Even as pathetic, self-pitying men complain about the problem of involuntary celibacy, pathetic, self-pitying women are now supposedly fantasizing about Flipper. Here’s Claire Fallon:
Time for the easiest game of “if you loved this movie, read this book” ever: If you loved “The Shape of Water,” a movie about fish sex, you should definitely read The Pisces by Melissa Broder, a book about fish sex. The cover literally shows a woman in an amorous clinch with a fish; the novel actually tells the story of a woman who has a torrid love affair with a merman. Now, one fish-f***ing opus in the space of a year might be a blip. Two seems very much like a trend. (We might even call it three, considering last summer’s Made for Love by Alissa Nutting, in which a male romance scammer, after a fantastical sea-bathing accident, becomes exclusively attracted to dolphins. Though, to be clear, dolphins are not fish.)
What explains this sudden love for sexual pescatarians? Men, of course. Horrible, horrible men. Cruel, horrible, evil men. Here’s Fallon:
The Pisces and Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water” also seem to have arrived during an inflection point for heterosexual relations, as some straight women have thrown their hands up in despair at the prospect of dealing with straight men. These men, who grope us and talk down to us and consistently fail to clean the bathroom ― we’re supposed to make lives with them? Let them touch us?
Women woke up one day to find that their husbands voted for Donald Trump and their sons have been shitposting on incel boards. Even before we heard the claims about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and assault and the ensuing avalanche of other horrifying Me Too allegations, we heard about our president grabbing women “by the pussy,” Bill Cosby feeding women roofies, and R. Kelly allegedly sexually exploiting young girls. So many straight men, we have been forced to accept, are bad to and for us. Why would we take the enormous risk of loving one of them?
The handsome prince (or film star, or cowboy, or doctor) of our imagination has been exposed as a dangerous fraud, but we still need some form of romantic hope and sexual release. One seductive yet impossible fantasy might be the romantic attention of a man who lacks the exhausting baggage of male entitlement. To find such a fantastical being, women ― in fiction, at least ― have turned to the sea.
Fallon goes on to describe in heart-rending detail the story of Lucy, protagonist of The Pisces, who breaks up with her bottom-feeding boyfriend and then carps about it, gets catfished by a dude in an open relationship and nearly left with crabs, and finally finds a solution in a handsome merman. Merman!
Like the creature in “The Shape of Water,” Theo seems to be an exception to the rule of toxic straight maleness. Where other men hurt, threaten and betray, these unhuman beings pleasure, console and conspire with women.
As Fallon points out, The Shape of Water carries similar messages: straight men are evil, while everyone else is just fine. And The Pisces apparently mimics these messages. Fallon writes breathlessly [WARNING NSFW]:
Though there’s an insistent attention on the penis and penetrative, heterosexual intercourse in both love stories ― Lucy’s merman turns out to be human down through the pelvis, including an “ample, beautiful cock, uncircumcised, white and pink, with two round pink balls”; Elisa mimes, to her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer), a penile unfurling that, she implies, makes penetration possible ― there’s also an unmistakable queerness to these mythical, human-like creatures. They transgress the boundaries of what society traditionally demands from a male body. Lucy even notes a feminine quality to Theo, a scent to his tail and semen that reminds her of p****. “I felt as though … he was female for a moment,” she thinks after he comes in her mouth.
Um, gross, Huffington Post.
In the end, the Huffington Post is looking for a feminist version of a man: an emasculated servant of women who has no independent priorities or mind of his own, and whose masculinity has been reduced down to romantic novel fiction. Such men do not exist, nor should they. Men are human beings, too. And if women are rightly tired of being viewed by the culture as sex objects, perhaps feminists might think once in awhile about applying that same frame to men who might think differently than they do about politics.
But there’s good news. At least there’s a cure for both incels and fish sex ladies.