The media was in a tizzy about Nicole Kidman’s role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women a week ago. Why? Her roles in films betray the Sisterhood.
Per Janet Street Porter at The Independent: “she’s been raped in one film (Dogville), and had kinky sex with Tom Cruise in another (Eyes Wide Shut). She had a bath with a rather young boy (in Birth) and shagged Billy Zane in Dead Calm, her Hollywood debut–all in the name of art, of course.”
I have two things to say about this. First: violence against women is real. Their stories are real. Sanitizing film and television of these scenes is not really the answer. Secondly–there is a distinct different with exploring sexuality through BDSM and being brutalized. To say Kidman betrays womankind because she has kinky sex is to betray the segment of womankind who do enjoy healthy and fulfilling non-vanilla sexual relationships.
True to form, Nicole isn’t taking this one lying down. In an interview with British GQ, the usually reserved Kidman talked about exploring non-vanilla sex not just in film, but in her private life as well.
“I’ve explored obsession. I’ve explored loss and love in terms of being in a grief-stricken place, I’ve explored strange sexual fetish stuff, I’ve explored the mundane aspect of marriage, and monogamy,” she said.
Guess what? This is one of the truths of womankind. Just as having a choice about what projects you pursue in your career and what parts you play. If you can’t respect that, I’m afraid you’re the one betraying womankind.
Image of GQ cover via The New York Daily News.