An Excuse To Discuss “Stepford Sluts”

I was listening to BBC Radio 4 today. Again. Because where else would you get some information about current affairs and your odd spot of comedy but in the most mainstream of media outlets in this country? It was The News Quiz. Presented by a woman, but this time only male guests participated in it. They were discussing Google’s decision to pull out of the Chinese market because of censorship… or something. One man wanted to illustrate some point about Google and he described how one can find (lots of) “D0nkey Pr0n” within some small time interval. The public, of course, laughed.
“D0nkey Pr0n”. In the bloody BBC.

What is a feminist to do upon finding out that, again, there is no place in this planet that hasn’t been polluted by pr0n? Well, go and look up what Gail Dines has been up to, of course!
Last time I blogged about her, she had mentioned the lecture she gave in the Anti Pr0nography Conference that she was about to publish a book titled “Stepford Sluts”. Unfortunately, she hasn’t. She is, however, about to publish another book titled “Pr0nland; How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality”.

So I’m left with no option but to transcript what little she revealed in that lecture about the book.

“Second wave feminism was about resistance at best and at worst negotiation with patriarchy. Third wave is about capitulation. I think much of the Third Wave feminism is the thinking woman’s cosmopolitan.
Let’s talk about what’s going on in the culture. Let’s talk about the move towards what I would call “slut culture”. Why do I say “slut culture”. To explain that I’m going to explain the title of my new book. It’s gonna be called “Stepford Sluts”. You can all guess why. Last year they re released “Stepford Wives”. The film was bombed, for a number of reasons, my main understanding is that it was a ridiculous movie to make in 2006. Why? Because the ideal woman is indeed on her hands and knees but she ain’t cleaning any kitchen floors on her hands and knees. The ideal woman constructed in patriarchy is no longer a Stepford Wife, it’s a Stepford Slut. Equally robotic, equally capitulated, equally mindless and brainless, and equally distressed internally.”

I think she’s onto something. It’s been going on in my head for some time. This “Slut Culture” is the equivalent of the 50s “Housewife Culture”. Its real objective, of course, is the oppression of women. However women see it as “empowering” and will defend it to the grave.

After “Stepford Wives” came the Second Wave. I can only hope that after “Slut Culture” we have a Wave that gets rid of it.

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Miska said,

    That’s a really interesting comparison between the “perfect” 1950s housewife, and the “perfect” 2000s sexbot. I remember when The Stepford Wives was released, most of the reviews mentioned the same thing that Dines does – it is ultimately a pointless remake because the idea of the “lobotomised” housewife is no longer relevant. Of course, if someone tried to make an equivalent movie about “Stepford Sluts” it would be shot down as the worst kind of man-hatin’, anti-sex, feminazi propaganda.

  2. 2

    marytracy9 said,

    Oh sure, anyone daring to critique Slut Culture must be a prude anti-sex feminazi. Because, as I’ve said before, there is no distinction between “Sex” and “Pr0n”.

  3. 3

    […] should mention that I was spurred on to write this post after reading one by marytracy9 over at Beyond Feminism, who compared the Stepford Wives ideal of previous decades with a kind of  “Stepford […]

  4. 4

    STEPFORD SLUTS?!?! Genius! Totally fucking GENIUS! I am humbled by Gail Dines’s brilliance and I am eternally grateful to you for (both latching onto and) sharing these pearls of light with the internet!! I can’t wait for her book AND the Anti-P0rn conference in June (I’m a Bostonian!!). In the meantime, I’ll be contemplating Stepford Sluts and incorporating this term into my every day vocab.

  5. 5

    berryblade said,

    “I can only hope that after “Slut Culture” we have a Wave that gets rid of it.”

    I really, really hope so too.

  6. 6

    Mary Sunshine said,

    Zap! You’ve nailed it.

    It’s the zombie-ness of it all that chills me to the bone. It *is* the same zombie-ness that I remember seeing as a child in the 50’s with the perfect housewives and girls-next-door.

    I see it now in little girls who have lost their childhoods by the time they get to kindergarten, tranced out in their Stepford Slut personas already.

  7. 7

    marytracy9 said,

    Don’t you find that the girls all have this … look on their faces, with their eyes half closed, their mouths slightly open, maybe even pouting, as if they were all trying to look like Victoria Beckham, aka: “cool” and how similar that “face” is to the “come hither” look?


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