snugglekitty: (hermione)
[personal profile] snugglekitty
Last week I read Ill Met by Moonlight by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis. It was a lot like The Scepter'd Isle. A trashy Faerie book, with some court-of-England stuff. Why do fantasy authors love Henry Fitzroy so much? I've never understood that. Well, anyway - I liked the child Elizabeth as a character - she had some spunk.

I also find it interesting the way Lackey's ideas about leadership turn up in a lot of books. If you have the ability to lead, and you don't lead, then you are a Bad Person. Wanting to pursue your passions rather than leading is irresponsible. I bet she doesn't belong to Lions Club, though. Anyway, three stars.

Also, on the ten-years-later re-read, Dune was just as good as I remembered. Four and a half stars.

Finally - I tried to read Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy.



I had read an article about it in Glamour a few months ago. (Yes, I read Glamour.) The article made me say, "Something about this doesn't feel quite right to me, but I'm not sure what." I decided that I would read the book so that I could find out for myself whether I agreed with the author's arguments.
I stopped after fifty pages (as recommended by Nancy Pearl in Book Lust). You know that feeling when you're talking to someone, and all you can think is, "There's something you're not telling me! If you told me whatever it is, this would all make sense!" and that's how I felt reading this book.

I agree with Levy that sex is excessively commercialized in our culture. Oh, I do. But she takes anecdotal evidence and extrapolates it to, well, being deeply reflective of our culture being sick about sex. Our culture IS sick about sex. Very, very sick. But I don't think that what she describes - Girls Gone Wild, the best-selling memoirs of porn stars, athletes doing shoots with Playboy - is how or why we're sick about sex.

She basically says, "We're all trying to imitate strippers and porn stars. They're our role models for sex." And then, rather than going out and asking thousands of women (or even hundreds) to talk about who they have as role-models for sex and what they feel about sex being commercial, she interviews a bunch of people who sell their sexualities, and quotes them saying that it's liberating and feminist. Well, sure. If they didn't think that, they wouldn't be doing it. But I don't think that tells us how these women impact our own sexualities.

Are you getting the sense this book didn't work for me? Well, good.

And then I also read ahead to the chapter on "From Women to Bois." Oh poor Levy. Oh the poor girl. Oh she so doesn't get it. It was actually kind of painful. She seems to have fallen in with kinky lesbians and not realized that they were kinky, and extrapolated them out to all lesbians. She's talking about "the scene" and "playing" as being about dykes being predatory sex-hunters towards other dykes. She doesn't seem to realize... oh, I have no words. *puts head in hands*



I think that this book is trying to be in a category with The Beauty Myth, Fast Girls, etc, but it really can't compete. Pop-journalism without any deeper themes. Two stars. (I only give a book one star if I wanted to throw it across the room.)

Date: 2005-10-21 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanseth.livejournal.com
I'm curious, and it makes me kind of want to read this book -- who are the people she interviews who sell their sexualities? Are they sex workers per se, or are they more like exotic dancers and so on?

Date: 2005-10-21 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-anemone.livejournal.com
No sex workers or exotic dancers, actually. More like porn stars and celebrities who've modelled for Playboy and stuff. (She thinks that's selling your sexuality - I don't think it has to mean that.) It would have been more interesting if she'd done that.

If you're interested in that topic, though, I really liked Call Girl and Women of the Light.

Date: 2005-10-21 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-anemone.livejournal.com
Oh, and girls from "Girls Gone Wild" get interviewed too. And Christie Hefner.

If it sounds interesting, I'm probably not doing a very good job of talking about it. *wry smile*

Date: 2005-10-21 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanseth.livejournal.com
Ok. This actually sounds a lot less interesting. Where on earth did she get the idea that these folks were representative of people who sell their sexuality?

Of course, if she thinks that predatory dykes are representative of all of us, well then, I shouldn't be surprised.

Date: 2005-10-21 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-anemone.livejournal.com
Where on earth did she get the idea that these folks were representative of people who sell their sexuality?

Yes. Especially since celebrities and athletes sell their bodies and their images already - I think it's a really different ballgame. If that makes sense. But I agree - it seemed very skewed.

Date: 2005-10-21 03:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkymonster.livejournal.com
Whores and Other Feminists (which I own) is a much better book with essays mostly by sex workers (strippers, prostitutes, porn actreses, etc.) about their work and feminism.

Date: 2005-10-21 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-anemone.livejournal.com
May I borrow it please? Local libraries do not have it because they SUCK!!

Date: 2005-10-24 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkymonster.livejournal.com
Of course! I'll bring it over this weekend.

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