Did I watch Bridesmaids twice? Hell yes I did. If you like a good comedy, you should go see it. The added bonus was that it also qualified for an SSL Review because there were depictions of female sexual release...or at least a female trying to sexually release. As we all know the SSL Review is specifically a critique of pop culture that deals in some way with female sexual pleasure.
This movie has 2 instances that I can speak about. Both instances involve the main character, Annie, played by Kristen Wig, in bed with a good looking but asshole-ish dude, Ted - played by Jon Hamm. The movie actually opens up with Ted and Annie in bed doin' the nasty. Everything we see is intercourse based. In one shot, we see her on top and she's moving her out-stretched hands in deliberate circles trying to gently coax him to "sloooow dooown" with a slow soft voice. We then see her on bottom, with her feet up in the air. She's actively moving her lower body, starting from the hips, in circles while he is pounding down at her. She stops it, saying something about them being on different rhythms. In the next scene they are spooning with Ted behind Annie. His mouth is right up against her ear area, and he keeps breathing out in puffs while he's thrusting. Each puff blows Annie's hair into her face and she pushes it back in annoyance. We never see her orgasm, and in fact, by the end, she just seems annoyed. Ted is played as a thoughtless partner, and Annie, by the end of these shots, does not seem like she will be "getting hers." So the question I want to consider with any sex scene is this. What can an audience member reasonably assume about female orgasm after watching this? This is important to consider because people gain so much sexual information from what we infer from sex we see in the media - media like TV, books, and movies (then porn and dirtier movies as we get older). That is why I dissect and critique what we are learning about female orgasms in these SSL reviews. As for this scene, I think it's fair for the audience to assume that orgasm is not easy to come by with an uncooperative partner, and I'm fine with that sort of assumption. It's pretty true.
The other possible assumptions are a little murkier. One thing to consider is that we only saw sexual acts that included intercourse. We saw no manual stimulation from these characters either on each other or on themselves. Earlier in the scene fellatio may have been insinuated from behind a closed door, but there was no sign of cunnilingus for ol' Annie. This focus on intercourse is all too common in Hollywood, and it reinforces the idea that when two people get together for sexy times, the normal and acceptable thing to do is have no-hands-involved intercourse. However, it is distinctly pointed out to the audience through Annie's frustration that this is not great sex and it doesn't result in a female orgasm. The question then becomes why. Why isn't this sex good or orgasmic for Annie?
To me there seems to be 2 reasonable assumptions from what the audience was shown.
Magic people - this is what I'm talking about. I'm talkin' about the magic. Why? Because an awesome lady (Ms. Cristie Baldwin-Cole) posted on Facebook a link to a fun word-cloud blog. The blogger in question did a simple little investigation. She watched commercials, mostly during after school cartoon blocks, and took down words used in these commercials. Then she created Wordle word clouds for commercials aimed at boys and another for commercials aimed at girls. Her main focus on the blog is boys and masculinity, and she was mostly interested in the boys commercials aimed at 6 to 8 year olds. The words from girl commercials were just investigated as a comparison. You can check out the blog here (complete with a preamble added about 2 weeks after the original post to clear some things up). I assume this blog got a lot of traffic because I went back to check it a second time, about 24 hours after I first saw it linked on Facebook, and it looked as though the site had been crashed. It came back up about 2 or 3 days later.
Anyway, here are the word clouds below. Check um.
Okay, so gender etc. blah blah blah. This was no deep scientifically detailed study, so make what conclusions you will from these. I have no interest in discussing the causes and effects of gendered advertising to children right now. I want to talk about a sort of awkward connection this conjured up in my brain between life as advertised to little girls and female orgasm as understood by adult women. I don’t know about you, but finding that “magic” was one of the top 3 used words surprised me. No, it actually didn’t. Thinking about my life as a girl, it makes perfect sense, but strangely, I don’t think I could have predicted that one. But ladies, it feels about right doesn't it? I'll say it again - I'll say it a million trillion times. Magic... Think of it - a sparkly gowned and impeccably groomed Barbie living the extraordinary life, a cute and futuristically dressed little girl on a colorfully maned white stallion prancing along rainbows with her friend -a sprite, a land of charismatic and vibrant talking ponies, or simply the magic that is created from playing with friends. Oh, you don't think that relationships are magical? Well let me tell you about Twilight Sparkle - I learned about her on the My Little Pony website (honestly the 2nd “meet the ponies” I clicked on)
"Dutiful and intelligent, Twilight Sparkle is obsessed with one thing: studying magic! She once studied so hard she made no time for anypony else. That is until her mentor, Princes Celestia, charged her with a special kind of magic--friendship!..."
Yes the magic of friendship. In little girl advertising,