Posts Tagged With: sex

Blue Valentine

So this post is very late on the band wagon but I finally got around to watching this movie. I wasn’t feeling the story-line too much but honestly, I watched it so I could examine it’s “controversial” scene and understand why exactly the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) wanted to stick it with a NC-17 rating. By the way, this scene is a single scene depicting a woman receiving oral sex. And watch it I did…. and I have to say I’m flabbergasted. There was absolutely nothing “extreme” about it. You don’t see anything of anything. All you really see is a couple enjoying thoroughly enjoying themselves while fully clothed. Now what is so wrong with that?

It’s stuff like this that’s really hypocritical. There’s movies upon movies of men receiving oral sex from women, and they just get an R rating and sometimes even a PG-13, but the few times it’s the other way around, oral sex on women is seen as pornographic in nature. Double standard much?

If you don’t understand why ratings are important, Ryan Gosling explains it perfectly: “A lot of people think, ‘What’s the big deal if it’s NC-17, the kids under 17 can’t see it,’ but that’s not true. What it really means is it can’t play in a major theatre chain and you can’t have ads for the film on television. It stigmatizes the movie in a big way. What we’re really saying is not that our kids can’t see this movie but nobody can see this movie unless you live in a big city and there’s an arthouse theatre.” Anyway, Harvey Weinstein’s fought against the MPAA and was able to reduce the rating to R so all was made well again. Right?

Wrong. Keep your eyes open the next time you watch a flick involving violence. It can be anything – action, horror, thriller, comedy etc and almost always, you will notice that a movie that has gratuitous violence can easily skip past high MPAA ratings but a movie depicting sex get’s slapped with a NC-17 rating. Saw 3D has a woman bisected by a buzzsaw. Blue Valentine has a woman orgasm by oral sex. Which movie do you think teens were allowed to see?

We live in a culture in which violence, and especially violence towards women, is tolerated to the point that it becomes white noise. Meanwhile, sex remains a taboo topic. What it comes down to is this: media’s representation of people enjoying sex is so skewed towards men that it’s immediately considered problematic when women are portrayed as sexual beings. A woman’s naked body gives a film an R-rating, but a woman (even clothed) enjoying sex can land a film in the no man’s land that is NC-17. How messed up is that? It’s high time our media reflects reality, and allows women to be fully-fleshed, sexual beings instead of the sexualized object the MPAA clearly prefers.

“For the last three decades many Americans have puzzled over a system that gives an R to a movie in which a women is carved up by a chainsaw and an NC-17 to one that shows a woman sexually pleasured. From such ratings one might conclude that sexual violence against women is OK for American teenagers to see, but that they must be 18 to see consensual sex. What message does this send to the kids the MPAA presumably means to protect?”

– Carrie Rickey

“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”

-Ryan Gosling on the controversy around the rating of his film ‘Blue Valentine’

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The “Sex Sells” Myth

“I will lose my mind if I hear the “sex sells” fallacy one more time. Sex does not sell. If sex sold, we would see penises where we see boobs. Naked men would be on everything that naked women are on.” – Source

But that’s not the case, is it?

If sex really sold, we would see the same amount of objectification of men and women in every aspect of our lives but that’s not really the case. I’m not denying that the portrayal of men in media isn’t problematic because it certainly is. Body dissatisfaction, depression and eating disorders are on the rise for men, as much as it is for women.  But if you take a close look at how men are being portrayed, they’re mostly in positions that exude power, authority and confidence. In the case of women however, we’re either turned into objects themselves, along with whatever object the ad is selling or we’re depicted in vulnerable, submissive positions. Female objectification and male objectification are very different things, solely because men, in the larger scheme of things, are not so systemically and narrowly reduced to their physical/sexual attributes.

A women’s studies class at the University of Saskatchewan decided to flip the switch and produced a video of images that reverse and play against traditional advertising tropes. But here’s the thing – when you attempt to replace female bodies with male bodies you don’t really objectify men in the same way. This is because our culture’s gaze is so inherently male and so the male body isn’t able to be manipulated, sexualized and victimized in the same way female bodies are. Indeed, the tropes of female body-as-prop are so well-worn, such a part of our cultural landscape, that simply changing up the bodies in the images isn’t enough to actually threaten the male form. In fact,  they’re funny. Because that’s how we culturally interpret a man in a “woman’s role.” It’s comedy.

In reality, the male gaze isn’t purely “male” – it’s something that women have interpolated and now own, too. We are just as critical and questioning of female bodies – if not more! – than men are. And upsetting the female-as-object paradigm in media images is only part of the answer. It’s equally critical that we show female bodies in stronger, more powerful archetypes, too.

And to end this post with a little chuckle, I give you this:

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“I have a daughter who’s 10 and we walked past a billboard the other day advertising a TV programme. There was a row of men in suits and a woman in a thong. My daughter said, “Why is it like that? It’s to sell it, isn’t it?” She knows that already. I said, “Yes, it’s a shame a young woman would want to be portrayed in that way,” and she said, “But it’s her choice, isn’t it? Nobody made her do that.” So how do you explain the Gramscian concept of hegemony to a 10 year old? If the culture is so all pervasive that you can’t think outside of it, how are you making genuine choices?”

– Monica Ali

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Boy or Girl?

Whenever there’s a baby on the way, everyone is always eager to know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl.

“Will you be painting the baby’s room pink or blue?”, “Ooh, if he kicks like that then it must be a boy!”, “Tell us what you’re expecting so we know what presents to buy for your baby shower!

Yes, tell us indeed. So then we can buy gender-specific toys and gender-specific clothes for your baby and watch as they grow up within the confines of their assigned gender and perform gender roles specific to their said gender. How very suffocating.

I like the above image because it doesn’t assume. And you know what’s great about not making assumptions? You don’t misjudge, create illusions or cause harm. And you know what’s great about letting people define their own genders? You foster an environment for people that’s respectful, safe and welcoming. Now why is that such a bad thing?

Don’t know about cisgender? Click here.

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The Nice Guy Syndrome

Last weekend, I had a very bad experience with a guy who had a serious case of “The Nice Guy Syndrome”. To put it simply, The Nice Guy pretends to be your friend so that he can eventually wheedle his way into your pants. Suffice it to say that I have cut all ties with said Nice Guy but I think it’s important that I bring to light this very prominent issue. Most Nice Guys don’t think they’re wrong, and this was true in my case. He didn’t even realize his mistake. Only when I called him up and gave him a tongue lashing did he consider how wrong his actions were and acknowledge that his behavior was extremely disturbing. Unfortunately, I highly suspect his apologies were given only for my benefit. I don’t think he believes he did anything wrong.

Definition: Nice Guy Syndrome is an annoying mental condition in which a heterosexual man concocts overly simplified ideas why woman aren’t flocking to him in droves. He will whine about how women never want to date him because he’s “too nice” and that women only want to be with guys that treat them like shit. In reality, he isn’t very nice. His “nice deeds” (like taking you out, helping you with your daily activities, being a “friend”) are motivated as attempts to passively please women into a relationship/sex. In short, his niceness is self-interested, and it contributes to his sense of entitlement when it comes to dating and sex.

What Nice Guys fail to realize is that girls don’t want to date a jerk, and when they do, it is accidental and not become of some weird desire to be treated like crap (and don’t bring up girls who go back to their abusive partners – abuse is complicated and not related to this). They just want to date guys that are genuinely nice. What women really want in men is a whole other topic which I won’t post about since I’ll digress and plus, this is already circling the interwebs.

So here it is. The raw, real truth. 

Are you listening?

The truth, Mr. Nice Guy is this…

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YOU’RE NOT ACTUALLY NICE.

You’re a prick who could have been rejected for many reasons, but I’m going to say it’s probably because you’re a misogynistic asshole. Maybe if you quit being a jerk, more girls would go for you. And even if they don’t, you still don’t have a reason to call them bitches who don’t know what’s good for them. Instead of looking at why they are the problem, examine yourself and see what it is about you that’s making them run in the opposite direction. Take a freaking hint!

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Also, I’m all for shaming “nice-guys” like this:

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