I first came across Liberated while my roommates and I, all recent college graduates, were hanging out watching Netflix in early March, looking for some raunchy spring break movie to relive our college spring break memories. Ironically, after typing in “spring break” in the search bar, we came across Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution. Although not exactly what we were looking for it sounded intriguing enough, so I clicked play.
Initially we thought it was funny watching these drunk spring breakers talk about their plans to hookup and what they thought of sex—but while we watched the film we grew quiet as our eyes were opened to the sobering reality of the twisted view our society has on masculinity, femininity, and sex as a whole.
Liberated was so powerful, gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking, and convicting that it actually led me to tears sitting there in the living room with my roommates. I lay in my bed for about two hours after watching the film, not able to sleep, just thinking about how heartbreaking it is that we as a culture have corrupted sex. This film, while set in college spring break, isn’t just about exposing the spring break party scene. It illustrates, on a much deeper level, the terrible societal side effects that come from celebrating hookup culture, normalizing porn, and twisting definitions of masculinity and femininity.
As someone who did my fair share of partying and hooking up in college, including two spring break trips, I never thought much about the corrupt sexual culture I was buying into. As guys, we definitely feel the cultural pressure to prove our masculinity to others by hooking up with the most, and hottest, girls possible. It’s unimpressive to other guys to just be friends with a girl and not be hooking up with them.
Liberated also shows the twisted definition of the ideal femininity our culture portrays, and the battle my female friends and my sisters deal with daily. For example, the idea that girls must sexualize themselves to receive any attention in today’s culture. The film reveals how harmful these views of masculinity and femininity are and how they corrupt adolescence, normalize pornography, create a demand for sex trafficking, and enable sexual assault.
So many people, like my friends and I, are blind to the faults of today’s sexual culture and how harmful it is to ourselves and to our peers. This film opened my eyes to something that is often overlooked. Since watching Liberated I have not viewed masculinity, femininity, or sex the same. I continue to recommend this documentary to others and feel it’s something every millennial needs to see so that we can begin a long overdue conversation.