Bridgerton: Why Women Still Aren’t Allowed To Have A Sexuality
Bridgerton. Need I say much more? Well yes I do, this is a Women’s Blog for goodness sake. I’m sure like me and most of my friends, my mother and sister, you will have been enjoying this Netflix Original Series.
Not only has Bridgerton successfully paved the way for actors of colour to be cast in any role regardless of era, it has portrayed 19th century life as hedonistic, exciting and sexy, all with a modern edge. Whether this a true representation of life at the time is for another blog (absolutely not mine, it sounds a bit boring if truth be told) however it certainly makes for great viewing!
Cut to an elegant and ornate orchestra performing Ariana Grande, Maroon 5 and Shawn Mendes whilst the upper classes of London Society prance around a lavish ballroom, and you get the picture. What made me want to write about the series however, was it’s references to women’s sexuality and specifically to women’s pleasure.
Why Should Women Have To Beg To Be Told?
‘the lack of change in society’s attitude towards
Women’s Sexuality, has never been so apparent’
I will go as far to say that the theme of Bridgerton, is women’s oppression. Oppression of their lives, their loves, their intelligence, their bodies, their sexuality - the list goes on but I shan’t. Well maybe just a little bit…
Of course we all know this, but the lack of change in society’s attitude towards women’s sexuality, has never been so apparent when you see women 200 years ago being denied the same rights.
Miss Bridgerton, in one scene, BEGS the Duke of Hastings to tell her what happens between a man and woman in marriage.
So Let’s Get One Thing Clear
NO ONE EDUCATES WOMEN
ABOUT THEIR BODIES
ABOUT THEIR PLEASURE
In the nineteenth century, this was because they were not allowed to have it. They could not own their bodies, their pleasure and choose to have sex when they pleased otherwise they would have been cast out of society, and their reputation and that of their family’s, ruined.
What Has Changed?
‘pretending to have had sex, seemed
much easier than actually doing it’
As a pubescent 14 year old, a boyfriend of mine told all his friends, which meant near enough the whole school (or so it felt like), that he and I had had sex when in fact we hadn’t. I let him tell his friends because pretending to have had it, seemed much easier than actually doing something I wasn’t ready for.
‘I was - labelled at 14 a slut, easy and loose’
But nonetheless, there I was - labelled at 14 a slut, easy and loose. It was incredible the way other boys and girls began to treat me. But put away your hankies, I can genuinely say I completely OWNED that reputation, let (most of) the negative comments slip and slide right over my head and took it in my stride - I honestly did, I had a spring in my step. All girls and women don’t always have this resilience, I was lucky. The next year I had sex for the first time and whilst it satisfied my curiosity, it didn’t really satisfy me. The experience and this realisation, perhaps the first major leap I took to stride into feminism.
Sex Education Of Yesteryear Still Here
Girls all over the world are not being told about their bodies and how they work beyond a discussion on 28 day cycles, fallopian tubes and tampons. Oh and the obligatory condom on a banana.
Why are we all guessing what body part goes where and discovering by chance how to give ourselves pleasure?
How do girls feel when they know they are any thing but hetereosexual? Where is the support early on?
‘Miss Bridgerton she received as much education
about her own right to pleasure as any young woman today…’
In the scene where the Duke of Hastings quietly and sensually explains to Miss Bridgerton that she should touch herself “between the legs”, she received as much education about her own right to pleasure as any young woman today. Indeed there will have been countless girls around the world who watched that scene and went on to have their first pleasurable experience with themselves. And that is desperately tragic.
Madonna or Mother Theresa
Since patriarchy was established as the first amphibious creature crawled out of the water and began to grow arms and legs, women have been oppressed and their bodies assumed to be for men’s pleasure, child-rearing or to be used in advertising. The thought that women have the right to sexual freedom, to not want a family, to want to experience pleasure on their own terms and demand that a man give this to them - is revolutionary to many women, appallingly disgusting and unacceptable to many men, and unequivocally illegal in many countries.
Unlike nineteenth century women, we have the opportunity to think, act and speak for ourselves. We are ALLOWED to be sexual and we are ALLOWED to experience pleasure on our own terms, whether that be alone or with partner(s) without fear of consequences such as bullying or pregnancy.
Bravo to Netflix for addressing Women’s Sexuality and inadvertently highlighting the need for education reform in the present day.
And finally, to quote the Duke of Hastings; “when you’re alone, you can touch yourself, anywhere on your body, anywhere that gives you pleasure, but especially between your legs”.
GO GET YOURS!