Washington Post writer Lisa Bonos interviewed leftist actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin about their Netflix show Grace and Frankie, where the two women become friends after their husbands run off with each other. Bonos wanted to hammer on the argument that TV executives (or audiences) can't handle female sexual pleasure on the boob tube. This led Fonda to extol the benefits of masturbation for the fairer sex in the AARP demographic:
BONOS: Jane, what does this story line mean for you? Do you see female pleasure as connected to women’s health and fitness?
FONDA: It means you don’t have to have a man! [Masturbation] is especially useful for older women, because men die sooner than we do. And so: Use it or lose it. It’s not critical that every woman wants to stay juiced up. But if they do, it’s perfectly fine.
Fonda sounded a little more traditional when Bonos began the pleasure angle. "the discussion of masturbation and female pleasure on the show is fascinating and different from other things we see on TV. What is still considered taboo, though, in regard to seeing women as sexual beings on television? And how do you see that shifting?" Fonda said: "I think more things should be taboo. I think everything is much sexier on a big screen and small screen when it’s more suggested and hinted at than when it’s full-out."
That's not the Netflix approach. The Page Six crew at the New York Post underlines that Netflix is using the vibrator theme to promote these randy seniors:
Not only does the billboard in Hollywood feature stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin wielding large purple sex toys — literally stopping traffic — but a, ahem, teaser ad shows the premiere date spelled out with vibrators. The ad helpfully comes with the tag line “Good Vibes.”
Here's how Lily Tomlin explained the alleged autoerotic taboo:
TOMLIN: Every TV show we’ve been on [to promote their Netflix series], we’d been cautioned not to say “vibrator,” to say “sex toy.” On the Today show, we talked about it anyway, but they were on the discouraging side.
BONOS: You can’t say “vibrator” on TV and yet Viagra commercials are everywhere. Why is there so much discomfort?
TOMLIN: I think it’s female versus male sexuality. That’s a celebration of the penis, Viagra. They have a special drug. I think it’s the fact that we’re supposed to be older women.
A lot of the culture thinks of the vibrator as a denial of the penis, which I don’t think it is. Years ago, Mrs. Beasley, one of my characters, did a monologue advocating for vibrators. This was back in the 1980s. I did it for the first time at a fundraiser for [Walter] Mondale, and even people in Hollywood were a little taken aback.
There’s something too intimate about masturbation; it’s still an issue that’s something of a deterrent. But not with young people! Millennials, by and large, seem to be more enlightened.