I was walking past the new releases at the bookstore when I saw Hating Women: Americ’s Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex glaring out at me. While I do agree with a lot of the ideas set forth, I do not particularly care for Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s methods, which I believe have a lot in common with the shock tactics of the same feminist movement that he is in odds with.
The problem with this book is its narrow focus concerning female celebrities’ manipulation of the situation towards their own fame and fortune. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach seems more interested in name dropping post-feminist celebrities from Madonna to Christina Aguilera, (interesting because he doesn’t go into a lot of depth of Aguilera’s antics the way pundits have with everything from her video with Redman in which she dances in some Eastern Asia place with posters advocating child prostitution in what must be a place where chickens fight each to her ‘kiss’ with Madonna) than focusing on the issue at hand. While it is true that there the status quo for today’s stars is to exploit their own sexuality, the importance of the issue is over dramatized by the Rabbi.
Boteach lays down his ideas intelligently and thoughtfully, providing plenty of references and background information from the Holy Bible as well as showing obvious contradictions in the dogma of today’s post-feminist camp. Madonna is his prime target here, someone who he credits with “blurring the line between pornography and music”. Ironically today’s spiritually renewed Madonna would rather that Lourdes grow up in Europe rather than the U.S. because of today’s western values, much of it’s civilizations decline, she directly contributed too. He is also quick to talk about the influences of pornography on the culture, but then again what conservative isn’t. The only thing that truly interested me other than hearing his hostility towards the likes of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears was his take on modern day reality shows the his analysis over the appeal of Sex in the City, the authors of which have penned another book “He’s just not that into you” which suggests that you simply may not be good enough for the man, rather than the other way around.
The Rabbi is hungry and nostalgic for the days when women were inaccessible and men laid down their life for them, without the promise of sex. He keeps coming back to the idea of women having sex with anything, even animals, for the promise of fame and fortune. Not to mention the fact that women themselves aren’t angry about the way that they’re being represented. But I think he is confusing today’s sexual liberation, in which young girls will indeed do anything and everything, (yes even animals), because they feel that it is their right to do so since men have been hedonistic for all these years, unapologetically, with the idea that women should be even more empowered to exercise their right not to have sex. The problem with this is that while, yes it is true that young girls are promiscuous, aggressive, and treating sex with the same indifference that men have for years it isn’t necessarily a bad idea that they do so either. Women need to learn what they want out of sex, and if they misstep or misrepresent themselves in the process of doing so it is what comes with the territory of owning your own body and learning how to manipulate accessibility rather than simply give in to anyone who wants you. While the Rabbi makes a good case for sensuality, he seems to digress to the idea that an aggressive woman is simply doing so for the pleasure of a man solely.
Yes some women are going to be “platonic lesbians” and share their emotionally intimate moments with their girlfriends and best friends while they continue to have sex (or not) with their men or husbands. Yes some women are going to confuse their otherwise healthy relationships with their homosexual friends as a viable substitute for platonic relationships with heterosexual men. Yes some women are going to prefer masturbation to sex, or figure that physical intimacy with a woman is clearly superior to sex with a man. Yet those women have always existed, feminism or not, over sexualized or not, and I don’t think that those women who have what psychologists would consider to be questionable or unhealthy relationships with anything other than a man have increased in numbers over the year simply because the rest of the society is over sexualized.
The writing is on the wall, but at the end of the day the average woman still wants to have some type of healthy relationship with a man and keep some dignity intact and be respected as a woman, outside of her sexuality, by people in general. Women aren’t flirting with danger any more than men have over the years. While the sexes do need to continue to communicate and put their best foot forward in the discussion, it’s trite to suggest conservative ways over how to do so, when thinking outside of the box is often the unfortunate way most individuals learn to appreciate what has always been inside of it all these years.