Angela and Sex

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Megs
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Angela and Sex

Post by Megs » Dec 5th 2002, 2:06 pm

I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed either on the Forum, or in Angela's World.



In Pressure, Introspective Angela is talking about how people "had" sex. "Like it was something people, just, had. Like a rash. Or a rottweiler (sp)." At the end of Pressure, Angela says that great line to Jordan about how when you think about it, sex started your life, and when you think about life as a circle... and then she says something about death ending your life, and sex starting it. I'm sorry; I can't quite remember the quote exactly. But something about sex and death being related...

Why would Angela choose rashes and rottweilers to compare to sex? And then say that sex and death were closely related. I think that says a great deal about her views on sex and why she is scared to sleep with Jordan. I understand that she isn't ready (and I myself wasn't at that age) but what really stopped her from sleeping with Jordan?

Any thoughts?
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Post by fnordboy » Dec 5th 2002, 2:19 pm

Just a quick unthought-out reply:

Well i think it is obvious sex scares the hell out of her the same way death does. It is the "great unknown" to her. Which is why she would compare it to rottweilers (scary) and rashes (illness).

Why would she be scared? I don't really know. Being male, i wouldnt know what it is like for a girl before having sex and how she honestly views it. But it would go back to societal (is that even a word?) influences. I could go on and on about how society teaches boys to look forward to sex and to have as much as soon as possible, while for girls there is this great stigma attached to it. Your dirty if you do it. Your a whore, slut, nympho as opposed to a stud. Some girls just seem to buy into that idea more (angela) than others (rayanned).

I dont know if any of that really makes sense or is relevant but what the hell.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 5th 2002, 2:56 pm

When Angela said that sex is a thing that people have, like a rottweiller, I thought of similar statements made on the show: "People always say you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster" and "Like romance is this thing you misplace, like an earring."

Anyway, I agree that Angela is afraid to have sex with Jordan. Why? A million reasons. I think one of the big reasons is that her parents have taught her traditional values, meaning not to sleep around and that sex IS a big deal. Despite her mini-rebellions, she still conforms to a lot of things they have taught her, whether it's because she truly believes in the principles they have taught her about or because she's afraid to make them mad or because she just hasn't given these ideas enough thought to decide if she agrees or disagrees.

She is also afraid because she is still a virgin. Sex is great, don't get me wrong, but losing your virginity is a one-time deal and while many guys are usually in a rush to lose their virginity to anyone willing to let them put their thing inside a thing, girls tend to be more cautious. Maybe it's a sick and unrealistic thing, but most girls want their first time to be special and with someone they love so that they can look back and remember it without thinking, "I can't believe I let that a$$hole have sex with me." So the big question for many girls is "Is this the right guy? Do I love him? Will he make it special?" Once you lose your virginity, you can certainly keep on having sex but you can never re-do the first time. As stupid and obvious as that sounds, it's true and something that girls think about.

Another fear is physical pain. Girls are afraid that it will hurt (which is often the case, sometimes due to the absolute ineptitude of the guys they have sex with because come on, how many 15 year old guys are good at foreplay? They watch scrambled porn and think that grabbing a girl's breast will make her writhe with pleasure). And when the girl is in the moment (okay, making out with some guy) and then she realizes where it's going and starts worrying that he will pressure her to have sex, she will be too stressed to relax and enjoy what is actually happening (the making out) which means she won't be aroused enough to want to lose her virginity. It's a vicious cycle.

Even stronger than fear of physical pain is the emotional vulnerability. Like fnordboy pointed out, society rewards males for having sex and stigmatizes females who have sex, especially in high school when kids have still retained much of the parental preprogramming. It's done in secret, the girl's parents would be upset if they knew (as evidenced by Patty when she believed Angela was having sex with Jordan), and people look down on high school girls who have sex. On top of the risk that people will write notes about her in class :wink: Angela is concerned with being emotionally hurt by Jordan. Because society tells us that good girls don't have sex, girls end up rationalizing having sex - either "he loves me" (Sharon) or "I don't care what you think" (Rayanne). Since Angela still cares what people think, she wants to believe that Jordan loves her (or at the very least really likes her) before she agrees to have sex with him so that in the event that it DOES hurt and people do call her a slut, at least she will be able to justify why she did it.

Angela and Jordan are at odds here. Communicating his feelings is what makes Jordan vulnerable. Having sex is what makes Angela vulnerable. I think that the reason why Angela ultimately decided not to have sex with Jordan is that she wasn't ready. She knew that having sex with him would bring about even higher expectations for their relationship and it was already pulling teeth to get him to be seen in public with her. He wasn't willing to give her all the things she needed to feel secure in their relationship. She wanted him to be a regular boyfriend like Kyle, but he wasn't able to yet. I'm not saying that Jordan was using her for sex. I think that he did really like her, but he didn't know how to be a boyfriend and have a relationship because it seems unlikely that he had done that before. His experience (I assume) was hooking up with girls at parties or abandoned houses. Because of his inexperience as a boyfriend, Angela's expectations seemed demanding and "abnormal."

Angela didn't want to be just another person that Jordan ummmed. She wanted to feel special and she wanted Jordan to be able to make her feel that way in private AND in public. She wanted more from the relationship than sex - she wanted Jordan to be the kind of boyfriend who takes her to the movies and hangs out with her at school, not someone who hides her from his friends. Although we all know about the end of Self Esteem, we don't see a continuation of their outed relationship in Pressure. The closest we get is Angela driving Jordan's car in the parking lot. In Jordan's eyes, this is a big step but what does it mean to Angela? Is the the same as walking to English class together? Hanging out at lunch? Being walked to class? In her eyes, the relationship hasn't progressed beyond the Buffalo Tom moment in the hallway.

I think I'm beginning to talk in circles, so I will stop for now. :D

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Post by glitter_punk » Dec 5th 2002, 4:35 pm

I agree with everything that's been said, and I also want to add, in the poll, when rayanne had "most slut potential" and Rayanne accused her of not wanting to be friends with soemone like that, ya'll know the scene, she said, "well,that was part of it" or something to that extent, I dunno, I'm in a hurry :-P but I also don't thik she wants that label of a slut.
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sex

Post by likelife » Dec 6th 2002, 6:59 pm

this is a pretty interesting topic.
i think that angela was scared of sex for some really soild reasons, and also that, had jordan been a better boyfriend -- someone who made her feel more secure, loved, etc. -- she may have changed her mind. in the "fantasy vs. reality" topic, we've been discussing angela's perceptions of romance and love and whether or not they are totally out in left field or reasonable.
i think that mscl is about angela realizing that she is an agent -- that she can make decisions for herself and that she is allowed to form her own opinions. it is also about a lot of her fantasies being revealed as false or childish, though. i think angela MAY have consented to sex, IF it wasn't going to happen in an abandoned house, on a night when she'd lied to her parents, etc.
sex is a force that effects all of the characters in mscl... jordan and kyle and sharon to some degree all take part in it because they think it is normal, or the way to behave. rayanne approaches sex head-on because she craves attantion and intimacy and that is the only way she can see to get it. rickie is terrified of it because he does not want to admit to himself who he is attracted to...also, when if he does come out, he knows that he faces a lot of other complications. furthermore, rickie has told himself that he should just come to terms with never really being intimate with anyone. he shields himself. brian sees sex as the forbidden fruit; as long as he is a big geek, he will probably never get it, and until he finds a girl who is real enough for him to forget about angela, he'll be happy with his fantasy life. i think brian also approaches sex sort of scientifically - "my parents have a vibrator.." danielle is already starting to learn about it and is very curious. mr. katimsky has to hide his sex life. patty and graham enjoy sex but both are insecure about it being a "good sex life" that they have. also, graham is tempted by the idea that younger women still find him attractive -- something that he never got when he WAS young, while patty is worrying that the one thing she had when she was young -- undeniable beauty -- might be dwindling.
i could go on... but i am just trying to point out that sex proves to be a motivating force in all of the characters, whether positive or negative.

i also believe that jordan DID like angela, but that his only way of expressing it was to tell her that he wanted to sleep with her. i bet she actually gained respect and a bigger crush from him when she wouldn't sleep with him but still wanted to hang out. he was probably blown away.

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Re: sex

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 7:46 pm

likelife wrote:i think angela MAY have consented to sex, IF it wasn't going to happen in an abandoned house, on a night when she'd lied to her parents, etc.
I totally agree - which goes back to the whole fantasy vs. reality topic as well as female expectations of romance and love. No girl thinks, "I hope I lose my virginity in a car or an abandoned house!" Girls want a real bed with blankets and candlelight. They want to be seduced and cherished, not lay down on a cold floor or someone's back seat with their jeans around their ankles freezing and afraid that the cops will find them.
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Re: sex

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 7:53 pm

likelife wrote:i also believe that jordan DID like angela, but that his only way of expressing it was to tell her that he wanted to sleep with her. i bet she actually gained respect and a bigger crush from him when she wouldn't sleep with him but still wanted to hang out. he was probably blown away.
I completely agree with all that - as much of a cop out/cliche as it may sound like, some guys do not know how to express affection verbally so they resort to other demonstrative forms (such as Jordan letting Angela drive his car, which is his prized possession). When I was younger, I resented the fact that my dad never said he loved me, but my mom explained that he wasn't raised to do things like that and it shouldn't matter what a person says (cue "More Than Words" by Extreme) if the person can SHOW that they care. When I thought about it that way and realized all the things my dad did for me, then I realized she was right (shades of Graham's conversation with Angela: "Think of all the things she does...for you). Of course, this didn't happen overnight - I was much older when I saw that it was true. Obviously Jordan was not raised with affection (with a dad who used to hit him and a mother we hear nothing about), so he doesn't know how to be the kind of man that Angela wants him to be.

I think that Jordan came to appreciate Angela even more after they broke up because he could see that she really liked him for who he was, not what he could do for her (fake IDs, booze, rides, sex) which was probably very novel for him.
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