Last night, on the Season 8 Curb Your Enthusiasm premiere, Larry David winds up having to help a Girl Scout figure out how to use a tampon. It's quite a funny scene -- and, I believe, tampon instruction a very necessary lesson for every coming-of-age girl -- I mean, the first time I used a tampon, I went my whole first day, which included a bumpy ride in the back of a pickup truck (ouch!), with the tampon applicator still attached and lodged inside before figuring out the next time that the thing detaches. Of course, the scene gets girls and first periods all wrong -- just like TV and movies seem to always get girls and women and their bodies all wrong. Just like they never seem to "get it."
Will it ever be important to get women, their bodies, and their experiences right?
WATCH the clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm:
Like I said, I found the scene to be funny. It's the inaccurate setup to the funny part that bugs me. Maybe there is an uber-enlightened young girl out there who has several older sisters and is tuned in enough to "feel" her very first period the second that it comes on, but that was definitely NOT my experience. Or the experience of most my friends. I didn't know anything until I SAW blood. I mean, how would a girl know and until she, you know, knows?
And what hormone-pumping teen could a) announce such a thing to an old guy stranger and then b) go along with his charade of a tampon lesson without so much as a small panic attack or tears in her eyes. Sure, the scenes makes for funny-for-guys TV, but it doesn't make for realistic-for-women TV. And, for me anyway, the best TV is the TV that gets it so right you have to laugh.
So how many times do we have to see labor come on full force in 30 seconds flat? Watch a woman give birth with two pushes and a single scream? Watch women have orgasms in the missionary position (I know it happens for some women but not as many women as we see it happening for on TV). Yeah, I get it. Time is of essence on a TV show. The whole Girl Scout and her experience and its setup wasn't really the comedy. The comedy was Larry David's tampon lesson, which I admit was funny. However, wouldn't it have been more funny if the girl hadn't been so calm, such a quick learner, or so even-keeled about being with a strange guy during this rite of passage moment.
The thing is ... every time TV or movies get it wrong, it perturbs me into remembering how many shows don't have female writers or consultants off whom they can bounce these scenes. In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey talks about how male producers on Saturday Night Live initially rejected a female writer’s hilarious "Kotex Classic" ad spoof. The men labeled it "too difficult to produce," but Fey soon realized the guys just didn't get it. Fey writes, "It was the moment I realized that there was no 'institutionalized sexism’ at this place -- sometimes the guys just literally didn't know what we were talking about ... they had never been handed a bulging antique Kotex product by the school nurse."
This might be the case here, too. Either the men who wrote it just "don't get it" or they don't care to -- I'm just not sure.
Does it annoy you that TV and media can't depict women's experiences accurately?
Image via YouTube