Therefore, the objectification of women is now fine

More from Enlightened Sexism.

Because women are now “equal” and the battle is over and won, we are now free to embrace things we used to see as sexist, including hypergirliness. In fact, this is supposed to be a relief. Thank God girls and women can turn their backs on stick-in-the-mud, curdled feminism and now act dumb in string bikinis to attract guys….According to enlightened sexism, women today have a choice between feminism and antifeminism, and they just naturally and happily choose the latter because, well, antifeminism has become cool, even hip. Rejecting feminism and buying into enlightened sexism allows young women in particular to be “one of the guys.” [p 12]

So enlightened sexism also includes in-your-face sexism, in which the attitudes about women that infuriated feminists in the 1960s and ’70s are pushed to new, even more degrading levels, except that it’s all done with a wink…

As the British feminist scholar Angela McRobbie has brilliantly argued, it is essential that feminism be repudiated as something young women should shun as old-fashioned, withered, humorless, repulsive. To do this, the media must explicitly acknowledge feminism, point to it, and “take it into account” in order to argue that it is no longer needed, a “spent force.” … Therefore, the objectification of women is now fine; why, it’s actually a joke on the guys. It’s silly to be sexist; therefore, it’s funny to be sexist…Indeed, as the feminist scholar Rosalind Gill puts it, “The extremeness of the sexism is evidence that there’s no sexism!” If there is no more sexism, then there is no longer a need for sexual politics, and sexual politics can be mocked and attacked. [p 13]

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand welcome to our world!




  1. Brian says

    In short: It’s my priviledge, and I’m keeping it.

    Conservatism is always altering its strategy. Irony and antifeminism is the new strategy to get the hoes back in their places.

  2. LeftSidePositive says

    The awesome Anita Sarkeesian on this very topic:


  3. says

    You might dig Female Chauvanist Pigs if you want an analysis that is more about sexuality in this toxic stew of contemporary culture.

  4. karmakin says

    Well, I have a slightly different view of this. My experience, talking to people, reading different forums and the like, is that it’s related to the problems that religion is facing at the moment.

    There’s a very real backlash against judgmentalism going on, especially in younger generations, and feminism unfortunately is caught up in that.

    It’s not that feminism is by definition judgmental, far from it, but that’s the impression that a lot of people have. The big question is how to change that impression.

  5. daenyx says

    Oi. I’ve run into this attitude so much I’m having a ridiculously strong reaction to seeing this post. Because while it surprises me to say this given the amount of feminist reading I do, I’d never seen this phenomenon described by someone else before.

    “I’m on your side, really, chill out. The point is this is so ridiculous it’s funny. You don’t need to be so uptight about it.”

    Except that it’s not ever “so ridiculous,” and it’s very seldom funny.

  6. says

    That’s kind of the Chill Girl™ guidebook.
    I’m already emancipated, I don’t mind, therefore I’m so much cooler than those who insist that there’s still sexism.
    Faux empowerment particularly attractive when you’re young and haven’t felt the full force of sexism yet.

  7. carlie, who has nice reading comprehension says

    That makes so much sense it’s frightening. So how to combat it?

  8. mildlymagnificent says

    Combat it?

    Just keep trudging along. Versions of this notion come and go as predictably as the tides. I remember hearing it again and again during the early 70s as each wave of professional women finally got their equal pay decisions implemented. And then there was flexible hours. And some action on domestic violence. And then there was some childcare facilities. And on and on.

    So every 2 or 3 years there’s yet another round of books or journalism or academia telling us we should be satisfied or grateful or pleased that life for us is not as bad as it was for our grandmothers or for people a few thousand kms away or for people in other cultures.

    One day, *someone* will get the point. What we want is for things to be “good enough” for a safe and decent life.

    Better than some horrible condition in some other time or place is not the same thing at all. We don’t need perfect. We certainly don’t want horrible. But our societies do know enough and they do have the power to organise ‘good enough’ for enough of us.

  9. Lyanna says

    Kamarkin, what’s wrong with judgmentalism? Judging things is fine. You’re not judging me for being judgmental, are you? 😛

    But seriously, judgment is just fine. The problem is with bad judgments.

    I have to say that I think most young women reject the line of thinking described in the OP. “Chill Girls” are an exception (and their tactics only work because they’re an exception, since their personas depend on other women seeming weak and hysterical).

    In my experience, anyway. Maybe I’m being too rose-colored about this. It seems like the “Chill Girls” are few in number but get a disproportionate megaphone and have lots of male allies.

  10. Ysanne says

    This reminds me of people who don’t notice when things they intend as sarcastic commentary are actually taken seriously by a lot of people around them. And then in turn think that others are being sarcastic too, when in fact they’re dead serious.
    Quite cringe-inducing, IMHO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *