Lady Bird: The SSL Review

If you haven't checked this movie out, I recommend it. First, it's directed and written by a woman - so that in itself to me is worth supporting, but it also feels like it was directed and written by a woman. I think we need more of that feel in the movie landscape. Second, it's just a solid coming of age movie. To me, it's an incredibly well done movie in this genre. Thirdly, it's SSL approved...which means I think what it puts out into the world regarding lady-gasms, lady-bation, and female sexuality is positive and helping to work towards orgasm equality, but you'll see more about that in the SSL Review.

For those of you new to SSL Reviews: They are a critique of depictions or discussions of female masturbation, female orgasm, or the clit. I only review scenes that include those things - not the movie as a whole (unless I feel like talking about more), and I focus mostly on the realism of the depiction/discussion and also how it fits into a larger cultural discussion of female orgasm and sexuality.

Check all the SSL Review movies HERE and TV SSL Reviews HERE.

Now let's get into it. I'm going to describe all the scenes first and then give you my thoughts on them all together.

Eating hosts and talking water-bation
The first SSL Review eligible scene was with Lady Bird and her BFF Julie. They are seniors at a Catholic high school, and somehow they are in the area where the hosts are stored. They are laying next to each other on their backs with their legs up against the wall, and they're eating hosts. For those not raised Catholic, that's the, ya know, body of christ, and it's pretty sacrilegious. Anyway, it cuts into the following conversation.

Still from Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird:
...in the tub I scoot myself under, just like now, like this, and the the water just...whoop. (she motions the water falling down onto her crotch area)Julie and Lady Bird together: Schwoop! (They are both laughing and moving their hands the same way Lady Bird just did)
Julie: (still laughing) You're soooo gross.
Lady Bird: I think I figured it out when I was like 3 or something.
Julie: I use...(laughing)...I take the showerhead...
Lady Bird: Oh my God...(laughing)Julie: Embarrassing (still laughing) I use that.
Lady Bird: I don't know if mine is the right kind though. Maybe it's different when you actually have a penis in there. Like it's more intense.
Julie: Mine was pretty intense, I think.
They both laugh, and then the scene ends after they get interrupted.

First Time
This scene is not technically SSL Reviewable because it's just about intercourse - not lady-gasm, clits, or masturbation. However, I'm including it because I think the lack of lady-gasms here is part of the big picture in this movie regarding female sexuality. So, here it is.

Lady Bird is making out with this popular dude that's kinda her boyfriend. She's made out with him before. They're in his bedroom, and she says she's ready to have sex. He's super cazj about it. She's on him cowgirl style. He puts on a condom, and she gets on that D. You can see her struggle through it a bit, like she sorta relaxes herself and takes it slow, and then she starts to move her hips so it's going in and out, and it's just a hot second before he kinda takes his hands off her. She kinda stops after a second and asks if he was done, and he says yeah (again super cazj). Then she gets a nose bleed and deals with that. Then she's all lovey talking about how they deflowered each other and he's all like, "nah, I've had sex with like 6 people." She gets pissed because he said he was a virgin. He's all like, don't be mad, and she says, "I just wanted it to be special." and he says, "Why? You're gonna have so much unspecial sex in your life," She comes back at him with, "I was on top. Who the fuck is on top their first time?"

Girl Talk
Later she's talking to Julie about the sex she had, and says the following.

Lady Bird: People make so much noise in the movies when it happens, but it's really not a big thing. You can totally be quiet during it.
Julie: Was it amazing though?
Lady Bird: I wanted it so badly, but then I found that when it happened...I really like dry humping much more.

They both laugh, and begin talking about something else.

Expectations, The Actual, and Dry-Humping-Is-Better: My Thoughts
There are a few things I love about what Lady Bird insinuates about female orgasm and what it puts out in the world about female sexuality. I'll list them for you.

Girls masturbate. I mean girls do masturbate. It happens all the time all over the world, and as a culture, we're getting a touch better at acknowledging, accepting, and normalizing that, but it's still way, way behind how we acknowledge, accept and normalize that for boys. So, every time we get a chance to see girls in pop media that masturbate, and better yet, admit to masturbating with positive/neutral feedback in relation to that admission, we are that much closer to a world where it's almost expected that girls explore their own genitals and their own orgasms the same as it's pretty much expected for boys. And, we want a world like that, because girls who masturbate are girls who have a knowledgeable relationship to their orgasms, and they become women who have a fighting chance of finding ways to incorporate their own desire, fantasy and orgasm into their sexual relationships...and everyone benefits from that on so many levels.

The female reality of sexual expectations breaking apart when we encounter the actual. This is where Lady Bird's sexual story as a whole comes together, and I think it really captures the thing we really just don't want to admit - intercourse is kinda BS for lady-gasms and it's often a let-down. Intercourse is great for guys to get off, but not gals. Males orgasm from things encompassing their penises and moving around. Female have never ever, in all of scientific literature, been shown to have a physically verified orgasm from a something stimulating the inside of the vagina. So, uh, intercourse sucks for female orgasm and is super awesome for male orgasm. Yet, for some godforsaken reason, the whole world insinuates (and sometimes downright tells girls and women) that intercourse is going to be this amazing thing that is special and orgasmic and, I don't know, full of fireworks and rainbows and the universe or something. I mean it can be nice, and can be hot, and can be amazing in a way, and can even be orgasmic if you actually included clitoral glans stimulation during it, but the reality is for females it's not always even a little nice, it can hurt, it is often not hot at all- especially if there's not clit stimulation to keep up the arousal, and most women and men have no idea that orgasms come not from the vaginal canal, but from the clitoral glans...so it's not usually orgasmic either.

Whether we realize it or not, I believe all females who become sexually active with a partner (but especially a male partner) get smacked hard with the realization that their expectations about intercourse do not match reality. I think everyone integrates that new reality into their understanding of themselves and sex and orgasm differently, whether it be to adjust expectations, to assume you are broken or bad at sex, to just force into your brain the idea that whatever is happening during sex must be the amazingness it's supposed to be, or maybe for a few lucky ones to realize you need to get your clit involved to come and to begin demanding it. No matter what, though, I think the clash of reality vs. expectations is inevitable, and I love the Lady Bird does indeed encounter this....and you know what? She decides that dry humping is more enjoyable. Why? Well I imagine because her clit is getting rubbed against during the dry humping and only her vaginal canal was getting love during the intercourse. We need more dry humping (which can be orgasmic for all) in the world and less intercourse (which is mostly only orgasmic for males). Just saying.

The subtle poo-pooing of thinking that there are 2 orgasms and the one with a penis inside you is better somehow. Lady Bird masturbates. Obviously I love that for the reasons above. She orgasms, it's insinuated, but she expresses fear to her friend that it's not the "right kind." It's such utter bullshit that people are brainwashed into thinking there are different types of orgasms for women, and that the one involved with intercourse is the better of them, but the truth is we are brainwashed in that way, and her saying that is all too real of a fear that so many women and girls have. There is no 'vaginal orgasm' or g-spot orgasm or uterine or cervical or inner clitoral leg orgasm. People talk like there is, but there is no actual proof they exist. There is only orgasm, and there is no physical proof that this orgasm can ever occur from stimulating the inside of the vagina. The idea that women can get boned or finger fucked to orgasm is just, well myth, to be quite blunt. Female ejaculation can occur, it seems from a specific stimulation inside the vagina, but that is not an orgasm and it usually involvles liquid coming from the urethra. It is physically something completely different. The truth, that no one wants to believe, is that women orgasm from clitoral glans stimulation the same that men orgasm from penile stimulation.

So, I love that Lady Bird expresses that fear because it's so very real. I love even more, though, that Julie says, "Mine was pretty intense, I think." Because, by god, it probably was. It was an orgasm. It wasn't a lesser, outer orgasm. It was an orgasm, and she trusted her actual experience of it being pretty awesome in the way orgasms are awesome, and didn't worry too much that the whole world is (incredibly inaccurately) telling her she needs something inside her to give her a really intense one. To me that scene was responsible in that it noted the reality of how insecure women feel about their orgasm, but didn't validate it. It countered it a bit with Julie's confident and self-aware response.

The physical description of the masturbation was realistic. Of course not everyone masturbates with running water, but some people do (2% according to the surveys in the 1976 book The Hite Report by Shere Hite), and it's clearly a way that could work. I mean, running water gives pressure and stimulation, and if it's right against the clitoral glans area, of course it could cause enough jostling to stimulate an orgasm. Why not? So, the realism of the physical description/depiction of masturbation to orgasms is realistic enough to get my SSL stamp of approval.

Vulva Rating
This movie had a realistic female perspective of masturbation and orgasm - which at times depicted the sadly inaccurate fears and worries forced upon women and girls. However, it never just let the BS set out there unchecked. Yeah, Lady Bird had ideas and worries about another 'better' orgasm that happened during intercourse, and yeah, she and Julie had deeply held ideas about how amazing intercourse was supposed to be, and those are accurate reflections of how a real woman in her position might be thinking. However, the movie didn't reinforce these by ending with these characters we like still just living contently in those myths, it kind of shattered them or at least poked holes in them before the audience said goodbye. I respect that. It's responsible movie-making if you ask me.

So, because of the reality of female perspective, the normalizing of physically realistic female masturbation and of openly admitting to it, and the lovely depiction of the journey a woman/girl takes from believing myths of sexual intercourse to experiencing the reality of it, gives this movie a progressive and realistic statement about female orgasm, female masturbation, and female sexuality.

I give it 5 out of 5 vulvas.

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