One movie can say a lot when it comes to sexuality and since this one was a teen flick, what it’s telling me worries me.
The Movie Itself
I was watching a movie the other day, perhaps you know it – Easy A. It’s an interesting study in sex education, sexuality, and rape culture. Lately, because I guess this is something I feel driven to share when I watch a movie like this, I see these things and evaluate what the media is telling us about these topics. What I see in this movie is not very great – hint: there are spoilers so if you haven’t seen it, consider yourselves warned.
Walk of Shame
1 – Why is it the guy gets a walk of congratulations while the lady gets a walk of shame and taunted behind her back?
In the movie, the main character Olive pretends to lose her virginity at a party with a gay friend. The idea is if they do a good job at this, then the gay friend will be left alone and no longer bothered by other guys about his sexual preference.
When he walks out of the room, he is instantly welcomed into the “boys club” and doesn’t have another issue concerning his sexuality (except possibly coming to grips with being happy with himself). BUT, when she walks out of the room, the ladies glare at her and the guys make crude gestures behind her back hoping she doesn’t look. The infamous Walk of Shame.
The media tells us if you’re male and you have sex, you’re a stud. If you’re a female and you have sex outside of marriage, you’re a slut. Hmmmmm…so if the guys are supposed to be having sex and the ladies aren’t, who are the guys supposed to be having sex with? No woman of any age making her own choices about her own body should be shunned and shamed for behaving like her male counterparts.
Ask yourselves why guys and gals – do you shame others for their choice in behavior? Why? What baggage do you have with sexuality and sex causing this reaction?
Being Gay Can’t be “Fixed”
2 – Why is the gay guy always being attacked?
I know the easy answer to this is homophobia but a phobia implies these guys feel threatened somehow. Threatened is the term was chosen carefully. When we, as humans, view something as a threat, our fight or flight reflexes kick in and while those reflexes manifest themselves differently from person to person, it’s the reaction these young men are having toward the gay young man. Perhaps, they don’t understand him. Maybe they think sexual orientation is a choice but don’t see the fallacy in that logic.
The general media still has those in the LGBTQ+ community on the outskirts of society. Those who are to be cast out and shunned for what most Abrahamic-based faiths see as a choice or disease. You can’t fix a gay person because there is nothing wrong with them. There is nothing to fix.
Sexual preference just like gender and sexuality is all fluid. Can someone who thinks they are gay suddenly find themselves attracted to the opposite sex – yes. Can the opposite happen – it happens all the time. My parents have a gay couple as neighbors who are both divorced from their opposite sex wives and have children. Fluidity is one of the few constants when it comes to sexuality.
Ask yourself why you feel threatened by things you perceive as choices of others? Do you shame others who are different from you and what baggage brings you to the place where you feel high enough, better than, or superior to others in order to shame them?
Those Who Don’t Conform Must Go
3 – The school mounts a campaign to shun Olive right out of school. Olive decides to make a little money pretending to do sexual acts with other guys in school. They never actually do anything but they start rumors to say they do. In the beginning, she enjoys getting noticed even if it’s for the wrong reasons, which proves the theory that even bad attention registers as attention, especially with teens.
So, even when she tries to come clean to the lady who initially started the rumors and also to her best friend, no one believes her. To put a cherry on top (pardon the pun), they mount a campaign to get her kicked out of school, complete with rally and placards. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t it take two to tango? Why aren’t they trying to get the young men kicked out too?
It’s an interesting theory of thought that the female is responsible for the sin while the male shouldn’t be able to control himself. If it happens, she obviously allowed it to happen while the male was just following his most basic of instincts that he has no control over. Can I call BS?
Ask yourself what baggage forces you to hold the female accountable but not the male? What is it about the female doing it that makes it any worse than the male doing it? Do you feel compelled to shame a girl who is more open with their sexuality and why? Remember, all those young lads need to be having sex with somebody…
Never Feel Empowered or Never Attempt to Control your Narrative
4 – At first, Olive decides to embrace her new role, in part because she knows she’s not actually doing anything. Partly to spite the religious zealots on campus and I am certain a portion of her was claiming her own female power and taking it in her hands to control the story to some degree. Somehow, her being independent intelligent female backfires and makes everything worse. Now she’s ostracized by her entire community AND they want to push her out of the community.
It all started with one guy and he offered to pay her to fake something with him in order for him to get girls because he was a bit overweight and probably had some interests some ladies do not understand, as ALL guys do. FYI – The opposite is also true. Once he gets her help, he gets dates and possibly more but she only gets shunned and shamed. Why doesn’t he get shunned and shamed for getting his street cred taking advantage of the “school slut?”
It ends or is coming to a close when someone who isn’t in on the way things actually works, tries to force himself on her because he wants sex. He “pays” her and once he’s paid her (because she paid for dinner), he expects she will put out. Are there any red alarm bells going off in your head because there are in mine. Even after she says “No! That’s not how this works.” The young man still attempts to force himself on her instead of listening to her. Seriously media – just because he buys you dinner doesn’t mean you owe him anything, not even a walk to your door. My advice – Always go dutch until you’re married but then again, why does a woman have to change her behavior to make up for a man’s reluctance to control or temper his own behavior?
This results in her breaking down because she hates this. For hell sake, she almost got sexually assaulted. She wanted to help young men be more accepted and not shunned by the female community for being different themselves but she finds herself taking the backlash while the guys get to date away with their new persona intact. Somehow they have taken her sexual empowerment and made it a shameful act and, without actually knowing the facts, are judging her based on what other people say.
Ask yourself why you feel compelled to spread information you can’t confirm to be true? Do you feel a surge of power from it? Is this argument one-sided for you? What is it about the idea of a lady being sexually free to do as men can do that makes it feel so threatening? What shame is there in embracing our human basic quality of sexuality? Women are sexual creatures just as men are.
The Truth is Irrelevant
5 – In the end, Olive does take her power back through a live webcast of the actual events surrounding her drop into her infamous persona, which is not based in fact and thus not real. After dropping this load of confessions on anyone who will watch, the young men at the end are angry because she didn’t take her clothes off. She never said she would do such a thing. They just assumed she would because of her reputation. None of them feel sorry for that they’ve done or put her through. What the hell media?!!
So, if you’re proven wrong about a lady and her reputation which she shouldn’t have because no one can see the light, there are no consequences or need to rectify the situation because, in the end, a young man isn’t giving her what she wants. I have to wonder at this point what the media wants us to think about ourselves as women. It appears they want us to worth a certain amount of money or time, like back in the days of kings who married us off for treaties and property, none of the things we could do for ourselves.
Media Literacy – Why Don’t WE Ask Ourselves More Questions?
Maybe we should ask ourselves why we put a price on the head of a woman, consciously or subconsciously? Perhaps we need to evaluate the baggage as a society before the conversation can change. So, this is me, trying to evaluate the baggage. Now, if the answer to most of these questions is this is your religion and that’s how your religion says it works, what messages are you propagating to your grandmother, mothers, sisters, nieces, daughters and on the flip side, your grandfather, father, brothers, nephews and sons because the message runs both ways? If we don’t address both sides of the issue, we miss the issue entirely.