Channeling Gena Rowlands

I want to start interviewing the models of the industry. I won’t say anything against existing writers about their questions and interpretations of porn stars, but I think these women are facinating. I think they don’t get to really show off their sassy, angry and silly old selves. Basically, their most interesting side!

It is the way with society to feel a little uncomfortable about women and “female things”. I almost wrote “female issues”, but that’s exactly what I mean, I guess. One must tread lightly because certain words and topics are emotionally-charged and the level of uncomfortability surrounding the murky and unclear waters of “womanhood” extends itself such that we tend to get jumpy when the “issue” is too involved and too much is revealed.

Even in porn we keep these females wading in a very shallow lake of interest, and yet these just happen to be some of the most interesting women on the planet! Prostitutes are my favorite.   So, why are we so squeamish when it comes to female “things”? I am going to wander off into an extreme point, but there is a point, so bare with me. You are watching a movie and along comes a rape scene. Even I get really sensitive when certain subjects are broached. It’s an ugly side of human nature, but the question is – what’s so uncomfortable about it really? What’s so uncomfortable about an actual act, a deed done to actual people, especially when it happens every day, to many, many people?

This topic has come up several times recently and has forced me to look at it closely.    I started thinking about it after watching a friend cringe noticeably during a rape scene in a movie, and then, the next day on the news, I listened to a piece about a video game called “The Path”. Basically, you play the game as a “Little Red Riding Hood” at various life stages, facing various “Big Bad Wolves” along the journey to grandma’s house. Thing is, if you make it to grandma’s house unscathed, you lose and you have to start all over. It was a fascinating bit about facing danger and being brave. One woman said that it helped her, because, through encountering her immediate and scared feelings of having been raped, just because – in the game – she enetered a playground at night to find a lone man sitting on a bench, it released something pent up in her. The game, itself, provoked her feelings and memories and literally forced her to face her fears, but rather than collapse under the weight of it, she became empowered by it.

Then, on the news the next day, I listened to a German woman from Post-World War II Germany talk about being raped repeatedly by Soviet soldiers. She was being asked about her experience by a person focusing his documentary on the subject, and she expressed her relief – now in her eighties – of being able to finally talk about it and being able to finally let go of it.

Into her eighties!… and she is finally getting some peace. Why do we not talk about these things openly in our society? Why are we so afraid to put our feelings under a microscope, and why are we so afraid of the seedier side of our factual existence?

The telling thing about these people is how uncomfortable they felt talking about their issues as  the result of an insensitive audience that can’t handle the details. We don’t want to know the things that happen to people when they are at a weak point beause we can’t stand up in our own mind and face the dangers. We don’t want our children to grow up gay or strippers or pimps, but they do. Why are we so offended by it?

In our love for Super Heros, we see strength as big muscles and dry-eyed perseverance. But there are strengths one cannot readily see with the naked eye and I think we don’t dig into certain issues enough to see the interesting things about it. Charlie’s Angels and The Power Puff Girls – it’s all very cute and candy-coated and fun, but it lacks all the grit that makes it compelling. I have rarely seen a real female heroine portrayed in movies or anywhere else, for that matter, but my favorite example of having seen it is in a movie starring my favorite actress, Gena Rowlands.

In Gloria, Gena Rowlands plays a tough chick that walks through most of the movie pretty much annoyed at having to take care of a little boy that is not hers, and what makes the movie – and more importantly, Gena’s portrayal of the character – so brilliant, is that even when she is wielding a gun and spitting venom at people who would have the boy killed because he witnessed the murder of his family, you can see every ounce of vulnerability etched into her complex features. The mix of cold acceptance and heartbreaking fragility is powerful beyond many things I have ever seen in cinema or real life. She is the only actress I have ever witnessed perform at that level of feeling. I fell in love with Gena Rowlands and I fell in love with that character. I saw in her the kind of woman I wanted to be. A brassy bitch with a gun. Ha! I think it illustrates how conflicting it is to be this kind of female in a world that doesn’t want to know what can make a woman hard and delicate, that the same sects of our world that only want to see strength in the illusion of resolve – be it through an unwavering and irrational “faith” demonstrated in anti-humane acts, a control-freak hold on “family” that is really just power play and a precarious tug-of-war with the weak thread of “right” and “wrong” – are the same institutions that create the people they push away.

We live in a society that does not want to acknowledge that children get molested, animals get beaten and tortured – that real flesh and blood human beings get run down and trampled by unfathomable cruelties in the pursuit of many things. We are offended by our own humanity, and I am, personally, tired of letting my fear of being vulnerable keep me from being a whole woman, a whole person, a whole human being.

I am projecting here, but I think the women in the sex industries are heroines. It’s a broad brushstroke to paint (literally and figuratively), but I think these women are stronger and wiser in more ways than most. They have powerful emotions that I think, if channeled articulately, can be an effective voice in the world.

They are very human and I don’t think even they appreciate how important their humanity is. A woman who hides her vulnerabilites in order to be accepted by her society is not a happy woman. A happy woman is happy to be a woman, whatever that entails, and especially, if it bonds her to other women.

I am tired of reading anything about porn stars and prostitutes that focuses on their troubles from a judgmentmental and “cautionary” angle. If you are going to caution a female against something, you must caution everyone, because they don’t become what and who they are by themselves, and we are all affected by each other whether we want to be or not. We learn much more about ourselves when we don’t turn a blind eye, when we face our fears head-on.

I, personally, think we are a society full of spineless pansies and we need to toughen up a bit by embarcing our sensitivities. We need a hero, and that bitch isn’t afraid to slap your face or fall apart over a damaged pair of Jimmy Choo’s… or a broken heart.Hey! I’m fairly impressed with having written such a thoughtful piece! Usually, when I write while I’m on my period, it’s all, “Die bitches, fucking DIE!!!”

– Julie Meadows

28360cookie-checkChanneling Gena Rowlands

Channeling Gena Rowlands

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3 Responses

  1. … I liked Gloria too – wow, saw that film years ago as a kid w/ my grandfather (his pick) and didn’t know what to expect.

    You should do interviews. You never know where a compilation of such of work will lead you.

    This was an interesting and thought provoking article.

  2. I’d love to read real interviews with some of these girls. If I read another interview with the expected “I love to suck dick all day” response, I’m going to puke. If it was true, they’d do the scene for free. I’m sure some of these girls would have some valuable things to say, other than the typical “fulfill your fantasy” responses if someone would just ask the questions. In our experience, Julie Meadows is the perfect person to ask those questions…as she herself has a lot of valuable things to say.

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