Friday, June 13, 2008
In her NY Times' blog, Judith Warner writes on sexually-charged manifestations of patriarchy in the US and abroad.
The premise: the connection between hymen-restoration trend in France, driven by the cultural need for unmarried women to remain (or re-become) virgins, and similar efforts in the US -- particularly, fathers who lead their teenage daughters to chastity balls and assert that it is their duty to protect their purity.
Warner also brings up rape and incest as more extreme examples of patriarchy -- and while they do not equate, she says,"there is nonetheless a kind of horror to their [fathers'] obsession with their daughters’ sexuality. ... And there is even greater danger to the fact that this particular aspect of the nationwide “abstinence movement” has not been broadly denounced as the form of emotional violence against girls that it indisputably is."
And an interesting counterpoint to arguments against the over-sexualization of young women. I personally find this paternal obsession with virginity about as creepy and inappropriate as Billy Ray's audience to Miley's sexually-charged Liebowitz photos.
While it's definitely uncomfortable for bratty, ridiculous teenagers and awkward parents to have 'the talk,' it is entirely possible for normal families to address sexuality in a normal, healthy, non-creepy way. No need to venture into territory that causes bloggers to revolt nationwide!
No one tried very hard to protect my virginity, and I don't recall ever being afraid of losing it too early or keeping it too long. I'm sure there was some kind of mental turmoil over it, and my parents were not thrilled when it went the way of YM magazine and shopping in the juniors section. But I'm fairly certain fears were over pregnancy, primarily, and not purity.