Raunch Culture and Feminism

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Raunch culture is a term coined by feminist Adrienne Levy in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of
Raunch culture is prominent in popular media and may have a negative effect on young girls's self-image
Raunch Culture
(2005). Raunch culture refers to the over-sexualised culture of the United States which not only objectivies women, but also encourages women to objectify themselves in the (false) belief that this is a form of female empowerment.

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Caulture

Levy traces the history of raunch culture back to conflicts between the women's movement and the sexual revolution. She targets as manifestations of raunch culture the new trend of Playboy Bunny merchandise for girls and women, TV shows and other popular culture media that encourages girls and women to strive to be the 'hottest' or 'sexiest' rather than the most intelligent or accomplished. 

Levy argued that it wasn’t “liberated” or “feminist” to learn to pole dance, wear a T-shirt saying “porn star” or have lots of no-strings sex “like a guy”, but rather it was a trick created by men who were twisting the idea of “liberation” for their own ends.

Lipstick Feminists and Loophole Women

Levy criticises two types of feminists of this generation, "lipstick feminists" and "loophole women". For Levy, lipstick feminists believe that stripping is empowering and is not contrary to the goals and ideals of feminism. Loophole women refer to women who have successfully entered men's world by playing by men's rules, often at the cost of undermining feminism and female peers, or even by objectifying other women. Even to those women who make their way in their field legitimately, but shy away from feminism, Levy protests: "But if you are the exception that proves the rule, and the rule is that women are inferior, you haven't made any progress." (p. 117)

Negative impact of Raunch Culture

Raunch culture has also been criticised by feminists and social commentators for its promotion of a narrow if not unrealistic definition of beauty to young women. Rates of eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, and body image issues are on the rise among young women, with raunch culture and its promotion of a certain type possible encouraging unhealthy behaviour and mentalities.

Liz Funk has criticised raunch culture for encouraging the rise of the 'stupid girl'. Pretending to be stupid has become 'cool' for young girls looking for social acceptance; even at prestigious universities, female students are taught to lap dance. As she agues, the only way to counter raunch culture is for individuals to examine their attitudes towards gender, gender equality, and self-respect:

"Ending raunch culture will require citizens to scrutinise the way they regard gender. Objectification is rooted in disrespect, condescending views of the opposite gender, and power struggles. When men realise that they have the capability to fundamentally respect women, and women realise that they have the power to present themselves as empowered, fully capable people, raunch culture may moan its last and final faked orgasm."


See Also

Defining gender through advertisements

Article Information
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