Ariel Levy (born 1974) is an American staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and the author of the books The Rules do Not Apply and Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. 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.
Early life and education
Levy was raised in a Jewish family 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," strongly influenced her views regarding modern sexuality. After graduating from Wesleyan, she was briefly employed by Planned Parenthood, but claims that she was fired because she is "an extremely poor typist." 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.
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. 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.
Levy was the co-writer for Demi Moore's 2019 autobiography, Inside Out.
In April 2020, Levy wrote a controversial article for The New Yorker about Renee Bach, a white American missionary accused of pretending to be a medical professional and performing procedures on Ugandan children. Levy took a sympathetic view towards Bach. The group No White Saviors, whose co-founder, Kelsey Nielsen, was interviewed for the article, demanded a full retraction and apology, claiming Nielsen was misquoted and discredited, and that Levy "underrepresented and manipulated" the experiences of alleged victims and purposely left out evidence against Bach in the article.
Levy is openly bisexual.
Essays, reporting and other contributions
- Levy, Ariel (March 2, 2009). "Lesbian nation : when gay women took to the road". American Chronicles. The New Yorker.
- — (2011). "Female chauvinist pigs". In Rosenblum, Karen E. & Toni-Michelle C. Travis (eds.). The meaning of difference : American constructions of race, sex and gender, social class, sexual orientation, and disability : a text/reader (6th ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: McGraw-Hill.
- — (January 2, 2012). "Drug test". Letter from Bangalore. The New Yorker. Vol. 87 no. 42. pp. 30–36.
- — (March 4, 2013). "Gaonnuri". Goings on About Town. Tables for Two. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 3. p. 10.
- — (March 18, 2013). "Bagman". The Talk of the Town. Dept. of Coveting. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 5. p. 25.
- — (May 6, 2013). "Living-room leopards : a new group of breeders want to undomesticate the cat". Department of Husbandry. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 12. pp. 28–32.
- — (May 13, 2013). "Pearl & Ash". Goings on About Town. Tables for Two. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 13. p. 17.
- — (August 5, 2013). "Trial by Twitter : after high-school football stars were accused of rape, online vigilantes demanded that justice be served. Was it?". A Reporter at Large. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 23. pp. 38–49.
- — (September 30, 2013). "The perfect wife : how Edith Windsor fell in love, got married, and won a landmark case for gay marriage". Profiles. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 30. pp. 54–63.
- — (February 10, 2014). "Breaking the waves : in her sixties, a swimmer revives an old dream". Profiles. The New Yorker. Vol. 89 no. 48. pp. 26–32.
- — (April 14, 2014). "Willow Road". Goings on About Town. Tables for Two. The New Yorker. Vol. 90 no. 8. p. 19.
- — (April 13, 2015). "The price of a life : what's the right way to compensate someone for decades of lost freedom?". Annals of Justice. The New Yorker. Vol. 91 no. 8. pp. 54–63.
- — (March 13, 2017). "Secret selves : Catherine Opie's photographs expose hidden truths about people and places". Profiles. The New Yorker. Vol. 93 no. 4. pp. 58–67.
- — (May 1, 2017). "A long homecoming : the novelist Elizabeth Strout left Maine, but it didn't leave her". Life and Letters. The New Yorker. Vol. 93 no. 11. pp. 22–26.
- — (January 13, 2020). "World without pain : does hurting make us human?". Dept. of Science. The New Yorker. Vol. 95 no. 44. pp. 18–24.
- ^ Levy, Ariel (2017). The Rules Do Not Apply. Little, Brown and Company. p. 152. ISBN 9780349005317. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- ^ Levy bio, Archived December 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine New Yorker website. Accessed Sept. 25, 2013.
- ^ Safire, William (October 2, 2005). "Language: 'Raunch' and the mysteries of back-formation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- ^ "Forty Under 40: Media". The Advocate. May 5, 2009. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- ^ The Jewish Daily Forward: "Beyond Grief, Ariel Levy Faces The Future" by Talya Zax Archived September 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine 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.”
- ^ Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs, p. 76.
- ^ Green, Penelope (March 25, 2017). "Ariel Levy Has Written a Thoroughly Modern Memoir". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- ^ Levy, Ariel. "About". ariellevy.net. Ariel Levy. Archived from the original on February 1, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- ^ Levy, Ariel (November 18, 2013). "Thanksgiving in Mongolia". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- ^ Cusumano, Katherine (March 13, 2017). "Ariel Levy's 'The Rules Do Not Apply' Is This Year's Must-Read Memoir". W Magazine. Archived from the original on November 30, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- ^ Witt, Emily (March 16, 2017). "The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy review – a memoir of wanting too much". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- ^ Handy, Bruce (September 24, 2019). "Demi Moore on Writing Her Highly Personal New Book". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
- ^ https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/13/a-missionary-on-trial
- ^ https://nowhitesaviors.medium.com/protecting-whiteness-by-any-means-an-open-letter-to-ariel-levy-and-the-new-yorker-6b3624e7be27
- ^ Nuthals, Hailey. "Ariel Levy Navigates Life, Love in 'The Rules Do Not Apply' | Washington Square News". Retrieved October 9, 2020.
- ^ Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
- ^ Online version is titled "Diana Nyad breaks the waves".
- ^ Online version is titled "Catherine Opie, all-American subversive".
- ^ Online version is titled "Elizabeth Strout's long homecoming".