Porn and Disney: providers of a stunted sense of reality since the dawn of time

I am re-posted this image that I swiped off the fabulous Julie Lalonde because, as she would say, it’s funny because it’s true.

While being a hilarious and adorable cartoon, this image also got me thinking, as most things tend to, about gender, sex, and where we all fit in.

Chicken or the egg?

This cartoon begs the question, does art imitate life (in this case, movies)? Or does art manipulate life? I think we can agree the ‘insatiable whore’ and ‘prince charming’ are fabricated ideals, or at the very least incredibly unattainable fantasies. But where do these ideals and fantasies come from? Are they identities that are simply created to further a cheesy plot line, or are they born from actual desires harboured by real people? And if this is what we really want, why do we want it? Because we saw it in a movie, and that seemed to work out nicely? In other words: do we want it because we really want it? Or do we want it because we’re taught to want it? Of course, I’m going with the latter.

The second question I found myself asking is why this cartoon is so clearly gendered. I know a man or two who have an idea of the “perfect woman.” While she isn’t necessarily an “insatiable whore,” she certainly is an unattainable ideal nonetheless. And who ever believed that indulging in a little pornography was a boys-only activity? And believe me, I’m not talking about those bullshit “porn-for-women” books about house husbands. Please.

What’s a girl to do?

Maybe we won’t ever be able to figure out why we are so easily manipulated by cheesy soundtracks and so-bad-it’s-good dialogue, but the best we can do is strive to unlearn the bullshit. My friend recently sent me this clip from an episode of Friends:

As she pointed out, this episode cleverly and humourously dealt with the unrealistic expectations a strict porn-only diet can lead to. I’m not trying to argue that there is anything wrong with porn, because there isn’t, but it just goes to show how important a real and honest sex education is to keep things in perspective.

A sexual appetite should be satisfied with a balanced diet of education and fantasy.

The same rules apply here that apply to consuming anything: if we want to be smart and responsible consumers, we have to question: where does it come from? How do we get it? And, ultimately, are we okay with the answers?

As for the prince charming problem… maybe it’s time we got a real and honest education in relationships too.

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