22 January 2105
Sex and Power “Female Chauvinist Pigs” by Ariel Levy is a compelling piece of writing composed in the point of view of a feminist. It presents the argument that women are altering their perspectives to relate to those of a man in order to become more successful in the world. Levy creatively provides multiple accounts of “loophole women,” women that play by men’s rules to gain power, to show the way that women have become more than accepting of raunch culture, a culture of ideas that include strippers, Playboy, and Juggies. These are the women that Levy is referring to as the Female Chauvinist Pigs (FCP), those who think and act “not like other women” but instead “like a man.” The existence of Female Chauvinist Pigs can be attributed to previously strong societal traditions, however, the world has made some progress and women can and need to embrace their femininity to become successful using their own set of skills. In order to thoroughly show how the Female Chauvinist Pigs feel about themselves and others, Levy presents the accounts of multiple people’s thoughts on topics such as raunch culture and loophole women. She talks to three women, Sherry, Anyssa, and Rachel, who collectively accept the idea of the FCP and embody its practices. For example, they “share a taste for raunch: Maxim, porn, Howard Stern, Playboy, you name it,” (269) and view strippers as being sexually liberated. They also show a disdain for girly-girls, women that are overly fixated on their feminine appearance. Levy includes, “The task then is to simultaneously show that you are not the same as the girly-girls…but that you approve of men’s appreciation for them, and that possibly you too have some of that sexy energy and underwear underneath all your aggression and wit” (270). To truly be seen as a Female Chauvinist Pig, a woman has to be able to take in all these factors and use them for her benefit.
Though chauvinistic ideas have much improved since earlier days, women are still perceived as slightly lesser than men. Levy writes, “But if you are the exception that proves the rule, and the rule is that women are inferior, you haven't made any progress” (278). This seems to be making the argument that if a woman shies away from the ideas of true feminism, then she hasn’t “made any progress” in overcoming the negative judgments that society has portrayed against women. Going back in history, it can be seen that society has had a tradition of viewing the male species as the more dominant one while their female counterparts were made to play a docile and submissive role. Due to the fact that this idea had been instilled all around the world for centuries, it seems to be almost difficult for people now to fully embrace the notion that women are not inferior to men. History has played an immense role in the creation of the Female Chauvinist Pig.
Along with the previous power division between genders, general characteristics such as confidence and leadership are still correlated with being those of a man and therefore the idea of the Female Chauvinist Pig is reinforced. Levy states, “Women who’ve wanted to be perceived as powerful have long found it more efficient to identify with men than to try and elevate the entire female sex to their level” (268). FCPs accomplish this by embodying the ideologies of men and disregarding their feminine side, which proves the point that women are still seen as inferior. Becoming an FCP can be seen as an alternative road to success as women are acting in the way that the people in charge would want them to act. Levy compares this to “acting like a cartoon man… or acting like a cartoon woman” (274). Multiple women have become rather successful using this method, such as Sheila Nevins, who worked in HBO. She was into raunch culture and could identify with men, allowing herself to gain power and a higher position. However, it should be known that leadership skills are not a