I have attempted to watch Diary of a Nymphomaniac for about twice now but it was only yesterday when I finally mustered enough courage (albeit maturity) to finish the film. Throughout Val’s occasional soliloquy on her musings about her own promiscuity, Sir Neil Santillan’s unanticipated lecture on Gender and Sexuality kept resonating at the back of my head.
Our professor was giving a brief overview of the ancient Indian civilization when the discussion veered towards the Kama Sutra. A bibliophilic classmate of mine debunked the misconception that the Kama Sutra is nothing but a sexual guide for the public. It was, in fact, more of a hygienic manual rather than a mere piece of erotic literature. This brought the inappropriately suggestive movie counterpart of the book into question. However, the part of the debate that left an indelible mark on me was when Sir Neil probed on the apparent guilt of women in terms of virginity, or lack thereof.
In our conservative culture, virginity is an overused social construct utilized for judging women’s worth. With this bias, we are preconditioned to think that if we engage in premarital sex, we’d be ultimately stigmatized and considered as sinful and immoral. Conversely, if we chose to keep our virginities intact, we are bound to be placed on this esteemed pedestal of incorruptibility and high moral resolve. But in a devoutly Catholic setup, even the casual discourse about sex is taboo.
I dream of a time when people are measured by the yardstick of common sense, and not through some abstracted means of qualifying gender.