Posts filed under ‘Sex’
Towelhead is the unfortunate title of a 2007 movie written and directed by Alan Ball (Cybill, American Beauty, Six Feet Under). The movie is based on a novel of the same title and concerns a 13 year old girl who is experiencing puberty and her own sexual awakening at roughly the same time. The story has a theme of racism, but it’s not the predominant theme.
Jasira is living with her mother and experiencing ridicule by classmates because she is developing. As such, she has hair at her bikini line. Because her mother has forbidden her from shaving, the kids tease her mercilessly. So, mom’s live in boyfriend volunteers to shave her himself. And this is where the fun begins because Jasira’s mother kicks her out to live with her father.
Is she trying to protect her daughter? You be the judge. She tells her daughter that this is her fault for how she acts around men. And also, of course, because she doesn’t watch how she dresses in her own home.
Jasira’s father isn’t any better. He backhands her on her first morning there for coming to the breakfast table in a pajama top that displays her midriff. He forbids her to wear tampons. He also doesn’t allow shaving or makeup. He finds himself a Greek girlfriend through his work at NASA. He lets the girlfriend put makeup on Jasira but tells her to wash it off before he even backs out of the driveway. This is the first of many nights and weekends that she will spend alone because her father is with his girlfriend.
Jasira begins babysitting for a neighbor boy. They find his father’s stash of pornographic magazines, which he hasn’t taken the trouble to hide very well. The father comes home early one day and catches the two of them going through his porn.
The neighbor promises not to tattle to her father, but then he wants her to sit down next to him, asks her if she likes to look at the magazines, and tells her that she has to “pay a toll” to get past him. She makes it out without paying the toll, but this is inappropriate behavior for any grown man toward a 13 year old girl, let alone a married man with his own family. If you feel sick already, then stop watching here ‘cause it just gets worse.
The neighbor takes her out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant while her father and his family are gone for the weekend. He’s a reservist, and the movie is set in Houston during the Persian Gulf War. He tells her he’s been called up and that he really needs to be with her before he leaves. She has sex with him and is then surprised to see him pulling into his driveway the very next day.
Eventually, Jasira, who also begins a sexual relationship with an African American boy her own age, is befriended by a pregnant neighbor lady. The neighbor lady buys Jasira an age appropriate book about sex and puberty and gives Jasira a key to her home. When Jasira’s father finds one of the creepy pedophile’s porno magazines in her room, he beats her in the car on the drive home, and Jasira runs to the home of the neighbor woman.
When we see Jasira’s father drive her to the hospital to be with the neighbor woman as she delivers her child, we think things just might turn out alright for Jasira. Along the way, she’s learned to stand up for herself, and she turns in her neighbor for statutory rape.
Towelhead is a sad movie. It was probably a sad novel as well. It’s disturbing to watch, and if you have a little crush on Aaron Eckhart you should probably skip it since this movie will definitely kill it for you.
The movie misses the mark with its message, for while it does give Jasira the ability to find her voice to say no, it doesn’t cause her to understand that she’s too young to appropriately deal with the consequences of her sexual actions. She makes her boyfriend wear a condom, but I doubt if a girl who’s so sheltered, with limited friendships, could deal with the inevitable breakup that will happen one day. Jasira isn’t mature enough yet to be having sex, and the pathetic thing is that it’s her own immaturity that also causes her to be unable to recognize this fact about herself.
No, this post is not about fast food burgers. This post has been inspired by recent events in the media. Tiffany (remember her?) outed one of the New Kids on the Block. This was done inadvertently. I guess she didn’t know that he hadn’t officially come out of the closet, and there were some twitters back and forth, etc.
A few weeks before that Carrie Fisher made the news again with her comments about John Travolta in The Advocate, which for those of you that live in the mainstream and don’t know, is a gay publication. John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston have recently made the news for having another baby, which Kelly delivered at the age of 48. He, like another Scientologist actor, has been dogged by rumors of homosexuality for decades. He’s spent a lot of money on lawyers to sue people who make the allegations.
Carrie Fisher and John Travolta were friends, but I doubt if they are now. Carrie Fisher said that everyone knows and no one cares. And I think Carrie’s right about that. Everyone knows, and no one cares. He could be bisexual or homosexual, and most people know this and like him anyway. Of course, only John knows for sure.
Now again, the latest speculation in the media that someone is gay is swarming around Troy Aikman, the sports commentator and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback. He and his wife are separating and getting a divorce after two daughters and eleven years.
I lived in Dallas for seven years when I was in my twenties, and I’ve “met” Troy Aikman. I met him at a book signing after he wrote a children’s book. My brother was a big Cowboys fan so I stood in line for hours to get Aikman’s signature for my brother. Judging from the lack of clothing on some of the women, not everyone had gotten the memo that Aikman was gay.
I’d heard the rumors. People would talk about having seen him walking around Turtle Creek. That was enough to get a rumor started, walking around a toney area of Dallas that’s known for an all gay male chorus. I think there may have been other factors as well. Aikman was also rumored to be a racist, and the black culture tends to look very negatively upon men with homosexual or bisexual tendencies. That’s where the term “on the down low” comes from. It could have been a simple matter of “office politics.”
Troy Aikman dated such beauties as Lorrie Morgan and Janine Turner. He could be straight. He’s never come out and denied the rumors. He just chooses not to acknowledge them, and that’s his prerogative.
I have to wonder why certain members of the gay community feel that it’s so important for everyone to come out of the closet and shout it to the rooftops. I get the concept of political activism, but you can still attend the Gay Pride Parade without being gay. They let straight people lend their support. Why is it a requirement to “out” as many celebrities as possible, even ones we no longer care about like some member of New Kids on the Block whose name I now forget?
Sex is a private matter. I don’t run around all day letting everyone know that I prefer to have sex with men, just in case there might be some confusion. Whether or not John Travolta is gay or bisexual, if he and Kelly Preston have some arrangement that works for them, then more power to them. If Aikman is gay or bisexual, I don’t care. His job is to be a sportscaster, not the poster boy for gay rights. It should be up to him whether or not he shares his sexual orientation.
This is not a review of the movie. Maybe I’ll get around to seeing it one day.
In one of my earlier blog posts I mentioned the concept of partial reinforcement, and it turns out that I was paying attention in my psychology class because partial reinforcement is a term coined by B.F. Skinner, the father of modern behavioral modification therapy.
If you take the time, like I did, to look this up on the internet you’ll find that partial reinforcement is closely related to addiction. Specifically, it’s cited in reference to gambling addictions and video games. But I think you could apply it to any addictive behavior: shopping, drug addictions, alcoholism, overeating, you name it. And yes, you could even apply it to love.
What we commonly refer to as romantic love is regulated biologically by two chemicals that are naturally manufactured by the human brain: phenylethylamine and oxytocin. The infatuation phase, marked by the butterflies and sweaty palms and shaking and other outward appearances of nervousness, is produced by phenylethylamine. The attachment phase, that produces that feeling of calm and well being, can be attributed to oxytocin.
You can think of phenylethylamine as being like the rush of excitement you experience when making love with a new partner. Oxytocin is more like the cuddling afterward.
Not surprisingly, we like the feelings that these drugs in our bodies produce. It’s like the feeling of being drunk, not the slurring out of control feeling, but the “buzz” that drinkers feel after that first, second or third drink, depending on our tolerance level. Drunks, because we are addicts, then try to chase that elusive buzz feeling for the rest of the night, consuming more and more alcohol and finding it impossible to recreate that original high.
It’s the same with any drug of choice. And thus we come back to the concept of partial reinforcement. The concept of reinforcement is a cause and effect relationship between a behavior and a type of reward. A mouse taps on a lever and gets a food pellet. A budding juvenile delinquent creates havoc or mischief and achieves the attention of his parents.
With partial reinforcement a mouse taps on a lever and gets food pellets. First, he learns that cause and effect relationship. If we were to add a click or a ring, then we would be able to show the effects of Pavlovian reflex, and the mouse would salivate at the mere sound. Then what happens with partial reinforcement is that the mouse taps on the lever and doesn’t get a food pellet. Maybe he has to tap three times in order to get a food pellet. Maybe the reward is regulated by a specific time measurement. The mouse taps on the lever and only gets the food pellet five minutes later. And maybe we submit the mouse to a variable ratio schedule. The amount of times the mouse has to press on the lever to get the food pellet changes every time. It’s random.
Guess which schedule results in the most lever pulling? It’s the variable ratio schedule. Think of the little old lady on a riverboat in Louisiana, playing the nickel slots. Again, again, and again she puts in her coin and pull the lever because she knows that if she just pulls that lever often enough, eventually she’ll win a bunch of coins. Or maybe she won’t if she doesn’t play long enough. Or maybe she will win, but she will have put in more coins than she got back in the end. Odds are that even if she wins, in the end, she loses.
With some of us, it’s the same with love. We try over and over and over to get that original high. Sometimes we get it. But how much do we lose in the process? If you break even, then you’re extremely blessed.