The title probably makes this seem more interesting than it will be.

Today I'm working from home but don't have much to do since the long weekend is kicking off. So I decided to watch a few documentaries on women/sexuality/gender roles/etc. in preparation for a seminar class I'll be taking in a few weeks.

I just watched the documentary Sexy Baby, which approaches sexuality in the media and self perception from three different perspectives—a 12 year old girl in NYC, a former porn star, and a 22 year old seeking a labiaplasty. It was interesting, particularly following Winifred (the 12 year old) as she grew up online and offline. She reminded me of myself at that age, all tight dresses and heels on a tiny pre-puberty frame. Black eyeliner, one coat for every year older you want to look. The role of Facebook is even stronger than it was in my middle school myspace days but the importance of always having your supercool pre-teen life documented is familiar. I don't think the film made any unexpected points (access to porn is changing what people expect from sex and the female body) but it was still interesting.

Next up (and currently in progress) is the documentary Virgin Tales about the family that founded the nation's largest father-daughter purity ball.

This one was impossible to get through without raging so hard.

The purity covenant in particular (We the fathers agree to cover our daughters, sheltering their purity, blahblah serve God blahblah) was disturbing because it was signed by both fathers and daughters. While some girls were 21 or so, most looked to be about 11 and too young to grasp that they were essentially contractually bind their hymen to an as-of-yet-unknown suitor who will 'respect treasure that most precious offering'. Because our value as women is measured by a stain on the sheets on our wedding night! Hooray hymen!

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I just can't believe that in 2012 America, the concept of fathers owning their daughters until the wedding day is still accepted. There is something just indescribably creepy about seeing adult men pledging to be in charge of their young daughters' vaginas. Bodily autonomy, anyone? Anyone?

Marriage is far from an escape though, the one already-married daughter has some terribly unsettling quotes of her own ("It's a commandment to love my husband, even when I don't have feelings of affection for him in a moment, we are bound to love each other until death. Marriage sustains love, not the other way around"). I assume abuse wouldn't be an excuse to get out of a marriage either because bound eternally.

Virgin Tales just wrapped up and my Indian food arrived so it's time for MOAR MOOOOVIES!

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So GT, any suggestions for another documentary on a similar topic?