Reviews: Living Dolls – The Return of Sexism By Natasha Walter

On the CWI’s sections’ websites reviews were published on "The Return fo Sexism" by Natasha Walter:
· Laura Fitzgerald, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland
· Jacinta Chavulak, Socialist Party (CWI Australia)
· Christine Thomas, ControCorrente (CWI Italy) published in Socialism Today

"In her book Living Dolls, Natasha Walter paints a horrifying picture of Britain’s sex culture. The book explores the modern reality of sex in our everyday lives and explains that sexism is worse now than ever before", reviews Jacinta Chavulak, "In the second half of the book ‘The New Determinism’, Walter breaks down the differences between men and women. She explores the idea that women are better carers but not better mathematicians. She traces these differences back to what children are encouraged and reinforced to be, rather than some talents that are biologically determined."

Laura Fitzgerald, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) writes: "A key element of Living Dolls is documenting the extent to which the sex industry not only has grown, but also has increasingly encroached into elements of pop and mainstream culture. […] The obscenity of women as sex objects, sex as a commodity, and girls and young women feeling inordinate pressure to be ’sexy’ etc. is an indictment of the insatiable drive for profit that is at the core of capitalism. While Natasha Walter doesn’t come to this conclusion, reading Living Dolls makes a trend that Marx alluded about capitalism scream off the page, namely that everything becomes a commodity under this system."

"Walter argues that "without thoroughgoing economic and political change, what we see when we look around is not the equality we once sought; it is a stalled revolution". But how that change will come about she never really explains. "Television producers and publishers have told me the same story", writes Walter, "that in society they cannot make decisions based on quality or morality, they must make decisions based on sales. Throughout our society, any attempt to complain about or change this culture is often met by fatalism; if the market is so powerful, then how can any individual stand against it?" On an individual basis, resistance against the capitalist market system is limited. Collective struggle, however, which challenges the structurally unequal economic and social relations of capitalism, could lay the basis for ending sexism, and all forms cultural and social oppression as well as material inequality", explains Christine Thomas.

Full reviews:

· Laura Fitzgerald, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland
· Jacinta Chavulak, Socialist Party (CWI Australia)

· Christine Thomas, ControCorrente (CWI Italy) published in Socialism Today

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September 2010