Her - The SSL Review
I saw the movie Her a few days ago, and strangely, I found it was eligible for an SSL review. There were, in fact, 2 depictions of a female orgasm, so here I am to critique those depictions, kind of...
Problem is, well, I don't really know if I have anything particularly insightful to say about them. The circumstances of these 2 ladygasms make it a bit hard (no pun intended). Let me start out by saying that I liked the movie, and I liked the very un-scared and sort of lovely take on the future of technology. If you don't already know, this movie is about a guy, Theodore, in the vaguely near future who falls in love with Samantha, his quite human-like Operating System (OS).
So, Samantha's just a voice. There is no body, but she does "orgasm" during - phone-sex I guess is the best way to describe it - with Theodore. There is also an earlier phone sex session Theodore has (before Samantha, of course), with an actual other person. This woman (SexyKitten voiced by Kristen Wiig), also has an orgasm.
We don't know what SexyKitten is doing to herself to get that 'gasm since we never see her, and their conversation does not really tell us what she is actually physically doing. However, we do know that she tells him to pick a cat up and strangle her with it, and that line of fantasy is what takes her over the edge. To each her own, right? Although, I honestly don't know how to use a cat as a strangling device. Anyway, when she comes, it's frankly just a little too long and a lot too porny. I can't critique this the way I would a normal SSL review. I can't tell you whether her physical stimulation seemed like it would actually elicit that porngasm.
What I can do is ever so gingerly comment on what this SexyKitten orgasm contributed to the larger cultural understanding of female orgasm. And to that I say that SexyKitten's orgasm was so status quo porn, that it probably just more heavily cemented the all to common assumption that women come like women do in porn, and that's certainly not a great thing to insinuate. I know the scene is just there for laughs, weirdness and to show the bad dating possibilities out there for Theodore, so it's not like the movie makers were intending any statement at all about female orgasm. However, I think that depicting female orgasm without putting any thought into what it might insinuate just goes to show that our culture doesn't realize there is a problem with ladygasm depictions, and that means we have a long way to go.
Now, Samantha has no body at all, so she literally is not doing anything to her body when she orgasms, so - can't critique that. There is physical talk though. Her and Theodore are talking about him being inside of her as part of their fantasizing, but then it sort of goes beyond his dick in her vag, because they start talking about being everywhere in a one-with-the-universe sort of way (unfortunately, there was no discussion of clit stimulation at all). Outside of the confusing factor that Samantha is actually a sort of cosmic entity, the cosmic depiction of her orgasm could also be critiqued as the tired, magical, "anything you want it to be" kind of orgasms that are attributed regularly to women. It's one of the many ways that realistic female orgasms are ignored in favor of vague mysticism which helps cover up our cultural ignorance of the the very real and physical qualities of female orgasms. Or don't read that much into it. A viewer might even make the argument that Theodore, a male, hit that cosmic state too. It was an artsier than normal, phone-sex scene.
I would like to point out, though, that her orgasm was still as long and porny as SexyKittens, so I do think that right there further shows that the people making this movie were thinking quite simply about female orgasm in terms of how we normally see them in media. Wait though - factor in that the only thing she knows of being a human (including what an orgasm is) was obviously learned from media she ingested, and you might find the depiction even more confusing to critique. You might say that the porniness of her orgasm comes from the fact that this is all she has learned of it...hmmm, a statement about the fakeness of female orgasms in the media by the makers of Her? Nah, probably not. They just think ladygasms sound like that.
So, like I said, a weird one to SSL review. I'm gonna give it 2 stars. It clearly was not progressive in the depiction of ladygasms department. Plus, its porny style I think would affect cultural understanding of female orgasm negatively if at all, but I did like the movie, and I don't think there was any bad intent, only lack of intent, and that's just status quo.