*sits you down and looks into your eyes in a way that makes you feel nervous* There’s no good way to put this, so I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I will never love you as much as I love Harry Potter.
social justice warrior is a decent class but I prefer anti-heteronormative mage
"Outlander" has blown up a lot of the received ideas about sex on television — how it’s shot, who it’s for, who it’s made by and who it’s about. The show’s Sept. 20 episode, in which the two lead characters get married and, well, have a lot of sex, was nothing short of revolutionary in its depiction of nudity and intimacy, and in its willingness to entertain the female point of view.
I’m not saying other shows haven’t done compelling and interesting things with sex on occasion, or even on a regular basis. As Emily Nussbaum tweeted the other day, “we are living in a dirty honest TV wonderland.” I agree, and this development is tremendously exciting.
It’s a distinct relief that “Outlander” is not alone. We’ve now seen two full seasons of the twisted power dynamics that inform those strange, intense hotel-room encounters in “Masters of Sex.” “Girls,” obviously, has an honest treatment of sex as one of its main goals, and Jill Soloway, partly inspired by Lena Dunham, just unleashed “Transparent,” a fantastically complex depiction of all kinds of desires. Thanks in part to streaming options and an expanding array of adventurous creators and networks, shows with sexually unapologetic women suddenly seem to be all over the place: “The Fall,” “The Good Wife,” “The Americans,” “Orphan Black,” “New Girl,” “You’re the Worst” and “Orange Is the New Black” are all part of a seemingly unstoppable wave of shows that treat the sexual activities of their leading ladies with refreshing matter-of-factness and genuine interest.
Not that the women on shows mentioned above have easy lives or enjoy universal acceptance — they sometimes face consequences when their desires run counter to prevailing wisdom or their goals bump up against existing power structures. Like all women everywhere, in any era, they are not exempt from the possibilities of violence and assault.
But these women are not depicted as wrong or misguided for wanting and liking sex and pursuing all kinds of intimacy (and sometimes stopping at friendship, a la Abbie Mills on “Sleepy Hollow”). Many of these women are, if anything, quietly celebrated by the show’s writers for being assertive, intelligent and unconventional. Unlike many of the mainstream shows and movies I grew up with, where the women who liked and sought sex were often punished in some way, I don’t detect in this new wave of programs an unconscious or semi-conscious desire on the part of the storytellers to bring these women down a few pegs — or kill them off — for being independent and unrepentant about their desires.
This is new. This shift occurring on this many notable shows is new. But “Outlander” has taken this welcome trend a step further.