Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Susan B. Anthony of Pole Dancing

PD sent this Colbert sketch on Johnna Mink, who in her husband's words, is the "Susan B. Anthony of pole dancing." You've gotta love the manager of Larry Flynt's club who says about feminism, "I've gotta take a pass on that. I'm not dialed into feminism." At least he is honest about his position as well as honest about what pole dancing is all about. If you had any doubts, watch Johnna crawl on the floor with her butt in the air or her admission that her husband enjoys this more than she does.

So Colbert is mocking aspects of 3rd wave feminism, attitudes that I have seen many of my female student adopt before they take a course with me. The idea is that feminism has empowered women to embrace their sexuality. In fact, I have heard more than one female student tell me how being sexually attractive to the opposite sex (which at my school is the fraternity boys who exemplify the most misogynistic attitudes toward women) is power.

I have always been a bit skeptical toward 3rd wave feminism. I am on record with my students as suggesting that it isn't a true "wave," and that the view it purports to represents is not significantly an advance over second wave feminism. In fact, the media has tended to like 3rd wave feminism more than second wave because it stresses "individualism" and, as Johnna's husband says, "let's men watch pole dancing without feeling like pigs." In other words, a lot of what gets called 3rd wave feminism is more palatable to men since it doesn't demand that they have to make significant changes in their worldview or in how they treat women.

Bravo Colbert!