love out loud: hank moody respects the ladies
No one has ever asked me why I love Californication. This is either because they know my answer would be some variation of ‘it’s awesome’, or because they can’t imagine that I could possibly appreciate such a depraved and sex-fuelled show that appeals to the lowest denominator of culture and humanity.
My boyfriend has only recently been introduced to the show, thanks to yours truly, prompting my revisit (and his first visit) to its beginnings. And in my attempt to understand everything about myself, I’ve found myself questioning what it is that I like about it so much given that, superficially at least, it doesn’t seem all that compatible with my feminist sensibilities.
Character development, quips and the fact that it makes me simultaneously love and hate LA aside, the thing about Californication is that even when the protagonist, Hank Moody, is having more casual encounters than you can keep track of, there is still a certain level of respect maintained between the partcipants, in most cases at least. Which is probably why women (albeit, fictional ones) love him, without being in love with him.
There’s a commonly held belief that respect and casual sex are mutually exclusive entities, particularly in heterosexual relations. The madonna whore dichotomy has made many believe that a man will either want you for the night or want you for his wife, and that he can never want you for both. It acts on the notion that men are the ones orchestrating these relations and likewise hold all the cards as to whether the parties involved will ever (intentionally) see each other again.
This certainly doesn’t account for all men’s behaviour, nor that of all women, but it does seem that these are often the defaults while we’re all young and working out how to manage the fruits of our sexuality, usually with more self-preservation in mind rather than great regard for others. But the truth is that you can have a respectful one night stand, just as you can have a disrespectful relationship. The difficulty is not finding someone who wants to take you out on a date, it’s finding someone who will treat you with respect regardless of whether your union lasts two hours or eighty years.
That Hank has sex with a lot of women and (usually) treats them well afterwards is not the reason I love Californication, but it is the reason that I can watch it without getting on my soapbox at the conclusion of every episode.
Or perhaps I’m just more depraved than I think.
(Image credit: 1.)