Last night my girlfriend and i watched the movie Superbad, because she and her friends were not allowed to see it. read: suburban Nashville, verses suburban New York. When she told me my jaw dropped. Superbad was packed deep in my adolescent survivor kit. it was so funny! Michael Cera was so nerdy! the end-credits are just drawing of dicks!
So we watched it. within the first ten minutes, my stomach started to churn. how many ways can a movie objectify women in ten minutes? turns out, it’s a lot. the entire movie is about getting girls to let you fuck them, and stopping at nothing to make it happen.
When young Jonah Hill is paired up with his crush (Emma Stone) in Home Ec, he mimics cumming all over her body while she, oblivious, makes tiramisu. His master plan to fuck her? Get her so drunk she regrets it the next morning. As long as there is something she'll regret, his plan will have been a success.
My stomach hasn’t stopped turning, and it’s not because I am an Adult now and I Know Better, it’s because I genuinely believed I loved this movie.
And then I thought about how the night I was raped, I was forced to chug alcohol by a boy who thought it would be funny to bottle-feed me vodka so his friend could get some, even after I puked it up.
And I thought that was okay. And I thought boys were Just Horny. and I thought being paid twenty bucks to make out with another girl was funny. And I think the only reason I liked Superbad was because the boys liked it, those boys, the ones who suddenly had the power to determine if I was worth hooking up with even though I’d known them since their voices started cracking and talked to their moms when they’d chaperone school trips.
But if the nerds in the movies got the hot girls to fuck them at the end, then I wanted to be the hot girl. Then I’d better practice my best Mclovin' voice and talk loudly in the hallway about the dick end-credits.
I look at my middle and high school years and I see how everything led to that night, that party, how much my body didn’t belong to me. It took me two years into a serious relationship to realize that being “on top” wasn’t just for him to fulfill his porn fantasies. That I could use my body for me. That I could like it. I am often perplexed about how confusing this brainwash is. Because despite Knowing Better, I still liked the movie. We both laughed, a lot. We both cringed a lot, and she said “man a lot has changed in ten years.” Yeah, I said. But then I thought, has it?
None of the actors in that movie were teenagers when it was filmed. And I doubt the writers were either. And Judd Apatow certainly wasn’t. And he has daughters now. Did we ever have a choice? And did the voice-cracking boys have a choice either, when a societal syringe was being injected into our chocolate milk? Halfway through the movie I turned to her, mortified.
“Baby are you judging me for liking this movie?”
“No!” She exclaimed. "All the guys at the restaurant talk like this, too." She shrugged.
When I told my therapist all this, this morning, she smiled at me and with a sigh she said
“Perhaps, Haley, you were judging yourself.”