Never let it be said that I don’t love a good romance novel or a great, wild, untamed, romantic hero. I do! But this last week my writing sidekicks and I have mounted our metaphorical horses and ridden off into the dark, deep woods of our own personal quests to try to find out what crosses the line between good and evil when it comes to how men and women relate to each other.
Let’s use a few of my favorite movies for examples of good and bad sexual relationships, shall we? Roll film!!
1) LOTR- Fellowship of the Ring – In this movie we see lots of heroic actions from some great actors. The men, elves and drawfs in this film are brave, but flawed, kind, but arrogant and beautiful, but you also got the impression they might have been a bit ripe at the end of the day. And we girls swooned over Aragorn, Legolas, Boromir… but does this mean we are hoping for our man to never bath or clean the Orc guts off his tunic before he gets home? Of course, not! Nor would any one of us suddenly throw up our skirts just because Vigo burst through the door after chasing off those pesky black riders. Sex is not a prize you win, no matter how many trolls you kill.
2) Troy- In this movie, Brad Pitt as Achilles is golden and really kind of pouty. If you remember, everyone has to walk on eggshells around him and he gets his undershorts in a wad at the drop of hat! And yes, the lovely vestal virgin (though she wasn’t one for very long, was she?) ends up in bed with him. But if you watch the movie, he doesn’t throw her in that tent or shove grapes up her nose one time! He is nice to her! And he gains her trust! So, in this movie we see him actually treat her with respect. Sex is not something that should be taken by force.
Okay, now I think several of you out there know what is coming next and you are asking yourselves how I can possibly explain this one…well, put down your Raisinets because here it comes…..
3) Gone with the Wind-the famous, up the red staircase scene! If you are not familiar with this classic bit of movie magic, let’s take a moment to fill you in. Roll film! In this scene, Rhett is downstairs drowning his sorrows in vats of whisky. He is upset because lovely Scarlet has emasculated him in front of others during another attempt to win the love of milk toast Ashley and Rhett has had enough! After a brief discussion where he mentions crushing her skull for fun he whisks her up the staircase to the swell of violins. Camera cuts away and in the next scene we see a delighted Scarlet singing and happy as she bosses and demeans Mammy the next morning. Just what the doctor ordered, right guys? Sure, that’s what she needed! She needed to be shown who was boss in the bedroom! Who was king of the castle! And look, now she is a better person for it! What drivel!
This is not what women want! We want heroes! And heroes are not rapists or wife beaters or thugs. And there is a line. Sometimes movies get it right and sometimes they get it way, way wrong.
To my fellow women- hold out for the hero. Learn to recognize the villains and remember our solidarity in speaking up against misogyny makes us strong!
Now pack up your popcorn and go watch Thelma and Louise!!!