Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Myths of Female Sexuality in Cinema

"I think men believe what they see in the movies - that I am going to throw my head back and have an orgasm in two minutes. I have never done that. It is implausible." - Sharon Stone

Have you noticed the way females are portrayed in sexual relationships in films? Well the usual scenario is a close up of the reclining young female looking estatic as the dominant male leads her to orgasm.  As if…the moment is always spontaneous, without any question of contraception. These unrealistic representations obviously pander to male fantasy, the powerful male capable of inducing orgasm in 30 seconds, to the passive female. If only in real life we could all be so easily satisfied…

These representations are so common that we either sit there and knowingly raise our brows, as we tuck into another box of chocolates, or get angry and switch off. There are never any questions as to whether the female has been fulfilled and she's attained her orgasm, after 30 seconds of cinematic fondling. Funny? I could scream. 

Guys, do not base these fantasy representations on real life. If you want to please your lover then listen to her, tune into her needs instead of a self-indulgent fuck that only leaves YOU satisfied, because that's how they do in the movies…

In cinema there are no bad male lovers, just females who are either frigid, compliant, or whores, if they dare to openly express their sexuality. How deluded are those who control the film industry to think that we females can attain this magical orgasm without us being active in exploring our sexual needs? Without doubt they exist solely for a male audience. But we all know that…

But amongst the banal shit that is spread on our screens, there are a few honest and cynical depictions, albeit, somewhat discouraging. In  Terence Malick's Badlands, Sissy Spacek consummates her relationship with Martin Sheen and asks 'Is that it, then?' Her words echo the sentiments of many girls who realise that real life is not like the movies. There is a lack of personal sexual fulfilment that makes you feel empty because something clearly isn't right. You're NOT the one at fault.

Look at Cybill Shepherd's character in The Last Picture Show. Her disillusionment uncovers the myth. Because she is relying on the 'power' of the male to be satisfied, she will never find satisfaction until she is active and she cannot explore her sexuality through passivity nor can she rely on the active male to be fulfilled. In The Beauty Myth, Naomi Woolf writes of the 'the taboo against representing intercourse as an opportunity for a straight woman actively to pursue, grasp, savour, and consume the male body for her satisfaction, as much as she is pursued, grasped, savoured, and consumed for his?'

Antonia's Line

Of course there are some positive representations, in Boys Don't Cry, Hillary's Swank's love interest played by Chloe Sevigny is depicted as having an orgasm while Swank performs cunnilingus. Unsurprisingly, this beautiful scene caused a stir with the censors and was cut in the editing room. There was no outrage with the graphic rape scene, no surprises again. In Johnny Guitar and The Wicked Lady both characters are displayed as being completely uninhibited by sex. While Marleen Gorris's Antonia's Line portrays all the female characters as sexually unrestrained and active. More power to them, you cry.

However, our pursuit for personal sexual identification is few and far between, but it's wonderful when we do see women portrayed as active and enjoying their sexuality on screen. But for the majority of endless andocentric crap that permeates our screens like a bad smell that refuses to go, we need to critically question these images. Also, we need  to explore our sexuality in a positive and subjective way, not as passive objects for the voyeur, be it on or off screen.


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