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Battery’s Dead: “Poor Things,” sex, Zoomers

Yorgos Lanthimos’ fifth feature film “Poor Things” is a funny, jarring and incredibly stylized coming-of-age story about a Frankenstein-like figure’s new, baby brain catching up with the age of the adult body it’s in and the speedrunning of psychosexual and general developmental stages that comes with this. 

The picture is an exploration of women’s power and agency over their own bodies and the loss of innocence when it comes to oneself, others and the structures of the world, among other things. It’s a solid movie that gives the viewer a lot to talk about.

What is probably the most unexpected part of the film’s experience (if one is going in blind) is the sheer amount of time the cast spends naked, having sex.

Mind you, it’s done tastefully and comes off no more exploitative than the dynamic it is intended to convey. However, much like other movies released this last year that contain nudity — and there are quite a bit — it created a stir online. 

As far as I can recall, this anti-nudity sentiment that exists online picked up steam among Zoomers (a.k.a. members of Generation Z) during the “Euphoria” season two run. It did have a questionable and controversial aura around it, but it has lingered around long enough to surround unquestionably fine instances of sexuality. It’s an overdone, elementary and annoying way to look at movies, but that does not mean it doesn’t have importance.

American Zoomers are as sex-averse as any generation has ever been, when it comes to media and their personal lives

This doesn’t mean that people aren’t horny – God are they ever – but it’s a difficult feeling to bring into the physical world, it seems. The COVID-19 pandemic kept a very large portion of Zoomers at home and away from each other during one of the more hormonally charged periods of their lives, and that wears on someone. 

Throw in the internet and how it can satisfy every single sexual urge the mind (not necessarily the body) may have in just a few clicks. Consider that people are meeting their partners across the country or even across the world. 

It doesn’t help that an entire sect of American representatives have made it their duty to rid schools of sex education and books that depict and explain sex. If this was just a fascist movement, that would be one thing, but proper sex education is a fundamental step in preventing sexual abuse.

Third places don’t exist, dating apps are increasing in users and sterilizing the romantic process; everything has been molded in anti-social ways and growing up is much more difficult than it was as recently as a decade ago.

My proposal: we need more sex in movies. “Poor Things” is a wonderful step in that direction; it explicitly shows sex as a means of understanding yourself and the world around you, along with the good and bad that comes with it. This message is more important than seeing Emma Stone’s boobs. 

And really, that’s the whole point. The usage of sex as a narrative and thematic weapon isn’t a new thing, but the youthful perversion and denigration of it is. Sex is such a fundamental aspect of human existence that ignorance of it is interpersonal, spiritual malpractice

Aversion isn’t the answer no matter how scary that may seem. Covering one’s eyes during movies is such a ridiculous thing for anyone over the age of 13 (that isn't seeing a horror movie) to do, and so is scouring the web for timestamps so that restroom breaks can be taken right as clothes come off. We don’t need to sterilize our culture and pop culture for the sake of false purity. Sex is in our oldest stories and our oldest works of art; it’s in the Bible.

From what I understand, it’s an individual problem that has ripple effects across the entirety of Generation Z (I’m not Aphrodite). But I promise you, your answer lies somewhere in a movie that you haven’t seen yet, showing you a perspective you haven’t even begun to consider, showing you all kinds of phallic and yonic messaging and imagery that attacks your rhetorical weak spots — maybe it’s in “Poor Things.”

Matthew Butcher is a junior studying English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts about the column? Let Matt know by tweeting him @mattpbutcher.


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