My professor also brought up SIGMUND FREUD's ideas on PERVERSION. He said that FREUD uses the same sort of definition for the word (one who deviates from the sexual norm), but does not think that these deviations should be in any way "treated" or "cured." It is perfectly natural for sexual preferences and ideas to differ from one person to another and the people who should really be "on the couch" are those who fail to acknowledge this acceptibility of qualities deemed "PERVERSE" in the public eye. Let me provide full disclosure here in saying that I have no citation for these Freudian views. I am simply working on what I understand from my professor's words on the subject.
For one more view of what a makes a PERVERT a PERVERT, I consulted the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY which produced this definition of the word "PERVERSE": "Of a person, action, etc.: going or disposed to go against what is reasonable, logical, expected, or required; contrary, fickle, irrational." So, one of the most respected dictionaries in the world gives a fairly broad definition of the word that echoes FOUCAULT's definition, but also throws in the words "fickle" and "contrary," which I suppose would rope in anyone who has an unstable, fluctuating sense of sexuality and one who does the exact opposite of what is considered the SEXUAL NORM, which, I suppose, would be around HETEROSEXUAL, VAGINAL INTERCOURSE.
Now, back to the WOODY ALLEN film: the aforementioned story that comes after the question about perversion shows a black-and-white game show that features a panel of celebrities, that includes one REGIS PHILBIN, asking yes or no questions in attempt to guess the contestant's particular perversion. As it turns out, the contestant apparently GETS HIS ROCKS OFF by exposing himself in public places (pictured,left; please excuse the poor photo quality). Immediately after the game portion of the show, the host reveals the winner of a mail oriented contest in which contestants send in their fantasies and the best fantasy will then be enacted on the show. Said winner is a Hasidic Jew whose fantasy involves his wife getting on her knees and eating pork while he is scolded and chastised by a dominatrix.
So with all of these examples of SEXUAL PERVERSION, which one can we decide on as THE definition for this mysterious, yet ubiquitous, word? If PERVERSION is deviation from the SEXUAL NORM, then what is this SEXUAL NORM in the modern western world? Well, I consulted the ever-trustworthy source of WIKIPEDIA for an answer and guess what it is? WIKIPEDIA says that, "In the West, many people have relaxed the traditional definitions of normality, choosing instead to define normal sexuality as any sexual practice which does not involve what are regarded as sexual perversions." This takes us in a big circle that again gives rise to the questionm, "WHAT IS A SEXUAL PERVERT?"
In ALLEN's film, the contestant with the hidden PERVERSION appears as a kind old man who looks like he a could be a loving grandfather. The only reason he is a PERVERT is because he is on the fictional gameshow, What's My Perversion? He does not seem strange or threatening until we hear what the man's PERVERSION is. But wait, let's take the answer in two halves: "He likes to expose himself." This does not sound so bad; maybe the man just likes to show his partner his genitals and he likes to hear feedback and admiration. Okay, no big deal. But "IN PUBLIC!" This is where the old man could really upset some people. Does this mean that a PERVERT is not a PERVERT unless he or she acts upon the sexual drive and projects it on to a non-consenting partner? I think this may have something more to do with it, but what if the person in question has desires to expose his or her genitals in public, but stifles the urges. Is this person still a PERVERT in the public eye (considering that the public somehow knows about the person's urges) and can this person be accepted in society because the stifling of his or her urges creates the illusion the he or she fits into the SEXUAL NORM?
I have been writing this BLOG POST on and off all day and still feel as though I am still pretty far away from an answer to the question at hand. I would appreciate some help if anyone has any incite into what it means to be a SEXUAL PERVERT.