Photos for press
Below are lo-res and hi-res versions approved for press usage.
Editorial by Lenore Skenazy, February 8, 2006
Betty Friedan was the original desperate housewife, bored batty. She wanted to use her mind, her talents! And so she did: She changed the world.Now that world needs changing again. "The Feminine Mystique," Friedan's 1963 best-seller, nailed what she called "the problem that has no name": women were supposed to be happy shutting up and serving men. But they weren't.They read Friedan's book and demanded new laws, new respect, even new words, like "Ms." They won and, last week, Friedan died.She should have left behind a world where little girls and boys grow up equal. Instead, she left behind a world where little girls are buying thong undies.Their big sisters are getting boob jobs and taking "Strippercize." Coeds are baring their breasts on "Girls Gone Wild."Incredibly, all this raunch is excused as an expression of women's liberation. As in, "I'm so liberated, I'm not ashamed of my body." And, "My stilettos are empowering." And, "I feel strong when I'm pole dancing!" (A skill any housefrau can now learn at night school.)Forty years into the feminist revolution we are living in a frat boy fantasy. Gross.What we need is a new "Feminine Mystique," one that can nail the new problem that has no name: Porn culture and why women feel compelled to embrace it. Luckily, that book has just been written - "Female Chauvinist Pigs," by New York Magazine writer Ariel Levy."How is resurrecting every stereotype of female sexuality good for women?" writes the furious Levy. "Why is laboring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering?" Since when did flashing for "Girls Gone Wild" become "a rite of passage?"Levy spent about three years interviewing everyone from the female TV exec who green-lighted a stripper documentary to the actual college girls accommodating the camera crews on spring break, and she kept getting the same response: Chill out! We're just celebrating female sexuality.What rankles her is the fact that this new celebration looks remarkably like the old exploitation, except that now the women insist they are "in" on it - even women she respects. "Like, my best friend from college is into strip clubs," marveled Levy in a phone interview.The problem is not that strippers and porn stars are becoming mainstream. It's that so many other women - and girls - are trying to emulate them. These role models are sex workers: women with silicone implants who fake their lust. How liberated is that?It's not. There's a big difference between embracing one's sexuality and embracing Penthouse's version of the same. Posing topless or dressing like a hooker isn't "liberated." It's what it was back in Friedan's day - sleazy - but with a fresh dollop of self-delusion.In a truly liberated world, women don't have to strip to feel powerful, because stripped women, like stripped men, aren't. They're just pathetic. In the name of Friedan and Levy, let's not fool ourselves anymore.