Monday, February 21, 2005

Random Links

I'm getting on a plane to Denver later today, but I've got a couple hours of office time...

So, just a couple of things. For those who haven't seen "Sideways," do. It's a great movie. I tend to bitch about movies that give me two random people who are supposed to be falling in love but don't show me what the hell it is they find attractive or interesting about each other. This one does it right. I was a believer. It's a great "people" movie about what it is that draws friends and lovers together over the long haul. Very well done.

In other news, the fucktards are back. I think they only write up this "women just don't blog" crap because it pisses women off, and gets a lot of comments going as women bitch at dumbasses who argue that women are biologically inclined to argue less. Excuse me a moment while I snicker uncontrollably. It's the same old bullshit. I think it has something to do with the incredibly short attention spans of modern media-saturated adults. Nobody stops to think about anything any more. They just vomit something up, say, "Of course," and move on to the next guy who's murdered his pregnant wife; while forgetting that yes, in fact, the leading cause of death among pregnant women is being killed by their significant other. Every time it happens people keep thinking it's some kind of fluke. Shit, doesn't anybody read anything anymore?

Amanda's got a great post up about teen girl hysteria and boy-bands/boy celebrities, and argues that a lot of this hysteria has to do with the repression of female sexuality. I have to agree with her on that point. It also puts me in mind of that scene in The Handmaid's Tale, when the incredibly repressed women are allowed to tear up an accused "rapist" a couple times a year as a way to vent their incredibly anger at the system. There's also a phenomenon among Zulu women called umhayizo a "bewitchment" exclusive among Zulu girls and young women in which they break into hysterical crying, attack anyone who approaches, and have an irresistable desire to run after and be with the man they're pining over.

There's something to be said for the repression of desire.

And, of course, there's the other point Amanda makes: that the desire for these men is articulated about being "Mrs. Somebody," and reinforcing the get-married culture. However, I think that the reason women give for wanting to be "Mrs. Somebody" may have to do with the fact that it's just not considered proper for women to have conversations about casual sex and desire. Whereas men are encouraged to talk about their attraction to women in casual terms, women get a "gotta marry him," script, even if that may not exactly be what they're looking for. There's more pressure to talk about attraction in terms of long-term viability and not "Really, it's mostly about the sex. I really, really want to drag that guy home."

Marriage - and the way a lot of women and men talk about it - has also always struck me as feeling very much like possession: wanting and desiring an object and finding a way to bind it to you in an effort to pretend that perhaps things won't change, that perhaps you can relax and be comfortable and not worry quite so much that your partner will be banging the hot thing next door. It's a false security, of course, especially now... but it's interesting to listen to people talk about it.

I'm off to lunch...

4 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about repressed desire stuff. When those teen hell cats actaully do get a hold of Mr. Rock Idol, they usually come close to tearing him limb from limb. It's happened too damn often not to notice otherwise. So perhaps the teen pining for Pat Boone was 'repressed', (hey, He still is), but nearly everything from 1955 on up? I'd say not! That's what Rock & Roll was all about!  

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes it goes both ways--although women may feel inhibited from admitting that all they want is sex, men may feel inhibited from admitting that they want anything other than sex.  

Posted by Ismone

Anonymous said...

Kameron, I'm so surprised you liked Sideways...I thought the female characters were so one-dimensional and unrealistic. There was the virgin (virginia madsen) and the whore (sandra oh). And then when Sandra Oh went ballistic and beat up Thomas Hayden Church--ugh! Why is it such a male fantasy to have a violent nymphomaniac? Why can't we see a sexually active and agressive woman on screen who is healthy and well-adjusted and doesn't get punished for her "sins"? Oh it makes me so angry just thinking about it! 

Posted by lo

Anonymous said...

Ismone - totally true.

lo - Ah, man... no, I didn't think the women were shallow stereotypes at all, though, like the male characters, they too began with a template, and became deeper and richer the further I got into the film. I thought Sandra's character was great: I love the beat-the-shit-out-of-him scene. I didn't get that she was a whore; she just really likes sex. Also keep in mind that this guy was feeding her a lot of "I'm going to move out here and change my life and I adore you and your daughter" stuff, and she was building something emotional with him as well as physical. I don't think she got any punishment at all, actually: the only one who got any sort of physical punishment was the jock. And Virginia was the one making the first moves on Myles - he was the one who rebuffed her.

The only stereotype that bugged me was the dumpy-guy-with-beautiful woman one, but I could let that slide because they built the characters well enough that I could understand why they were attracted to each other, no matter what either of them looked like.

I don't think Sandra got punished for sleeping with the jock; she got into trouble because she fed into his line of bullshit, and because he believed his own line of bullshit. I didn't view any of these characters as victims or stereotypes; they all felt very true to me.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley