I haven't been alone in feeling a little down lately — the world is a pretty scary place. We have a president (and a vice-president, for that matter) who has repeatedly proved and stated that he has no regard whatsoever for women, or our rights over our own bodies. North Korea is acting up. The French elections are crazy. And while I love The Handmaid's Tale, it isn't doing anything to calm my anxieties.
But I am happy to report that I have found the cure, courtesy of American Gods.
In the Starz show's premiere episode, a couple winds up getting it on after a first online date. The woman, whose name we learn is Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) has only one request for her sweet, bumbling, older companion: He must worship her. Pretty great, right? But it gets better. Slowly but surely, this man (Joel Murray) ends up being consumed by her vagina until he simply disappears. Let me repeat that: HE IS SUCKED INTO HER VAGINA. He is gone! Poof! Cancelled from existence by the power of pussy.
Bilquis, it turns out, is a goddess. American God s personifies old-world and new-world deities, and she is a manifestation of the legendary Queen of Sheba, who keeps her strength and beauty by routinely consuming men through her nether regions. Remember all those slogans from the election about pussy grabbing back? This is the ultimate manifestation of that. And girl, it's fun to watch. (If you're feeling pangs of remorse about condemning a sad, divorced man with daughters to a perpetual existence in utero, just remember that, in the book by Neil Gaiman on which the show is based, Bilquis is a sex worker, and the man a john.)
Remember all those slogans from the election about pussy grabbing back? This is the ultimate manifestation of that.
I ask you, is there anything more soothing than watching a hapless man be devoured by a vagina? Has that guy in your office been mansplaining again? Watch this scene. Did you get catcalled on the subway? In the vagina he goes. Are the Republicans threatening your right to abortion? Somebody call Bilquis! Excuse me as I immediately redecorate my bedroom in various shades of blood-red.
Don't have access to the show? Re-live the moment over and over with this passage from the book:
"He is inside her to the chest, and as he stares at this in disbelief and wonder she rests both hands upon his shoulders and puts gentle pressure on his body.
He slips further inside her.
'How are you doing this to me?' he asks, or thinks he asks, but perhaps it is only in his head.
'You're doing it, honey,' she whispers. He feels the lips of her vulva tight around his upper chest and back, constricting and enveloping him. He wonders what this would look like to somebody watching them. He wonders why he is not scared. And then he knows.
'I worship you with my body,' he whispers, as she pushes him insider her. Her labia pull slickly across his face, and his eyes slip into darkness.
She stretches on the bed, like a huge cat, and then she yawns. 'Yes,' she says. 'You do.'"
In all seriousness, it's pretty refreshing to see female sexuality be used as a means of empowerment, rather than submission. The scene doesn't have much to do with the main plot of American Gods, which focuses on a man named Shadow Moon, who, after being released from prison, goes to work for the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, but it's an important one. (Although, Badaki has said that her role is expanded in the show, so that's just another reason for you to tune in.)
Bryan Fuller, who co-created the series, told The Hollywood Reporter that sexuality is a key component of the show. "When we're talking about the sexual content of American Gods, we're talking about exploring in a sex-positive way the human relationship to our own sexuality," he explained. "When you look at the Bilquis scene, there's a woman in control of her own sexuality that's very empowering and enlightening, and we can treat sex not just as a means to a cumshot, but as a means to explore what it is to bond and physically become one with another human being and leave our individual sense of self behind and become something greater than what we were before we were penetrating or being penetrated or entwined in whatever respect we were going to be entwined with another." (Head's up: This is not the only great sex moment this show has to offer. Keep an eye out for episode 3. You won't be sorry.)
Will watching this woman hoover men with her vagina solve all the world's problems? No. Will it make you feel better? Definitely.
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