Quotable: Susan J. Douglas on “enlightened sexism”

“Enlightened sexism is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism–indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved. So now it’s okay, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women. Enlightened sexism sells the line that it is precisely through women’s calculated deployment of their faces, bodies, attire, and sexuality that they gain and enjoy true power–power that is fun, that men will not resent, and indeed will embrace. True power here has nothing to do with economic independence or professional achievement: it has to do with getting men to lust after you and other women to envy you. Enlightened sexism is especially targeted to girls and young women and emphasizes that now that they ‘have it all,’ they should focus the bulk of their time and energy on being hot, pleasing men, competing with other women, and shopping.”

–Susan J. Douglas, on AlterNet

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2 Responses to Quotable: Susan J. Douglas on “enlightened sexism”

  1. Jim Hadstate says:

    The exact same argument is made about people of color. Which is why we (humanity in general) can’t have an honest dialogue about sexism or racism.
    It’s the same thing as putting your hands over your ears and lougly proclaiming, “LaLaLaLaLaLaLa…” ad infinitum.” People like this are really saying, “I have decided that racism and sexism no longer exist therefore any discussion about these issues is pointless.”
    We just have to figure out how to get through to them. My choice of preference is the sharp slap to the side of the head until they pay attention.

  2. hammer says:

    if it weren’t so disgusting, we would laugh until we fell down. salespeople never cease to impress.

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