*This article contains spoilers for the film Yes,God,Yes (2019)*
The 2019 coming-of-age film Yes, God, Yes has become popular on Netflix in the past few days. When I stumbled upon this film last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by how relatable the story was. The main character, Alice, has her sexual awakening while at a youth catholic retreat. All while rumors of her “tossing someone’s salad” haunt her. Alice, as well as myself, didn’t even know what “tossing someone’s salad” even meant!
I found this film to be incredibly important. It showed a story that many young people experience but is rarely shown. It is all too often that many are shamed for their sexual feelings because of their gender or for not fitting into the hetero-normative sexuality. Throughout the film, Alice attempts to feel comfortable with the idea of being turned-on, as her peers and church leaders shame her feelings. I related to many of the situations Alice found herself in because I grew up in a conservative area and at church. The way they taught sex education and treated sexuality were all too familiar.
I wish I could’ve seen this movie in middle school or high school. I was absolutely embarrassed that I experienced being turned-on and masturbated. Not to mention, I had the fear that God would punish me for it. This movie would’ve shown me that I wasn’t the only person feeling this. I would’ve felt more normal.
Sadly, this movie is rated-R. There are multiple references to sexual acts and even some visible allusions to sex. With that being said, I am hoping that this rating will not hinder young people from being able to watch it. This movie does a good job of showing how normal being turned-on is. As shown in the movie, teenagers will learn about sex regardless. We need to stop viewing sex as a forbidden topic, so we can accurately teach teenagers how to safely go about these feelings. I think viewing sex as normal is the first step to having healthy conversations about it.
Women are like conventional ovens?
“Guys are like microwave Ovens, and ladies are like conventional ovens. Guys only need a few seconds…while ladies, they typically need to preheat for awhile.”– Father Murphy, Yes, God, Yes (2019)
“Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.” “Men think like waffles. Women think like spaghetti.” These very odd ways to say men and women are different were also told to me at a young age. Besides being kinda weird, they can also be very harmful. The film depicts how most sex education repeatedly puts men and women into restrictive categories. These ideas go beyond high school sex education into popular cultural, and into our personal lives.
A popular rhetoric depicted throughout the film is that men are easily turned-on. And that sometimes, they cannot even control their sexual urges. When rumors of Alice “tossing her classmate Wade’s salad” ran through the school, Wade went almost unscathed. The double standard created by these ideas left Alice to be ridiculed by her peers and even judged by her school’s faculty. It was clear that Alice was consider to be at fault for allegedly letting a sexual encounter occur.
Along with creating double standards for men and women, it also excludes members of the LGBTQ+ community. We also see this in the movie as Father Murphy says marriage is between a man and a woman. In a 2015 survey, less than 6% of LGBTQ students age 13-21 expressed having a positive representation of LGBTQ topics in their health classes. It is important that we stop holding preconceived notions of how certain genders should behave. It denies the feelings of people who do not fit into these categories and can make them feel shameful
I’m not the only one turned-on
The film shows us Alice’s journey to being comfortable with herself and her new feelings. This journey can be inspiring for other young people struggling to accept themselves.
Towards the end of the movie, Alice walks down the street from the retreat to a bar. She had been distraught by all that she experienced at the camp. Luckily, the bar owner, and former catholic, was able to give her some life advice. And that is “we are all just trying to figure out our shit.” This advice gave Alice the ability to see that she was not the only one dealing with shame and confusion.
Throughout the film, Alice encountered the people around her engaging in sexual actions. She even witnesses Father Murphy watching porn on his computer! She learned that everyone has secrets, just like hers. Her feelings were normal, getting turned-on was normal, and she was normal.
Although this wasn’t exactly what she was to suppose to learn at the camp, it was very necessary for Alice and the viewers. At the end of the movie, Alice is finally able to masturbate without shame or fear!
In conclusion, Yes, God, Yes (2019) is a funny, relatable, teen comedy. But, it is also a great critique of how society views sexuality and how that can affect young people. I was extremely happy to see how fast Alice gained comfort in her sexuality. For me and many others, that road was much longer. I think a movie like this is perfect for teenagers that just need a little reassurance about themselves.