Fort Tilden - The SSL Review
Well, let’s just say it’s been a whirlwind of a week, but among it all, I did get to check out some movies at the Indianapolis International Film Fest. As luck would have it, one of them was SSLreview-worthy, which simply means that it discussed or depicted female orgasm or masturbation. The movie was called Fort Tilden directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, and as you might expect, it’s an indie film currently doing its thing through the festival circuit.
The two main characters are post college, Brooklynite women (but like fancy Brooklyn not regular ol’ Brooklyn – There is a name for the neighborhood in the movie. I forget it, but it would probably make sense to you if you were from NYC). Basically they are supposed to be those spoiled, dumb, urban, millennial girl characters. They’re roommates, and the basic plot is that they are trying to get to the beach to meet a couple dudes they’re hoping to mack on, but things keep happening on the way there.
The SSL reviewable comment happened very close to the end. I’ll try to be general as not to spoil anything, so here goes. One of the ladies takes a clearly reluctant dude from his beach towel into cold water and tries to seduce him. She’s being pretty aggressive and really, really giving this seduction the ol’ college try. She’s trying to touch his junk under water, but he’s cold and seriously uncomfortable with her advances, but she continues on and says, “My first orgasm was in the water,” trying to be all sexy baby. He’s all awkward and wanting to get the hell out of dodge and says, “That sounds complicated.” And then she comes back with a seductive-style, “Not really. I’ve just always been able to come so easily.”
That’s the SSL Reviewable line. I’m going to look too much into that one little line, but that’s an SSL review. I breakdown these depictions and discussions and look at what it reflects from our culture and also what it might be adding back into our collective cultural knowledge and attitude. Honestly, I think this is kinda neutral. It's not progressive nor is it regressive or idiotic. It’s mostly just reflective of our culture’s current relationship to women’s orgasmic abilities, which is why I think it’s an interesting one to consider.
The movie previously established that she is a ridiculous, snotty, selfish, manipulative person. That, along with her somewhat desperate attempts to woo this guy, indicate that her admission of orgasm ease was just some bullshit she was saying because she thought it would be sexy.
So, I mean yes, her statement was just a simple line in a movie to help make a character seem like she’s working way too hard to seduce a man. However, if one breaks down the assumptions and collective cultural knowledge that makes that statement do what it was meant to do, that’s where it gets interesting. The following things need to be pretty obvious to an audience member.
1 Women aren't known for orgasming easily. The fact that she even said what she said reminds us that female orgasm is not viewed as reliable. You wouldn't hear that coming seductively out of a man’s mouth. Am I right? Everyone knows men can come easily; no one even has to verbalize that.
Given, however, that women during masturbation actually can orgasm as quickly, easily, and reliably as men can, it’s also another of many indications that our society has the wrong idea about lady-gasms. (Seriously, we as a culture need to get our shit straight about the basics of female orgasm.)
2 Women who do orgasm easily are desirable to men. Our culture does associate an amply orgasmic woman with sexiness; just look at any female in porn, romance novels or any number of fictional women like the over-sexed, orgasm-loudly-and-at-the-drop-of-a-hat Samantha from Sex and the City.
3 If a gal really, really wanted to impress and seduce a guy, it's not unheard of that she would maybe fib a tiny bit about her orgasm prowess or put on a little more of a gasm-show during the nasty.
I don't know. For me, this character's (and thus the writer's) use of orgasm ability as a way to seem sexy, says something about the roles women play in sexual interactions in order to be what they are expected to be, what they would like to be, or what they think a man would most like. And it also points out how socially accepted those points above are. There is a lot to be discussed on this topic, but for now, just roll all this around in your head for a bit. Would a man ever try to impress a woman by saying he can orgasm easily?. Why does it make sense for a woman to try and impress someone this way - particularly when there is no good evidence to assume different women have different natural abilities to orgasm and that women orgasm as easily as men when we masturbate. Just think a touch on that.
As I said above, this movie is more reflective of our culture's current situation with women and our abilities to orgasm. It doesn't add much in a positive or negative way to orgasm knowledge and orgasm equality. I am going to give this a quite neutral review - 3 out of 5 Vulvas