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Girls Gone Anti-Feminist
I think Douglas' argument in this article is that the media is sending messages to young women that women have maintained equality with men so feminism is no longer necessary, in its place the media is sending the message to young women today that enlightened sexism will give them power. First I must preface this by explaining what enlightened sexism is, Douglas' describes it as a response to the threat of a new gender regime, and because feminism made so much progress it is now okay to once again take part in sexist stereotypes of girls and women.
Douglas' supports her argument by using pop culture examples where enlightened sexism is present. First Douglas introduces the reader to the idea that a feminist agenda has been achieved. She cites that in the 2008 election women ran for both president and vice president. She also cites antifeminist writer Christina Hoff Sommers who claims in her book that girls are getting too much attention which is in turn then hurting boys. But Douglas' does not agree with this point so she then rebuts it by telling readers the list of top jobs for women, and noting that CEO, surgeon and attorney didn't make the list. She also states that women still face wage inequalities in the workplace. Her evidence which rebuts the idea that feminism has attained all its goals leads into her discussion about the media's new messages of enlightened sexism. In order to support her argument Douglas gives readers a plethora of media examples where enlightened sexism is showcased, these include: makeover shows, match making shows, modeling shows, baby and motherhood shows. She explains that enlightened sexism has been manufactured to make us feel like consumerism and turning ourselves in to sex object will give us power, it is a marketing strategy. In order to combat readers who may claim they are above this enlightened sexism Douglas' brings in a new element to the discussion. She claims that enlightened sexism is ironic, where the viewer knows about the sexism and makes an effort to judge it and laugh it because they themselves are above it. To prove this point Douglas brings in more examples from the media including the popular reality Tv show My super Sweet 16.
Finally to conclude her point Douglas uses a metaphor, she compares the media to a fun house mirror. Explaining that the media is giving us a distorted view of female reality. Her message is simple, Women have not yet achieved all their feminist goals and the empowerment which the media feeds you is merely a mask in which it is desperately trying to sell you products.
Personally I find Douglas' article very convincing because she explains both parts of her argument clearly with many examples from the media. I think the fact that her evidence is current and popular make her argument strong since it is obvious after reading this article that her points do exist in our everyday lives. However I think her argument would have been stronger if she had of given other types of media examples. She does not mention fashion, fashion magazines, or movies in the same prevalence that she mentions reality TV In my opinion the phenomenon of enlightened sexism does not merely exist in TV it exists almost everywhere in our society. I believe her argument would have been stronger had she capitalized on this point and given readers a selection of more diverse evidence.
Overall however I think it is important to note that Douglas has done an exceptional job in my opinion on making two points that 1. That the feminist agenda has not yet been attained and 2. That the media has created enlightened sexism as a way of creating fake empowerment of women to induce them to buy commercial things.

-Teesh Cole


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You have a very great analysis on Susan Douglas' article. I agree that her argument would have been stronger if she had included other varieties of media in stead of television. Fashion and magazines play a big role in consumerism for women. Fashion magazines do the same type of thing as does reality T.V. shows such as My Super Sweet 16. But instead of the viewers judging it and trying to be above it, they buy right along into it. It's the same thing but in a different context.

Excellent blog post, Teesh. Very thorough and well written! Douglas's book, Enlightened Sexism, offers many more examples. It is an easy read if you are interested. She gets more ranty at times, which you all may or may not like.

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This page contains a single entry by Teesh Cole published on September 23, 2011 3:01 PM.

Blog Entry Week 3: Feminism was the previous entry in this blog.

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