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Feminism: what went wrong?

Source: The Telegraph >> Read Full Article and Comment

It started with Girl Power and has sunk into mindless hedonism. Why has sexual equality backfired?
by Cassandra Jardine

Published: 7:00AM GMT 12 Jan 2010

Girl's night out

Girl’s night out Photo: ALAMY

I thought my teenage daughter was joking when she said that the only thing she wanted this Christmas was the new Jordan book – that’s Jordan as in Katie Price, not a learned volume about the ancient city of Petra. I am as one with Martin Amis – who believes we are only “worshipping two bags of silicone” – on the limitations of the former glamour model, but I included the book in my daughter’s stocking, as a joke.

The laugh turned out to be on me. Not only did she read it from cover to cover on Christmas morning, she also begged permission to order three more copies before the turkey was even served. Since this daughter is generally averse to books, I am grateful to Ms Price for whatever it is that makes her prose so gripping.

My daughter and her friends are hard-working, sensible girls who care about exams and don’t aspire to be models for Nuts or Heat, as far as I am aware. No doubt there is an element of irony, and mother-bating, in her wish-list. But there is a serious problem with the mindless hedonism that grew out of Girl Power and learnt its morals from Sex and the City, a problem which Natasha Walter examines in her new book, Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism.

Walter, for those not up to speed on the feminist canon – and who is, these days? – wrote The New Feminism, published in 1998, which delighted in the progress that had been made towards an equal society. ”Here’s feminism as phoenix, as blazing torch lighting the way to a new century,” wrote Michele Roberts in a breathlessly enthusiastic review. Now all that optimism has turned to dust. Living Dolls analyses the increasing sexualisation of feminity and the extent to which young women are led to believe that their bodies are their only passport to success…. Continue Reading

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