[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/23/snooki.gi.art.jpg caption="Women in pop culture are depicted as either angelic, as in Taylor Swift, or not, as in Snooki from “Jersey Shore,” says feminist author Jaclyn Friedman."]
By Carol Costello and Ronnie Berke, CNN
(CNN) – You see it everywhere – in videos, movies and even TV shows. Young women who are rude, crude and sometimes very, very drunk. Are we living in a “dirty girl” culture? Or are these just examples of kids having fun and nothing to worry about? Time for a Gut Check.
The newest “dirty girl” is the violent tween in the movie, “Kick Ass.” Her potty-mouth rants would do Chelsea Handler proud. Handler, whose raunchy sex talk and love of alcohol have fueled three best-sellers, is more popular than ever.
Pop star Ke$ha’s hit song “Tik Tok” celebrates promiscuity and drinking until you pass out in a stranger's bathtub. Her catchy tune goes: “Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack.”
Some, like social commentator Nancy Giles, find the trend alarming. “There seems to be this strange ... hazing ritual or a badge of honor, how drunk can you get, how bad can you behave? How close to the edge can you go? I don't get it.”
Giles says it's as if girls are celebrating the worst of frat boy behavior as a way to female empowerment. Some young women agree.
“Women are becoming more comfortable with themselves and their sexuality,” says Lauren Casiva, 24, in Washington, DC. “They realize that it’s okay to behave as men behave.”
When it comes to binge drinking, experts say, sadly, women are up to the challenge. According to Southern Illinois University, in 1996, 33 percent of women admitted to binge drinking or having five drinks in one sitting – in the prior two weeks.
In 2008, that percentage shot up to nearly 41 percent. It’s a disturbing trend to feminist editor Jaclyn Friedman, whose book “Yes Means Yes,” explores the problem of date rape. She says women having fun and making stupid mistakes is one thing, but adopting destructive, raunchy behavior is, well – scary.
“When it comes to sexual assault, most rapists use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault.” Friedman says the real problem is a lack of reality-based role models. In our popular culture, women are either depicted as angelic, as in Taylor Swift – or Snooki, in “Jersey Shore.” There’s no one left in the middle.
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