Musings from a saddened bitch.

Sexuality. We all need more healthy doses of it. I’m certainly not about to preach my own approach to sexuality, because I’m actually pretty certain that I made a hell of a lot of mistakes (20/20 hindsight and all that). However, I can’t stop feeling overwhelmed with, well, sadness when I look at the direction our country is going in regards to sex and sexuality. The construction of shame and “dirtiness” associated with sex, the deeply proprietary way teenage girls’ bodies are being transformed into commodities (purity balls anyone?), and yet the continued sexualization of everything (high heeled shoes for infants, padded bras for eight year olds, the “don’t bother getting dressed when you leave your house” concept of fashion, and the continued slash-and-burn of young girls’ self-esteem. I have my fair share of hang-ups about sex and sexuality, and I think I was pretty fortunate in having a not-too-messed-up upbringing in regards to these things, and GFA was certainly pro sex ed. So I can’t help but fear for the teens growing up without any sex ed, those who don’t understand how to have safe sex, let alone the fact that wanting to have sex is perfectly normal, that masturbation is not only normal but can be good for your health, that no there is nothing weird or dirty about those feelings you have, and that menstruation is not you dying (girls getting their first period and thinking they’re DYING or feeling ashamed is just too prevalent for me to write that off). We don’t give kids nearly enough credit. A properly educated kid will probably make a smart decision. Ground them with the facts–about diseases, pregnancy, safety, what their bodies are doing, etc–and then support the facts with self-esteem, a nurturing environment, and trust and respect, and I think we’d all be impressed by how many healthy, happy kids would appear out of that (and I don’t mean babies :P).

What I realize the more I grow older is exactly how easy it is to pass judgment on teenagers. To have that knee-jerk reaction of “You’re too young! You don’t know what you’re doing!” or of “You won’t feel this way in three months!” But if nothing else, passing judgment like that won’t help them make a healthy decision. Most likely, they’ll go ahead with their original plan just to spite us jerks. Honestly, we’d be the jerk in that situation. Maybe they ARE too young, and maybe they DON’T know what they’re doing. But it’s better to guide them through educating them about the risks (you know, the real ones, not the “but you are a rose, and every time you have pre-marital sex, you rip off a petal and someday you won’t be able to find a husband cause you’ll just be a thorny brand” ones, and yes, that is a real abstinence ad campaign), and then stepping back and giving them enough trust and respect to let them make their own choice.

I don’t know. I’ve just been feeling very overwhelmed lately with how much our culture is focused on the negative of everything–the negative of feminism, the negative of sexuality, the negative of Democrats or Republicans, the negative of people who make less than six figures buying houses… It seems like a lot of fear-mongering, and I hate to see the results. Great, now I’m depressed. Hey, guess what? Planned Parenthood still hasn’t hired me to be a sexual health educator. I’m sad about that. 😛

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10/28/2008. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

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