Nichi Hodgson 's 'review' of Catherine Hakim's Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital made me laugh to tears. Sugar except:
The reason women have failed to capitalise on their erotic capital, says Hakim, is the fault of feminism allied with Christian conservatism. Puritan Anglo-Saxon feminism, including post-feminism, Hakim claims, is "profoundly uncomfortable with sexuality, and frames it in a relentlessly negative perspective." As such, "feminists have been so brainwashed by patriarchal ideology that they have been quite unable to understand how sexuality and erotic capital can be sources of erotic power." Feminism has established a "false dichotomy" between beauty and brains.
While I doubt Hakim would recognise a post-feminist if fondled by one in a bi-curious flurry, she seems to be blaming mind-body dualism on feminists, despite identifying "Western thought" as its source elsewhere in the book. She also seems to have missed the point of what feminism has ever wanted from sex. A minority of radicals excepted, all feminists have ever asked for is women's stake in imagining and enacting sexual desire. Employing your erotic capital may be sensible opportunism but it's also pretty boring manipulating men whose sexual fantasies are predicated on the script for a "Girls Gone Wild" episode; depressing too, if these same men constitute your pool of potential life partners.(...)That erotic capital enhances professional, market-place performance makes perfect sense. But applying it to personal, intimate relationships overlooks one very important point. You don't need to be living in a tree house and swapping sacks of millet for acorns to want to leave commercial transactions at the bedroom door. In the Anglo-Saxon West, now that we don't need to marry to preserve family fortunes, secure male heirs or find someone to "keep" us, some things are worth more than erotic capital-love, for example.
My view on Hodgson's take of Hakim is that it is unnecessary and a further indication that too many still don't understand that there is a difference between feminism and femininity and that feminism is to women's identity and rights (I have an deepening aversion for the term women's rights) what socialism is to liberalism/progressivism. It is tiresome even though often comically entertaining to see women still elevating and generalizing their personal views and differences as if speaking as a woman or as feminism means speaking for women and representing some other than an individual and therefore limited (and often irrelevant) viewpoint.