Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sex On the Brain

Angela: I mean, I think about it... all the time, but...
Brian: Wait, you *think* about it all the time?
Angela: Brian! Yes! Shut up... guys don't have a monopoly on thinking about it.
Brian: They don't?
Angela: *No!*

My So-Called Life

"You were not bored. There was plenty of stuff to watch on TV. And Blair Witch Project was about to come on Starz, and you were like, "I haven't seen this in forever" and you wanted to watch it, but then you were like "Oh no, we should just make out instead. La la la."

–Paulie Bleeker, Juno

Maybe it’s all because of Sex and the City.

It used to be that girls didn’t want sex. Oh, they wanted it, but it wasn’t acknowledged, it was never talked about. Girls wanted the boyfriend to cuddle and to pay for their movie tickets, but they didn’t actually want to make out. They didn’t lust after anyone sexually, even if they swooned over Brad Pitt. It was just a crush.

But you can’t say that anymore.

Everywhere I look, it seems, there’s another girl taking charge of her sexuality. She’s the one who initiates it. Knocked Up, Superbad, Juno, Mean Girls–-in all of them the girl is the one who’s going "fuck me hard" and leaving the boy’s head spinning.

The moments above are both comic and real, but what’s notable about them–-with the exception of Knocked Up–-is that they all deal with teenagers. Is it a way to acknowledge the feelings at a time when they are possibly the strongest and most frightening? Or that this attitude has trickled down to teenagers? It’s years after Sex and the City went off the air, after all, and that show was known for both being very appealing to teenage girls (heaven knows I was one of them), and for allegedly changing the way sex, and female attitudes towards it, were portrayed.

All I know is that I love every one of those scenes when the girl goes for it. She’s vulnerable but presses on anyway. She has to. And the boys are always baffled by what’s happened, confused how it all came to be, never knowing how to act but that they want to be the good guy. They’re never prepared. Maybe watching enough of these movies they’ll get the drift and won’t be so taken aback the next time a girl jumps them.

1 comment:

John said...

As a "millenial generation" kind of guy, I think you're definitely onto something in terms of the general trend in women's sexual attitudes. I also think that things have been changing for quite a while, but slowly and gradually.

At the same time, it is becoming almost necessary for women to be the ones who initiate sexual contact, since rape and sexual assault have come so far into the spotlight and are actually taken for the serious crimes they've always been. In (I think it was) 2000, 1 out of every 4 women had been victims of rape or sexual assualt. nowadays fewer guys want to pressure their girls into anything they're not absolutely ready for, for fear of ending up in prison (or beaten to death by Detective Elliot Stabler's Claw Hammer of Doom.)

That aside, things are definitely much more egalitarian today. By and large, it seems perfectly right and normal for a woman to have the same thoughts and desires as a man. It's still a bit of a surprise, though, so you can still expect us to be (very) pleasantly taken aback for the next few years while we free ourselves from the yoke of decades of collective conditioning.