Female chauvinist pigs

It’s been a while since I did a Book & Nail post: the constant diy that a new home brings forth has reduced my nails to stubs and frankly, I’ve been neglecting the poor things too long! It’s also ironic that I’m giving in to “girly girl” urges immediately after finishing this particular book, but hey… that’s life.

This time I’m going for Ghetto barbie nails
Fake glue-ons with minimal square cut, hand drawn and with a matte topcoat.

Also, a minor disclaimer: the sort-of-feminist musings that follow should be taken just like that… I’m not denouncing anything or pointing fingers here: as a matter of fact, I am probably planted firmly in the chauvinist pig category myself.

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I picked up Female Chauvinist Pigs during my last trip to the USA in a small bookstore that was basically the living room of a private house, with floors bent by the weight of books stacked everywhere. Used bookstores in holiday spots are strange places and they often surprise me with what people choose to read on their vacation. This particular store was indeed a gem… the memories of an englishmen in Florence during the times of the “Mostro di Firenze” case? Rare occult books? One on insects in criminology? Best of all, not a single Dan Brown or Sophie Kinsella book in sight… who knew that a two-road-town could attract readers like these?

Going back to Ariel Levy’s book, I picked it up from the shelf just to have a good laugh at the cover: unassuming clipart design coupled with Impact title and a 100% magenta background? What was the designer thinking? It looks more like a mockup than a final draft.

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Amused by the title and the blurb on the back, I decided to pinch my snobby designer nose and buy it. A winning idea, as it turned out that the standardized bimbo clipart and blaring “meme” font were particularly well chosen to fit the content, an intriguing analisys of how raunch culture and porno-isation are getting more and more popular with women of the western world, flattening alternative avenues of expression. I won’t review it in depth but this Guardian article sums it up quite nicely.

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Female Chauvinist Pigs deals mainly with the current situation in the USA, but considering that mass culture and the internet have made Italy little more than a dumping ground for trends, I believe that it applies very well to our situation…. in example, you can see Sex & the City mentality in the spending habits and in the proliferation of fashionista blogs that are little more than cries for attention.

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The cult of pornstars-as-mainstream-stars is taking hold here as well: I heard more women than men fawning about Sasha Grey’s visit in Italy and I strongly doubt that all of these were fans of her career. Rather, it’s just another facet of a trend that sees women capitalizing on raunchiness in order to be placed on the same plane as their male counterparts: “I like tits & ass just like you, therefore I am cool and interesting, I am one of the guys”.

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It’s interesting to note that, the more women are acting like men, the more they mimick and idolise an extreme form of female sexuality that is mainly man-driven… and while Levy focuses or porn stars and strippers, in Italy we have only to look at the current events to see the bunga bunga girls in action -in a minor way, one could also make a case for the proliferation of the met-art / nude model scene too.
In my work in advertising and in photography, I have been very lucky with my collaborations and have generally met incredible girls, but there have been times when I came in contact with people of that ilk and I am reminded of how certain subcultures (especially when social media is concerned) thrive on raunch and are used by women as a way to feel empowered and exercise an amount of superiority that wouldn’t be possible if the sexual element was removed from the equation… and that, in my opinion, is something that makes it hard to be taken seriously in any other way.

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Filed under BOOKS & NAILS, PERSONAL

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