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Comments

Zan

I won't see the movie for religious reasons. (In a nutshell I don't think making fun of premarital sex si very profitable for a Christian life.)

However, the world has had a very skewed view of sex since original sin. THere is a lot of inconsistency.

I was a virgin until marriage and boy, did I get the stares when people found out. I was always respected for it. Probably because I was girl.

Chalicechick

I'm back and forth on whether I think it is reasonable to judge a movie by its marketing alone. I haven't seen the movie either, though I really like the lead actor and some thoughtful people I know have seen and liked it. My understanding is that while the main character has a certain amount of naivete, to say that it is just about making fun of virgins is to oversimplify.

In general, not having an experience that most adults have had makes you seem a little odd, especially when you talk about it. My husband gets really odd reactions when he mentions that he doesn't know how to drive, for example. Like I bet people would understand if a virgin explained "I'm an evangelical Christian," if my husband says "I'm high functioning austistic," people tend to let it go.

Someone who hasn't chosen, but has had chastity forced upon them by an unattractive appearance or poor social skills, which looks like it was the case with the movie character, could probably use some help from his friends in learning how to deal with women, and if his friends don't really understand women as well as they think they do, I can certainly see a funny movie coming out of that situation which wouldn't really be about making fun of virgins and it certainly wouldn't be about saying that EVERY virgin is naive.

And yeah, while a 20-year-old living with Mommy while going to school is pretty normal, for a significantly older adult to be living with his/her parents does suggest someone who hasn't left the nest in an emotional or financial sense. I bought my parents' house and they took their sweet time leaving and I was very clear on the point that they were, in fact, living with me and that if anything, I was helping them with their bills rather than the reverse.

CC

The Galloping Beaver

Unfortunately, the link at the end of the post doesn't work. This interferes with my inclination towards extreme nosiness.

Bmmg39, good post. I'm not much of a movie-goer, mainly because I tend to find myself disappointed with some aspect of the film. I have learned not to pay attention to trailers and marketing since, aside from clips being extracted from the actual production, there tends to be little in common between the marketing and the movie. I prefer to see what critics are saying although, even there, I exercise skepticism since movie critics have their own tastes and preferences which influence their review.

Richard

“ … why is this considered so remarkable? It's no different, to me, from going off half-cocked because someone you know has never been on a roller coaster or been out of the country.”

It’s remarkable because, well, it’s remarkable. I don’t have the stats at hand, but I’ll bet the virginity rate for 40-year-old American males is in the low single digits. So it is, on its very face, “worthy of remark”, i.e., “remarkable”. As an aside, if a 40-year-old American male told me he had never been on a roller coaster, I also believe that would be worthy of remark due to its rarity. However, as I personally know some 40-year-olds who have never been out of the country, I would not especially feel that such a fact would be remarkable. It’s all about probabilities. Now whether you want to spend 90 minutes or whatever of your life watching a story about a remarkable virgin, that is another issue.

Anyway, who is bmmg39? I feel I’m missing some context here.

The Happy Feminist

I know Bmmg39 as a frequent commenter at Hugo Schwyzer's blog (http://hugoboy.typepad.com/hugo_schwyzer/). Bmmg39 is concerned about men's issues such as anti-male stereotypes and male victims of domestic violence. He has commented before on the issue of male virginity. Since I always found his comments thoughtful, I invited him to check out my blog when I started it.

Unfortunately, "Men's Rights Activists" often seem to be pitted against feminists, and I think many women view the current movement as largely or totally misogynist. (I don't know enough about it to say, although I suspect this assessment is correct.) But personally, I don't think that feminism and the notion of men's rights activism have to be mutually exclusive. They simply emphasize different issues in the movement towards gender equality. I think Bmmg39 tends towards a similar view.

The Happy Feminist

Male virginity in middle-age may be rare but I think that bmmg39's main point is that we judge male virgins (even younger ones) harshly for their abstinence. It may be rare but does that make it "remarkable" (i.e. to be remarked upon)? Does a man's abstinence well into adulthood necessarily indicate some sort of pathology or problem?

The movie, charming though I found it, did equate virginity with childishness. The lead character collected action figures, which he finally sold when he met a woman. It was as though he wasn't fully adult until he had a relationship.

Brett

Great discussion here, as always, and one which I am particularly interested in as this film has come up in conversation several times recently in my circle of friends. We were all put off by the title and the marketing of the movie, but we also enjoy the work of Steve Carrell (The Daily Show, The Office) and have heard good things in reviews.

A couple of things regarding this conversation: One, sexual intercourse, being a biological act and one necessary for the survival of most species, is quite a bit different than a ride on The Scream Machine or a trip to France. I am unsure of how much weight to give this fact when considering our society’s warped view of sex and tendency to hypersexualize everything, but I think that it is important to consider in the conversation. The intimacy and some would say spirituality of the act puts it in a different category than more mundane experiences.

Second, I am not sure that I am uncomfortable with partially defining “adulthood” by some measure of human relationships. That is, I think that adulthood, while not reducible to this, certainly should require some level of capability in our relationships with others. Learning how to negotiate relationships of all kinds, not just sexual, is an important and I think integral part of the maturation process. A distinction should be made, of course, between “healthy” and “unhealthy” relationships, and certainly one doesn’t need to be a part of a conventional spousal dynamic or some variant thereof to qualify as an adult, but it seems at first blush that someone incapable of a sustaining a relationship not based on dependence has not fully “grown up”.

Scott in Montreal

Having just seen this myself the other day, I would to point out that the movie is downright hilarious. In an era when more and more kids are having more sex at a younger age than previous generations; when they're being pressured with countless messages from the media and their friends to grow up faster (check out the film Fourteen); this one allows the main character of Andy to maintain his dignity and show kids that your world won't cave-in just because you still find yourself a virgin at an age when everyone else has seemingly already done it.

Chalicechick

Not to belabor the obvious, but one must remark on one's own virginity before other people can remark on it.

CC

bmmg39

Lots of replyin' to do. I think I'll break this up:

"I'm back and forth on whether I think it is reasonable to judge a movie by its marketing alone."

I agree; that's why I didn't judge the film, but rather explain why I didn't wish to see it. Plenty of people who won't see the film were still targeted by its advertising, and some of those people may have been put off by it, and therefore will never witness whatever pleasant bait-and-switch there might be.

"My understanding is that while the main character has a certain amount of naivete, to say that it is just about making fun of virgins is to oversimplify."

True. That isn't the entire theme, but the implication of naïvete is there at least in a supporting role.

"In general, not having an experience that most adults have had makes you seem a little odd, especially when you talk about it."

A person sometimes wants the truth out there in such a situation, i.e. "if you think that people like me are freaks/strange, then I'd rather you know all the facts and then tell me how you think, rather than me pretend I'm something I'm not." Coming out of the sexually inactive closet and letting people say what they will, for better or for worse. I've written music about those who've never been in love, a song that's defiant, as if to say, "Here we are. Say it to our face, whatever it is."

"Someone who...has had chastity forced upon them by an unattractive appearance or poor social skills, which looks like it was the case with the movie character, could probably use some help from his friends in learning how to deal with women, and if his friends don't really understand women as well as they think they do, I can certainly see a funny movie coming out of that situation..."

True, but the focus is on "we can't let you go on being a virgin," not "we'll help you find a nice girl/woman to go out with." Our society, I hold, is sex-centered, and everything else unfortunately falls by the wayside.

"...a significantly older adult to be living with his/her parents does suggest someone who hasn't left the nest in an emotional or financial sense."

Each such person has his/her own story and reasons for one's living situation. If we're not to criticize those who cohabitate with non-spousal significant others (which is fine), then maybe so-called "normal" people ought not to concern themselves with this living arrangement, either.

"I don’t have the stats at hand, but I’ll bet the virginity rate for 40-year-old American males is in the low single digits. So it is, on its very face, 'worthy of remark', i.e., 'remarkable'. As an aside, if a 40-year-old American male told me he had never been on a roller coaster, I also believe that would be worthy of remark due to its rarity."

I guess one can remark upon anything. "It's raining," is a remark. Perhaps I used to soft a word. People not only consider the virginity of others to be remarkable, but also stunning. The record player in the room comes to a screeching halt; the cicadas can be heard outside. Everything stops.

To Be Continued
boy genteel

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