Contains adult content
Jim’s Dad: I have to admit, you know, I did the fair bit
Masturbating when I was a little younger. I used to call it stroking the salami, yeah, you know, pounding the old pud.
I never did it with baked goods, but you know your uncle Mort, he pets the one-eyed snake 5-6 times a day.
For years the portrayal of the emergence of male sexuality has been seen widely in cinema. From teen horny movies like American Pie to more intellectual movies like Boyhood but it is a rare and far in between appearance of the female sexuality seen. For the most part the female is the conquest or the trophy at the end of the journey. In movies like Superbad the mission is to bone a girl before they graduate and the only growth in sexuality we are even led to care about is that of Evan or Seth played by Michael Cera and Jonah Hill.
Female sexuality has always been a sort of taboo thing in the movies. Even with movies were the main character was a female and the premise was things like love or dating sex was something on the back burner. Also if there is a movie expressing the sexuality of women it is done in the male gaze. Women are either seen as the virgin meant only for men’s desire or the whore meant only for men’s desire. What people are afraid to hear and to know is that women want to fuck just as bad as men or anyone else does. Teen girls have just as much raging hormones wanting to feel everything around them. We are probably thinking about sex just as much as the person next to us regardless of gender.
Blue is the Warmest Color is a great recent example of the journey of sexuality but even this movie gets it wrong. The movie as much as it helps get an insight in Adele’s exploration of her sexuality falls victim to what many movies like this fall for: it ends up being too sexy and seen through the male gaze. It could be the fact that Abdellatif Kechiche, a male, directed it or that there is a way too long sex scene between the two leads.
In comparison to teen horn-dog movies like the aforementioned American Pie there is Wetlands. Wetlands stars Helen Memel, Carla Juri, as an eccentric girl with even more eccentric attitudes towards sexuality and hygiene. She not only is in charge of who and when she has sex but also how. She is not afraid to let the audience know that she is a female with female organs and secretions you might flinch at the thought of. Never does Wetlands feel like it is trying to turn you on or even turn you off. It is genuine with the portrayal of Helen’s sexuality.
Now here comes a little ole movie titled The Diary of a Teenage Girl based on the graphic novel of the same name.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl revolves around Minnie, Bel Powley, and her first encounter of sexual revelation. Minnie is every girl but also a unique lost individual. In The Diary of a Teenage Girl Minnie deals with the first time she has sex, the difference between a sexual relationship and a really relationship, the fluidity of sexuality and the grasp of it all.
The main plot is Minnie, a fifteen year-old girl, loses her virginity to Monroe, played by Alexander Skarsgard, her mom’s, Kristen Wiig, 35-year-old boyfriend. There has been a lot of conversations going on about the relationship between Monroe and Minnie being pedophilic or not. However the movie never shows Minnie as a victim but as a woman in charge and getting what she wants no matter how inappropriate it might be. I am not going to go in much detail on how I feel about this however I am going to write about the character Minnie.
Minnie experiences her first sexual experience when Monroe accidentally lays his hand on her breast while watching a movie one night. She does as most of us did and questions her change as if it is something you will be able to physically see. She does this a lot throughout the film, at one point standing completely naked in front of the mirror staring at her non-virgin body. Right after she has sex with Monroe she asks him to take a picture of her so she can see the transformation now that she has had sex. The first time I had sex I did the exact same thing, I grabbed my phone and snapped a couple of pictures comparing the ones I had just taken the day before to see the huge transformation everyone talked about. I even thought as a I walked around how many people knew now and if I should be proud or ashamed. Minnie is relatable for all of this, she is young and naive like we once all were and there is nothing sexy about that but it is something that must be experienced.
Remember when I said girls want to fuck just as bad as anyone else? Well Minnie feels that way too. After Minnie has sex with Monroe multiple times all she can do is think about fucking. Fucking anyone. Sometimes, maybe not for everyone, once you have sex or do any sexual activity you realize that it feels… well it feels fucking amazing and if you want to do it you should. Minnie is in charge and she finds that out pretty fast. Minnie finds a boy in school who is interested in her and well she is interested in the D. Minnie has already had sex with Monroe at least seven times according to her voiceover and that makes Minnie one pretty experienced fifteen year old girl. However the teen boy pounces on Minnie and starts humping her like some crazed rabbit. Minnie is all of us here. Lying there awkwardly not understanding what is going on because well there is no pleasure in this. Yes the guy thinks he is probably rocking her socks of but mostly he is probably giving her a headache for how much he is actually rocking her. Minnie takes control and gets on top of the poor boy. The shock in the boys face when he sees Minnie actually enjoying herself is a look I have seen from many, yes even now in my 20’s.
One of my favorite things in Diary of a Teenage Girl is that it is so unapologetic in the sense that it is real no matter how uncomfortable it is. Starting from the way Minnie looks. She does not have a huge rack, her body is not a perfect curve and she is not some 5’8 foot goddess. She is real and even more than that she is relatable. Second s that the sex scenes do not feel gratuitous like ones in Blue is the Warmest Color. There is no added sexiness to them, they are messy and awkward. Also Minnie is not this perfect cut of the virgin or the whore she is a mix of both because well in reality that is just being human.
Minnie is no one-dimensional character that we are so used to seeing. She has layers and flaws that we can all see in ourself. She questions her sexuality and needs no explanation why. She makes mistakes but does not feel the need to tie up all her loose ends a neatly refined bow. And lastly Minnie learns to love herself and does not put her worth or defines herself by the men who surround her.