Boi Culture in ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs’

In Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, Ariel Levy devotes a chapter to lesbian interpretation of raunch culture and boi culture – which she, or Katherine Volin ( I’m not sure which one) describes as the latest incarnation of the butch-femme dynamic. I strongly disagree. The ‘boi culture’ Levy describes doesn’t have a place in the butch-femme dynamic I cherish.

Described as the most recent lesbian label, Levy says, bois want to be like men, but without the responsibilities of adulthood.

“I never really wanted to grow up, which is what a lot of the boi identity is about,” says Lissa Doty, one of Levy’s interview subjects who self-identifies as a “boi.”

The chapter also describes lesbian sexual opportunism among bois, particularly across the New York-San Francisco migratory pattern. This approach to sexuality, the book says, is distinctly different from that of traditional lesbian relationship patterns.

More about Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture from Publishers Weekly review at Amazon:

Box Mods

What does sexy mean today? Levy, smartly expanding on reporting for an article in New York magazine, argues that the term is defined by a pervasive raunch culture wherein women make sex objects of other women and of ourselves. The voracious search for what’s sexy, she writes, has reincarnated a day when Playboy Bunnies (and airbrushed and surgically altered nudity) epitomized female beauty. It has elevated porn above sexual pleasure. Most insidiously, it has usurped the keywords of the women’s movement (liberation, empowerment) to serve as buzzwords for a female sexuality that denies passion (in all its forms) and embraces consumerism. To understand how this happened, Levy examines the women’s movement, identifying the residue of divisive, unresolved issues about women’s relationship to men and sex. The resulting raunch feminism, she writes, is a garbled attempt at continuing the work of the women’s movement and asks, how is resurrecting every stereotype of female sexuality that feminism endeavored to banish good for women? Why is laboring to look like Pamela Anderson empowering? Levy’s insightful reporting and analysis chill the hype of what’s hot. It will create many aha! moments for readers who have been wondering how porn got to be pop and why feminism is such a dirty word.

Female Chauvinist Pigs : Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture

3 Comments so far

  1. spinster on October 30th, 2005

    Wait a minite, Ariel Levy wrote that article for New York Magazine, “Where the Bois Are” which infuriated me on so many levels. The bois profiled infuriated me. Her approach to the topic irritated me. How she choose to use femme quotes completely pissed me off. Oooh, my blood is boiling again…

  2. Maria on October 30th, 2005

    Oh THAT article. I can’t believe I didn’t remember her name. I must have purposely forgotten it.

  3. Kay on April 14th, 2009

    Unfortunately totally true. Queer culture wants to pretend that sexism is “Somebody else’s problem” (ie Heterosexuals have that problem, we don’t) and it’s totally a lie. Sexism and a twisted mimicry of the worst of heterosexual sexism is a part of both gay and lesbian culture. I just read a beautiful dating ad for another man yesterday and was about to answer it when I realized something bothered me. She referred to herself as a “Soft-femme” and then in brackets (meaning not high maintanence). I quickly realized how bloody sexist that woman is that she automatically associates femininity with drama, hysteria and histrionics…and quickly takes pains to distance herself from that.

    Demeaning sexual/romantic roles and stereotypes about about topping (being like a man) and bottoming (being like a woman) are far more rigid in the Queer Community than they are in the Straight Culture. Despite being a genderqueer bisexual woman (much of my personality and interests are distinctly masculine), because I look and dress feminine I cannot find anyone to have a relationship with…all I can find are boys and bois who want to “top” me and run away before they risk getting caught in a “high-maintenance” entanglement. Grown-ups of any sort, male or female, queer or straight, are a rare breed nowadays.

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