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Article – Sex Vs Hollywood


Posted December 18, 2013 by

Sex Vs Hollywood

“Sometimes he performs cunnilingus. Not often enough, in my opinion.”
–      Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Vaginas! Orgasms! Sexual exploration of the female variety! Who recoiled in horror? Well, sadly, it would appear that most of Hollywood did, in some terrifying throwback to Freud and his belief that women who masturbated were “hysterical.” Evan Rachel Wood recently tweeted up a storm (see here and here) after condemning the decision to censor a scene in her latest film, Charlie Countryman. The scene in question features her character receiving oral sex from a man and if you listen really closely, you can hear the shocked gasps from a nearly entirely male populated Hollywood. Quite rightly, Wood made the point that has regularly been raised before, asking why exactly a woman engaging in sexual pleasure should be edited when brutal sexual assault is often left uncensored. The film industry is responsible for both providing escapism, but more often now, audiences are demanding realism; the gritty truth of human relationships. These relationships cannot be explored truthfully without showing both sides of the coin, without exploring both genders’ involvement in said relationship. Sex scenes very often portray just the male receiving pleasure from a nameless woman, or he is in a dominant position – a close up shot of his coital pleasure – as if the woman is just an object of his desire; her pleasure is an oversight, something of unimportance that is second to the enjoyment of her male counterpart.

What I – and many others – fail to understand is why female sexuality is such a controversial topic, when brutality is not. Of course the answer lies within a deep rooted misogyny which is so embedded within the film industry, it is often not even seen anymore. Films are as equally responsible for their portrayal of women as any other outlet, female sexuality in particular is something that should be celebrated, being an education for women that you don’t have to just lie there and take what you’re given. There is a huge rift between being a mindless object of sex and rape and yet it is often a middle area that we are not shown by culture and the media, it is more often than not, one or the other. Female sexuality is not only being ignored by the film industry, but it is portrayed as something shocking or laughable, see film The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. The female sexuality in the film is as a result of the male protagonist, it is controlled by him – one notable moment where a teenage boy controls her vibrating underwear, for example. Women’s voices are not being heard, our desires are not being celebrated – we are made to believe that is wrong or shameful to feel lust or sexual pleasure.

Thankfully, there is some good news in this. There are some films that are breaking the mould, films that not only explore the joy in female sexuality, but all aspects to it, the good and the bad. Films like Nymphomaniac, Blue is the Warmest Color and some sexsics (sex & classics = roll with it) like 9 Songs and The Dreamers are refreshing bursts of honesty amongst the artificial world of female sexuality that Hollywood would have us idolise. This is what we need, we have a right to see something candid from the films we watch and the film industry have a responsibility to us ladies, because let me say as spokesperson for all womankind; we bloody love sex, so why should we be forced to hide it?


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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 19.50.36

Georgie Barron
Freelance Contributor


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