At the risk of over-simplifying the subject matter, the performance was an exploration of her sexual development, and showed the progression through sexual awakening, becoming a lesbian, slutting it up in college and becoming straight again (sic.). I stuck around for a few minutes after the show and spoke briefly with her, and when she asked me what I thought I kind of blurted out that I was extremely uncomfortable for the whole hour and a half. Rather than be put off or insulted she seemed to take it in stride and asked me why.
My response wasn’t very eloquent and I said something (only half-honest) about the subject matter (BDSM) being very racy for my vanilla sensibilities. But in reality it wasn’t that at all; free and open access to internet porn has more or less taken the edge off seeing extreme sex, let alone hearing about it. Rather I felt uncomfortable by just how vulnerable Cameryn made herself. She really laid herself bare for all to see, and save for a few uneasy laughs at the beginning I was mostly dead quiet throughout the show. It’s hard for me to say what the exact cause of my discomfort was but here were a few things that made me uneasy:
The Backlash Against the Commodity Status of Female Sexuality
Traditionally a woman’s virginity has been viewed as a symbol of her virtue, and while things have relaxed to the point where women can breathe a little bit and have some of that sweet pre-marital, even that has imposed limits. After all, many of us likely have a number in our heads of how many men is acceptable for a woman to be with (a symptom of our society’s obsession with quantification among other things), and where does that leave women who go past that number? There is an amorphous, poorly-defined line which seems to widen and narrow arbitrarily which a woman must walk if she wishes to explore her sexuality without being seen as a slut by others. The solution of course (like the solution to so many things) is for a woman stop caring about what others think, because its none of their business who she has sex with.
However, some women instead react to the pressure by becoming the insatiable sluts they have already been pre-judged to be,
“I am whatever you say I am; if I wasn’t then why would I say I am?”
and even go so far as to delude themselves into believing that they are being liberated. This is not me just making this up; Moore makes a similar assertion in her show when looking back on earlier promiscuity and how she justified it at the time as more than simply rebelling against her father. Speaking of her father..
The Shame of Your Parents is a Motherfucker
The one time which she explicitly mentions her father is when she talks about overhearing him and her mother fighting about the crowd she had chosen to hang out with as a teenager. Being raised a Mormon, hanging out with dudes who wore make-up apparently said a lot about her own sexuality, and she recalls hearing her father yell to her mother that she was “just a fat slut.” She then laments that this was before she was even sexually active. Or particularly fat.
Its funny how people’s expectations of you, particularly those of caregivers, can really influence the course you pursue. And when these expectations are in place alongside stringent moral standards regarding chastity, well I can only imagine the result is overwhelming for some people. For my own part, I have often thought, “What if I had been born a girl?” For starters, I used to drink quite a bit and go out to clubs and parties, seeking the attention of the opposite sex and looking to get laid. I can only imagine how if I had been a girl I might have been much more successful in all of those endeavours to my own detriment. It occurs to me that were I a girl I might have just been a fat drunk slut like so many others, but fate saw fit to give me a penis, and so society and I both regard me with a gentler eye.
Everyone is Just a Different Aspect of You
There is no artful way to say it, so I will just come out with it: I don’t find Cameryn Moore particularly physically appealing. Furthermore, her attitudes toward toward sex, though some would call them progressive or liberated, unpleasantly remind me of an emptier time in my life where I didn’t place a particularly high value on my own sexuality and sought to just sleep with girls for the sake of bragging rights. I will say that she is a gifted performer in that she is able to make herself completely vulnerable, but watching her show was like watching Requiem for a Dream; I saw it once and I don’t need to see it again.
In its own way, her detailing of her sexual misadventures and misuse of herself was like watching a WorldVision infomercial or a documentary about a bloody war. Its like, “Here’s the society we enable and what we reduce people to. A generation, nay, a society of people who don’t value themselves and aren’t valued by anyone else.” In our own way, we are all fat sluts but we maintain a narrative that things are going according to some plan in the vain hope that we can convince ourselves of this by convincing enough of the others around us.
Cameryn Moore made me doubt the validity of my own self-affirming narrative and I am still having trouble forgiving her for that.
If you get a chance to see Slut (R)evolution you definitely should. You may not be as troubled by it as I was, but if you are … well we all need our conceptions shaken up from time to time.
*“Find the truth that makes you squirm” was a piece of advice I read in a Men’s Health investment guide a few years back. The logic was that when doing a financial self-assessment you don’t want to lull yourself into a false sense of security, but rather address the areas of your finances which might not be secure.