Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Girl

My first cat's turning 17. That's older than most of my students. Here's a blurry but cool photo of her that I took the other day.

Comic-Con, International

Total dork that I am, I have already purchased passes to Comic-Con in San Diego. There will be a lot of special guests, and in buying the passes early I get to go to the preview night.

I'm hoping to meet some of the creators of my favorite comic books. I know that last year it was a showcase for lots of movie and tv show crap, but mostly I want to meet writers and artists.

My brother, my niece and I are going to rent a house on the beach and stay for a couple of weeks. It should be pretty cool, except that Chloe and Cletus can't bring the little Cletus, because by then Chloe will be almost nine months pregnant with future little Chloe.

At least I know that since the Texas state legislature has interfered in school start dates I won't have to start work until the end of August instead of the beginning.

I have to go run some errands now, because tonight I have an appointment with an XBOX 360 guitar controller and Rock Band. I'm the fill-in bassist for the band, and I'm practicing so I can take over when the regular guy gets carpal tunnel.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sexist Attitudes

So the niece was over the other day, and she picked out some movies to watch. These included Blade Runner and Chasing Amy. We watched Chasing Amy over at Brad and Jenny's house.

Near the end of the movie, the protagonist, Holden finds out that his girlfriend Alyssa has had more sexual experiences than he, and with multiple partners. Male partners. He previously had thought that she was a lesbian with no experience with men, but he didn't flinch at that.

He confronts her at a hockey game, and they have a screaming fight about it. He tells her that he doesn't understand how she could have those kind of sexual experiences as a teenager, and how could she do it, those guys were using her. She screams back at him that, no, she was using them. He admits later on a feeling of inadequacy, that he somehow must have an equal number of sexual exploits and also they must be somehow equivalent in kink as well.

And after that scene I had to do engage in some self reflection. I realized that I've bought into that attitude of misogyny that teenage girls are unable to consent to sexual encounters, that only the boys possess the agency to consent. That only boys really want to engage in sex when they're teenagers. Though I know intellectually that's not true.

I don't think that I blamed boys for any sex acts that I engaged in, I haven't been resenting any of my former partners for "making me" do things with them. I had the ability to consent in my life. But at the moment that Holden tells Alyssa that those boys were using her, I agreed with him. I couldn't see the other side of the dynamic there, that Alyssa wanted or needed to explore her sexuality, and that she hadn't somehow been degraded and used by the experience of having sex with two boys at once.

I've been struggling with myself, trying to figure out not only what I think about myself and sex, but also why I think it. And what influence have movies and popular culture had on these attitudes? Do I think, as many in America seem to think, that women are submissive victims and that men are predatory?

I was watching Law & Order SVU last night. It was the one from this week about a teenage boy who sodomized another boy and raped three little girls. The defense attorney blamed an ever-present media that obsesses over sex and argued an insanity defense. The boy saw sex everywhere and merely wanted to emulate what he saw. Which might have worked as a defense for me, except that seeing sex everywhere doesn't correlate, in my opinion, with wanting to do violence. Sex and rape are two very different things, and to say that exposure to images of sex makes a child want to brutalize and rape other children ignores the difference between the two.

On the show, Detective Stabler speaks to the ADA about the prevalence of sex on TV and the internet, how it's available all the time to anyone who wants to see it. But he doesn't talk about porn movie theaters or the availability of DVD's or HBO and other cable stations. He mentions women. He says that his boy grew up right because he, the detective had protected him. He had protected his son from "girls who wear Hustler t-shirts" to school, Jenna Jameson and the evil Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

So, I'm confused. Which is it? Are girls unable to consent to sex or are they responsible for the corruption of boys? Are Britney and Paris undermining the morals of the nation? What about all the male celebrities who carouse and drive drunk? Are they only not noteworthy because they don't flash pussy? Surely there are some paparazzi out there who've captured some of the men whipping it out.

I'm not sure that this post is cohesive. Maybe it should be split into two different topics, but it was all on my mind. What do you think?