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Are You a Living Doll?

26 Mar

Living Dolls

Names like Anne Koedt, Robin Lakoff, Dale Spender, and Simone de Beauvoir all evoke the hope and fervour of feminists before my generation and I think that for a time things seemed so promising. So how did it come to this?

Natasha Walter’s book, ‘Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism’, demonstrates that women who take their clothes off under the pretence of ‘free choice’ are not free to choose at all.

‘It is time to look again at how free these choices really are. After all, real, material equality still eludes us. Women still do not have political power, the economic equality or the freedom from violence that they have sought for generations. This means that women and men are still not meeting on equal terms in public life. And the mainstreaming of the sex industry reflects that inequality.’

(Natasha Walters, Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism, 2010: page 33)
The word ‘free’ is a merely a ploy, so that those involved can shrug off any responsibility to the girls they exploit.

Everywhere you look pornography, whether it be ‘soft porn’ or not, is forcing women to question their own sexuality. Conforming to look and behave like a doll is now normal. We are called a prude if stripping, lap dancing and being sexual provocative doesn’t ding our bell of sexual freedom. The pressure is immense.

Yesterday I went with a friend to the local Indian takeaway. We sat on the white outdoor plastic furniture and began to rifle through the piles of ‘Closer’ and other such rags sitting on the coffee table. These magazines sell because they attack women. And this makes me mad.

Because not only are women’s magazines undoing what ground was gained by some feminists, they are actually enforcing the idea that women should look and behave like Barbie dolls. And if anyone steps out of line: then the recrimination is severe.

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