For today's post, I'm just going to give you a little treat...a little treat I like to call Colonel Angus. If you've seen this before, please enjoy again. If you've never seen this, then you should certainly watch. It's written by Tina Fey, so how could you go wrong?
Clerks in the theaters thanks to her awesome mom and super cool uncle in Chicago. I'm just saying I have a special place in my heart. These movies were an insight into a kind of living different than this young teen stared at every day. These movies arrived to me in the impressionable and exciting teenage years and opened my eyes in ways eyes can only be opened at that time in one's life.
Now that you know my background on the subject, Charlie and I decided to re-watch Chasing Amy a couple days ago. If you are not familiar, Chasing Amy (1997) is the 3rd Kevin Smith movie after Clerks and Mallrats. Mr. Smith is one of the crop of indie directors that came up in the 90's. Chasing Amy follows Holden (Ben Affleck), a comic book author, who meets Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), another comic book author. They become friends, and Holden begins to fall in love with her, but the problem is, Alyssa is gay. (On a side note, his comic book partner is gay too - although closeted and kinda in love with Holden - which adds some extra jealousy and drama into the situation). He eventually admits his love to Alyssa, and they end up dating. It's her first sexual relationship with a man...or so he thinks..dun dun duuun. She was actually quite experimental in high school/college which included engaging in a 3-way with 2 dudes. He finds out and freaks the hell out, then angst ensues.
Charlie and I both had very different reads on this when we were teenagers vs. now. The angst over her sexual past is the main kernel of this movie, but it just seems so silly and overblown. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching it again, but I can't say I think this is a smart, progressive movie when it comes to relationships.
Let's get down to business though. What is my SSL review? What was said or shown about female sexual release? Well, female sexual release (or lack there of) was never depicted or specifically discussed, but there was some discussions of note. As is form with a Kevin Smith movie, there are quirky dialogues about sex. The fact that Alyssa was a lesbian was a center of many of them, and I have to say that I appreciated her unwavering stance throughout that fu**ing or sex cannot be so narrowly defined as a penis inside a vagina. For true sister. For true. My hope one day is that when we say "sex" we could mean a number of activities centered around genital pleasure. As I've long said, defining "sex" as the ol' in and out does nothing to help (and a lot to inhibit) ladies' understanding of or attainment of sexual pleasure with a partner.
I also liked a conversation between Alyssa and the closeted gay friend. He was telling her why he won't go down on ladies. At first, you think, this guy must be an asshole - refusal to go down should be a capitol offense, I say!! However, he makes a fantastic point that women he's going down on don't help him out at all. There's no feedback or directions. He's just supposed to figure it out with no help, and he believes that's bullshit. Alyssa agrees, saying that she used to be like that - all inhibited and shy, but then in college she started directing like one of those guys with light sticks directing airplanes into the runway. I have to say, this brings up excellent points. Dudes out there are given crappy poke-her-and-she'll-cum advice through all the tv and movies and porn. I mean take porn. Porn cunnilingus is quick, for show, and probably not going to help in the real world like watching porn fellatio would. I mean, frankly women in porn get men to orgasm through oral sex, but men in porn do not get ladies to orgasm through oral sex (fake orgasms don't count). That's just true. So, dudes are already starting from a disadvantage.
Then on top of that, it's not easy to verbally speak up about specific desires during a sexual encounter. Any person would have a bit of apprehension or embarrassment about it, thinking they're killing the mood and all, but I think that pressure to shut up and enjoy whatever is dished out is heavier on ladies. We ladies are watching the same porn and hearing the same bad advice, so how sure are we really, when we're in the moment, that what he's doing is not the "right" way to do it? Maybe, we too often think, we're just broken, or not as sexual, or something. We're confused, embarrassed, and if he's doing it badly, we're probably not enjoying much pleasure. As bad as it is for us, it's also a pretty sucky, frustrating, confusing experience for him too. So, I guess that little Chasing Amy conversation should just remind us all that a sexual interaction will be better for everyone if we communicate directly, and everyone knows where they stand and what is expected of them. If that kills the mood, then one or both of you are boring and/or an asshole.
Okay, here's the other thing that needs to be discussed. Alyssa told Holden she wants him to ask anything he want to about the whole lesbian thing. They start talking about the lack of intercourse in lesbian relationships, and she brings up fisting. She demonstrates by pushing one of her hands through the hole she's made with her thumb and forefinger of her other hand. He's like, wow. Then she says it's not like a normal thing, just something done on special occasions and stuff. He asks what's normal then, and she says they normally just use tongues. Cool. I get it...cunnilingus. Yes, that seems pretty normal. Then he asks her how a tongue could possibly be big enough, and she responds by sticking out her tongue and showing that it is large (not abnormally large, just a big long tongue), and he shakes his head like he agrees with the largeness of her tongue...and end scene...
A few things. First, once I saw this again, I remembered the fisting discussion, and I can remember that it made me think of fisting as some sort of higher level lesbian activity. I know now that however big the object is, rubbing it against the inner walls of the vagina is not a way to make a woman orgasm. However, I'm unfortunately reminded that insinuations in our media can make an impact. We often get thrown this idea that intercourse (or things that mimic intercourse) are high level orgasmic for women. Ideas like this leak into our heads through odd little, seemingly harmless, things like this scene.
Second, what the hell was meant by the big tongue thing? I feel like the only way to interpret that is to assume that he meant to ask how a tongue could be big enough to compare to a penis or fist when it came to satisfying the vagina hole. Although everywhere else in the movie, Alyssa is always correcting him about his lesbian misconceptions, she didn't seem to have a need to correct his thought process here. She didn't inform him that a big tongue is not any kind of muff diving asset. Frankly, the tongue just needs to exist and to move around the clit / vulva area. There's simply no reason at all to ask how big the tongue is when it comes to pleasure and cunnilingus...that is...unless you wrongly believe that the way to really get a woman going is to stick your tongue in and out of her vaginal hole over and over again to mimic intercourse...in that case something bigger, more like a penis, is thought to be better...but no, that idea would just be silly. Ahh, I wish it were so silly, but it's not. I know this is not an uncommon idea. I knew a man who told me that's how he performed oral sex in high school, by mimicking intercourse with his tongue, and I know he's not the only one. Do you see where these bad insinuations lead us people? Do you see?
Come on Kevin Smith (and any other person who looked at that script), it just hurts me to my very core that no one spoke up about that one. Oral sex is such a beautiful thing, and I think it's a crime, I say a crime, to put wrong ideas into young heads about this kind of thing. Chasing Amy had a small but useful conversation involving speaking up about desire during oral sex, yet it also insinuated that the useful part of cunnilingus is mimicking intercourse with the tongue...and I don't like that idea getting out there, so I'm going to be harsh and give this movie only 1 vulva.
Here's to all the ladies rubbing up against their pillows; grinding hips into old teddy bears; laying on the couch spread eagle with their hands between their legs; riding their palms, face down on their bed; legs crossed in class gently pressing thighs against lips; silver bullet vibrators gliding across their vulvas; handle ends of old electric toothbrushes with just enough vibration pressed against clits; giant, cumbersome back massagers misused in the cover of night; fancy removable shower heads held dangerously close to the nether regions; quick rub offs in bed to help nod off; secret, quiet circles on disappointed clits next to sleeping lovers; joyously lip jigglin' in office bathroom stalls with memories of last night; frantic childhood couch arm humping; bored fingers on swollen clits; pick-me-ups between study sessions; unintentional bike seat friction; slow, sensual vulva massages in front of dirty internet searchings; good vibrations sitting on top of dryers; and all the other dirty, sexy, bored, silly, loving, gentle, secret, uninhibited, prohibited, fantastic ways we get ourselves, by ourselves, off.
Love to ya'll. I'll be sending out one for the boys next Monday, so stay tuned. (Check it HERE.)
|Ana Slays Ya: pivot, blocker, and occasional jammer|
photo credit Michael Guio
1. I personally know Ana Slays Ya. Me, actually knowing the lady, is one of my requirement for being featured in LIKDIT!. Ana Slays Ya is a fellow molecular biologist that I've had the pleasure of working with or around for...well I guess probably almost 10 years now. I remember back in the day when she decided to try out for the Tornado Sirens. It was, it seems, a fantastic decision.
2. I'm a Roller Derby fan. You may have heard about or seen the fakey roller derby of old, but the modern, grassroots roller derby that has popped up and grown rapidly all over this country is far from that. The women of roller derby are athletic and skilled, with outrageous derby pseudo-names who work their asses off after work to train and travel and bring joy to fans everywhere.
Personally, I was hooked the moment I saw my first match. It is fun, fast-paced, athletic, and all with a irreverent, wild kind of flair. It's not slow like golf or baseball, and it's not 1000 hours long like football, but it is aggressive, full contact, full speed, skilled sport. It's just plain good to watch. It takes a minute to get a handle on the rules, but they aren't crazy complicated, and when you start to see the strategy and plays, then you'll really get into it.
I was lucky enough to see both the Naptown Roller Girls league (started in 2006) and Ana Slays Ya taking some of their first steps in the world of roller derby, and like I said, I loved it back then.. What is really cool though, is how much they have grown and advanced in the past 6 years. The team became a member of the National Flat Track Derby Association, the governing body of the sport, and frankly, they've just gotten really good. I didn't know when I first saw them how much they could advance in skill, strategy, power, agility, and speed, but in their first few years, I watched them growing better by leaps and bounds. I have to admit that I haven't been able to get to many bouts the last 2 years, but I hear their growth has not slowed. I almost can't imagine how awesome they would be if I went to the bout this Saturday (of course I can't, though, because I have prior commitments - which seems to always be the case lately). I mean, now they even have a competing junior varsity team (The Warning Belles) and a newbie team (The Third Alarm) where they can pull seasoned players from - which brings me to the 3rd point.
|Photo by Marc Lebryk|
I hear that when roller derby teams from other cities play here, they are often amazed at our crowds; which I think is a a shame, because we play some pretty good teams, and they should have cities that are behind their bad asses. If you are not from Indy, then find your local derby team and go. There is probably one near you, and I promise, it's worth getting into. If you are from Indy, go to their bout Saturday...or the one in April...or at least tell some friends about them. I think the Tornado Sirens are a Naptown Treasure - and we should treat them as such. So here's to Ana Slays Ya and her team having a great bout, a great crowd, and a win this Saturday!
Pleasantville DVD while walking through Best Buy a couple weeks ago, and I suddenly remembered that this movie had some solidly reviewable insinuations about female sexual functioning. "I have to re-watch this and blog!!!" I said. Then, true to my own inner thoughts, I did just that.
As always, let's get my overall review out of the way. I like Reese Witherspoon. She (and of course Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch) are actors that I kinda trust. If she (or, again, Marky Mark) is in a movie, I feel like it'll probably be at least alright. She's in movies that should be absolutely crap, but they just aren't - like Legally Blonde. I think she picks well, and I think she has an engaging personality onscreen. That's my opinion, but if you've read my blog before, you know I believe everyone has a pure and righteous right to irrationally love or hate any actor, so don't get over excited if that's not your opinion. Anyway...the movie is sweet and fun. It's a feel-good movie, the kind I like to catch on TV on a Saturday afternoon, but it's a smarter one. I recommend checking this one out if you have not yet. As for the SSL review - I'm happy to say that I'm quite positive about that too.
An important thing to know about this movie is that it is PG-13. A lot of movies I review are R, simply because the nature of the SSL review. It has to include some depiction or discussion of female sexual release, and that's gonna likely make it an R, an NC-17, and only occasionally a PG-13. The thing about a PG-13 movie, though, is that it gets much more viewership and a much younger audience. It can reach people who don't generally like watching movies with sexual content or reach young people who are just beginning to care about their own sexuality. In short, it's messages about how and when females physically reach orgasm can have a higher impact - which in this movie's case, I'm mostly happy about.
There are 2 main scenes of note. The first is a scene where Jennifer (Witherspoon) is getting it on with a boy in a car on Lover's Lane. I'll spare the details about inter-time/inter-television travel, but let me just say that Jennifer is a modern, sexually experienced gal, who has an infinite amount of sexual knowledge compared to the ridiculously naive boy she's with. The camera pans down to the car. We see poodle skirts and saddle shoes tastefully in the air. As this is happening, we hear both Jennifer and her date making uh uh, moany, sex noises. It's not crazy over the top, but it could easily make you feel as if there is an orgasm in progress. However, just as the camera gets to the car, the couple pops up. He's concerned that somethings wrong; that he might be sick or something. Without any real words about it, we in the audience can assume that he doesn't know about erections. Jennifer quickly tells him that it's exactly what should be happening, and they duck back into the car - and the scene ends.
Since we don't know any actual details about what's going on in that car, the default assumption for most audience members is that it's intercourse. My only small problem here is that I feel like the noises during the pan insinuate that it's making her orgasm, and that it's the "continuous all through the sex act" orgasm of porn lore. As always, I'm not arguing that it is impossible for a woman to orgasm during intercourse. I'm simply saying that she can't orgasm during intercourse without some kind of clitoral stimulation - however, she can get it. Unfortunately, orgasmic sex scenes almost never show situations where clitoral stimulation is occurring. Part of my reason for SSL reviewing is to call out depictions of orgasms resulting from acts that are highly unlikely to cause orgasms in actual women (which is unfortunately most that are depicted).
However, with that said, I don't think this scene is actually too offensive to my orgasm sensibilities. Once the teens pop up, we see that they, although noisy, where not on the verge of orgasm, and we really don't know for sure what was going on. A viewer could just as easily assume that they were both just enjoying their time and not relate it to an actual orgasm. If I had made the scene though, I would have toned down the uh-uhs so that there wasn't such a strong a connection between orgasm sounds and intercourse for all the young 13 year old girls (and boys) out there who are curious to see what they should be expecting when they actually have the ol' intercourse one day.
The 2nd scene of note is my fave. Also, just so you're up to speed, Jennifer is a 90's gal in the body of a teen TV character within a show like Leave It To Beaver. The people in this town are naive to to say the least...about things like sex, rain, what exists outside Pleasantville...you get my drift. As people in this town find passion within themselves, whatever kind it may be, they begin to make themselves and the world around them move from black and white to full color. Anyway, Jennifer and her mother are together washing dishes, and her mother asks her what goes on at Lovers Lane, holding hands? Jennifer tells her yes...and also other stuff. Her mom is super curious and earnest and asks her what other stuff.
Jennifer: Well, sex.Yes there are Jennifer, yes there are. The next cut is to Mother turning on the bath. She undresses and looks in the mirror a bit nervous as her husband is getting ready for bed in the other room. When she gets in the bath, we are only allowed a tight shot of her face and upper shoulders. There is absolutely no sense of motion in her shoulders that would indicate her hands are exploring around down in her nether regions. I'm assuming the lack of movement was a bow to the movie raters (seriously, they crack down on female pleasure - watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated). Anyway, we see in her face and her gentle noises that she is obviously moving herself towards orgasm. As this is happening, color is popping up all over her bathroom, and then we cut out to the black and white tree outside her window which suddenly bursts into beautiful vibrant flames - the first fire Pleasantville has ever seen.
Mother: Oh.....What's sex?
Jennifer: Are you sure you want to know this?
Mother: Shakes her head
Jennifer: Ok. Well you see mom, when 2 people really love each other very much.....
She trails off as the camera pans out of the house and then we cut to the two at the kitchen table.
Jennifer: Are you ok?
Mother: Yes, it's just that...your father would never do anything like that.
Jennifer: Ah...Well, you know mom, there are other ways to enjoy yourself...without dad.
Two females talking about masturbation in a positive way and a scene where a woman tastefully masturbates herself to orgasm in a PG-13 movie? hells yes! A frank discussion about sex and masturbation between mother and daughter (even if it is kinda backward)? You know it!!
On another point, we have no indication how she touched herself during masturbation. It's left up to the imagination - which is fine by me. As long as the scene doesn't indicate that women stick things up their vaginas, imitating intercourse, as a means to masturbate to orgasm, it's cool. If this were a viewers first introduction to a depiction of masturbation (as it very well may be for the young teens that can watch it), it's probably best that there is nothing to indicate what one should look like and how one should touch one's self. Masturbation at its core is simply an exploration of what feels good - that happens to ends up with an orgasm most times. So, I actually like what is unshown in this scene.
Thank you Pleasantville for a vague but positive discussion and depiction of female masturbation. This progressive outlook in a PG-13, mainstream Hollywood movie is a rare diamond in the rough, and I therefore give it 5 out of 5 vulvas!!!
I will leave you with a joke about Leave it to Beaver - since it sort of relates...
Q: What's the dirtiest thing ever heard on Leave it to Beaver?
A: Ward, weren't you a little hard on the Beaver last night?
Big news people! This blog that you are looking at right this very second has a new style. It's really not that exciting, but I thought I should mention it, so you are not confused. It's really just a basic template from Blogger, but I think there are some people who may really like the change.
You see, my friends, I've had some complaints about the previous yellow background. It was hard on the ol' eyes, I was told. Honestly, we never realized people were having a problem. It never bothered us at all. It reminds me of a time when the fabulous Bitch Magazine started using 1-color print for their magazine and after one of the issues (I can't remember which color it was - I think pink) people started freaking out and writing letters because they were infuriated by how hard it was to read. I remember thinking that I didn't have any problems with it, but could obviously see that it wasn't just an isolated few people who did. So...I figure if I heard a couple complaints, there are probably a lot more out there that I didn't hear. If you know anyone who stopped reading this blog because it hurt their eyes, let 'em know they can get back to it!
Oh and Happy St. Patty's Day! I will be out and about in Indy the next couple of days with my dear sweet family who believe we fell straight off the boat from Ireland. We did not, but we do know how to make an excuse for celebrating with friends and family. I'll get back to my regular blogging on Monday.
My Romantic Love Wars: A Sexual Memoir, and I suddenly felt the urge to start a sexual Consciousness Raising group. You know...a good old fashioned CR group like what the ladies of the 2nd Wave feminist movement used to do. I could get several ladies together, have some eat and some drink, and share our sexual histories; our frustrations, our triumphs, our confusion.
The ladies in the 70's would use CR groups to learn about the "female experience," and by "female experience" I mean something larger than just a particular female's experience. I'm talking about experiences that exist in varying degrees for all females and exist specifically because of the fact that they are females. By talking about personal experiences and feelings, a group of women could become more conscious of the larger social structure in which they were living. They could begin to see where their personal experiences intersected and became more than just personal experiences. They were discovering where the personal did in fact become political. The female voice had been left out of so much at that time - science, history, literature, health care, politics, that both men and women had only really been able to see much of the world through a male perspective, so it was a kind of radical, grass-roots way to help women learn about how their perspective might enhance and change our understanding of these things; science, health care, history, and politics, etc.
Sexuality was also a part of CR groups, but to be frank, there was a strong rift in the feminist community during the 70's and 80's regarding porn, and women never really came together to put a lasting and useful female perspective into our sexual culture. I would argue the only real forward movement in our sex culture from this time was giving women more freedom to move within the male dominated sexual culture that already existed.
So, back to my point...I'm reading about Betty Dodson's experiences and her CR groups about female sexuality, and I'm realizing that if I created one today (almost 40 years later), we'd be in largely the same place; talking about basically the same problems and being equally as ignorant about the female perspective and other women's sexual realities. It makes me sad that we have gained so little over the past 40 years in this regard, and that's why I felt like a CR group on this subject could be so useful.
On a side note...I wrote this blog a couple days ago, and since then have had a chance to actually have a blunt discussion about sexual experiences with a group of women. Few of the women knew each other before that night, yet it was a really insightful conversation. I think women really hunger for more openness with other women about these types of things. It's clear that we have all, at different times, had to muddle through, taking risks, and making our own rules to get to places where we feel comfortable. We've had to do this without the kinds of clues in our media, culture, and education that help males understand their sexual bodies and how they fit into partner sex. No woman I know has had an easy time with this, and some have had a downright miserable time. I'm all for CR groups but in the meantime, I say let's start opening up more with our friends. Leave out the bravado and competitiveness. Add in more of the inadequacies and questions. Just tell each other about your experiences and how you feel about them - good, bad, and ugly.. Start slow if you need to, but if we all start to be more real with each other about this, then maybe we'll all start feeling less like we're the only ones with these "problems" and more like we want to change the society that led us to believe they were problems in the first place.
I will make no apologies for the fact that I like porn. I will however point out that I also believe 99% of porn is focused on, no obsessively loyal to, male fantasies, male orgasms, and male desire - so much so that female orgasm, fantasy and desire, is almost non-existent. The female orgasms are almost always absolutely fake and any female fantasies that appear, only do so because they are also male fantasies.
My point is, I see nothin' wrong with a little bump and grind on screen, but I see a lot wrong with the kind of bump and grind that dominates porn. I'm not the only one, by far, and there are some people out there who really work hard to seek out and gift to the world a subset of porn that hetero women would like. Ms. Naughty is one of these fantastic individuals. I just recently became really aware of her, and I knew she was my kind of people when I read her article about how much she hates the moneyshot in porn. Let the truth free my sister! Anyway, I do too, but why tell you about it when she does such a good job in this short article that I have linked here? http://www.msnaughty.com/moneyshot.htm Check it out.
Each LIKDIT! post will be exactly as you might expect - about some woman or women I know that do or create something I think is cool, a bit out of the ordinary, and worth mentioning on my blog. Here's the deal though, they will always be women I know personally, not just any ol' gal I read about. I'm not saying they're all going to be my best friends, but we'll be acquaintances at least. It's also not going to be something like, "my friend Leslie makes the most badass mix tapes." She does, but it doesn't fit the criteria. It has to be something that they sort of open up to the pubic, something that is more than a job or business, something more purely creative or philanthropic in nature. I'm not sure how this will evolve, but that's my thoughts at this point. We'll see.
This brings me to Ashley Rose Sullivan, the first LIKDIT! To start with, she make a webcomic called Rabbit and Red. I'm no trained critic, so I'll just say this. It's just so damn sweet and fun. It'll put a flippin' smile on your face every time. I kept seeing them here and there on Facebook as she would post them, and eventually I just went and looked at all of them (she's been posting them since about November), and I feel downright good about that decision.
She also has a blog where she posts all these pics she's made. I really enjoy seeing what she's come up with, and I like her short comments about them. Some of my faves have been Star Trek Gender Bender, The Siblings Tenenbaum and Lonely Monster Outside of all that other stuff, she's a writer too, and she's also the founder and director of the cool and maybe insanely rigorous Somerset Shakespeare Camp in rural southern Kentucky. Honestly, you should really just check her out. Go here: http://www.ashleyrosesullivan.com/AshleyRose_Sullivan/Home.html
Did I mention she made a family portrait that I love of me, Charlie, and our cat Ramona; inspired, I believe, after Charlie and I each posted some creepily serious pics of ourselves posed with our cat.
|The Sibling Tenenbaum|
|Star Trek Gender Bender|
|My Family Portrait (minus the newly acquired Tina the Cat)|
Hi there. I have been going deep into the Dodson and Ross site whilst thinking of questions to ask a one Ms. Betty Dodson for when I interview her for this blog (watch for it people!). Have I said I love Carlin and Betty? I do.
I got that same excitement when I saw the stuff that was going on with the Dodson and Ross website. It is fresh, correct, hilariously blunt, and sincere. Yet it is nothing really new. The info is out there. It has been for 40 years, so why the hell is it still so fresh? Why is the stuff they are saying not just basic common knowledge? It is both frustrating that we still, as a society, don't know this stuff and also exciting that they are out there fighting the good fight. I can only hope that my movie helps them in the struggle!
There are lots of great videos of these 2 that you should watch, but I ran across this one, and it was just fun. Plus I love the term "Running the F*ck." I mean it's poignant, badass, and just good advice. I particularly love that it's coming from a woman in her 8th decade of life.