Ariel Levy (journalist)

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Ariel Levy
Ariel Levy in 2016
Ariel Levy in 2016
Born (1974-10-17) October 17, 1974 (age 43)
Nationality American
Notable works Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture

Ariel Levy (born October 17, 1974)[1] is an American staff writer at The New Yorker magazine[2] and the author of the books The Rules do Not Apply and Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture.[3] Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, Slate, and The New York Times. Levy was named one of the "Forty Under 40" most influential out individuals in the June/July 2009 issue of The Advocate.[4]


Early life and education[edit]

Levy was raised in a Jewish family[5] in Larchmont, New York, and attended Wesleyan University in the 1990s, graduating in 1996. She says that her experiences at Wesleyan, which had "coed showers, on principle,"[6] strongly influenced her views regarding modern sexuality.[citation needed] After graduating from Wesleyan, she was briefly employed by Planned Parenthood, but claims that she was fired because she is "an extremely poor typist."[7] She was hired by New York magazine shortly thereafter.


At The New Yorker magazine, where Levy has been a staff writer since 2008, she has written profiles of Cindy McCain, Silvio Berlusconi, Edith Windsor, Caster Semenya, Lamar Van Dyke, Mike Huckabee and Callista Gingrich. At New York magazine, where Levy was a contributing editor for 12 years, she wrote about John Waters, Stanley Bosworth, Donatella Versace, the writer George W. S. Trow, the feminist Andrea Dworkin, and the artists Ryan McGinley and Dash Snow. Levy has explored issues regarding American drug use, gender roles, lesbian history and culture, and the popularity of U.S. pop culture staples such as Sex and the City. Some of these articles allude to Levy's personal thoughts on the status of modern feminism.

“I always wanted to be a writer, for as long as I can remember. I’ve kept a journal since at least the third grade—writing has always been my method for making sense of the world and my experience. Also, my dad is a writer so it seemed sort of natural.”

—Levy, on how she decided to become a writer[8]

Levy criticized the pornographic video series Girls Gone Wild after she followed its camera crew for three days, interviewed both the makers of the series and the women who appeared on the videos, and commented on the series' concept and the debauchery she was witnessing. Many of the young women Levy spoke with believed that bawdy and liberated were synonymous.

Levy's experiences amid Girls Gone Wild appear again in Female Chauvinist Pigs, in which she attempts to explain "why young women today are embracing raunchy aspects of our culture that would likely have caused their feminist foremothers to vomit." In today's culture, Levy writes, the idea of a woman participating in a wet T-shirt contest or being comfortable watching explicit pornography has become a symbol of strength; she says that she was surprised at how many people, both men and women, working for programs such as Girls Gone Wild told her that this new "raunch" culture marked not the downfall of feminism but its triumph, but Levy was unconvinced.

Levy's work is anthologized in The Best American Essays of 2008, New York Stories, and 30 Ways of Looking at Hillary.

In 2013 The New Yorker published her essay, "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" about the loss of her newly-born son at 19 weeks while traveling alone in Mongolia.[9] In March 2017, Random House published Levy's book, The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir, about her miscarriage, an affair, her spouse's alcoholism, and their eventual divorce.



Essays and reporting[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ariel Levy Facebook profile. Accessed Sept. 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Levy bio, New Yorker website. Accessed Sept. 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Safire, William (October 2, 2005). "Language: 'Raunch' and the mysteries of back-formation". The New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Forty Under 40: Media". The Advocate. May 5, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ The Jewish Daily Forward: "Beyond Grief, Ariel Levy Faces The Future" by Talya Zax April 5, 2017|“There’s two identity markers I’m sure of, and one is, I’m Jewish. And the other is, I’m a writer,” Levy told me. “There’s just no arguing with either thing. I’m just Jewish.”
  6. ^ Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs, p. 76.
  7. ^ Levy, Ariel. "About". Ariel Levy. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Levy, Ariel (2013-11-18). "Thanksgiving in Mongolia". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  10. ^ Online version is titled "Diana Nyad breaks the waves".
  11. ^ Online version is titled "Catherine Opie, all-American subversive".
  12. ^ Online version is titled "Elizabeth Strout's long homecoming".

External links[edit]