read!

  2. really its very useful...........thanks a lot.......waiting for next updets


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

All Posts

A Fine Balance A House for Mr. Biswas Absurd Drama Achebe Across the Black Waters Addison Adiga African Ages Albee Alberuni Ambedkar American Amrita Pritam Anand Anatomy of Criticism Anglo Norman Anglo Saxon Aristotle Ariyar Arnold Ars Poetica Auden Augustan Aurobindo Ghosh Backett Bacon Badiou Bardsley Barthes Baudelaire Beckeley Bejnamin Belinda Webb Bellow Beowulf Bhabha Bharatmuni Bhatnagar Bijay Kant Dubey Blake Bloomsbury Book Bookchin Booker Prize bowen Braine British Brooks Browne Browning Buck Burke CA Duffy Camus Canada Chaos Characters Charlotte Bronte Chaucer Chaucer Age China Chomsky Coetzee Coleridge Conard Contact Cornelia Sorabji Critical Essays Critics and Books Cultural Materialism Culture Dalit Lliterature Daruwalla Darwin Dattani Death of the Author Deconstruction Deridda Derrida Desai Desani Dickens Dilip Chitre Doctorow Donne Dostoevsky Dryden Durkheim EB Browning Ecology Edmund Wilson Eliot Elizabethan Ellison Emerson Emile Emily Bronte English Epitaph essats Essays Esslin Ethics Eugene Ionesco Existentialism Ezekiel Faiz Fanon Farrel Faulkner Feminism Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness Ferber Fitzgerald Foregrounding Formalist Approach Forster Foucault Frankfurt School French Freud Frost Frye Fyre Gandhi Gender German Germany Ghosh Gilbert Adair Golding Gordimer Greek Gulliver’s Travels Gunjar Halliday Hard Times Hardy Harindranath Chattopadhyaya Hawthorne Hemingway Heyse Hindi Literature Historical Materialism History Homer Horace Hunt Huxley Ibsen In Memoriam India Indian. Gadar Indra Sinha Interview Ireland Irish Jack London Jane Eyre Japan JM Synge Johnson Joyce Joyce on Criticism Jumpa Lahiri Jussawalla Kafka Kalam Kalidasa Kamla Das Karnard Keats Kipling Langston Hughes Language Language of Paradox Larkin Le Clezio Lenin Lessing Levine Life of PI literary Criticism Luckas Lucretius Lyrical Ballads Macaulay Magazines Mahapatra Mahima Nanda Malory Mandeville Manto Manusmrti Mao Marlowe Martel Martin Amis Marx Marxism Mary Shelley Maugham McCarry Medi Media Miller Milton Moby Dick Modern Mona Loy Morrison Movies Mulk Raj Anand Mytth of Sisyphus Nabokov Nahal Naidu Naipaul Narayan Natyashastra Neo-Liberalism NET New Criticism new historicism News Nietzsche Nikita Lalwani Nissim Ezekiel Niyati Pathak Niyati Pathank Nobel Prize O Henry Of Studies Okara Ondaatje Orientalism Orwell Pakistan Pamela Paradise Lost Pater Pinter Poems Poetics Poets Pope Post Feminism Post Modern Post Structuralism post-Colonialism Poststructuralism Preface to Shakespeare Present Prize Psycho Analysis Psychology and Form Publish Pulitzer Prize Puritan PWA Radio Ramayana Rape of the Lock Renaissance Restoration Revival Richardson Rime of Ancient Mariner RL Stevenson Rohinton Mistry Romantic Roth Rousseau Rushdie Russia Russian Formalism Sartre Sashi Despandey Satan Sati Savitri Seamus Heaney’ Shakespeare Shaw Shelley Shiv K.Kumar Showalter Sibte Hasan Slavery Slow Man Socialism Spender Spenser Sri Lanka Stage of Development Steinbeck Stories Subaltern Sufis Surrealism Swift Tagore Tamil Literature Ted Hughes Tennyson Tennyson. Victorian Terms Tess of the D’Urbervilles The March The Metamorphsis The Order of Discourse The Outsider The Playboy of the Western World The Politics The Satanic Verses The Scarlet Letter The Transitional Poets The Waste Land The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction The Wuthering Heights Theatre of Absurd Theory Theory of Criticism Theory of Evolution Theory of Literature Thomas McEvilley Thoreau To the Lighthouse Tolstoy Touchstone Method Tughlaq Tulsi Badrinath Twain Two Uses of Language UGC-NET Ulysses Untouchable Urdu Victorian Vijay Tendulkar Vikram Seth Vivekananda Voltaire Voyage To Modernity Walter Tevis Webster Wellek West Indies Wharton Williams WJ Long Woolfe Wordsworth World Wars Writers WW-I WW-II Wycliff Xingjian Yeats Zadie Smith Zaheer Zizek Zoe Haller