What’s your number – an interesting take on consent

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 14.50.34What’s your number is a typical asinine rom-com starring Anna Faris as Ally Darling and Chris Evans as Colin Shea. The simple premise is Darling discovering that the number of sexual partners she has had (19) makes her a slut – as evidenced in a “women’s magazine” she read after being fired from her job. So, with the help of deeply slimy neighbour Shea, Darling tracks down all her ex-boyfriends to see which one should be her partner for life. Because there is a magic number of men that having sex with  would make her even more of a slut than she actually is. Shea is an unemployed musician who has sex with a different woman every night and spends his mornings hiding in Darling’s apartment so the (many) woman will leave his apartment without anything creepy like having a conversation. Strangely, at no point do we ever hear Shea’s sexual history being as being slutty.

And, yes, by know you are all wondering why I continued watching the film. As did I.

But, somewhere in this film about a woman freaking out over other women calling her a slut, believing she is a slut, an unpleasant mother whining about her daughter not having enough ‘class’, and the useless father, there is seen involving consent discussed appropriately. Obviously, and this needs no spoiler warning, Shea falls in love with Darling (and eventually she with him once she gets over silly things like being able to pay the rent) and they end up almost having sex. Despite being an utter shite in his treatment of women as sex objects, when Darling says no Shea accepts it. There is some silliness about how much of a penis in a vagina constitutes sex but that is a clearly a joke.

There is no coercion. No attempts to convince Darling. She says no. He stops.

The director chooses to ruin this demonstration of consent but having some  dude from 20 years rock up to tell Darling they never had sex so actually she’s not really a mega slut having gone over 20 partners (and no recognition that sex she cannot remember will have made her too drunk to consent).

The film is pretty much the essence of shaming women for having sex with multiple partners. Yet the only actual sex scene in the film involves a discussion of consent that is real and clear. It is a weird juxtaposition.The film is utterly tedious and probably shouldn’t ever be watched ever again. By anyone.

Reading through depression and anxiety

I have been very ill with depression and anxiety for the past 17 months. And on the bandwagon which is changing medication, unbearable side effects (gaining 2 stone when I have fibromyalgia which causes severe pain in my ankles and knees was quite unhelpful), and the limit of 6 group classes of CBT (with men), not to mention two incidents of triggered PTSD, has made me somewhat on the wrong side of struggling to work. In November, I decided to change tactics and stopped starring at my computer with fear (and writer’s block). Instead, I went for reading pretty much everything I possibly could whilst not worrying about work (getting PIP was a huge help here). I’m much better and on medication with less horrendous side effects (except dry mouth – my current resemblance to a cactus is also not the most helpful thing).

I’m not very good at the whole asking for help or for even mentioning how I am – my acting skills are far more in the area of pretending to be a manic pixy dream girl (or at least they are in my head) than being honest about my mental health. This article that I came across on FB is what I would say if I could.

So rather than break with tradition of hiding, I’ve made a list of the books that I’ve loved over the past 4 months (the rest are listed here):

 

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#womenwrites

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Hysteria, Witches, and The Wandering Uterus: A Brief History via @lithub

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The Thing about Toilets at Not the News in Brief

#womenswrites: on misogyny, reproductive justice and male violence

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The Misogyny Of Modern Feminism by Jeni Harvey

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My daughter’s birth via @LucyAllenFWR

Music education is now only for the white and the wealthy by Charlotte C Gill

Why our charities refuse to do have anything to do with the Rape Clause by Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland and Marsha Scott of Scottish Women’s Aid