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 [Scarlett Woman 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: Snooki & the Jersey Shore Girls as Feminists?

Glee: The Right & Wrong of It.

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.

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 [Scarlett Woman 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.

The Anatomy of a Douchebag.

The other day, I was talking to my friend about a mutual acquaintance of ours, and how he is somewhat of a “douchebag”. He’s not malicious in any way (which might make him an “asshole”, “prick” or, depending on the severity of said maliciousness, something more severe, beginning with an “f” orGod forbid!a “c”), but some of the things he says and does can only be described as “douchey”.

Urban Dictionary ensures that douchebag (“Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however has not yet reached fucker or motherfucker”) is “not to be confused with a ‘douche’”, “… an individual who has shown themself [sic] to be very brainless in one way or another.” So perhaps just plain old “douche” is the word I’m searching for here, but I still maintain that a douchebag is just a misguided knob who does things seemingly to look “cool” and gain others’ approval.

But you’ve seen the douchebag in popular culture; you know what I’m talking about.

He’s not the equivalent of Jesse James, who cheated on Sandra Bullock with tattooed fetish model Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, is an alleged Nazi sympathiser and ran dog fights out of his West Coast Choppers studio. He’s not in the same ball park as Charlie Sheen, who is a raging drug addict and wife beater. And he’s certainly nothing like Joel Monaghan, the disturbed and idiotic Canberra Raiders player who was in the news last week for engaging in a sex act with await for itdog! Tiger Woods, who is a massive dickhead for cheating on his gorgeous wife with the multitude of women, would probably be the closest thing to a douchebag out of the men I’ve listed above, for the simple fact that his acts hurt no one but himself. Sure, there was some very public pain and suffering from his wife, Elin Nordegren, and some of his floozies who thought they meant more to him than they actually did, but there was no drug use, animal cruelty, bigotry and/or violence against women.

But from my research (FYI, who would’ve thought there were so many websites dedicated to the phenomenon?!), I’ve found that the douchebag is most comfortable in their natural habitat; reality television.

I’ve always maintained that Spencer Pratt and Jon Gosselin are the douchebags du jour, pulling publicity stunts with on-again/off-again wife Heidi Montag and ordering Starbucks in Ed Hardy garb, respectively. More recently, the cast of Jersey Shore have been known to exemplify the douchebag attitude, with the women of the show inspiring me to coin my own personal term for the female equivalent of a douchbag: a douchebaggette.

Speaking of Ed Hardy; the fashion label favoured by Gosselin and the Shore cast (Pratt seems to have moved away from the brand and towards a more derelict, hippie look, in keeping with he and Heidi’s crystal-healing-meets-bankruptcy lifestyle. But Pratt surpasses the physical attributes of the douchebag; he is inherently and eternally a douchebag. Heidi, however, still gets her douchbaggette on in the label.) is a key ingredient in the anatomy of a douchebag. Other external ingredients might include, but are not limited to; men who think their ridiculous hair, which they’ve spent more time on than I spend on my own locks, looks good (Pauly D, I’m looking at you), with a special mention to rats tails; men who wear copious amounts of jewellery or blinged-out clothing; men who wear headbands; and men who insist on getting the perfect pose for their Facebook profile pic. Feel free to submit your own physical douchebag attributes in the comments!

In essence, though, I think the douchebag is an insecure bloke (bogans are not exempt from douchebaggy-ness; in fact, in Australia, I’d say bogans make up a significant portion of the douchebag population), who strives for the acceptance of others in the way he projects himself and the things he says and does. Again, the douchebag poses minimal threat to non-douchebaggy majorities (or is that minorities? The douchebag seems to be sweeping the nation in record numbers)… except when they blind you by flicking their rats tail in your eye and/or from the glare of their rhinestone covered Ed Hardy tee whilst photobombing you!

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven For Their Wrongdoings While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Beauty & the Bestiality.

Poor Little Rich Girl: Who Cover Girl Heidi Montag.

(Sex) Ed Hardy.

Extreme Makeover: Jersey Girls.

Things Bogans Like.

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.”