Friday, April 6, 2012

Empowering or Sex Slaves?

Many of our class discussions have revolved around how post feminism has encouraged sexual freedom. Post feminism and the '90s was all about women like the promiscuous Samantha, or the wild spirit Carrie from "Sex and the City".  Who says women can't go be powerful in the business world and be sexually free and proud in the private sphere?  For women who watch "Sex and the City" and for the women who read women's magazines, we realize that these characters and this material is seen as empowerment, but how much of this material is empowering before it becomes unmanageable?  Before it starts sending a message that it is no longer about using your sexual freedom as a tool for empowerment, but instead for a tool to please your man?

I regularly buy Glamour magazine and look at their website.  I mostly read about the latest beauty trends or what the celebrities are wearing to get fashion inspiration, but I decided to click on the 'Sex and Love' icon (Notice it is not 'Love and Sex').  Before even clicking on the icon, it gives you subcategories, I am guessing in order of importance or what readers read most, but I was shocked to find that the first things it suggest you click on are: 1. sex tips 2. what men want, with romance later down the list.  Once you click on this tab, the first three articles  are about, "10 Things Guys Think Make Every Woman Hot", "Sex Challenge: Try These Boyfriend-Approved Kinky Things this Weekend", and "Birth Control is Wreaking Havoc on my Sex Life".  The first articles suggested to read are exactly the type of discourses Gill talks about when it comes to women's magazines emphasizing pleasing your man, sexual frontierism, and taking charge sexually (192).  The studies and refrences that Gill refers to are from over 10 years ago, yet today, we can find the same type of articles recycled for women to read.  I especially find it interesting that while these articles suggest that they are about empowering the reader to look sexier and gain confidence, or take charge in the bedroom, they are ultimately all about pleasing your man in the bedroom: "Yet rather than simply coexisting it could be argued that the discourses work together purposively to privilege men's sexual pleasure" (195).  Perhaps none of these articles are about postfeminist ideas and are simply about living up to an expectation.  How much of this material can be used to empower women and how much of it is used to make us feel as if we have to improve in order to please our male partner?

Maybe magazines need to tell us to be more like Alana, grab your belly fat and own it...

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