The impact of parents on sexual education of children is always very significant. Often parents attempt to protect their children, especially girls, from sexual offenses and early sexual life. However, such education does not always lead to good ends. In this respect, it is possible to refer to “Becoming La Mujer” and “Selena”, which reveal the negative impact of fathers on their daughters, who suffered from the father’s law pressure which made their life unbearable and prevented them from their sexual self-realization and positive self-perception of women. As the matter of fact, the father’s law contributed to the development of serious psychological problems and problems in the sexual life of girls, main characters of “Becoming La Mujer” and “Selena”, Marisa Navarro and Selena respectively. This is why the two main characters had to struggle against the law of the father and this struggle was hard to win and, what is more, it became harder the harder the law of the father pressed them and affected their life.
On analyzing “Becoming La Mujer” and “Selena”, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the main character of the essay and the film, Marisa and Selena are, to a significant extent, similar and so is their experience in their sexual life and maturation. In fact, Marisa and Selena are two girls, who have been vulnerable to a considerable impact of their fathers. Their fathers attempted to protect them from sexual offenses and numerous problems they could face because of men, but, in actuality, the over-protection from the part of fathers had extremely negative impact on the girl’s socialization and sexual life. In such a way, good intentions of Marisa’s and Selena’s fathers led to very bad ends.
In fact, the experience of Marisa is very similar to that of Selena because both girls have suffered from the overwhelming impact of their fathers on their sexual education as well as personal philosophy. Marisa feels guilty for being a girl and for her sexuality. She is embarrassed with the attention of men, which she attracts. Remarkably, the girl does nothing to catch the attention of men and she feels really embarrassed because of the growing attention from the part of men to her. At the same time, because of the law of the father she cannot understand that this is a natural process of maturation and sexual development.
She cannot help from the attention from the part of men and boys as she grows older and mature. This is a natural process of maturation and men are naturally interested in Marisa as a woman. However, she cannot understand her sexuality. In fact, her virginity comes into conflict with her sexuality. On the one hand, she stays virgin, whereas, on the other hand, the pressure from the part of men grows stronger. In such a context, the law of the fathers, which she has learned since her early adolescence, comes into conflict with the real life, where she confronts the problem of being sexually appealing to men. Marisa resists to attempts of men to seduce her and that makes her situation particularly difficult.
She suffers from enormous pressure of her father’s law, which becomes an unbearable burden, when the pressure from the part of men increases and she cannot resist. She cannot view her sexuality positively. Neither can she view sex positively. Under the impact of the law of the father, she views her sexuality and sex as something wrong as a sort of sin she is guilty in and responsible for. At the same time, she feels being powerless to change the situation because she cannot get rid of the attention from the part of men, even though she attempts to wear casual, asexual clothes.
On the other hand, Marisa cannot realize her sexuality to become la mujer, a woman comfortable in her body. She views her body as a source of sin and subject to harassment. In this regard, she is very similar to Selena. However, both Marisa and Selena suffer from their inability to become la mujer. The concept of the law of the father they have learned since their early adolescence contradicts to the real life. Moreover, the law of the father prevents the realization of their sexuality to the extent that they have serious psychological problems and cannot enjoy the physiological intimacy with men. In such a way, the way to become la mujer is the hard way to go for Marisa as well as Selena because of the law of the father, which leads to the formation of erroneous views on their self and their sexuality as well as relationships with men.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that Selena grows up on a tour bus with her father at the wheel. As a result, she suffers from the pressure of her father’s law as Marisa does. The pressure of the law of the father makes both characters similar. Remarkably effects of the law of the father on Selena are similar to effects of the law on Marisa. At the same, Selena suffers probably even more than Selena because her father is always near and she cannot feel comfortable with men, when her father is literally next to her.
At the same time, she does not feel free and remains daddy’s daughter. She has shaped her views on her sexuality and relationships with men on the ground of the law of the father. Similarly to Marisa, Selena views men as mere brutes who want to have sex with her and she believes sex is the only goal men have. In such a way, the search for a true love becomes a sort of obsession for her that affects consistently her creative work. She suffers more than Marisa because she is an artist, she is a singer and emotions overwhelm her.
She cannot realize her sexuality being in her father’s eye and feeling being “dirty”. In such a way, she attempts to focus her attention on her artistic work to distract herself from concerns over her sexuality and relations with men. In fact, she uses the avoidance strategy. In this regard, she is similar to Marisa. However, eventually both Marisa and Selena end up with sexual relations, which are not grounded on such feelings as love, for instance. Their sexual live becomes a sort of experiment or self-sacrifice but through such experience they attempt to learn the true sexual life as it is and as it is different from the law of the father they are not willing to obey anymore.
The repulsion of the law of the father is natural for both Marisa and Selena but, in fact, they fall from one extreme to another. What is meant here is the fact that they realize their sexuality through having sex with some men. However, they do not really feel any strong affection to those men. Therefore, their sexuality fails to find its manifestation in true feeling, such as love. Instead, their sexual life focuses on mere sex, physical contacts, which have little affection from their part. In fact, both Marisa and Selena feel guilt for what they do but, on the other hand, they cannot live anymore respectively to the law of the father.
In such a situation, the rebel of Marisa and Selena is natural but the way they rebel is not right although determined by the law of the father. What is meant here is the fact that their fathers influenced their views on themselves consistently. They contributed to the development of low self-esteem in both Selena and Marisa. The girls suffered from being subjects to sexual harassment and believed sexual life was wrong. The rebel against the law of the father became a challenge for them. They had to break not only the law of the father but their own views, beliefs, and values. Their sexual life became a sort of self-sacrifice, which they did not really want. The problem was that their sexual maturation went wrong under the impact of the law of the father and they failed to intertwine closely real feelings and affection, or love, on the one hand, and sexual life, on the other.
Nava, G. (1997) Selena, Warner Brothers.
Navarro, M. “Becoming La Mujer,” In Umanski, L. & M. Plott, Making Sense of Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies, New York: Random House, 2009.