12 Posts of Christmas: Snooki & the Jersey Shore Girls as Feminists?

In the spirit Christmas, I’ve decided to revisit some of my favourite posts of the year in the twelve days leading up to December 25th.

I love watching Jersey Shore because, like Glee, I know I’m always going to get a blog post out of it. The gender issues that run rampant on the show were inspiration for the following post, the original version of which you can find here.

This notion has been on my mind since the start of the year, and watching season three of Jersey Shore got me thinking about it again. So, are the fake-tanned, fake-boobed and fake-nailed women of Seaside feminists?

On the one hand, while Vinny, Pauly D, Mike “The Situation” and Ronnie spend 20 minutes blowdrying their hair and plucking their eyebrows each morning (okay, if they’ve been out clubbing the night before, it’s the afternoon), followed by GTL (gym, tan, laundry), and frequently cook “family” dinners, the girls lie around the house, get in fights and try to score with guys at the club. If this isn’t throwing gender norms on their head, I don’t know what is.

As Tracie Egan Morrissey writes:

“… so much of what these people do actually challenges old school notions about gender-appropriate behavior: Men who wax their eyebrows? Men who place that much of an importance on hair products? Women who fistfight? Women who drink so heavily?”

But on the other, JWoww, for example, subscribes to the stereotypical sexualised female body: fake boobs, fake hair, and done up to the nines when she hits the clubs. If she’s got it, should she flaunt it?

I’ve always been a big believer in this, so more power to her. In fact, despite their meteoric rise to fame in the last two years or so, the guidettes haven’t changed a thing about themselves. They’re still the trash-talking, ugg-boot-in-public-wearing, pussy-flashing white Italian trash they always were, even after Harper’s Bazaar attempted to make them over under. The problem with that was that millionairess socialite Tinsley Mortimer acted as the guidette’s teacher, insinuating that “richer… mean[s] ‘classier’ or better or nicer”. Especially considering “… the socialites of the last ten years have done everything they can to prove that ‘trashiness’ appears at every income level.”

Paging Paris Hilton, who’s never been accused of being classy or well dressed.

If being a feminist means not changing to reflect the views of mainstream society and The Patriarchy, then so be it. After all, Snooki “seems real precisely because we can’t believe that anyone would actually try to look that awful.”

In strapping their boobs up and wedging their short-shorts further into their buttcracks, the mating dance the guidettes perform each night (which has nothing on the aforementioned regimen of the boys!) seems to subvert the very look they’re trying to achieve: sexiness. I don’t believe this is done purposefully, so in that sense it’s not very feminist-like, however the brazen bedroom talk the girls engage in—or rather, lamenting the lack of bedroom action, especially when it comes to Snooki—makes them highly relatable. As Sady Doyle writes, “we are all Snooki”.

I’m sure all women can relate to slut-shaming, regardless of how many sexual partners they’ve had, and that’s something the Jersey Shore females have to deal with on a seemingly episodic basis. Egan Morrissey puts it best, after Pauly D voices his views on sexual double standards (“She’s [Angelina] brought all these random people home. She’s a girl. You don’t do that. That’s a guy thing. Guys do that, not girls.”):

“Shouldn’t Pauly and The Situation be grateful for sluts? If there were no sluts then they would never be able to have sex. Do they think for one minute that they would even want to live in a world in which all girls acted the way that they’re ‘supposed’ to?”

Still with sex, feminists are either viewed as sex-negative man-haters, or insatiable sex machines who throw away men once they’ve got theirs. JWoww certainly falls into the latter category, who says in the opening credits, “I’m like a Praying Mantis: after I’ve had sex with a guy, I will rip their head off.” If Jersey Shore were a scripted show, JWoww’s bad breakup with Tom, who steals her hard drive, which contained naked pictures of the reality star, amongst other things, would be payback for her independent woman status. How dare a woman step outside of the stringent guidelines The Patriarchy has set for her?!

Speaking of bad breakups, if there’s one guidette who falls furthest from the feminism tree, it’s Sammi. While she finally plucked up the courage to leave Ronnie after their tumultuous on-off relationship ended in a very realistic fight in season three, in which Ronnie trashed Sammi’s bedroom and her belongings, including breaking her spectacles, reports about the fourth season seem to indicate that Sammi took Ronnie back.

While we can never understand the dynamics of each individual abusive relationship, and feminism can’t realistically be applied to them when a woman (sometimes a man, but mostly women) has had all of her resources—family, friends, employment, finances, access to a car etc.—taken away from her and therefore has limited means to escape, Ronnie and Sammi’s relationship may have some benefits to viewers of the show. Because Jersey Shore is marketed as “reality TV” (although, after The Hills and the revelation this week that one of the “geeks” on Australia’s version of Beauty & the Geek is an actor, its dubious how “real” the show is), female viewers who may be involved in an abusive relationship at some stage in their life can see that the relationship is being portrayed in a negative light, that Sammi’s housemates, friends and family are telling her it’s not healthy, and that she should get out. We can only hope that the one in four women who will have an abusive partner will take heed.

A little too deep? How can we derive all that from something as asinine as Jersey Shore, a show that, grammatically, should have a “The” at the beginning of its title?

Take what conclusions you want from the overtly sexual show, but one thing’s for sure: the guidettes are “empowered sexually, that’s what I’m seeing on Jersey Shore… The women seem to be making their own decisions about who they sleep with [Early Bird note: or don’t sleep with] and when.

“Almost by definition ‘guidette’ is a derivative term. It is a male-based subculture… The women were always defined as sex objects. And I think that’s something that they’re reversing.”

So, guidettes as sex subjects? If talking about “hairdos, shoes and body image snafus” and “preen[ing] and put[ting] on lipgloss” is a stereotypically female—and therefore weak—trait, then the guidos are certainly the background characters of Jersey Shore.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Snooki & the Jersey Shore Girls as Feminists?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee: The Right & Wrong of It.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 6th October 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Extreme Makeover: Jersey Girls.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Mystery of Snooki Revealed.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] In Defence of Rachel Berry.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Hills: All Good Things Must Come to an End.

Elsewhere: [Salon] Jersey Shore’s F’ed Up Brand of Feminism.

[Jezebel] If Men Can Wax Their Eyebrows, Why Can’t Women Sleep Around?

[Jezebel] Snooki & Her Boyfriend Break Up Over Her Pussy.

[Jezebel] Bazaar Gives Jersey Shore Guidettes Elegant Makeovers.

[Jezebel] JWoww’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ex.

[The Atlantic] We Are All Snooki.

Image via The Gossip Wrap Up.

TV: Snooki & the Jersey Shore Girls as Feminists?

 

This notion has been on my mind since the start of the year, and watching season three of Jersey Shore got me thinking about it again. So, are the fake-tanned, fake-boobed and fake-nailed women of Seaside feminists?

On the one hand, while Vinny, Pauly D, Mike “The Situation” and Ronnie spend 20 minutes blowdrying their hair and plucking their eyebrows each morning (okay, if they’ve been out clubbing the night before, it’s the afternoon), followed by GTL (gym, tan, laundry), and frequently cook “family” dinners, the girls lie around the house, get in fights and try to score with guys at the club. If this isn’t throwing gender norms on their head, I don’t know what is.

As Tracie Egan Morrissey writes:

“… so much of what these people do actually challenges old school notions about gender-appropriate behavior: Men who wax their eyebrows? Men who place that much of an importance on hair products? Women who fistfight? Women who drink so heavily?”

But on the other, JWoww, for example, subscribes to the stereotypical sexualised female body: fake boobs, fake hair, and done up to the nines when she hits the clubs. If she’s got it, should she flaunt it?

I’ve always been a big believer in this, so more power to her. In fact, despite their meteoric rise to fame in the last two years or so, the guidettes haven’t changed a thing about themselves. They’re still the trash-talking, ugg-boot-in-public-wearing, pussy-flashing white Italian trash they always were, even after Harper’s Bazaar attempted to make them over under. The problem with that was that millionairess socialite Tinsley Mortimer acted as the guidette’s teacher, insinuating that “richer… mean[s] ‘classier’ or better or nicer”. Especially considering “… the socialites of the last ten years have done everything they can to prove that ‘trashiness’ appears at every income level.”

Paging Paris Hilton, who’s never been accused of being classy or well dressed.

If being a feminist means not changing to reflect the views of mainstream society and The Patriarchy, then so be it. After all, Snooki “seems real precisely because we can’t believe that anyone would actually try to look that awful.”

In strapping their boobs up and wedging their short-shorts further into their buttcracks, the mating dance the guidettes perform each night (which has nothing on the aforementioned regimen of the boys!) seems to subvert the very look their trying to achieve: sexiness. I don’t believe this is done purposefully, so in that sense it’s not very feminist-like, however the brazen bedroom talk the girls engage in—or rather, lamenting the lack of bedroom action, especially when it comes to Snooki—makes them highly relatable. As Sady Doyle writes, “we are all Snooki”.

I’m sure all women can relate to slut-shaming, regardless of how many sexual partners they’ve had, and that’s something the Jersey Shore females have to deal with on a seemingly episodic basis. Egan Morrissey puts it best, after Pauly D voices his views on sexual double standards (“She’s [Angelina] brought all these random people home. She’s a girl. You don’t do that. That’s a guy thing. Guys do that, not girls.”):

“Shouldn’t Pauly and The Situation be grateful for sluts? If there were no sluts then they would never be able to have sex. Do they think for one minute that they would even want to live in a world in which all girls acted the way that they’re ‘supposed’ to?”

Still with sex, feminists are either viewed as sex-negative man-haters, or insatiable sex machines who throw away men once they’ve got theirs. JWoww certainly falls into the latter category, who says in the opening credits, “I’m like a Praying Mantis: after I’ve had sex with a guy, I will rip their head off.” If Jersey Shore were a scripted show, JWoww’s bad breakup with Tom, who steals her hard drive, which contained naked pictures of the reality star, amongst other things, would be payback for her independent woman status. How dare a woman step outside of the stringent guidelines The Patriarchy has set for her?!

Speaking of bad breakups, if there’s one guidette who falls furthest from the feminism tree, it’s Sammi. While she finally plucked up the courage to leave Ronnie after their tumultuous on-off relationship ended in a very realistic fight in season three, in which Ronnie trashed Sammi’s bedroom and her belongings, including breaking her spectacles, reports about the fourth season seem to indicate that Sammi took Ronnie back.

While we can never understand the dynamics of each individual abusive relationship, and feminism can’t realistically be applied to them when a woman (sometimes a man, but mostly women) has had all of her resources—family, friends, employment, finances, access to a car etc.—taken away from her and therefore has limited means to escape, Ronnie and Sammi’s relationship may have some benefits to viewers of the show. Because Jersey Shore is marketed as “reality TV” (although, after The Hills and the revelation this week that one of the “geeks” on Australia’s version of Beauty & the Geek is an actor, its dubious how “real” the show is), female viewers who may be involved in an abusive relationship at some stage in their life can see that the relationship is being portrayed in a negative light, that Sammi’s housemates, friends and family are telling her it’s not healthy, and that she should get out. We can only hope that the one in four women who will have an abusive partner will take heed.

A little too deep? How can we derive all that from something as asinine as Jersey Shore, a show that, grammatically, should have a “The” at the beginning of its title?

Take what conclusions you want from the overtly sexual show, but one thing’s for sure: the guidettes are “empowered sexually, that’s what I’m seeing on Jersey Shore… The women seem to be making their own decisions about who they sleep with [Early Bird note: or don’t sleep with] and when.

“Almost by definition ‘guidette’ is a derivative term. It is a male-based subculture… The women were always defined as sex objects. And I think that’s something that they’re reversing.”

So, guidettes as sex subjects? If talking about “hairdos, shoes and body image snafus” and “preen[ing] and put[ting] on lipgloss” is a stereotypically female—and therefore weak—trait, then the guidos are certainly the background characters of Jersey Shore.

Related: Extreme Makeover: Jersey Girls.

The Mystery of Snooki Revealed.

In Defence of Rachel Berry.

The Hills: All Good Things Must Come to an End.

Elsewhere: [Salon] Jersey Shore’s F’ed Up Brand of Feminism.

[Jezebel] If Men Can Wax Their Eyebrows, Why Can’t Women Sleep Around?

[Jezebel] Snooki & Her Boyfriend Break Up Over Her Pussy.

[Jezebel] Bazaar Gives Jersey Shore Guidettes Elegant Makeovers.

[Jezebel] JWoww’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ex.

[The Atlantic] We Are All Snooki.

Images via The Gossip Wrapup, Harper’s Bazaar.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

“Benevolent” teen sexism versus “hostile” teen sexism at Psychology Today via Jezebel.

Also from Jezebel, “Facebook Tells You When You Will Break Up” via a handy little graph. I wonder how the graph would change to reflect Australian dating norms andmost interestinglyseasons.

The always hilarious Mia Freedman muses on “First World Problems”.

Gawker’s take on Gossip Girl’s “Juliet Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, or more importantly, Chuck and Blair’s sex life:

“So, Blair and Chuck are totally mashing genitals against each other for pleasure, and everyone is throwing up all over the place because of it. Because it’s so gross. ‘Hey Blair, let me put my penis inside you behind those bushes.’ THROWUP. ‘Hey Chuck, why don’t you stimulate my vagina with your mouth some more.’ RETCH. ‘Oh my gosh, let’s pant and wheeze and sweat here in this limo because we just rubbed our genitalia together to the point of climax.’… IT’S GROSS, is what I’m saying… But they’re doing it anyway and that was a plot point. Absolutely nothing changed or developed in their fucking…”

Since when did Gossip Girl need a plot point, anyway? It’s a guilty pleasure and that’s the beauty of it.

This 2009 New Yorker article is suspiciously similar to a Law & Order: SVU episode from season 11. But it is a brilliantly haunting read about fire investigation, wrongful incarceration, execution and justice.

Defamer addresses Vanity Fair’s penchant for posthumous covers.

Ideologically Impure responds to Stephen Fry’s assertion that women don’t like/want/have sex as much as gay men:

“Because, Mr. Fry, do you know what happens to women who openly state they enjoy sex, who act in an overtly sexual manner, who admit to casual sex?

If they get raped, their rapist walks free.

“Because a woman saying she enjoys sex is obviously always up for it. And a woman who’s had casual sex in the past must not be fussy about who she fucks. And a woman who flirts is just ‘sending the wrong signals’ and completely gives up her right to say ‘no’.”

The allure of the Kindle, by Maggie Alderson.

The original “In Defence of Slut-O-Ween” and, in the same vein, The Stranger wishes us a (belated) “Happy Heteroween”.

Annabelle DeSisto, the girl who shut down the Situation on Jersey Shore, tells her side of the story on Best Week Ever:

“… He kept asking me if I wanted to change clothes, like to get into something more comfortable like pyjamas. And I was like ‘No’, and he was like ‘But you seem really uncomfortable in that dress, let’s just get you into pyjamas.’ I’m like, ‘Does everything you own have a rhinestone bulldog or dragon or Ed Hardy logo on it?’ And he’s like, ’Yeah, of course!’ And I was like, ‘Then I’m not changing clothes.’”

Sounds like a quintessential douchebag to me!

In defence of Kanye West:

“Part of Kanye’s curse is that after everyone chills out a little, we all realise he was just saying what everyone was thinking, and we were unfair to leap all over him…”

“What is Vampire Sex?” Effing hot, that’s what!

Shameless Wildfox plug: “13 ‘Mature’ Things to Do While Wearing Wildfox This Halloween”. I did just one of these things this Halloween. Can you guess which?

If you missed Zoe Foster’s “All Women Really Want is a Cup Of Fu*king Tea” relationship advice in Cosmo a few months ago, here it is again on her blog, via MamaMia.

Mick Foley pens his thoughts on Linda McMahon:

“… The concerns expressed in regard to WWE are valid onessubstance abuse problems, content issues, the troubling trend of pro-wrestlers dying way too young. But if Linda McMahon is going to be held personally accountable for every negative aspect of her family business, shouldn’t she be given personal credit for every positive aspect as well? Like the 5,000 wishes to children facing life threatening conditions WWE has granted over the last twenty five years, through ‘Make-a-Wish’ and other wish granting organisations? Or the ‘Tribute to the Troops’ tour that WWE has embarked on every year since 2003; spreading holiday cheer to service-members far from home, in remote bases in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.”

When things are looking glum, take a look at this mantra from Gala Darling. Things aren’t that bad.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

“A Guide to Eating Food Off the Floor.”

Feminist Themes’ regular “Wait… What?” column features The View co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and her take on the pro-choice versus pro-life debate.

In The Atlantic’s thought provoking piece on “The End of White America?”, Hua Hsu “discuss[es] Obama, football, hip-hop, and the elusive notion of a ‘post-racial’ society.”

Pandagon responds to Susan Faludi’s piece on third-wave feminism (which I haven’t read yet, but expect it to be included in an upcoming On the [Rest of the] Net), in which “she puts out evidence that younger feminists are sometimes unfair and ungrateful to older feminists, and that older feminists are sometimes so afraid of younger women that they go out of their way to exclude them… complaining that younger women don’t care.” Furthermore:

“… she reinforces a jumble of often conflicting stereotypes on younger feminists to discredit us: that we’re obsessed with navel-gazing over activism, that our obsession with technology comes at the expense of actual work, that we don’t know our history and don’t care about systemic issues, that we’re materialist[ic] and unwilling to challenge sexual exploitation for fear of pissing off men, that we’re so busy cultivating our graduate degrees writing about Lady Gaga… that we can’t be bothered to worry about real world issues.”

I do agree with some of this summary of Faludi’s piece, but Lady Gaga’s meat dress drew attention to vegetarianism, animal welfare and gay rights. They’re, like, real world issues, aren’t they?

Liz Greene delivers some particularly poignant points on parental relationships and “the family triangle” in “The Eternal Triangle”.

Buffy is “The Third Wave’s Final Girl”.

Jezebel reasons “Why Glee Still Needs to Work on Diversity”, while Brittany and Santana are “Queer Idols”:

“It wasn’t even until halfway through Glee’s first season that the first hint of queerness was even mentioned… Maybe you’d call it bisexual, maybe you’d call it heteroflexible, maybe you’d call it bicurious: whatever they are, it’s definitely a bit queer… Brittany is, if you will, an equal opportunity slut: one who’s willing to make out with whatever hotness crosses her path, regardless of gender… And among fellow fans of the show, my designation of Brittany and Santana as queer icons has met with some derision: their relationship is played for laughs, I’ve been told. They’re just straight girls making out for male attention… [But]… with the exception of their joint date with Finn, Brittany and Santana have hardly been shown using their relationship to win over boys… For me, Brittany and Santana represent a new mode of queer figure… : fluidly sexual, comfortable with same sex contacts, and more interested in finding happiness than finding the right label. They may not fit into the rigid structures of traditional sexual identities, but they’re comfortable enough with themselves not to care.”

More Jezebel: They’ve really been getting on the “slut-shaming bandwagon”, especially with their endorsement of Easy A. Now, they give their take on the “Ancient Slut-Shaming” of Cleopatra, as well as the “sexual double standards” on Jersey Shore. About the latter, they say:

“… The slut-shaming of Angelina… revealed their thoughts on sexual double standards. (The ‘thoughts’ being that sexual double standards exist, and that’s just the way it is.)… Pauly said about Angelina: ‘She brought all these random people home. She’s a girl. You don’t do that. That’s a guy thing. Guy’s do that, no girls.’… Shouldn’t Pauly and The Situation be grateful for sluts? If there were no sluts then they would never be able to have sex. Do they think for one minute that they would even want to live in a world in which all girls acted the way they’re ‘supposed’ to?”

“Who Stole Feminism?”, asks The Nation. Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell and all those right-wing extremists, that’s who!

“Sarah Palin opposes abortion and comprehensive sex education. While mayor of Wasilla she made sexual assault victims pay for their own rape kits. She also calls herself a feminist. Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell has said that allowing women to attend military academies ‘cripples the readiness of our defence’ and that wives should ‘graciously submit’ to their husbandsbut her website touts her ‘commitment to the women’s movement. Pundits who once mocked women’s rights activists as ugly bra burners are abuzz over the ‘new conservative feminism’, and the Tea Party is lauding itself as a women’s movement.

The right once disparaged feminism as man-hating and baby-killing, but now ‘feminist’ is the must-have label for women on the right.”

“Geeks Versus Hipsters” is the equivalent of the passionate versus the apathetic, respectively, according to Gizmodo. And from the hipsters I’ve come into contact with, I’m inclined to agree.

Can Newsanchor Barbie be both hot and a feminist?

Jessica Rudd (yes, Kevin’s daughter) discusses the differences between chick-lit and (the nonexistent) dick-lit in a guest post on MamaMia.

Beneath the “campy sensationalism” of True Blood lies “the weird, seemingly reactionary politics” of “the right’s worst nightmare about post-gay-liberation America come to life.”

(Sex) Ed Hardy

 

From our friends at Jezebel, comes the latest in bogan couture; the revelation that Christian Audigier, creator of the Ed Hardy monstrosity, has released a line of condoms.

As commenter SalutLaMiss says, “Anything that keeps the dudes I meet wearing Audigier (Ed Hardy, or Von Dutch) from reproducing is totally fine by me!”

Jon Gosselin, Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino; we’re talking to you!