Postcards From the Edge No.7by Bruce Abrahams
Just before Christmas, we were all very baffled down here in The Old Doom Bar about what that lot up-country were playing at. It is a commonplace among us lads to express our appreciation of an attractive female with the phrase ‘I wouldn’t mind her sitting on my face’. And just when BT had brought us broadband and we could settle down to a bit of vicarious face-sitting, the ghost of Mary Whitehouse has risen to deprive us of this innocent homage to the female body.
Truth is, that whilst the genitalia of both sexes are often traduced by the use of vulgar terms in pejorative contexts, they are equally objects of desire. Nothing illustrates this better than the transition made by female pudenda from unmentionable in polite society to their status as icons. Pace Mary Quant’s 1960s pubic heart, the Brazilian and the decorative concept of vajazzle have become publicly discussed items of feminine presentation. Male equipment, too, is beginning to assert itself after its post-Regency, Victorian eclipse. Early 1980s media appearances as part of male athletes’ ‘package’ (or, indeed, ‘lunchbox’) led to its less-than-coy suggestiveness in advertisements for men’s underwear.
But enough about men – we are here to celebrate the vagina and defend women’s right to sit on whoever’s face they wish, and as firmly and for as long as they enjoy it: which is surely longer they would enjoy a bout of, say, bukkake. We should remind ourselves also, that back in the 1970s a frequent plaint by liberated women was that, while they were expected to ‘give head’ to a chap, men were less keen to go down on them. Surely the same cannot still be true?
The 1970s were the decade in which the contents of girls’ knickers became public. Penthouse magazine took the whole enchilada onto respectable bookstands, but it was left to the Monty Python team to say ‘hey, this is a female’s pubic bush’ in a memorable scene from the seminal Life of Brian. The film ran foul of the repressive classes of course. And, due to a quirk of our cinema licensing laws, could be banned by local authorities. Which inter alia, Truro duly did and the ban remained in force until just the other day, when Macmillan Cancer Nurses had the inspired idea of sponsoring a special showing, courtesy of the owner of the Plaza Cinema Truro. Many of us made a lengthy pilgrimage as an act of collective reminiscence. As well as the iconoclastic, enduring humour we were once more treated to the sight of Sue Jones-Davies’ luxuriant growth. For whatever reason, the equally brief appearance of Graham Chapman’s penis was less remarked upon, but no less remarkable, in the canons of British cinema. IMDb’s entry on the film notes the presence of male and female nudity in its ‘Parents Guide’ but adds ‘the pubic hair covers the vagina, nothing explicit.’.
It was in the 1970s – innocent times almost as culturally remote for us now as were the 1870s in 1914 – that the other unique symbol of female biology, the period, went public. This was a decade in which athletic young women in tight white jeans leapt legs akimbo about our television screens in celebration of the absorbent qualities of the tampon. Advertisements for sanitary protection have become so acceptable as to be almost invisible nowadays. Evidently ‘job done’: the brand wars must be over. More noticeable are the all-dancing, Always Discreet for Sensitive Bladder ads prompted either by some recently diagnosed widespread female bladder weakness or sadly – and more realistically – by an ageing demographic.
Whilst the lads’ mags of the era had done their best to celebrate a central erotic component of the female form, it took a determined effort over more than a decade by feminists in particular to turn phallocentric and vulgar ideas about the cunt into appreciation and respect for the dignity of the vagina (or more specifically, vulva). Moreover, the sexier sisters, from Germaine Greer on, brought it to the male consciousness that this complex organ could – and should – be pleasured with versatile consideration. As technology advanced from video to digital the porn industry took every unsubtle opportunity to present the vagina in action and in this context women are too often portrayed in a negative and subordinate way.
So it’s sad that such a delightful and female-friendly an activity as face-sitting should be banned from our screens by the fundamental feminists, Whitehouse clones and Muggeridge moralists of the British establishment.
Dark clouds gather. In our desire to create a society of equal respect we may be losing our sense of humour and humanity. The 1970s (OK, 1983, but of the era) gave us Girls Just Want to Have Fun, a jolly song performed by Cyndi Lauper. There are many ways in which girls may want to enjoy themselves: if sitting on your or anyone else’s face is one of them, who can complain, let alone deprive you of sharing their enjoyment?