Monday, December 27, 2010

Through A New Looking Glass: Summer of '42

A few weeks ago I was asked about my thoughts on the movie "Summer of '42" from the perspective of a young male virgin. If you look at my recent Theater Thursday post you'll see my rundown of what happened in the movie. Well that post was pretty long so I decided to leave the description at that and do a separate post for examination. I chose to use my Looking Glass series because of how this film touches on male sexuality. And just like in my earlier Theater Thursday post there will be spoilers so tread accordingly.

Yesterday's impression: I'm twice the age of our young Hermie and as I watched this film I have to say I did see myself in him when I was that age. Often thinking about sex. Looking it up in books and even jacked off to a few of them. Wanting to attain the treasure that is between a girl's legs and prove my manhood. As I have mentioned before boys were trying to meet the expectation that sex is a way to verify one's manhood.

Take Hermie's friend Oscy. The things he was doing throughout the movie would have been written off as the same boys will be boys joshing around that no one would think twice about. The first time Hermie tries to talk to Dorothy, Oscy is yelling obscenities at her like calling Hermie a rapist. Harmless fun right? Later on at the movies he tries his hardest to fondle and touch on Miriam (and I'm pretty sure he crosses the line between flirtation and harassment).

And even Hermie himself pulled off something that society says that teen guys are supposed to aspire to, sex with an older woman. Growing up there were a few teachers that I liked and would have had sex with if I had gotten the chance and think that he was lucky for getting with such a good looking woman. Statutory rape? Yeah right he should be lucky to have gotten it on with such a hot looking woman. Or if you want to come from the other side "Oh she's a woman and a woman would never harm a kid. In fact I'll bet he attacked her".

As far as I can tell those three were doing the entire "boys will be boys" routine.

Today's Impression: Looking back with what I know now I have to continue to say that when it comes to sex boys don't have it as easy as some would like to have us think (and while I can understand how it played out in this movie please don't buy into the idea that its only boys putting this pressure on each other). I mean really the idea that one must have sex with women in order to verify his manhood?

As for the sex between Hermie and Dorothy in today's age I think that it would end up being a case of statutory rape. However Daisy brought up something a while back on an unrelated post that I want to touch on a bit.:
In some ways, it "crosses a line" and I think that's why it doesn't get played on TV the way it used to. i.e. "underage boys and slightly older women" were not considered immoral or shocking back then... this was by the same guy who wrote THE WALTONS, family entertainment!
To me it seems to me that underaged boy/older woman sex is still not that immoral or shocking. And I've covered the reason for this before. Boys are socialized to think that having sex is a requirement in order to be considered a man.

And there seem to be no limitations to this as any and all types (as long as its heterosexual) of sex are allowed to fulfill this. Most of the time you only hear about one side of the coin in which this socialization supports the notion that men/boys are supposed to have access to the bodies of girls/women on demand. What most people don't talk about is the other side of the coin in which boys/men themselves are socialized to think that their bodies must be used in ways that they may not want them to be used in order to assert their manhood.

Think about it for a bit. By asserting that lots of sex with lots of women is a requirement to be considered a man a lot of men are being cut out of the equation. Gay men aren't having sex with any women. Men that are happily monogamous with one woman aren't having lots of sex with lots of women. Men that really aren't that interested in any sort of sex would be left out as well.

But as to why this movie is not played so much these days I don't think its as simple as a matter of underaged boy/older woman sex. Take a look at the movie "American Pie". The character Finch fulfilled his vow to have sex before the end of senior year (a problem in and of itself) by having sex with an older woman. The mother of a bully that harassed him, giving the sex a twist of payback ("Nevermind that you've bullied and harassed me for so long, I had sex with your mom. In your face!") Underaged boy/older woman sex is not considered taboo, at least nowhere the taboo that underaged girl/older man sex has. In fact I'd go as far as to say that its celebrated and excused. The underaged boy is celebrated for "getting with a MILF" (that's Mother I'd Like to Fuck, a term that hit the mainstream thanks to "American Pie") and the older woman's actions are excused in way that would not fly if the genders were swapped.

I wonder if the reason Summer of '42 is not played too often is because of the fact that Dorothy, while never being held legally responsible for her actions, does express some amount of remorse for having sex with Hermie that night. That would imply that such an act is wrong but how can it wrong for a guy to have sex with a woman right? It would not go well with the very strong socialization that boys are getting these days about sex.

Well Daisy here's my look on it. I last watched it about 3 weeks ago so I may have missed something but feel free to bring up anything I might have missed and you may jog my memory a bit and get a few more words on it out of me. And that goes for anyone reading this. Feel free to jump in the discussion.

6 comments:

DaisyDeadhead said...

Danny, interesting!

My husband thought it was a fantasy come to life, that it didn't happen, or at least, not quite like that (i.e. it was a "perfected" dreamlike version). In the links I have found since, it appears that the real Dorothy contacted Raucher after the making of the film, and said she had always worried that she had damaged him. So that goes with what you are saying!

It is interesting also that Dorothy is not a MILF, maybe 25 or something. So that is closer to actual teenage male fantasies. She isn't someone's mother. (And as you said in your account of the movie, actual adults/mothers are never seen in the movie, as if they didn't really exist... except for the drug store guy. And he is a "shaming" presence, if you notice.)

Certainly, I expected you to condemn the movie, not say what you did... and it NEVER OCCURRED to me that the movie would not be popular because Dorothy took off at the end and left the note. Wow! New perspective.

I knew that if a real virgin saw it, I would learn something! :) Love ya and thanks for your views.

Danny said...

Im glad you enjoyed my review Daisy.

It is interesting also that Dorothy is not a MILF, maybe 25 or something. So that is closer to actual teenage male fantasies. She isn't someone's mother.
True. Rethinking that I'd say that she's not a MILF but more of the "hot older chick". College age perhaps.

(And as you said in your account of the movie, actual adults/mothers are never seen in the movie, as if they didn't really exist... except for the drug store guy. And he is a "shaming" presence, if you notice.)
Yes I forgot about the shaming presence of the drug store owner. Which also flies in the face of the idea that boys get a free pass on being sexual beings.

Certainly, I expected you to condemn the movie, not say what you did... and it NEVER OCCURRED to me that the movie would not be popular because Dorothy took off at the end and left the note.
Yeah I think the remorse she showed via the note has something to do with it. In fact I'd say that if you were to bump the ages of Hermie and Dorothy up a bit (like say make Hermie a college freshman about 19-20 years old and make Dorothy in her late 30s or so and make her a professor) not only would it get a seal of approval but it would probably end up as an "American Pie"-esque comedy hit or some sort of romance.

<blockquote>I knew that if a real virgin saw it, I would learn something!</blockquote>
You know I couldn't help but laugh when I saw that. A real virgin vs. a fake virgin. LOL.

DaisyDeadhead said...

I meant a real virgin vs a movie virgin! :P

Danny said...

I figured as much. I just couldn't help but laugh. And speaking of you notice how odd it is that girls/women are pressured to lie about being virgins whereas men/boys are pressured to lie about not being virgins?

DaisyDeadhead said...

And I thought of something else... the way Hermie cries when he holds Dorothy and they dance? Absolutely not one bit of salaciousness. *Deep compassion.* THIS is the actual moment when he "becomes a man"--the sex was simply the finishing touch. He becomes a man when he feels deeply for the one he cares about, he cries for her pain. He feels adult feelings, understands what happens to adults: they can go to war and die. They can lose the one they love. Etc. He grows up, literally, in a few minutes.

Well, now that you point it out: Good Lord! Of course, we can't have teenage boys showing sympathy and crying for a woman's pain! He is supposed to be trying to get into her panties every single second!!! But in fact, the sex is shown to be a direct result of what has transpired between them (deep emotion) and not a lot of grab-ass games. You know? The movie portrays Hermie to be an emotional guy too, and that isn't too popular these days.

Comparing these movies to AMERICAN PIE and the others, has been instructive, so thanks again for allowing me these new insights!

Danny said...

Oh I like where you're going with that. I think its absolutely true that the focus on him caring about her emotions would not play well today. Speaking of American Pie about the closest it came to this was the one guy Oz (played by Chris Cline I think) who was "the sensitive one" even though his sincerity was questionable.

People don't like the idea that there are boys out there that sex is the end all be all of pursuits.

Comparing these movies to AMERICAN PIE and the others, has been instructive, so thanks again for allowing me these new insights!
And thanks for recommending that movie!

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