The Diana/Whore Complex by Lakshmi Chaudhry

lakshmi chaudhry argues that women have come a long way since the lovelorn vulnerability of marilyn monroe and princess diana. now we have the “skank posse” (paris, britney, lindsay) rich and powerful women who r unapologetic about their sexual appetites/need for cheap publicity. ok. maybe celebrities have the right to be skankier now but does that really help real women? is that the slutwalk argument or what?

the word “skank” is itself prejudicial. men who exhibit the same kind of sexually reckless behavior r somehow not categorized as “skanks”. chaudhry uses the word in quotes – she is referring to that social characterization. i’m just not sure that her argument about how we’ve come a long way baby since diana/marilyn holds currency. also, i am not sure that lindsay’s ability to live out her sexuality in front of a camera means anything for the vast majority of women. have sexual mores really changed? do women really have the same kind of freedom as men? is holding women to ridicule better than loving them for being tragic? is that progress? it reminded me of the slutwalks in that some select white women in underwear do not really transform women’s rights generally. or do they?

i think that the problem is that woman is always the object, while man is the subject – hence all this analysis of woman. “woman is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. he is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other.” (simone de beauvoir)

read chaudhry’s article in the nation here.