Way Too Scary

Enlightened sexism is feminist in its outward appearance (of course you can be or do anything you want) but sexist in its intent (hold on, girls, only up to a certain point, and not in any way that discomfits men). While enlightened sexism seems to support women’s equality, it is dedicated to the undoing of feminism. In fact, because this equality might lead to “sameness”–way too scary–girls and women need to be reminded that they are still fundamentally female, and so must be emphatically feminine.

Thus, enlightened sexism takes the gains of the women’s movement as a given, and then uses them as permission to resurrect retrograde images of girls and women as sex objects, still defined by their appearance and their biological destiny.

Susan J. Douglas

See, for example, commentary here, here, and here on the ridiculous tabloid stories about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s clothing choices. She’s a three years old, people. Also, for everyone whose memory and judgment has been clouded by the past decade’s onslaught of pinnnnkkkk, that’s how all little kids used to dress in the seventies and eighties. In other words, there are most likely pictures of you dressed just like Shiloh in your family photo albums.