Monday, March 31, 2008

So About Those Virgins...

There is an article in the NYT magazine about abstinence and in particular abstinence clubs at Ivy League schools. Abstinence is a fascinating topic to me, especially in the past decade with Bush and his abstinence-only education policies. I think it’s absurd that this administration and numerous other right-wing or evangelical groups actually claim that educating young adults about things like safe sex, plan b or gardisil, is in turn promoting promiscuity, debauchery, and a miserable, loveless life.

Anyway, I digress. In the article, they profile this student at Harvard who is the president of one such Virginity club. The author of the article almost seems to be winking at the reader while he writes about and interviews her. It’s easy to do as an adult, since you can just sort of wave of the naiveté of a fervent youth. It’s also easy to do when she’s shocked that her co-president (a guy) has lustful thoughts (gasp!) and has masturbated (double gasp...from him. Okay, that was terrible.) You quickly realize how young she really is. But abstinence is such a tricky issue. This young woman, and other like minded people are so focused on their message of not having sex that perhaps they don’t stop to see if this is actually the decision they truly want to make. It becomes more about the stance than the actual act of sex. And of course half the time I am thinking “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!” but I guess that goes against the whole “waiting til marriage” thing.

I wholeheartedly agree that people should only have sex because they want to. And at the same time, if people want to wait that should be their choice as well. It’s terrible that people (girls especially) get pressured into doing it or doing things against their will. But this speaks more to empowering women, and arming them with confidence and self esteem, than it does to promoting abstinence. How you can successfully do this, I have no idea. But to promote something so ardently, whether it be abstinence or not having abortions, always rubs me the wrong pun intended this time. Maybe because I am not for anyone telling me that I CANNOT do something. I’m all for people strongly advocating and protesting on behalf of things like gay marriage or freedom of speech. But who’s to tell me I can’t (or shouldn’t) have sex? Or marry a woman? Or eat trans fat!

I think what this all boils down to is my stubborn independence and the few months I was living with my aunt and uncle in the 80’s. Like I told them, if you’re not my mom, you’re not the boss of me. Anyway, I am sure there are feminists galore who can sum this up much more succinctly and articulately than I just have. And I’m not exactly sure what my point is, except to say: it’s my way or the highway and if I don’t like your views, you’re stupid. Fair enough, right?

In unrelated news, Terry O’Quinn came up in conversation and with any mention of Terry, one must recognize his stellar turn in the classic 80’s hit “The Stepfather.” Upon close inspection of the official IMDB page, I discovered this tagline: Daddy's Home and He's Not Very Happy. Yeah, tell me something I don’t know, Internet Movie Database...*

PS: I loved this look.

Also, has anyone seen the trailer for Helen Hunt’s directorial debut? Hangdog, anyone?

Love and Bra Burning,

*Disclaimer: my dad’s actually pretty cool.

1 comment:

Anne said...

You have an Aunt Carol? Obviously, she doesn't share your last name. Or does she?

I read this article too and at one point the girl is quoted as saying, "It takes a strong woman to be abstinent, and that’s the sort of woman I want to be."

I only agree slightly. She has no idea what sex entails or what it means. I'm definitely against people having sex for the wrong reasons in general, but I think it takes a strong woman to be able to make a decision for yourself. And be comfortable with that decision.

I don't think virginity and empowerment have all that much to do with each other. I think sexual independence and having an understanding of your body is empowering. Be, sexual independence, deciding not to have sex or whatever.

And yeah, the lack of sex education is horrifying. You have girls like this being embarrassed about the one basic, animalistic thing about humans that still exists. (besides eating)

I'll get off my soap box... :)