The Undying Appeal of Very Sexy Trash
Speaker 1: That’s.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the waves sized podcast about gender feminism and today the movies. Every episode you get a new pair of feminist to talk about the thing we can’t get out of our minds. And today You’ve Got Me. Jeffrey Bloomer. I’m Slate’s features director.
Speaker 3: And me Nicole Perkins, just a writer and general podcast host, is out there in the world.
Speaker 2: Just a writer and podcast host, one of my favorites. And we are gathered here today to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart. And I gather to yours, too, Nicole, the erotic thriller. It’s a man and a woman. Usually it is a man and a woman, and they have very hot sex, borderline dangerous sex, usually, probably a lot of it. And then, you know, somebody has to die. Maybe the woman loses that. Maybe the scorned husband finds out and goes after the new guy. These movies are called things like Body of Evidence and Basic Instinct to never talk to strangers. They vary wildly in quality. And that last one back of Dani, it’s Antonio Banderas is not very liked against the cage very dramatically. It is one of the great bad movies of the nineties. I remember watching it at that time when I was a teenager and being like, I didn’t even know that was an option. And you can really learn things from these films. Nicole Tell what tell me about your relationship with these movies, good and bad. What do you what do you think of them?
Speaker 3: I love erotic thrillers. I just I just absolutely adore them. First of all, I am a big fan of film noir. Right. It does give me a mystery, some quick wit banter. A man with a jaw line cut from the Grand Canyon, a femme fatale, and then enough sexual tension to break a top chef’s knife. I just. I just want it all. And I think erotic thrillers are just modernized versions of film noir. Directors could start adding nudity into the mix and then just went all out, mainly women’s nudity. So it’s just more a lot of boobs and butt. But still, they they got really excited about that.
Speaker 3: And then secondly, I love a movie that is so bad, it’s good. And there are plenty of great erotic thrillers. I don’t really want to disparage the whole genre, but some of them are super, super cheesy that you have to laugh at yourself even while you’re watching it. It’s just like, Why am I watch this? And then you just keep going. If it’s that bad, that is good. I’m there for it.
Speaker 3: I also read a lot of genre fiction, especially romances and mysteries. And an erotic thriller is a way for me to have all of my itches scratched, except the romance part in an erotic thriller is more like just fast forwarding straight to the hot and steamy parts. It’s just getting straight to the sex. But I’ve noticed that erotic thrillers, they’re trying to make a comeback. There’s been an appreciation for them a lot lately. So I’m here for all of that.
Speaker 2: Yeah, you’re right. We’re currently in this sort of where the big moment for them, they don’t even make them quite at the clip they used to. But lately there’s just been a big groundswell of sort of cultural attention to them. New York magazine had a whole week devoted to erotic thrillers. The podcast, you must remember this, had a whole season dedicated to the erotic thrillers of the eighties. Soon there will be one dedicated to the erotic thrills of the nineties. My personal favorite, Netflix has been releasing these. There’s the one where Charlotte, from Sex and the City falls in love with her female babysitter. The real bad on Netflix, but they always jump to number one.
Speaker 2: And then there is recently, I think one of the flashpoints in this whole moment was the Ben Affleck and a Damascus movie, Deep Water, which kind of ended up going straight to Hulu but still managed to make a splash. And we will talk about that movie. But it’s sort of an interesting moment for these movies to be re-entering the zeitgeist as much as we love them. They are also not great in some ways. If you actually stop to think about what they’re sort of depicting and what’s sort of the underlying message of these movies as. And on this podcast we talk about things like this. So we’re going to do that today. We’re going to talk about why we love these movies, why it might be questionable to do so in some cases, and maybe talk about how we can look past what’s actually going on in these movies and enjoy them anyway. So please join us. Michael Douglas just saw Sharon Stone in a sequin dress for the first time and it’s about to go down.
Speaker 2: All right, Nichole I’m going to read you a quote. This is not a nice quote. It is unearthed from an old magazine profile by the New York magazine writer Allison Davis as part of that week I mentioned. She found this quote in a piece from a certain someone describing working women in the 1980s. Here I go. They are sort of overcompensating for not being man. It’s sad, you know, because it doesn’t work. You hear feminists talking in the last ten, 20 years, you hear women talking about fucking man rather than being fucked. To be crass about it, it’s kind of an attractive. However liberated and emancipated it is.
Speaker 2: There’s a little bit more. I’m sorry. It kind of fights the whole wife role, the whole childbearing role. Sure. You got your career and your success, but you are not fulfilled as a woman. My wife has never worked. She’s the least ambitious person I’ve ever met. She’s a terrific wife. She hasn’t the slightest interest in doing a career. She kind of lives with me, and it’s a terrific feeling. I come home and she’s there and quote, I have to take acid again for finding that because I didn’t know work. But it is it helpfully encapsulates some of what we’re talking about here, because these are the words of Adrian Lin, who is sort of the patron saint of erotic thrillers.
Speaker 2: You know, this is the guy behind Fatal Attraction. Nine and a half weeks, which is a particular favorite of mine. Unfaithful and also deep water, which we just mentioned, which is his first movie after a 20 year hiatus. And I think in some ways is some of the ideology of these movies. They’re often about women either sort of dangerously intoxicated by sex until they become knife wielding lunatics or their husbands have to be killed to assert their manhood after they leave them for a younger man. And it’s all basically about the dangers of leaving the domestic space, sort of the message that they’d be better if they never left home. It’s, you know, pretty conservative view of sex roles and gender and many other things, especially of sexuality and the dangers of women exploring theirs.
Speaker 2: But as we’ve already said, we love these movies. And in talking before the show, you told me that you worked hard to remove the guilt from the guilty pleasure aspect of this. So why do you think that these movies speak to us despite all of this, despite Adrian Lin’s views evident on the screen during these movies? And why are we willing to ignore that part of it?
Speaker 3: My thoughts about guilty pleasures have evolved over the years. I think it’s very much a Christianity based or maybe a religion based idea that has been baked into society at large, that when we find pleasure in something, we have to balance it out with some kind of punishment, right? Like, Oh, this cake is so good. This is delicious. This is the most delicious cake I’ve ever had in my life. I’m going to have to run 100 miles to work it off. Why? Why do you need to erase the joy of that slice of cake by hurting yourself? Why do we have to be ashamed that we like a movie with sex in it? Or a movie with the bad dialogue?
Speaker 3: The heart. What, what? What it wants. And I think that we enjoy erotic thrillers because we’re all creatures of flesh. And porn has such a stigma attached to it still. So that I guess we feel better about ourselves if we just, you know, turn on something with an R-rating, right? And then we have a legitimate director with a story that’s a little bit more complicated than like, oh, the pizza delivery guy is here and he’s cute and packing. You know, it’s like we have to find less shameful ways of getting getting our rocks off.
Speaker 3: Fatal Attraction, nine and a half weeks and unfaithful unfaithful is my favorite movie of out of all of these is about a married woman. She’s got a son and she is planning her son’s birthday party. And she runs into this French bookseller. And that encounter changes, changes her life.
Speaker 3: Nine and a half weeks came out in 1986, and it is about this Wall Street guy and an art gallery employee who meet and go through this tumultuous nine and a half weeks of a relationship where they just keep escalating their sexual activities to the point of madness. They were game changers in many different ways. And I remember watching nine and a half weeks when I was a kid on cable and just wondering how was this allowed on television and what are they doing? This is so nasty. And I kept watching it.
Speaker 3: You know, these types of movies have sex scenes that have changed lives and changed the way we talk about sex. But ultimately, you’re right, they still rely on this idea that women who find their own pleasure destroy the fabric of their lives. Right. So it’s like women’s sexual agency. Sexual exploration of sexual satisfaction all leads to obsession, mental anguish, even murder. So it’s just like, you know, yes, it looks really hot to get fucked at work. It looks great to incorporate food play in your sex life or to get banged out in a cafe bathroom. But you are going to destroy your whole world if you do this. We ignore the bad parts of it. We ignore that message of women’s pleasure leads to destruction. Because, you know, some of us are just horny man.
Speaker 3: It was just like these movies do have some subtext that is not just sexy. Women lead to death and mayhem. Some of these movies, I think the good ones are about the dangers of routine and suppression. So, you know, when you deny yourselves it, it results in something terrible. So it’s like putting the lid on the boiling bunny in the pot will just make a bigger mess.
Speaker 2: Yes, we could do several podcasts about Fatal Attraction alone, but I think what you’re saying makes a lot of sense, especially if you think about unfaithful. Even as a gay man. There’s 5 minutes of that movie when Diane Lane is like on I think she’s on the Metro-North leaving New York City. She’s first slept with her French beau, who’s not Richard Gere. And it’s just like he’s she’s just, like, shaking in his flashbacks and remembering on the train.
Speaker 4: And. But. Well, don’t know how to do this. This is wrong, but it’s bad.
Speaker 2: It means. And like even if it is Adrian Land putting forth this like really fucked up view of what domestic roles should be, ultimately, that’s what he’s doing in that movie, I guess. But that movie really centers her, and there’s a reason she got nominated for an Academy Award for that. She’s just just absolutely coursing with sexuality in that scene and it really is a foregrounds her experience in a way that like yes Richard Gere ends up killing the man that she has an affair with. But in that moment, you’re you’re seeing something much different and experiencing something much different. And I don’t think it necessarily totally detracts from that, that the movie goes off the rails and she ultimately finds that hot that Richard Gere like wants to kill for her.
Speaker 3: So at that time, it was still a bit rare to see a woman who was 35 and older, considered a sexual being in a good way, or to see that she has desires. And that train scene was incredible because you get to see the way the memories play over her physically and just, you know, her emotional response to them as well. And then like the regret setting in and the way that she comes alive with this passion that was, you know, that had gone stale in her marriage. And I think that’s a very important for a lot of people to see that, like, you know, it’s fine to be comfortable and to have a good relationship in your marriage that you’re just like everything is very calm and safe and expected, but there are times where you need to shake things up inside because it’s possible that someone from the outside is going to come in and ruin everything.
Speaker 2: So often, also, just like in mainstream American movies there, the sex is pretty muted, or it’s like comic or it’s sort of truncated and these movies at least center it in a way that like, it’s honest about what people want to see and experience while watching a movie. And some of these come pretty close to porn these days. I mean, the 50 Shades movie is, you know, we don’t need to go into that shit, but like a lot of them are like really they’ve gotten more and more graphic over time. And I think it’s probably, I think, a positive development that that kind of sex can exist onscreen. There’s also been a lot written lately about how it sort of retreated. Sex in movies isn’t hot anymore, and there’s all kinds of long sort of analysis that ties it to me, to among other things and reasons why we can’t look at this stuff anymore. And I think it maybe makes you nostalgic for the moment where Sharon Stone is like, you know, just like having sex with a man and a woman in a bathroom stall doing coke. Like there is something kind of magical about that and liberating. You know.
Speaker 3: We see some of that in the film trilogy, 365 days. That’s on Netflix. 365 days is the start of a film trilogy that is about this mafia dude who kidnaps a woman and tells her she has 365 days to fall in love with him. And boy, is it a ride. They’re just like, Here’s the sex scene. And then we’re going to give you maybe three lines of dialogue and then the sex scene. And then here’s a little like they’re doing some crime mafia things. Here’s the sex scene, you know, like they’re just very much like you’re just here to see these people go at it.
Speaker 4: Feeling like running. You should wear a different kind of shoes. Sometimes fighting is futile. You have to accept the situation. The faster the better for you. Can either make it hard for both of us for the next year or. Take part in an adventure that faith is giving you. It wasn’t faith. It was you.
Speaker 3: It’s it’s a great but it’s also terrible because, you know, the acting is not great. The script is not great. But the sex scenes, I mean, they are what they are, but they are there are a lot of them. The second one, it is literally 3 minutes into the movie when we get our first sex scene.
Speaker 2: It tells you what you need to know a little bit about these and that they’re just they’re extremely exaggerated versions of courtship and gender performance and all of this. And it makes it easy to not think too much about it when it’s just hot people having sex all the time.
Speaker 3: It’s pure escapism in a lot of ways. I read a lot of romance, and there is a subgenre called Dark Romance where they have things like kidnappings, where, you know, like the motorcycle chief or whatever kidnaps a woman and makes her his sex slave. And she has to be used by all of the members of the motorcycle gang in order to be like initiated or prove herself or something like that. You know, there are things like that. And then there are like age gap relationships and kind of situations where like, Oh, my ex-boyfriend dumped me, so I’m going to fuck his dad and fall in love with his dad. Like, those are all part of dark romance and including really heavy BDSM elements and things like that.
Speaker 3: And so I think part of why a lot of people, especially a lot of women turn to them is because, you know, we’re making. We’re making a lot of decisions every day. Sometimes it feels good when there’s somebody who just takes a decision off of your plate. And I, you know, people are like, why? Why would a housewife want to read this? Why would a lawyer want to read something like this? Why would a CEO want to read something where a woman is being subjected to all of this kind of trauma and violent sexual violence? And this is like, well, they can’t have this in their real life, right? They can’t admit to having consensual non-consensual fantasies and things like that. So they turn to these books and we turn to these erotic thrillers to you, to, you know, get off basically to have this little fantasy life that safe. And, you know, no one will judge us for having them as opposed to just watching them.
Speaker 2: Yeah, you’re making me realize that I probably just need to log out of this podcast and watch the entire 365 astrology for the rest of the day. Because, my goodness, does movie sound like something? And I think that giving ourselves permission to like these things, despite having eyes and brains and knowing what’s going on in them, is probably a healthy and kind thing we can do for ourselves. We’re going to take a break here. But if you want to hear more from Nicole and myself about another topic, check out our Waves Plus segment. Is this feminist where today we’re debating whether taking your husband’s last name is feminist? A Washington Post columnist, new questions about it. So please join us for that.
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Speaker 2: So we’ve established we like this movie is warts and all and we don’t need to explain why anymore. But let’s talk about sort of where these movies are now and the moment that we’re in that seems to be trying to bring them back. Certainly there’s a nostalgic enthusiasm for them that many are hoping is harnessed into more movies. So let’s talk about what the ones that are coming out now are and what we kind of where we think the genre could go. We’ve mentioned a few times a movie called Deep Water.
Speaker 4: Why are you the only man who wants to stay with me? Well, no. I you to. I do. It’s good. Always moms are there for other people.
Speaker 1: I think this is who she is.
Speaker 2: This was a new trailer that had Ben Affleck in NATO mass. It’s based on an old Patricia Highsmith novel. The promise of it is deeply deranged. I will let you say what that is, Nicole.
Speaker 3: Deep water is about a husband and wife who have I guess it’s an one sided, open relationship. The wife has permission to go out and sleep with whomever she wants to as long as it’s like, you know, open communication between her and her husband. But clearly, the husband has a problem with the arrangement, and we see quite a few people die as a result of the wife’s liaisons.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And this is also Adrian Lynn, who the author of that wonderful quote earlier and the director of also An Unfaithful and Fatal Attraction and among other movies. And this movie, despite going straight to Hulu, was initially intended for theaters. There’s conspiracy theories out there that Jennifer Lopez killed it when she got back with Ben Affleck. I believe that those are unsubstantiated. But, you know, it’s fun to think about given the premise of the movie and it’s like really not very good the movie. There are some sexy parts. I mean, energy on Mars is like just like kind of electric on screen. And I’m a huge fan, but I like Ben Affleck’s really mopey in this. And even with like the guy from Euphoria being one of her affair partners is just doesn’t scratch the itch. And I was wondering, why do you think that is? Nicole, we talked before and you mentioned that you felt the same way. What do you think is wrong with it?
Speaker 3: Yeah, I think we just don’t have a clear reason why why they agreed to this relationship, why they why they agree to these boundaries for their relationships. Because Ben Affleck, you know, in the language of these things, he’s a cook, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy it. He’s very jealous. He’s very possessive.
Speaker 3: Ana de Armas, her character’s name is Melinda. And Melinda just constantly throws her affairs in his face, trying to provoke him. And I guess she is trying to provoke him to be a man in quotation marks. All their friends seem to know that Melinda is out there and just handling her business. She brings her conquests to their parties all the time. And Vic, who is Ben Affleck’s character, he just seems to like take it all on the chin until he doesn’t anymore. And I just felt like there was really no explanation why.
Speaker 2: And despite us saying that, we’re going to turn our brains off for these movies, there is something so deeply retrograde about the way that these people go about acting out there like non-normative sexuality, I guess. Like, I just don’t. It’s hard to buy it in 2022 in a time when this these are very rich people in New Orleans who live like a bohemian lifestyle, like there’s no way that they are like living in this like 1970 domestic version of this, like, scenario. Like, I just like, first of all, there’s just not enough sex also, there’s just not enough fucking in this movie. But beyond that, like, it’s like, I don’t know, I just find it hard to. It’s where the sort of it runs into a while because it’s it is exploring something that’s becoming more common and more understood.
Speaker 2: I think even in people who are not interested in cuckolding fantasies, but it portrays it in such a retrograde and regressive way that it is just, you know, a lot of men and it’s like an exciting thing for them. And it obviously and socially we have a long way to go before Cocodrie is considered normal, masculine behavior. But I think that we’ve come far enough and I don’t know the movie I thought just depicted it in such a way that was like boring. It could have been much more exciting.
Speaker 3: I would have loved to have seen brought back Ben Affleck on his knees, just doing some stuff that I’m just going to redact for the rest of the podcast episode. But because Adrian Lynn is so focused on like the woman being punished somehow are pointing the finger back to the woman in all of this stuff, we don’t get to see submissive Vick. And that, I think, is a major missing, you know, point in this movie.
Speaker 2: What do we want to see? Probably not more shitty Netflix movies. Like what? What do we think? Like, what do we think that where the genre could go and what it can do to make it feel just a skosh more contemporary, a little bit more like channeling what we want to see now.
Speaker 3: Right. So for me, I would love to see more black led erotic thrillers, more black couples. And we’ve had a sprinkling of them, so. Back in 2003, Denzel Washington and Sanaa Lathan starred in a film called Out of Time. And I don’t know how erotic it would be considered, but there are elements of that. Denzel plays a sheriff in a small town or something like that, like a small town cop kind of person.
Speaker 3: Sanaa. Sanaa Lathan character is a woman who has been in an abusive relationship, and so he frequently has to come to her house to save her. And it’s great because it starts out where Sanaa is. She’s called him like, I need you to come over. Some of these terrible has happened. And he gets there and they start doing it and it’s. And then you find out that maybe her character is not everything. You know, we think it is. And so there is, you know, some drama and intrigue there. And Denzel Washington’s ex-wife or ex-girlfriend is played by Eva mendez. So, I mean, you’ve got like a really interesting cast here doing something that we don’t really get to see that much. But I do recommend it because the sex scenes between Denzel Washington and Sanaa Lathan were so good that they sparked plenty of rumors that he was cheating on his wife.
Speaker 3: I think Sanaa Lathan is very much interested in changing the face, as we expect when it comes to things like thrillers and modern noir and things, you know, movies like that. And we don’t really get to see black stars in these kinds of movies. And I’m not sure why, beyond just flat out racism and the lack of imagination in Hollywood, strangely enough.
Speaker 3: Right. But I think for a while, black actors maybe possibly stayed away because they were also trying to step away from stereotypes of black people as being hypersexual and trying to be taken seriously. And I don’t know, for some people, parts that require nudity or sexual sexual activity, they don’t consider it to be Oscar worthy. And they’re trying to, like, legitimize themselves as actors. So they kind of stay away from things like that or think that they’re just not. Maybe they just want to do those things. So I think that’s one of the reasons.
Speaker 3: Again, beyond just like the flat out racist nature of Hollywood and not giving money to Black led film and things like that, hopefully we get to see more of these. Tyler Perry does have some thrillers, but he doesn’t really do the erotic part so much, so we don’t really get that much sex. Like there might be like some steamy kissing, maybe, but you’re not really going to get, like, nudity or anything like that. I want to see and I know a lot of my friends want to see black people getting in on on screen in a very sexy, sensual ways where they are not being exploited for the white gaze, basically. And that’s what we need. And that’s what I I’m looking forward to seeing more of. I just think I just thought that would be great.
Speaker 2: But out of time, it’s worth noting that is directed by Carl Franklin, who also made Devil in a Blue Dress. And so Denzel Washington is really an exception here. I don’t know if people obviously everybody knows that Denzel Washington is hot, but like in the mid-nineties, Denzel Washington was like next level hot. It’s like, unbelievable if you don’t just sort of different. It’s more of a street noir, which you were mentioning earlier. A lot of these erotic thrillers are sort of spins on that, but those are great movies that people should check out.
Speaker 3: And I wanted to add one thing about Denzel Washington. Denzel Washington. He is not often allowed to be a sexual being on screen. Denzel Washington did not want to do sex scenes with women who were not black or of color because of like the headache it causes in his fan base and because of like a lot of different weird Hollywood machinations that make people think no one’s going to come see this black actor if he’s with another black actor. So we have to put a white person in and the white person needs to be the love interest. And so that gets into this whole area of like where black people are not allowed to really love on each other in Hollywood a lot of times, unless it’s a very specific type of a film.
Speaker 3: So that was part of like the appeal of something like Out of Time or Devil in the Blue Dress. Because in in a Blue Dress, Denzel also has a vaccine that is very funny, but also still really hot. So these are like these rare moments that we get to see Denzel be a sexual character on screen. And I think that that is also I think that’s also worth noting there. So if anybody wants to see Denzel getting in on, those are two really good movies to check out.
Speaker 2: You’re here to that. And I remember reading something somewhere. He’s had a long career and unfortunately, especially 30 years ago, that was absolutely something that was on the minds of studio executives about what they imagined that people wanted to see and what they would tolerate and what they wouldn’t. I sort of on from my own, just like growing up watching these movies and most of the gay characters in these movies are you they’re like sort of like exaggerated stereotypes in the background that are involved with like, you know, certainly not having any sex.
Speaker 2: Or you get a movie like Cruising, which is like a William Friedkin movie from the early eighties in which a killer dress in mother goes to like leather clubs in Hell’s Kitchen and like the Seventies. And just there’s actual gay sex in that movie. But it is followed by, you know, people being stabbed very violently, often during the act. And that movie, of course, got tons of protests at the time. I think it’s now sort of, you know, it’s such a curiosity and it’s inside these clubs that don’t exist. So I think that gays have sort of calmed down about that. But it is even I watched it recently and it is unpleasant. It’s like I don’t I don’t want to see those things going to so closely.
Speaker 2: You know, a really good contemporary example that I was thinking about is a movie called Stranger by the Lake. It’s a French movie. It’s a little bit arty, but it is a movie that is about a killer who is stalking cruising grounds on a beach, but it’s like really hot at the same time. It’s like, you know, you’re taking a risk, but like, this guy still pursues him anyway. And it because it did like the festival circuit, it was like playing at the Lincoln Center and like there’s all these people, you know, with their season tickets to Lincoln Center showing up to this movie. And there are just like dicks everywhere on screen. And it’s just like this, like unapologetic gay sex. And it shows that I think that there is a way to depict that kind of stuff without making it totally pathologized. It doesn’t have to be, like, totally fearful. Like that movie is genuinely erotic, but doesn’t necessarily link every single time that someone has sex with that violence.
Speaker 2: And I think having more movies like that, I think, you know, I envy the current generation because they get to have a little bit more of a pure experience like that without having to deal with the cruising shit. Even though cruising these days feel like these kind of movies, it’s worth watching. But Woo Boy is a brutal. Well, I think that we have given Hollywood a very clear blueprint for what we want and what we need. And I and I think it definitely involves more erotic thrillers and perhaps more erotic thrillers that make up for some of the more egregious misfires of the past.
Speaker 3: You know, give us some more diverse castings for the erotic thriller. I think that’s what we’re really hungry for and keep the sex, you know, hot, but also safe for the actors. Yeah. Make sure the chemistry is there. I think that is another reason that the erotic thriller has kind of fallen off in the same way that rom coms have fallen off. It’s not enough to put two pretty people together. They need to have, like, a vibe between them. They need it needs to feel like you want to watch it and not just, like, turn your head away. Yeah. Give us some diversity and chemistry. That’s what I’m looking for.
Speaker 2: And let Cox be Cox. It’s 2022. We know what Cox are.
Speaker 2: That’s that’s our show this week. The Way it is produced by Jane Arraf.
Speaker 3: Shannon Palus is our editorial director. Alicia montgomery is vice president of Audio. Daisy Rosario is senior supervising producer of Audio.
Speaker 2: We love to hear from you. Email us at the Waves at slate.com.
Speaker 3: The waves will be back next week. Different hosts, different topic, same time and place.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much for being a Slate Plus member. And since you remember, you get this weekly segment, is this feminist? Every week we debate whether something is feminist. And this week, we’re talking about a reader submitted question that asked, is it feminist to take a man’s last name when you get married? I suppose as a woman, someone wrote in because the Washington Post column declared, Of course, this is in feminists, everybody who says that it is as lines themselves. The piece is called Sorry, but these choices aren’t feminist, quote unquote. There’s Sexist. By Kate Cohen. What do you think about this, Nicole?
Speaker 3: Feminism is all about having a choice. And if you choose to take your partner’s last name, that’s fine. That’s feminist. You’ve made a choice on that. What becomes non feminist or whatever you want to call it, sexist? You are subscribing to the patriarchy is when you have a very narrow idea of what women can be, what women are allowed to do. So if you’re just like, Oh, well, of course a woman should take her husband’s name, that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s not feminist at all. But if you thought about it and you’re like, Yeah, I’m going to take his name, that’s fine with me. That’s perfectly fine. That’s feminist. Feminism is all about having choices and making your own decisions about your own life.
Speaker 3: And, you know, sometimes people don’t like their last names for a variety of reasons. Maybe their father was terrible, and they want to shed that last name as quickly and as little legal red tape as possible. I think I think a lot of people, when they go to change their names outside of a marriage situation, they get a lot of pushback or it’s a little difficult and challenging if you’re trying to change your name outside of getting married. There’s a it’s a big headache for my understanding. So I think some people are just like, well, I guess when I get married, I’ll kick this name to the curb. And there’s there’s nothing wrong with that.
Speaker 2: My sister, who is, like outspoken feminist, changed her name when she got married. And it surprised me and I had to think about that. Obviously, I have very little skin in the game and it is not really for me to have a strong opinion, but I, I just sort of was like I just didn’t expect that she would do that. And but that’s what she felt comfortable doing. And I think that I don’t think I see anything wrong with that. She wants the same last name as her daughter, you know, and I think that this article was sort of taking a more assertive view along the lines of, of course, if you submit to this patriarchal tradition, it’s not feminist. So you can you can do it. No one’s stopping you, but you can’t claim that it’s feminist. And this mentions other things like shaving your legs all the time and things like that. And I do. I just find that view kind of rigid, although I understand where it comes from because the traditions that we’re talking about here are not always the best ones.
Speaker 3: I’ve been thinking about this because there’s like this idea that a lot of younger folks are wanting this return to like 19th, 1950s housewife, very kind of like Leave It to Beaver kind of stuff. And it’s like, no, that was all a lie and a sham. And women were terrible and on drugs trying to make it through a single day. Just because a woman was at home, does that mean she was satisfied?
Speaker 3: There are many cases where women would be like, I think I’d like to work outside the home. And then their husbands would have them committed like, oh no, you must be insane to to want to have your own life and your own desires, that kind of thing. So that that really irritates me when we start getting into that very narrow idea of femininity and womanhood and how to manage your home lifestyle. So and it’s like you don’t have to overcorrect either, you know, and do a lot of things that are uncomfortable, uncomfortable to you just to like stick it to the man. Feminism is about choices ultimately. And if you choose to do these things, you can.
Speaker 2: And besides, we have as we found last week, Taylor Lautner is marrying a woman named Taylor, and now she’s going to change her last name. I don’t know what it is currently. So they’re both going to be Taylor Lautner. And do we want to live in a society where that’s not cool? So I’m very I’m very happy for them. As someone who’s dating a man with the same first name one day, perhaps we could have the same. It’s it’s really possible.
Speaker 3: I think that is one of the most, I don’t know, strangely egotistical things I’ve ever heard. And just like I want to marry myself in a way, you know?
Speaker 2: I know, I know I. But I can’t help to love it. It’s just superfluous. What a great ending for that person. Not that it’s the end of his life or anything, you know? Yeah.
Speaker 3: Okay. So yes, it is feminist. If you decide to take your husband’s last name. If you decide. To shave your legs. If you decide to shave your armpits, whatever it is you made, the choice is yours. It’s feminist.
Speaker 2: I agree. And perhaps it’s not so feminist to write Washington Post columns. I should tell other people that it’s not feminist.
Speaker 3: There it is. Is there something you’re dying to know if it’s feminist or not? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at the waves at Slate.com.