Oryx and Crake: Jimmy’s Issues with Women
Perception of Sexual Behavior in Society
Sex, it’s something many people don’t exactly feel comfortable taking about yet it’s seen everywhere in advertisement, from todays most popular music to magazines with sexy pictures and sex advice, in our society, “sex sells”. Yet sex isn’t openly talked about when it should be, and has a negative stigma linked with it. Sex can be just sex or a meaningful bond, but it seems casual sexual relationships are common forms of sexual encounters, among young adults”(Wentland 167). Jimmy’s mother, in Oryx and Crake, left him at a young age, which may explain why Jimmy has issues with women throughout his life and many times looks for women who will take pity on him, have sex with him as well as searching the web for pornography, to cope with the loss of his mother.
Jimmy seemed to be confused as to how to feel about his mother as “love jolted thought him abruptly and painfully followed by anger” at the sight of his mother on the news, giving insight on Jimmy’s conflicting feelings (Atwood 181). These feelings are also shown towards other women that Jimmy meets in his life, “He really did love these women, sort of”, the same conflicting feelings portrayed onto almost any woman in his life (Atwood 191). His treatment of women isn’t the same as he treats men and sees women as disposable, using them for his own happiness rather than building a relationship with them. Within the society of Oryx and Crake, casual sex is considered a normal occurrence, yet sometimes there are still different opinions on the matter, “It wasn’t real sex, was it?” Jimmy asked Oryx, “But Jimmy you should know (Atwood 144). All sex is real”, showing yet again Jimmy’s disconnect with sexual relations and women”(Atwood 144).
There are many different types of casual sexual relationships but two in particular include “Fuck Buddy and “Friends with Benefits.” A fuck buddy is “ sex between people who know each other, they engage in sexual activity, when they hang out with each other, they are usually not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, these two engage in sex with each other regularly”(Wentland 171). Whereas friends with benefits is “sex between two people who have an existing friendship, these two may or may not engage in sexual activity when they hang out with each other, they are usually not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, these two engage in sex with each other regularly”(Wentland 171). There isn’t much of a difference between the two but I believe Jimmy had more of a friends with benefits relations with the women as he becomes friends with them and is able to pull them in using manipulation, usually these women will feel pity for him and eventually some have sex with him.
In Jimmy’s situation, coping with the loss of his mother also seems like an endeavor, growing up without her and the fact that she took his pet for unknown reasons, can create a whirlwind of grieving emotions people feel at the loss of loved ones. Research actually shows that there is a link between losing a parent in adolescence and psychological clinical disorders including “adult depression, sociopathic personality, schizophrenia, hysterical personality and unspecified psychoneurosis”(Dietrich 901). When looking at zero hour, you can tell Snowman has had a lot of trauma in his life by the way he acts and having so much loss in his life had caused almost irreversible damage to his own mind. His coping mechanism for the loss of his mother may be to seek pity and receive sex in order to cope and may also be wanting sexual relations during the time of snowman to cope with the loss of his best friend, Crake, as well as the loss of the love of his life, Oryx. Since Jimmy’s perspective on women is skewed, he thinks of women as sexual objects that are willing to take pity on him from his past. Jimmy’s sexual behavior may be linked to the mental damage he has had throughout his life losing loved ones and big changes throughout his life can be a huge stressor.
In Oryx and Crake they show how women are seen as objects with student services at Crakes school “ you can get any colour, any age-well almost. Any body type”(Atwood). Though it is fair to say women can also request men the same way men request women, but this is still showing the way that this society views humans as objects, just using them for pleasure and in a way, moving on with your life without the distraction of a relationship or bond. In this way, these types of casual sexual relations are more like one-night stands. Though the people offered through student services aren’t exactly doing it because they want to, it runs more like prostitution in exchange for services rendered. Since Jimmy’s perspective on women is skewed, he thinks of women as sexual objects that are willing to take pity on him from his past. Jimmy’s sexual behavior may be linked to the mental damage he has had throughout his life losing loved ones and big changes throughout his life can be a huge stressor.
Margaret Atwood, the author of Oryx and Crake, was trying to show sexual behavior within the story in a bold and ridiculous manner, making it obvious that this sort of student services system is not ok, yet it’s made ok in the society she has built. Similar to the way that our society runs, prostitution, child pornography and sex tourism are all looked down upon and even illegal in some countries, yet it still happens. Though Crake and Jimmy are probably not suppose to be on porn sites, they are able to gain access and doesn’t get caught by Crake’s uncle, or the authorities. They are even able to print a picture of Oryx off, even though Jimmy is nervous about leaving a paper trail. So even though some things on the Internet are illegal, it still happens everyday.
Internet has also opened up a whole new world of possibilities our society didn’t have before. In the conclusion to a study done with adolescence, “the results of the present study showed that addiction to Internet was able to significantly predict sexual behavior, tendency toward opposite sex, aggression, chatting and hacking”(Mawlaie). In Jimmy’s world the Internet is widely used and he tends to watch a good amount of pornography with Crake throughout the book, making it seem like a normal occurrence. Yet this research would suggest that this may be causing showing a “significantly positive correlation between addiction to the internet and sexual behavior, tendency toward opposite sex, aggression, chatting and hacking”, though we are more concerned about the link of internet and sexual behavior, Jimmy sometimes will show signs of aggression as well (Mawlaie).
Observing Jimmy throughout his life you can tell his mental state started declining around the time of his mothers disappearance, he no longer had a mother figure to help him make realizations that women are just as human as men. When watching pornography with Crake, it may become hard to see these women on the Internet as people, rather than just used for sexual pleasure as porn portrays women to be. Social networking sites used by “adolescents may be exposed to sex-related messages by peers, engage in sexual communication with other users or create and distribute sexual content themselves”(Doornwaard). In the case of Jimmy, he does seem to use his mothers loss in order to gain attention from other women as they try to help him any way they can. He uses them as if they were disposable, just like the girls seen in the pornography on the Internet. When you think about it, he may not know of any other way to interact with women than what he has been shown.
In conclusion, since Jimmy didn’t have much of an example s to how to act and behave around women, he may have trouble communication and making connections with women throughout his life. Especially with the loss of his mother, it can cause psychological issues and since he wasn’t above to interact with his mom as an example, his understanding of women and treatment of women was distorted from watching pornography and seeing women as disposable rather than human. The internet can be a helpful place for an unlimited amount of information, but can also be a dangerous place filled with lies since anyone can post anything on the internet, weather it is truthful or not. I feel that our society today is becoming too dependent on technology, we use the Internet for so much that if it goes out one day, people won’t know how to function properly without it or maybe even start perceiving people differently like Jimmy.
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