By Ashley Maier on May 2, 2014 · tagged as , , , ,

Don Jon: “A lot of dudes can relate”

don jon official posterI recently watched the film Don Jon.  I almost gave up within the first 10 minutes.  I didn’t want to watch the main character watch porn.  And objectify women, and… So I turned to my Facebook friends, “I hate Don Jon so far.  Should I keep watching?”

Their answers: YES, yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.   So I gave it a chance, and found that what Grant Stancliff commented was true:

I read it as a critique of porn. Sex is a narrative in porn — there’s a certain order in which things happen. His sex life reflects that narrative, and he never gets pleasure out of it. His sexuality is wrapped up in it. Women aren’t people to him. It takes him real work and vulnerability to actually see women as people in addition to potential sex partners, and when he does, he actually heals his own sexual dysfunction.

I think a lot of dudes can relate. We’re taught to ogle, we’re taught to dominate, we’re taught that sex is inextricably linked to power and that we have a certain place in that dynamic…

It makes sense, then, that the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, incidentally where Grant used to work, recently released a prevention discussion and activity guide for the movie, Sex, Gender Norms, and Porn: Examining the film Don Jon.  The guide, and the movie, cover sex, relationships, objectification of women, gender roles, porn, and community and societal influence – with WCSAP putting it all in the context of sexual violence prevention.

So, if you, like me, are considering switching over to Odd Thomas (no, really, I watched that…limited Netflix streaming options, am I right?), I promise that if you give it a chance, you’ll start to see that it isn’t what it appears.

Ashley Maier

More Posts by Ashley Maier

Ashley Maier, MSW, MPA, has worked in the movement to end gendered violence for well over a decade. She began as a volunteer at a domestic violence shelter in Illinois, served as a hospital-based advocate in St. Louis, coordinated community health/family violence training programs for pediatric residents in St. Louis and San Diego, and managed Oregon’s Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grantees and program. Ashley is a contributing author to Lantern Book’s 2013 publication, Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat and is creator of the 2015 book, Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice.

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