Saturday, August 13, 2005

Pleasantville, Iraq (Part I)

If you haven't seen the film Pleasantville, I would only recommend it for the sake of its visually artistic qualities. The cast of this 1998 film is substantial, starring big names such as Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy and others. There seems to be agreement that the film was a social commentary about prejudice, most say specifically about the Civil Rights movement, referenced in the film by segregation of "Colors" from everyone else -- it's just that "Color" meant Not Black-and-White, instead of Not Caucasian in this plot, where a modern-day brother and sister get sent to a 50s sitcom. In Pleasantville everything is "perfect" until the brother and sister's knowledge of the outside world -- on many levels -- pollutes the contented naiveté of the town, bringing the enlightenment associated with questioning our assumptions. I make my reference to Pleasantville here because the film depicted an interesting catalyst for crossing over from "Normal" to "Color" -- sexual enlightenment -- or promiscuity as some would call it. I'm not really endorsing the film here; I thought there could have been so many other ways to tell the film's message... but I do have something to say about sexual enlightenment and liberation in Iraq, particularly in regard to women.

So I’ve gone traipsing through all the blog haunts I could think of in an attempt to retrieve information about a reference made by Mary in a recent phone conversation we had. The problem is that I’m not sure what the exact wording of any of it was; I only know there was some article or initiative regarding liberating the women of Iraq by sending them sex toys, to introduce to them methods of self-appreciation already known and practiced among men for centuries. I find this amusing and noteworthy for two reasons. I've split the post and addressed them separately:

1. Did anyone ever think that maybe the American women soldiers might appreciate something like that?!
Ah… you think I’m joking. I’m not. Healthy, adult, already partnered women have appetite and needs during periods of long separation, just as their male counterparts do. There’s some unspoken – sometimes verbalized – acceptance of practice in the male community to “help oneself out” – “rub one out” in the men’s room, the shower, or wherever else clean-up supplies might be close at hand. Of course, not to be lewd or anything, but many of us have been culturally conditioned to understand that men are entitled to the occasional bathroom stroke of the ego. I and my female peers, on the other hand, are far more likely to be ostracized for any marginal suggestion that we have the same so-called needs. In terms of mechanics and freedom of movement, the bathroom stall is a little less conducive for most of us to address our egos! At any rate, I think women stuck in this oppressive, suppressive man-world could use a little “liberation,” for the sake of everyone’s sanity. I think we could use a few accessories to aid occasional contentment in the privacy of our own rooms!

Don’t get any crazy ideas – I’m not condoning group involvement, extra-marital affairs, or otherwise breaking any standing orders – there is currently no policy regarding possession or use of sexual accessories. I only ask the same entitlement to self help be granted to women that this community is already affording its male members – take pun as you like.


At 8/13/2005 11:55 AM, Blogger Mary Godwin said...

Tommi, the story you reference here was posted originally in Harpers and came to my attention through Bitch PhD. Your "take" on this turns the lens of consideration a bit from the one "Bitch" uses, but I think you point to one more of those topics that, in their "taken for granted" form, protect a double-standard and send women to the shadows. ... good writing, Kid! -mg

At 8/16/2005 2:52 PM, Anonymous Rev. Sardonicus said...

I was just admiring the shiny new Kawa on Jen's blog. Did you get it for her (since she thanks you)?


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