‘Field Guide to Chicks of the United States’ proves sexism and racism is alive and well

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
May 14, 2012

Have you ever wandered a bookstore and thought, where's the literature for the superficial man who wants to get with the ladies?

Well, Joe Bovino did. The self-proclaimed writer, humorist, social commentator, lawyer, and fitness advocate -- who has also appeared in P90X workout videos -- took it upon himself to write one.

"They say every author writes the book he wants to read but can't find in the bookstore. Well, Joe couldn't find a kick-ass field guide to 'chicks' of the United States. Now, everyone can," touts his website.

The Field Guide to Chicks of the United States categorizes women into 92 "species" or "subcultures" based on ethnicity, region and general outward appearance.  And no, it's not just for the dudes. "Single chicks can use this book to keep an eye on the competition and pick up valuable inside information," reads his website.

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"The book is full of amazing full-color illustrations that you will have to see to believe," boasts the press release. "Men will want to see how many they recognize or can cross off their to-do list."

For instance, the cover features three "species": Afrodisiac, Country Biscuit and Taco Belle.

"It's pretty disheartening to see books like this and know that the accompanying merchandise is already selling out," says Tracy Penny Light, assistant professor of sexuality, marriage, and family studies at the University of Waterloo. "It is sensational nonsense but nonetheless, it is getting out into popular discourse which means it's another discourse that we need to work to critique and challenge."

The Chicks press release begs to differ. "Bovino is giving his gift of Chickspotting to all mankind in this new book, which offers amusing insights into the most distinctive physical characteristics, vocalizations, behavioral tendencies and mating habits of American Chicks from regional and ethnic subculture (or species) across the country."

The book is, not surprisingly, being both panned ("Chicks actually seems to go out of its way in its press release to be severely offensive to every 'ethnic subculture' out there, writes Drew Grant from the New York Observer) and revered ("… it's GENIUS!" exclaims blogger Brad Jackson from P.U.M.A Skills).

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"[The book] is actually a call to men to objectify women," continues Light. "Since the 1960s and 1970s, feminists have called for an end to this objectification.  Activists … have called for an end to practices, imagery, and media that represent women in derogatory ways because these representations are harmful, particularly when they are created under the guise of celebrating difference - they don't."

A 2010 study called the Negative Effects of Sexism would agree. The study  suggests males also suffer from male to female sexism.

"Whenever a single man's prejudiced actions are attributed to his gender identity, male perpetrators impact how women view and react to men more generally," the study says.

Watch the quirky Niecy Nash discuss what dating behaviours to avoid in the video below.

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