Sunday, January 13, 2008

Prude

For those who seem unconvinced, it's worth asking: Have the sexual revolution and do-me feminism allowed America's young girls to really live happier, more wholesome lives? Are their thoughts, conversations, activities, and preoccupations more elevated? Are they healthier in body, mind, and spirit? The answer is obvious.
This came from the end of a recent read. The book is Prude by Carol Platt Liebau. The subtitle, How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!) sums it up well.

I’m convinced but I didn’t need this book for that. Looking around I can see the effect on girls and the culture. What this book did very well was document the reasons for change and how it came about.

How about this summary of an average girl’s day:

Fourteen-year-old Jennifer awakens well in time for school. As she dresses, pairing a cropped top with a trendy miniskirt, she listens to a popular radio station where the male—female morning team is discussing whether more men "go" for women's breasts, legs, or buttocks. On the school bus, the new rumor is that Amy gave Mike a blow job after the party last Saturday night. In her homeroom, her teacher is annoyed—a used condom has been found in the hall.

After school, Jennifer and her friends head to the mall. They check out the stores, including the provocative window display at Victoria's Secret, and try on clothes—camisoles styled like lingerie, short shorts, tight pants—designed to showcase their figures. They pick up the "hot" new novel Rainbow Party—about a group of fifteen-year-olds who plan to attend a sex party, and the newest Gossip Girl book (the one where high school senior Vanessa juggles sex with two different guys and her friend Blair sleeps with a young English lord).

Back at home, Jennifer is about to start her homework, but decides to check in at MySpace.com and get the latest dish at CosmoGirl.com, where she encounters the question: “Are you a lesbian or bisexual and have a romantic story about you and your girlfriend? Tell us your love story and it could get picked for the magazine!”

As she types on her computer, the stereo's playing a hit song, and Jennifer sings along with a hit from one of her favorite groups, the Pussycat Dolls: "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me? "

Better get down to work, she decides. That way, she'll finish everything in time to watch Laguna Beach. Although Talan has confessed his love to Taylor, he's hooked up with Kristin (again)—that's the one who outraged her sort-of boyfriend, Stephen, in Season 1 by dancing provocatively on a table during a coed Mexican vacation (even though, at the time, Stephen cheered her on, calling, “You look so good—keep dancing on the bar, slut!”). Jennifer doesn't want to miss tonight's episode—everybody will be talking about it tomorrow at school.
I don’t watch TV and avoid most movies so I only know from a distance “how bad things are.” After reading the examples from the book, I don’t have to wonder where many teens are getting their education of what sex is all about.

The book goes on to show that even current popular novels and magazines for girls are full of group sex, sex with teachers, homosexuality and that almost everything sexual is expected and okay except the dreaded virgin.

How about the statistics about MTV music videos: aside from the violence against women, on average there are thirty-two instances of foul language per hour, ninety-three sexual situations per hour, including eleven “hard core” scenes that show behavior such as intercourse or oral sex.

A common theme in the media mentioned is that everybody is doing everything. It really gives a false message but because it is so pervasive, many teens figure they had better get moving or they will be left behind. They sure wouldn’t want to be the only one not doing it.

Because of all this input there is the expectation to be sexy expressed by clothes and attitude. This can be seen even in the nice girls at church. It seems rare anymore to find a girl who is not showing a little cleavage. Last week I looked up to see a young girl’s thong on display. It couldn’t be missed. Her shirt was up six inches and the thong about three. I wondered if she was oblivious to it or if it was an advertisement. Thankfully, the scene changed a few minutes later.

I think there has been a huge shift in the perception of what morality is. Parents are hesitant to battle over clothes and media so the default is a worldly education. Most churches say little as well. The kids growing up are bombarded with a sexy message that has little to counter it. We see the result all around us. The good girls don’t see what’s wrong with the tight revealing clothes that everyone else is wearing. Many will say they are committed to purity but their clothing says, “Come and get it.”

Back to the book. After showing where the influence is coming from it goes on to show what it is doing. There is a huge toll expressed by sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, abortion and the emotional and economic cost.

Finally, a glimmer of hope is given. There are some groups coming forward to counter the influences that have been unfettered for so long. Some of them are even operating in the public schools. People are starting to realize that what has been going on is very harmful. I hope that the same will happen as did with cigarettes. If enough people are awakened and motivated a positive change will result.

If you are a parent I would encourage you to read this book. You will better understand the culture and those caught in it. It may even be your own kids. If so, you will have tools to help get them back on the right track.

Philip

Prude by Carol Platt Liebau at Amazon


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