Sexuality and Taking Control - "My sexuality is a part of me that I really like. But it's not the totality of me." - Portia de Rossi

A few weeks ago, I was cast in a female-based sketch comedy group! Yay me!

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I was super, super wary when I was first auditioning, though. Because the group is called Hot and Funny, and the person who directs the sketches is a guy. I've seen plenty of "sketches" that are littered with terrible excuses to get women naked, and I'm not about on screen nudity. Thank goodness he included a couple of really funny sketches in the invitation to audition, because I was considering just not going! But I went, we clicked, and it's turning out to be so much better than I had expected. So it's made me consider the ways in which I do and don't use my sexuality.

The first thing to say about the way I usually use my sexuality is that I... don't. I typically play young, intelligent, and innocent. I'm an ingenue. And that's a hard role to play if someone can Google my name and find naked images of me. So I won't do any kind of sexualized nudity, and I'm cautious and hesitant to do scenes that take place at the beach, the pool, or in a shower. There's one time I got into a fight at an NYU seminar with a ton of student directors because I said that nudity is usually a crutch, and they were all convinced that when THEY used it in THEIR films, it was art. I wasn't buying it, and they were not happy with my ability to argue my point of view. It was awkward all around.

But being in this group is making me properly consider how to use my sexuality in a way that purely benefits me without delving into the inappropriate or over-sexualized. It's making me consider for the first time how I can use the fact that I'm ultimately, you know, an attractive young woman and have it work for me through my own initiative, as opposed to banking on it for making men want to talk to me who might be influential.

It's something I'm still exploring. But I love the idea that I use my body to make things that I think are funny and good, not just projects I think will turn on other people.

"Women will never be able to relax about their bodies the way that men can." - Kristen Schaal

Yesterday this guy I know and I were teasing each other. Totally in fun, he said that I "better" do something. I don't even remember what. And I asked him "I better do it or what?" since it's not like he can make me do anything. And still totally joking, he said "Or I'm gonna grab you by the pussy."

So I looked him square in the eye and said "If you want to grab a handful of blood, that's up to you."

And upon realizing that meant that I'm on my period, he freaked out. I wonder why it's okay for him to have made a joke about rape, but it's disgusting when I bring up something that happens to half of all humans.

Yup, this is one of those posts where I am a strident feminist.

I'm not going to try to convince anyone why rape jokes are bad over the internet. There are plenty of well-written articles about that from more informed people than me. But just, can we, as a culture, get over the idea that a menstruating is disgusting? It happens to everyone born with female anatomy. If there are four random people with uteruses (uterusi? uterusae?) in a room, odds are that one of them will be bleeding on any given day. The feminine hygiene industry is massive.

And yet, for a quarter of my life between ages 13 and, roughly, 50, the natural things my body does is considered disgusting. Like, more so than the idea of molesting it.

I can't say I know what to do about it. It's hardly like this one post is going to reach 3.5 billion men and affect them the way I wish it could.

But if anyone ever wonders why I'm a feminist, shit like this is it. How a friend of mine, someone who is a lovely human and "one of the good ones," whatever that means, can still have this so deeply internalized is beyond me.

It's just - wait for it - bloody ridiculous.

EDIT/UPDATE: I just discovered Carmen Esposito. If you know who she is, you know which bit I just discovered.

"Do the stars gaze back? Now that's a question." - Stardust (2007)

I was listening to a compilation of movie soundtrack romantic themes because I am a ball of mush the other day, Tristan and Yvaine's theme from Stardust came on, and I was seized by the most incredible urge to rewatch the film.

(For the record, this is that theme. It's gorgeous and definitely makes me want to be in love just to play this in the background whenever I'm with the person for whom I have theoretically fallen.)

As I was watching it, I also thought about a question I was asked while at NYU the other day: "What kind of career do you want to have?" At the time, I answered that I want to be a Tina Fey-Amy Poehler hybrid who has the lead role on a show that is like Scrubs in that it's hilarious until it rips your heart out but unlike Scrubs in that it isn't exactly Scrubs and that's the only way that it's different. A pretty specific answer, I know, but hey, I'm a woman who knows what she wants!

The thing is, this film reminded me about how I don't just love comedy, but I also love romance. You know, if that wasn't already obvious by the fact that I listen to romantic film scores in my free time. But I also love adventure. Even in my real life, my friends are used to me saying on an ordinary evening "let's go out and adventure and find people!" (Those adventures may be much smaller than the kind of adventure Tristan and Yvaine experience in tardust, but I still like to think that they're legitimate!)

And while I'm absolutely certain that the filming of such a movie is very different from watching it - it'd be difficult for a person to literally shine like a star - I still think it'd be such an amazing, thrilling kind of role to play! And I guess what I'm saying is that if I had a career like Claire Danes' instead of what my answer above was, I'd be totally satisfied with that.

...Of course, I'd also love to play any other role out there. That's kind of what comes from loving acting so much. I'll have to refrain from making a similar post about roles in biopics when I finally see The Theory of Everything this week, for instance. Or another similar post about literally any other movie I see.

But you guys. I really do love Stardust. I love it a lot. Like, still just listening to the whole score on loop now kind of love it. And if you haven't seen it yet, you should get on that! It's good for anyone and everyone. Unless, of course, you don't like joy. Then you probably shouldn't watch it.