Rude health

There are a few isolated pockets of opinion which suggest that women don’t like sex, don’t talk about it and never make the first move. A Channel 4 documentary, Rude Women looks set to nail that myth once and for all, as Tom Lappin discovers.

For Pauline , a vital aspect of editorial discussions at the new sex magazine she is editing involves glimpsing at a map of Scotland on the office wall. The law on publishing photographs of erect penises being what it is, Pauline has to vet each photo carefully. ‘If you want a good guideline as to what you’re allowed to see and what you’re not allowed to see, get a map of Scotland and look at the Mull of Kintyre that’s the angle you’re aiming for. If it’s any more than that, legally you’re going to get into a bit of bother.

What the good citizens of Bellochantuy or Campbelltown make of this novel use to which their topography is being put isn’t recorded, but Pauline probably wouldn’t give a toss. She, the editor of a sex magazine aiming at a perceived gap in the female heterosexual market, is one of the Rude Women featured in the first programme in Female Parts, a new Channel 4 season of films about different aspects of women’s lives.

Rude Women explores the sexual attitudes of women of different ages, who are happily honest, occasionally very funny and often illuminating about the female perspective on sex. They swiftly blow away any lingering myths that women are in

The Pussy Posse show their style with a condom

some way coy or retiring about sexual matters. Pauline looks on grinning as her photographer wraps a nude male in cling-film for a photo-shoot. ‘You got a thrill out ofthat didn’t you?’ she teases the photographer. The legal restrictions do

‘When I see sex magazines, they’re a real turn-oil because the men haven’t got erections. I think “what’s gone wrong?"

however force her to use subtler pictures, which one woman contributor found frustrating. ‘When I see sex magazines, they’re a real turn-off because the men haven’t got erections. I think “what’s gone wrong?”

Of course, all this healthy forthrightness can often make some males uncomfortable. One woman, Susanna, speaks forcefully of the unease her lover expressed at her willingness to voice her demands. She feels this is a common dilemma for

many women who are forced to conceal their sexual needs so as not to frighten their men. ‘l’ve never found anyone tough enough to tie me up,’ laments Susanna, whose bondage fantasies have remained mostly unfulfilled.

An older woman, Nancy, remembers her first sexual experience as a nightmare, and didn‘t learn to enjoy sex until she was in her 40s. Now a sixtysomething widow, she adopts a pragmatic approach to the subject. ‘Men,’ she says, ‘you need to have them young and fresh to get the benefit of them.’ She’s making up for the lost years with vigour, refusing to suppress her physical desires. ‘I’m just a normal woman enjoying life - my body’s there and I’m going to enjoy it while it lets me.’

For the Kirby Response Theatre Group, talking about sex also meant talking about relationships and marriage. Their irreverent show about work, sex and the shortcomings of husbands brought the

issues out into the open. Talking bawdin about é their activities in bed might have been thought a

male preserve but these women proved equally adept. Visiting a male strip show for a hen night, they are asked if they come to get turned on. ‘Definitely,’ replies one. “It’s just a shame we have to pay for it.‘

The Pussy Posse are a group of young women who hold parties for women to promote information about safe sex. ‘We don’t say that you should be promiscuous,’ says one, ‘We just say, if you are, take precautions.’ Guests are initiated in the art ofputting a condom on using the mouth and taught the Pussy Posse motto: ‘When push comes to shove, never be afraid to say “that thing’s not coming in without a jacket on.” Their attitude is a loose summary of the feelings of all the women interviewed: ‘The best thing about it is being a woman, being sexy, feeling good about yourself and always having a good time.’

Rude Women is shown on Channe14 on Monday]! May at 9pm.


Born in the

With the Twin Peaks ‘prequel' Fire Walk With Me not likely to be screened at your local cinema until July, tans oi the wackoid director David Lynch and his Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost might be suffering from withdrawal symptoms lrom the peculiarly Lynchian brand of offbeat sinister Americana.

Not for long though, for Channel 4's overseas buyers have loreseen the audience demand with their usual perspicaclty and bought up American Chronicles, thirteen short documentaries trom Frost and Lynch that look at contrasting aspects of

telling details.

for the subject.

people’s lives in the States with their recognisany idiosyncratic eye for the

These lilms are essentially surreal short stories of local obsession, seen through the eyes of an anonymous traveller. Accompanied either by a neutral narration provided by Richard Dreytuss or simply music, the tllms make no attempt to provide any element oi ioumalistic investigation or reportage, instead relying on tantasy images and sounds to provide the feel

Some of Lynch's familiar themes resurtace, notably in The Eye 0t The Beholder, where the superticlal dazzle ol the Miss Texas Beauty Pageant is used as the background to some halting contribution. (Tom Lappin) and rather vulnerable interpretations of % American Chronicles begins on Sunday beauty and ambition on the part at the

' contestants. In contrast, Biker Nation goes on the road with the wild-at-heart leather-clad outlaws leading a nomadic existence, and every year converging on the small town at Sturgis tor a tribal gathering.

These low-key tales, with subject matter ranging lrom the American obsession with cars to the thoughts and leelings ol the members oi the US Marine Corps, look likely to provide a unique view at the American psyche, not by talking in sweeping terms and generallsations, but by adding up the minutiae of America to result in a picture that gives some insight into a distinctly strange nation. At the

: moment that’s probably a rather usetul

i 10 May on Channel 4 at 5pm


The List 8- 21 May 1992 61