Hiltonism, hedonism and the self

Ethics and Education 3 (1):3-14 (2008)
In her 2006 bestseller about the rise of 'raunch culture' and of such self-ascribed 'Female Chauvinist Pigs' as the tawdry socialite Paris Hilton, Ariel Levy describes these phenomena as being indicative of a drastic cultural shift. Serious concerns have been raised, most recently by the American Psychological Association, about the effects of this culture on young girls. Recent Web sources have coined a term for the self-concept embodied and projected by Paris Hilton and her admirers: 'Hiltonism'. In this paper, I examine this type of self-concept. I begin by exploring raunch culture and Hiltonism in some detail and by delineating three main principles of Hiltonism. Two sections follow in which I scrutinise two putative hypotheses on the provenance of the Hiltonistic self-concept: the postmodern and the hedonistic hypotheses. I conclude that only the hedonistic hypothesis holds water. I close by extracting some of the moral and educational implications of Hiltonism as a modern form of hedonism
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