Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Jessica Valenti and the Porn/Pop Culture

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This reading focuses on how pop culture revolves around sex. The section “That’s (Not) Hot” is about how men define what’s “hot” and how women must be available. It talks about porn culture “oozing” into the mainstream and whether or not girls who participate this are helping the feminist agenda. The next section is called “Like A Virgin, And Other Pop Contradictions” is deals with the contradictory expectations of women in our society. The first contradiction is that women are supposed to be chaste virgins, but really sexy chaste virgins. The next is that you must be attainable and available, but mysterious and something the average man can’t “have.” The next contradiction is about enjoying sex, but not real sex. Then there’s the contradiction that you should like women and like to make out with them, but really your goal should be to get with men. The last one is about being yourself, as long as your personality fits your stereotype. The next section is called “Performance Vs. Reality” and is about if you’re doing things for yourself or someone else. The last section is “So What’s A Girl To Do?” It deals with how to avoid playing into the porn/pop culture.

I love the quote by Jennifer Baumgardner and how this essay talks about how doing silly sexual things helps develop your sexual identity. I like how it fits along with the basic human pattern of making mistakes and growing because of them. The idea of being available, but mysterious is something that is really frustrating to me. It’s spawned a whole new archetype in books, movies, and television shows: the manic pixie dream girl. If you could only get her she’d be so perfect with how quirky, fun, and completely sexy she is, but, alas, you will never “have” her! She’s so complicated and mysterious! This “available, but mysterious” contradiction also fuels the idea that women are objects that a man “owns.” She is a trophy a man has. That hot cover girl would look so good at your side.


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