Mysteries and ironies of the next new sexual revolution

Summary: Slowly voices are raised about our revolution in gender and sex, reshaping America with a theoretical foundation consisting mostly of nonsense that few believe — taking us to an unknown and probably dysfunctional future.

A photo from the book “Backstage Secrets” by Russell James,
A photo from the book Backstage Secrets: A Decade Behind the Scenes of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show by Russell James.

Mysteries and ironies of the next new sexual revolution.

An essay by James Bowman. From his website, 1 December 2017.
Reposted with his generous permission. Images added.

A propos of the media’s on-going épuration légale {legal purge} of sexual malefactors in their midst, thoughtful articles in the mainstream media themselves are beginning to appear, like crocuses opening up in spring while still half buried in snow, which propose, or at least imply, to — in the words of one of them for the Washington Post by Christine Emba, former Hilton Kramer fellow at The New Criterion — “Let’s Rethink Sex.

What at first glance may seem to be one such has popped up in the “Fashion & Style” section of yesterday’s New York Times. In “Pinups in the Post-Weinstein World” Vanessa Friedman wonders about the prospective TV and online viewing figures for the up-coming Victoria’s Secret fashion show and what is apparently a similar event, from the British online magazine “Love,” billing itself as “a video Advent calendar” but replacing religious iconography with young women in various stages of undress. Last year’s figures, she writes…

are far and away the largest numbers of viewers who come to either brand, and among the largest numbers of viewers attached to a fashion event of any sort. There’s a clear business imperative for the undress-for-success concept. But in the current cultural climate, where powerful men are tumbling like bowling pins because of bad behavior that has its roots in the objectification of women, what about the moral imperative? What fantasy, exactly, is all this feeding?

Hm. It’s a puzzle, isn’t it? And yet, it seems, “the issue of the pinup in a post-Weinstein world is more complicated than it may first appear.” Wouldn’t you just know it?

“In the wake of the Harvey fallout and women coming forward with incredible amounts of sexual harassment cases, I have been so disappointed to hear women talk about ‘modesty’ and ‘our responsibility,’ as if we need to, yet again, adjust to make it ‘easier’ for the rest of the world,” said Emily Ratajkowski, whose video — in which she drapes herself suggestively in spaghetti while wearing lacy lingerie and knit gloves — is scheduled for Day 3 of the Love calendar. “I’m tired of having to consider how I might be perceived by men if I wear the short skirt, or post a sexy Instagram,” she said. “I want to do what I want to do.”

Love revolution

Ms Friedman sounds a brief note of skepticism further down in the article in response to another (but masculine) apologist for titillation-as-fashion who insists that “they are the most beautiful, physically fit women on the planet. You can’t get a supermodel to do anything they don’t want to do.” Note, by the way, the politically correct pronoun in a context where “she” would have been grammatically and existentially correct. “If you accept this argument,” writes Ms Friedman, “it can just seem a bit odd that, judging by the show, what they want to do is play the part of a highly decorative soft-core siren for a day.”

Yet her final takeaway from all this rationalization about something which, outside of the media and entertainment industries, is not the least bit difficult to understand comes in response to another (male) comment to the effect that there is a “fine balance between exploitation and empowerment.” To this, she comments: “Debate as we might, we still don’t know exactly where it is.”

You may be the judge as to the degree of disingenuousness to be attributed to this remark in light of the article’s illustration by (in the online version) seven large-format photos of very thin young women in even thinner raiment. The New York Times, at any rate, has a pretty good idea of where the balance between exploitation and empowerment is. It’s just beyond the point at which their articles become click-bait.


DAY 3: Emily Ratajkowski by Phil Poynter #LOVEADVENT2017.


James Bowman

About James Bowman

Bowman is a Resident Scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

He has worked as a freelance journalist, serving as American editor of the Times Literary Supplement of London from 1991 to 2002, as movie critic of The American Spectator since 1990 and as media critic of The New Criterion since 1993. He has also been a weekly movie reviewer for The New York Sun since the newspaper’s re-foundation in 2002. He has also contributed to a wide range of other major papers.

Mr. Bowman is perhaps best known for his book, Honor: A History, and his essay “The Lost Sense of Honor” in The Public Interest.

See his collected articles at his website, including his film reviews going back to 1994.

For More Information

Other articles about the ongoing revolution.

  1. Whipping-Post Politics” by James Kunstler “The hit on Garrison Keillor by his old friend Minnesota Public Radio seemed like a new low in the whipping-post politics of the moment..”
  2. Geoffrey Rush steps down as Australian Academy president amid allegations of inappropriate behavior.” Allegations about which he was never informed and so cannot defend himself.
  3. Beware of Running with the Al Franken Story — Consider Where That Leads” by Douglas Murray.
  4. Sexual Power Dynamics: Examining the Missing Part of the Story” by Douglas Murray.
  5. Is Feminism the Answer to Sexual Harassment?” by Mona Charen.
  6. Is ‘Weinsteining’ getting out of hand?” by Cathy Young.
  7. A confused woman gives a stream of consciousness flow of contradictory certainties at Slate: “The Upside of Office Flirtation? I’m living it” by Allison Benedikt.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts by James Bowman, about society and gender issuesabout feminism, about sexual assault, about rape, and especially these…

  1. It’s time to forcibly re-shape America to fight the campus rape epidemic! Even if it’s fake.
  2. The University of Virginia shows how change comes to America: through agitprop and hysteria.
  3. False rape accusations tell us something important about America.
  4. Feminist revolutionaries seized control of colleges. Now come the tribunals…
  5. See universities’ programs to regulate sex. The apps are amazing!
  6. The unexpected response to the sexual harassment crisis.
  7. Weaponizing claims of sexual harassment for political gain.
Honor: A History
Avilable at Amazon.

About James Bowman’s great book.

About his book, Honor: A History, from the publisher…

“The importance of honor is present in the earliest records of civilization. Today, while it may still be an essential concept in Islamic cultures, in the West, honor has been disparaged and dismissed as obsolete.

“In this lively and authoritative book, James Bowman traces the curious and fascinating history of this ideal, from the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment and to the killing fields of World War I and the despair of Vietnam. Bowman reminds us that the fate of honor and the fate of morality and even manners are deeply interrelated.”

3 thoughts on “Mysteries and ironies of the next new sexual revolution”

  1. In this postmodern world, the whole idea of sexuality is completely topsy turvy. This article in The Guardian today had me laughing out loud and shows how absurd the situation has become in terms of giving gays and transgenders equal status with straight people in religious faiths. I am by no means anti-gay (although no fan at all of transgender) but I think there is far too much attention given to having to be ‘pro-gay’ now and the media pays much too much attention to it:

  2. The Man Who Laughs

    ‘ Yet her final takeaway from all this rationalization about something which, outside of the media and entertainment industries, is not the least bit difficult to understand comes in response to another (male) comment to the effect that there is a “fine balance between exploitation and empowerment.” To this, she comments: “Debate as we might, we still don’t know exactly where it is.” ‘

    It’s not complicated, really. If a guy hits on her and she finds him attractive, then it’s empowerment. If she finds him unattractive, it’s exploitation.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor

      The man,

      Yes, that says it all.

      Beyond this is obvious exploitation, but the scary grey ground for us lies in the non-executive suites lies in the fact the woman has all the power in these situations. Corporate HR will burn us like a girl throws out kleenex. And who knows what standards will be applied to your actions today in future years?

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