As a high school student, there was a sweet spot between the last bell and homework when you could shut your brain off. After a long day navigating raging hormones and a plethora of insecurities, time was all yours. If you were a child of the pre-2010s, pressing a round plastic button on a clunky box full of wires would make a magical machine boot up. Sounds of static and beep-boops slowly connecting you to the rest of the planet would fire out of speakers (in hindsight, what even were those sounds?!) and eventually, you had the entire world — past, present, future — literally at your fingertips. It was a new thing, and it was the coolest thing: the world wide web.
This week’s Staff Pick Premiere, “YES, GOD, YES,” explores that unique point in time in the early 2000s when a curious kid could first communicate with strangers via message boards, BFFs/crushes via AOL Instant Messenger, and complete randos in a chatroom where absolutely anything could be said without consequence. Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things) stars as Alice, a Catholic teen who is pretty sure that rewinding to the steamy sex scene of Titanic is a straight-up sin — at her school, God demands that her purity remain white and demure as a lamb’s belly. But that faceless dude in the sky proves to be no match for a faceless digital dude who uses the newfangled internet to send Alice sexy pics of “he and his wife.” Alice stands at a crossroads between satisfying her natural desires and disappointing that all-powerful invisible bearded man in the clouds. Spoiler alert: she chooses the fun option.
Director Karen Maine (co-writer of Obvious Child, a comedy starring Jenny Slate that is a MUST. SEE.) elaborated: “This is a love story between one woman and her vagina. Many girls often explore their bodies first, before they have partnered experiences, yet we rarely get to see this portrayed on screen. I want to change that.”
Written with her own experiences as a chaste Catholic high-schooler in mind, Maine wanted to address the unfair contradictions and hypocrisy of male and female sexuality prevalent not only in American culture, but stressed heavily within the strict Christian bubble: “Male sexual pleasure is an integral part of reproduction, so ejaculation was of course discussed more openly in my classes (it’s even in the Bible!) whereas female sexual pleasure is never discussed because it’s not integral to reproduction. This attitude of course extends beyond religious beliefs — in general, female sexual pleasure is rarely discussed, which is a sad reality that should be changed.”
Thank you, Karen, for this rad and hilarious commentary on female sexuality and the repressed buzzkills tryna keep us from getting our rocks off. We salute you!
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