Friday, March 9, 2012

Sluts and the Tree of Life

I can't decide whether Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn, is just another artsy wankfest or one of the most deeply moving films I've ever started to watch. I say started because the boyfriend was on the side of wankfest and could no longer tolerate watching it after the first half hour. I was still undecided and probably would have sat through the whole two hours and twenty minutes of the movie to find out. 

I was expecting to see a film about growing up in the fifties, with Brad Pitt as an overbearing, authoritarian father, and Sean Penn as the adult version of a son who still blames his dad for all his problems. However, we immediately find out that the family in question has lost a son at war (it looked like that event was set in the sixties, so I'm guessing Vietnam) at the tender age of 19. 

Then, the movie turns into a PBS special on how the earth and the first forms of life were created, then to dinosaurs, with a momma dinosaur looking for her son. Translation: the mother is forever looking for her lost (dead) son, even from the beginning of time. Deep.

Up to this point, the film was mostly filled with voice-overs of poetic lamenting. This was about where the boyfriend gave up. I have no idea what happened next, or if the movie shifted to actual dialogue and plot but I'm intrigued. I may have to go back to it. It's haunting me. I need to know whether there was a point to all that existential navel-gazing. 

Speaking of existential navel-gazing, what does it mean when a fat, conservative pig someone calls a woman a slut for requesting that birth control be part of her health plan? You may have heard that's exactly what Rush Limbaugh recently did on his radio show. 

Just when you think chicks are getting a break, making progress, someone says something so utterly backwards, it's wholeheartedly discouraging. Are women only supposed to have sex to make babies? If a woman uses contraception, implying she's just having sex for the "fun" of it, does that make her a slut?

What I find most offensive about people who utter such ignorant statements is that their own morals  are far from perfect, and they're usually the ones who are the most perverted and twisted behind closed doors, or struggling with their own sexuality. I mean, Rush has had four wives. I'm not judging, but if you want to throw stones, you better make sure your own house is in order. Or better yet, don't throw any at all.

It's sad to think this level of misogyny still permeates our culture. A statement like Rush's could be considered equivalent to making a woman wear a veil to "cover herself up". How dare we tempt men with our evil, seducing ways! How dare we have sex for the simple pleasure of it! How dare we demand the taxpayer cover the cost of our whoring!

When will this double-standard finally be abolished? The more women a guy sleeps with, the more he's admired. The more men a woman sleeps with, the more she's reviled. Are men that afraid of women who claim their sexuality and express it freely? It's not like we want to take over the world, we just want to get laid.

Besides, the ladies who do want to take over the world are considered "bitches", as opposed to men who are considered "ambitious". Frankly, all we really want is equality, to be treated with the same respect and dignity as men. 

I certainly don't advocate a "women take all" kind of philosophy in revenge of past and present oppression. Let's just share the pie and all try to get along. That way, everyone wins. Yin and yang, people. You need both, in equal measure.

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