Hi people! This is another episode of the Her Me Out podcast, I’m still Charlie Brook and I’m very ready to come back at you with some surprisingly upbeat discussion about how our culture perpetuates rape in the media or perpeturapetion as I like to call it.
There’s no messing around today on the Her Me Out podcast, as we’re going into the heart of perpeturapetion with the unfortunate cult classic: American Pie.
Amazingly I had never actually seen this movie before watching it for this podcast, and in many ways I kinda wish I had kept it that way. But this movie has had quite a reputation, so I knew it needed to be covered. And in all honesty, I think that this movie managed to perpeturape me anyway, I didn’t even need to see it before and I’ve still felt its impact on our culture. Watching it now, I feel like I better understood every male I went to high school with, and sadly, kinda the same with the females.
There is so much in this movie that we could talk about, which kinda makes me want to cry a little bit? But I won’t, and not because showing emotion is a sign of weakness, but because I’ve got way too much to say so let’s get into it.
For anyone else who has also managed to go their whole life without seeing this film, it’s about a group of high school friends (all male) who make a pact to have sex for the first time before the end of their senior year. And even within the first 2 minutes of the movie we get a pretty good sense of how important women are to them within this little sex game - in that they’re not really.
Of course they all want to find one to have sex with, which I’m not necessarily faulting that aspect of it, but like I said it’s pretty clear from the start how much they really value women in this movie. Even in subtle moments like this at the very beginning...
Illegal channels? If there’s any channel that should be illegal it’s that woman’s channel, lifetime supply of pantyhose or some shit.
Wow lol good one. Now I know this is a very small moment, but it’s kind of important. That joke wasn’t even clever, in fact it was almost awkward, I don’t even think either of them thought it was funny and yet it’s what’s casually being thrown about in the first two minutes establishing that we’re about to spend the next 2 hours in a world where women and their things are always the butt of the joke. AKA our world. And, as women, especially back in 1999 when this came out, we were meant to laugh and be like yah funny, you hate me and everything I do. Cool.
Either that or react like a normal person and say that’s not very funny to then be told it’s just banter and why do you have to be so sensitive.
You know, I love both options, can I have them all?
So with that great start, let’s get into some real rape culture-y business.
One could do a full rape culture case study on the character of Steve Stifler, the grade A Asshole of East Great Falls High. I’m not even going to go into all of the bullshit that he says and does so here is a nice little montage for you…
Clip 1: I got an idea about something new. How about you guys actually locate your dicks, remove the shrink wrap and fucking use them!
Dude it’s gonna happen, she’s a college chick.
Whatever, I’ll see you guys tonight. I’ll look for you in the no fucking section.
Clip 2: If we hook up tonight tomorrow I’ll just be some girl you go telling all of your friends about.
Steve you could at least look at me when you say that.
Clip 3: Yah man, I think you need your balls reattached.
Keep it down, dude.
Clip 4: Fuck me, there’s going to be an naked Eastern European chick naked in your house, and you’re not going to do anything about that?
Oh Steve. And the saddest part is that he was undoubtedly the favorite of many a young boy. Why?
He was the cool guy, and even though we know he’s horrible, we still find him annoyingly endearing and an important part of the gang. We dismiss his behavior because he’s just that asshole, popular guy who can get away with what he wants because he throws the parties with the beer.
Which brings me to where this whole charade begins: Stifler’s party.
All of the guys are doing their best to get it on and failing - but Kevin, played by Thomas Ian Nicholas, is the one I’d like to focus on. Kevin is in a relationship with Tara Reid’s character, Vicky, (btw where is Tara, is she okay?), and for the whole movie it’s not clear if he actually likes her or just wants to put himself inside of her.
You know I put in months of quality time with Vicky, Sherman goes out for one night and he scores.
So at this party, they go upstairs to hook-up. Tara is not feeling like she wants to have sex for the first time at a lame party, which is fair enough, so she decides to give Kev a cas beej instead.
So it’s great that she’s giving her partner pleasure, but we later learn that Kev has literally never returned the favor. And neither of them see this as strange. Which sadly is not strange to me.
This right here demonstrates a really big problem. We have this idea that it’s perfectly fine, in heterosexaul relationships, for the man to receive pleasure without the woman getting it in return. As in, it’s perfectly normal for a sexual interaction to be just a stand alone blowjob, but the reverse is much less common.
Why does this happen? There’s so many reasons. A lot of them having to do with this legend that men have to finish whereas women don’t. Or that sex is achieved when a man orgasms so whether or not a women does isn’t really pertinent. Things like that.
But probably the most impactful reasons come from women falling into the trap of our culture. We ourselves use different excuses to divert our own pleasure for example it’s harder for women to get off (more complex is a better way to think about it) so what’s the point in trying, sometimes we’re even brainwashed into thinking that it’s gross and that we don’t want to subject someone to that (if you just look at how we talk about periods it makes sense), or sometimes it’s just that women don’t know how to be sexually demanding in that way.
Which is mostly because we’ve always seen women as the object of sex rather than a leading actor within it. Plus, we’re conditioned to want to please men, to compete for their affection, so we’re okay with compensating our own pleasure for theirs. And men haven’t really ever had to that - or least not in the same, large-scale, way.
In any case, what we end up getting from this whole interaction is that Kev gets a cas beej from his amazing and generous girlfriend and then he dares to complain about it…
Enough of this blow job bullshit, I gotta get laid already.
I literally cannot with this guy. This is one of the reasons why women feel so guilty leaving their partners unsatisfied when males are more likely to feel no remorse from it. And yes, he realizes that what he says is messed up - but that doesn’t stop him from spending the rest of the movie still arguing the same point.
So despite getting sexual pleasure (AND NOT GIVING A SHIT ABOUT THE SEXUAL PLEASURE OF HIS GF), Kev is the one who starts basically a rally the next day about how all of the guys need to lose their virginity by the end of the school year.
Alright, I got an idea. But it’s gotta stay between us. It’s really simple, we’ve just got to make an agreement. No it’s more than an agreement.
What, a bet?
A pact. No money involved, more important than any bet. Here’s the deal: we all get laid before we graduate.
Dude it’s not like I haven’t been trying to get laid.
Think about when you work out Oz. You’ve got to have someone there, someone to spot you. Someone to keep you motivated. Well that’s exactly what we can do for each other, be there to keep each other on track. Separately we are flawed and vulnerable but together we are the masters of our sexual destiny.
Alright I’m all about people being the masters of their own sexual destiny, but the motives here are all wrong. It’s not about having a sexual experience with another person, it’s about straight up validating their masculinities.
This is our very manhood at stake. We must make a stand here and now. No longer will our penises remain flaccid and unused. We’ll fight for every man out there that isn’t get laid and should be. This is our day, this is our time. And by god we will not stand by and watch history condemn us into celibacy.
I like this.
We will make a stand. We will succeed. We will get laid.
You literally had a blowjob last night dude.
But the most telling part comes from this:
It’s gotta be valid consensual sex.
Why do you have to qualify that it has to be consensual?? Non-consensual sex is not sex - it’s rape. But this kind of language is the most problematic aspect of the whole movie.
As the audience, we’re meant to be rooting for them to have sex - at all costs - meaning that what’s standing in the way of the protagonists achieving the goal of the movie, and providing the audience with a happy, complete feeling narrative, is women - or the antagonists - who won’t have sex with them.
And the stakes are just too damn high to not be rapey! Poor Kev has a straight up meltdown at prom when the others don’t think they’ll achieve their goal saying that they’ll just have to figure it out and make it happen. And it’s only then that they’re like...what do you mean make it happen? This is sex, there’s another person in this equation and it’s not just about making it happen because you’re a dude who has penis that needs to be satisfied. But it literally takes them the whole movie to get there.
And then the most annoying part? They still all have sex!
Whose fuckboy fantasy was this?
I mean Oz for example. His storyline basically tells us that if you realize you’re dating an asshole, all he has to do is practice singing a song one time to be forgiven.
Now I know his character is actually meant to show growth - he doesn’t end up telling the guys in the end that he and Heather had sex because he no longer feels like he has to brag about it. But this isn’t enough to counteract all of the damage that’s been done in the rest of the movie. I mean it’s like when Kev for like a second tells Tara
Tara: Sex. It’s always about sex.
Kev: It’s not always about sex.
Except that this whole movie has only been about sex. Which would not necessarily be wrong, if it wasn’t about tricking females into it.
Paul Finch, for example, manages to convince all of the girls in school that he’s well-endowed to get them to sleep with him. Which by the way, what kind of high school girl is like going around asking about a guy with a big dick because now they want to hook-up with him for just that reason. Were women consulted when this was written or…? Again, fuckboy fantasy.
And, the absolute worst part of all, is when Jason Biggs let’s freakin’ Steve Stifler convince him that it’s okay to secretly film a woman.
Jim get some fucking balls. If you don’t have the guts to photograph a naked chick then how are you ever going to sleep with one.
Oh Steve. No. That’s absolutely not how it works.
And it’s baffling that the idea that it would at all be violation to film her without her knowing isn’t even remotely represented. It’s almost like they made it seem like she likes it or she would think it’s amusing if she knew. It’s literally never addressed! The only glimpse that it was maybe negative for her was the fact that she was sent home by her sponsors because of it. So cool, she ends up getting penalized by not getting to enjoy the rest of her sexy & consensual study abroad. Great, thanks Jas.
Again, if this is the kind of movie that people were watching and were meant to find funny and cool, which they did, then no wonder we have so many problems with men feeling like it isn’t a problem to sexualize women without their consent and for women to not know how to tell them to stop.
The only saving grace of this whole film was Natasha Lyonne who played Jessica. I think this film would have been much more insightful if had been made exclusively from her perspective. Though she still said some things that sort of validated the horrible behavior of the guys for example
But she seems at least like she’s looking at the culture she was born into...and is not impressed even if she doesn’t know how to break out of it. She was there to explain to poor Tara Reid that sex and virginity don’t have to be as big of a deal as we believe them to be.
Also I love that she doesn’t hook up with any of the guys. They don’t deserve Natasha (don’t tell me if they end up hooking up in one of the 15 other movies that they make).
One other thing that I have to credit this movie for is that they show a female orgasm! I don’t love that Kevin finds all of these tips to making it happen from some weird sex bible that his brother gives him rather than just asking Tara what she wants, but we it was positive for them to show this.
And that’s how American Pie perpeturaped us!
Woof that one took a lot out of me. But there ya go, I never have to watch it again.
And as for my recommendation, I would say give this one a miss. The anger to enjoyment ratio is just like not worth it.
But remember, we can still love the things that used to bring us joy even if they aren’t great for women or people of color - we just gotta be aware of why.
If you have any suggestions for movies that you think I should watch for this podcast, feel free to reach out to me you can find me on Instagram at @charlooobrook or visit my website HerMeOut.com and contact me that way.
Then subscribe to this podcast if you’re into it or rate or review, all of those things are nice!
And until next time, it’s a culture, people!