Tag Archives: virginity

Sexual Agency on Titanic

Titanic PosterI am a failure as a child of the nineties, because until a few days ago, I had never seen James Cameron’s 1997 classic, Titanic. (You know James Cameron, the one who directed Avatar? Anyone who thinks that directionality of recognition is odd is officially old.) I liked the movie quite a lot. There’s something about Cameron’s willingness to push film-making further than it has ever been pushed that allows the 3 hour length, the oh-so-perfect love story that also manages to be a commentary on class and the saccharine lines of adoration that the romantic leads speak to each other to work within this context of overindulgence on every level. Much has been said about almost every aspect of this movie, from the enormity of the budget, to the selection of the cast, and even to various social issues, such as class and wealth. A feminist analysis, however, has been much lacking. The only vaguely related pieces I could find were written by disgruntled Men’s Rights Activists looking for any reason to hate women and finding, of all things, “women and children first” to be the most egregious example of feminism run amok they had ever seen. Now, the movie takes place in 1912, before the modern feminist movement had really taken hold, but I guess those suffragists (no, I don’t call them suffragettes) were just going crazy, demanding to be saved from boats and all.

Anyway, what I see nothing of at all, despite the fact that in one viewing, it smacked me in the face with its obviousness, is a treatment of Rose Dewitt Bukater, later Rose Dawson’s, incredible sexual agency. Like, seriously. Lady has some game.

(Note: there are clips from the movie preceding every sub-point of analysis, and some of them are NSFW/generally graphic. To be perfectly honest, much of the writing is graphic as well. You have been warned)

On to the sex! (That is, a discussion of sexual agency)

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Filler, Filler, Filler

I’ve drafted and scrapped my music analysis a few times so far because the words aren’t coming out right.   Perhaps I should have taken that course in Creative Nonfiction?

Anyway.  Both as filler and because I think it’s really interesting, I am going to quote the anonymous Internet advice columnist Coke Talk on feminism.   I generally agree with at least 80% of her advice.

What do you all think about it?

-Coke Talk is crude, crude, crude and we love her for it

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Why I’m Boycotting Season 3: Confessions of an Ex-Gleek

The following post contains all of my relevant feelings about Glee.  As of September 2011, I do not anticipate blogging about this show again.  Ryan Murphy done me wrong one time too many.   I would never command anyone to stop watching a show, but I don’t think it deserves any more of my energy.   I have been known to get literally upset during in-person Glee arguments before, and it was time for me to call it quits for my own sanity.   I welcome your comments, but you are not going to change my mind. 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, I must get this off my chest:

I am an ex-Gleek.

Given my unabashed love for all things Broadway, you shouldn’t be surprised.  I also love high school dramedies, goofy pop covers, and Darren Criss.   Really, it’s no wonder it took me until “Rumors”  (Season 2 Episode 19, The One Where That Blonde Guy Is Poor) to give up in a huff.  I actually haven’t even seen the return of Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) except for the “Rolling In The Deep” clip.   And I don’t even care.

Those of you who have always been feminists or annoyed by this show are no doubt wondering what took me so long.  Those of you who are obsessed with this show are no doubt wondering why I’m a humorless, self-righteous witch.   That’s fine.   I’m pretty used to straddling that divide.  :-p

The thing is, Glee had so much potential.   The first half of Season One was witty, irreverent, campy, and GOOD.  It was deliberately making fun of not just High School Musical but all the teen dramas that had come before it as well as all those Inspirational Teacher films like Freedom Writers.  (BTW, I hear that’s a decent movie, but the book was boring. Stand and Deliver is 1000 times more interesting.)   It seems pretty clear it was originally intended for adults, not high schoolers.   Back then it didn’t matter that half the cast looked 25 or there were too many people to keep track of.  Glee was like that sarcastic gay dude you skipped classes senior year with, the one who taught you how to smoke cigarettes and hold your liquor and could do a flawless Barbra impersonation at the drop of a hat.*

*My sarcastic gay friend was straightedge, and so was I.

Thing is, Glee got popular and Ryan Murphy got self-involved.   Reportedly that’s happened on his previous shows as well.   It stopped being about clever cruelty and cute covers and started being about BEING GLEE.   The writing got schizophrenic and the guest stars started rolling In.  Also, they started doing After School Specials that were neither clever nor properly moral-ed.  I maintain that the only two guest stars who were worth it are Kristin Chenoweth as April Rhodes and John Stamos as Emma’s Hot Dentist Husband.   And you’ll notice both of them had actual character arcs.   Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t count because she’s awful.  Actually awful.  What’s the point of singing Cee-Lo Green if you’re going to do the radio edit?

Basically, when the show started really sucking I started noticing all of the -isms going on.  They’d always been there under the surface (or maybe openly in the name of satire), but Fox is the channel that has the Simpsons and Family Guy, so for a while I accepted it as part of the package with my primetime Broadway entertainment.

Then, “Blame It On The Alcohol” (Season 2 Episode 14) happened.

It is actually surprising how long it took me to find a full version of this scene:

Fangirl Reponses

Yes, he is.

-In Which I Talk About This At Length, With Video, For The Last Time

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Surviving High School Sexual Politics: Slut-Shaming and Reputation Management in Easy A (2/2)

This post uses Easy A as a jumping off point. The movie is relevant to frame the discussion, but if you haven’t seen the movie, I still encourage you to participate. In addition, I am going to spoil the plot of Juno for you right now: a teenage girl gets pregnant by accident and has the baby. Also, Snape killed Dumbledore.

I am hereby restricting this discussion to American public high schools. If you can make a case that private/charter schools* are different/the same, please do so! But also leave all religious/parochial schools off the table: unless you were raised Catholic, I probably have more friends who went to Catholic school than you do. And Jewish day schools are an entirely separate can of taboo worms.

*If you’re interested in prep school as reflected in pop culture, check out the new music video for T-Swizzle’s single “Story of Us.” It might as well be subtitled “Taylor Swift Goes To Hogwarts”. The production value is amazing and everyone is beautiful, no matter what you think of the song.

If you are interested in adult sexual politics and etiquette, Marie Claire has an interesting article this month asking six five women, “what’s your number?” Because it is actually well edited, thoughtful, and diverse, I am including the link here. Ask me later what I think about their responses, especially the Asian chick’s.

Continue reading

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The Troubling Feminism of Teen Fantasy Films: Exploring the Erotic Empowerment of Easy A (1/2)

Due to (positive) personal life circumstances, I am very behind on my blogging for the week – I still owe Laz and CD comments on both of their eloquent posts, not to mention responding to the Beyoncé comments. I have a lot to say about the feminist issues this movie raises, so I will definitely be returning to this topic at a later date. Please consider this part 1 of at least 2 posts on Easy A.

I was excited about this movie from the minute I first heard about it last year. As a female, heteronormative pop-culture-consumer only three years out of adolescence, how could I not be? Plus, quite separately from the feminist glee, I appreciate a good literary joke, especially about something as boring as The Scarlet Letter. (Note: I do not consider all high school assigned novels boring.)

I am glad to report that Easy A lived up to my moderately high expectations. This movie could not have succeeded without Emma Stone’s charisma and endearingly clumsy grace, and they were very, very lucky to cast her. I hope she has a long, successfully feminist career in movies. Lord knows the industry needs more like her.

I would also like to compare Easy A to Juno, another well-made feminist teenage fantasy. Many reviewers before me have no doubt connected the two, but probably not in the way that I do. The movies are alike in tone – the irreverent, self-aware attitude of the 21st-century teenager – and in female empowerment – exploring and encouraging the sexuality of young women. The moral and social conclusions the feminist viewer can draw from them, however, are very different. More on this will have to go in the next post. Extra credit if you can figure out what conclusions I draw from Juno before I write them.

LINK TO SOURCE: YOUTUBE TRAILER


 

-HERE BE RELATIVE SPOILERS, FOLKS

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