On My Mind...


I don't want to wade deep into sensitive and/or political issues here. However, this has been gnawing at me for a little over a month now, and I felt I should jot it down. In case you are wondering, this has to do with the movie Nymphomaniac.

The movie in questions (which is really two movies, parts 1 and 2, that act as a whole saga) are about a girl and her sexual awakening and quick and sudden fall into needing sex all the time. It got decent reviews when it came out, and I will admit straight off I was curious about how frank the discussion of sex in the movie would be. It is certainly frank -- in that regard it did not disappoint. Certainly that wasn't the reason I stopped the first half (Part I) of the movie and didn't go back.

What caused me to stop the movie was a scene early on (before the movie supposedly gets really dark with its sexual topics). The scene in question is about two girls, our supposed heroine and her friend (neither of whose names I can remember at this point) having a bit of a game, trying to have sex with as many guys as they can on a train before it reaches some stop or another. That's the setup, and the scene resolves itself finally when our little anti-heroine gives a man a blow job on the train and (through the convoluted rules setup in the scene) wins the game (and a baggie of chocolates, for some reason).

Suffice it to say most of the movie, up to this point, was not very good.

Anyway, in this scene, the man she is going to give a blowie to explains that he's headed home to his wife so that the two of them can have sex to try and have a kid (since this is around the time his wife is ovulating). The main character tells him she's going to give him head, to which he tells her "no". Repeatedly, no less. Eventually she forces her hands down his pants and then gives him head, and after a while he stops saying "no" and just goes with it.

That alone was enough to make me a little uncomfortable, but then in a movies titled Nymphomaniac, one that isn't a XXX skin flick that revels in being lurid, you expect there to be some uncomfortable topics covered. Part and parcel with the territory, naturally.

However, what made me mad (and made me shut off the flick) was that afterwards, the two narrating characters (the movie is told in flashbacks so that each sexual conquest can be discussed and the characters can justify her actions or not as the case may be) talk about it. The words they use (and I'm paraphrasing here) are that she "did him a favor by taking the pressure off."

This is what loses me. She raped the dude. With her mouth, sure, but oral is still rape. It's played off like, "well, he's a dude so he really wanted it," and she's a young, flirty girl, so the assumption is she can do no wrong. Maybe because he was an older man he is presumed to have wanted it because he didn't fight her off harder? That's what the movie implies (and, at times, flat out states).

The thing is, though, those are the exact same reasons male rapists give when they force themselves on a woman. For them it's rape, but this movie depicts it as just a fun little incident because the genders were switched.

It strikes an attitude I've heard before about other situations. The assumption is that men can't be raped by women because men are tougher so they can fight them off better. It's an attitude we, as a culture, need to change because it downplays the fact that these situations can happen.

Also, for the record, Nymphomaniac sucked. It was boring and self-indulgent and took too long to get going. Even ignoring this scene it was a very well filmed piece of shit. In short: don't watch it.