Douglas, Susan. "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist" & Levine, "Buffy and the 'New Girl Order'"

| 11 Comments

Please post your comments to Douglas and Levine below. Use the following questions to guide your reading.
1. What, for Douglas, is "Enlightened sexism"?
2. What are some examples of this phenomenon of "enlightened sexism"?
3. What do you think are the consequences of it?

4. How does Levine characterize postfeminism?
5. How does Buffy the Vampire Slayer participate in the discourses of postfeminism and in the shaping and reshaping of feminism and femininity at present? How does her discussion of Third Wave feminism fit into this? What about anti-feminism?
6. What, for Levine, can Buffy tell us about the meanings of feminism and femininity at present? What does Levine think about this? What do you think about this?
7. Do you see these discourses operating in other shows?

11 Comments

My interpretation of Douglass’ definition of enlightened sexism seems to be that women has conquered enough equal rights with feminism and have made it very clear that they are an equivalent part of society. However, now it is all right to sort of taunt back to those sexual stereotypes, and consequently, some women are able to achieve a sense of power through their physical appearance and sexuality. Power from women who display enlightened sexism, as Douglass claims, doesn’t seem to evolve from economic or professional success, but is rather based on a foundation of lust to make men want them and other women envy them. Thinking of some examples, one quickly come to mind with the Sex and the City series. Those 4 women, especially Kim Cattral, are able to land just about any guy they want, because of their sexual allure. My question is—(I hope it makes you smile) Can you imagine, for instance, your mom doing this? Let me follow up by asking, why do you think it is more popular for single women in the city to engage in enlightened sexism than it is for every day suburban/professional women to? Where does the sense of values come into play?

I feel like Douglas sees enlightened sexism as a way for the media to portray women as sex symbols. Even we as a society are in a post "Sexism" state, the media still shows women in shows like the Bachelor, Gossip Girl, and the Real Housewives. These women are generally beautiful and elegant. Douglas says that these images can be dangerous, but how? Why is wrong to show women in a beautiful light? I guess my point would be, use what your born with and has the right to say that is wrong.

I think that Girls Gone Anti Feminist portrayed women as having taken huge strides in the past years but that there are still a lot of things to work on. Examples of objectifying women were used such as maxim, the bachelor, and girls gone wild. I would not attempt to say that these do not objectify women because they do but many of these things have male equivalents that are not spoken of at all. I would be interested to know what people think about the fact that sometimes you just have to look at the audience that something is directed towards and perhaps a magazine like maxim or playboy simply has a larger audience than playgirl or a magazine that features men in it.

What I got from Douglas Enlightened sexism is that women have now achieved gender equity with men, so there is no further need for women to continue to fight for things like equal pay for equal work. Therefore, we do not need to care using objectified characteristic of women images in media. Douglas describes that “enlightened sexism provides options to women between feminism and anti-feminism and happily choose the later because, well, anti-feminism has become cool, even hip.” I want to know how people think about this forced option picking idea. Is it really a problem?

I think that Douglas is insisting that women's depictions in the media are often associated with sexism, and seen as sex object. As Douglas mentioned that enlightened sexism targets teenagers and young women and send them a message that they should put some efforts on being hot. The media portrayal of women sometimes excessively focus on "sexy", and what is meant to be beautiful. I believe that it is definitely okay for women to pursue beauty. And those perception we get from media might influence the ideas of how women should behave as a society. What do you think that these media portrayal is affecting us in a way to create the social norms and values?

Douglas talks about how the term "feminism" is an old dirty word and is now replaced with sayings such as "girl power" Do you think that girl power has a completely different connotation then the original feminism? Or is this just an updated version to keep with the times?

I found Elana Levine's article on Buffy and the New Girl Order to be extremely fascinating. I was specifically interested in her definition of postfeminism as seeking to pursue equality on more of an individual level, rather than community. She agreed with most definers of postfeminism in that she believed postfeminism centered around the sense of accomplishment that resulted from successfully obtaining the goals of first and second wave feminists. She then continued on to say that today's post-feminists display an underlying need for both femininity and feminism. I feel that this plays greatly into the struggle of the post-feminism movement because seeking both femininity and feminism deters an individual from advancing one. While I believe that the inclusion of both is important, it becomes hard to push for equality and freedom from the 'gaze' and 'fragmentation' we have discussed in previous lectures. What are your thoughts on this? Is a woman's desire to be both equal and feminine delaying the success of post-feminism?

Douglas seems to put forth the notion that women exist in media texts as defined by their sex. Do you think this implies that male is a sort of 'default' gender in media? When crafting a story do authors make characters male just to establish the relationship between characters that may become difficult to read if they are female?

The Levine piece was interesting but there are a few things. First I was a little confused about the different forms of feminism. I understand that one is kind of traditional feminism and the other kind of rejects that, but still a little confusing. One of the big things is she mentions that "the series generally fails to address the ways that most women and men experience these multiple axes of difference". I though that was an interesting comment to make. It is true that there aren't many ethnically diverse characters, but it doesn't mean that it failed. Failure kind of implies that it was created to do that. Maybe that wasn't the goal. The goal was more feminism. Any thoughts on that perspective?

I found the article insightful and informative. I think I subconsciously noticed that many media products have been reverting back to the stereotypical girliness since people think we now live in a postfeminism world. She points out that it is a mistake to think that way. It is not progressive to just think that gender inequality is over so now we can move on because if you ignore a problem, it grows. How might a show be received if it did blatantly opposed postfeminist discourses?

I found this article to be very interesting. Levine's theory about how women today are and should be looking at post-feminism in an individualistic manner. Also, about how women are struggling with trying to be feminine, but not in the way that has been shaped throughout time. So in what ways can this be portrayed in media today? As in, what ways can women be portrayed as feminine, but also breaking free of stereotypes of "white, middle-class housewives" or "single black females with children".

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on October 29, 2012 9:36 PM.

Transgender Look was the previous entry in this blog.

blog post on "the gaze" is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.