Posts Tagged ‘abstinence’
For those of you that think that purity rings are too old fashioned, you can now take a purity pledge (complete with purity ring) on your iPhone!
The PurityRing App is a new way of both displaying this incredible committment but also a way of engaging and helping a new generation. The App is simple to use and will be a lasting digital reminder to all those that take the pledge. The App will simply ask you to take the vow, the user will then hear the Purity Pledge being read out and once the user has confirmed their acceptance, they will receive a timeless digital spinning Purity Ring to proudly display on their iPhone or iPod Touch.
The app, made by Island Wall Entertainment, at least has purity rings for men and women, instead of just focusing on women’s sexuality. Not that it’s a whole lot better though.
Even though purity pledges and purity balls are still sweeping the nation, evidence shows that these pledges don’t work in keeping teens and unmarried people “virgins.”
I can’t say that I’m surprised by this new app. Many organizations, such as the Abstinence Clearinghouse and True Love Waits, are still powerful interests. Purity balls are still popular. But really, does this have to go into popular technology?
Straight from Feministing, we find out that comprehensive sex education really works…
The Council on Science and Public Health gave a report at the AMA annual meeting that shows that comprehensive sex education, not abstinence-only programs, is the way to go.
Sex education that provides information about abstinence, condom use and other contraceptive methods is the most effective way to reduce the growing number of teenagers who contract a sexually transmitted infection or become pregnant.
“What we’re talking about is comprehensive programs which, of course, include abstinence, but we can’t just stick our heads in the sand and expect them to do the right thing. We have to provide them with all of the information they need to make responsible, adult decisions,” said Barry Sheppard, MD, a thoracic surgeon and alternate delegate for the California Medical Assn.
This is what people have been saying all along. Maybe now the abstinence-only people (I’m looking at you, Abstinence Clearinghouse – among others) will get the message with yet another research study.
The other day when I was volunteering at Planned Parenthood, I watched this 2006 documentary titled “Abstinence Comes to Albuquerque.” It’s a great documentary about the abstinence only debate. It is obviously geared towards abolishing abstinence only education (as it should be) and has some great information.
Even though Obama has abolished funding for abstinence only education for 2010, the threat is not gone. Some of that funding can be used for abstinence only education and the abstinence only movement (part of the virginity movement, according to Jessica Valentia, as can be read about here and here) is still going strong. Continue working towards abolished abstinence only education through writing to your elected officials, working with organizations like Planned Parenthood, organizing events in your community, etc.
You can watch “Abstinence Comes to Albuquerque” here:
I have this weird fascination with the Twilight phenomenon. I have always been intrigued by things that cause mass followings. I was first exposed to the Twilight series while working at a summer camp where a good number of the teenage girls were wandering around campus all day clutching their copies of one of the four books. I didn’t think too much of it then, but then the uprising around the movie started happening and I started paying attention. (I must note that I have not read the books, the writing was just too much for me, but I have seen the movie a couple times and read articles about Twilight when I see them).
I’m not going to go into the feminist implications of Twilight too much right now because there are several great articles out there about it (check out Bitch magazine or Ms. magazine). What I do want to talk about now is New Moon.
A little while ago the first trailer for the New Moon movie was released (see below). In the trailer, Edward leaves after an incident where his “brother” Jasper almost kills Bella. Bella is distraught. She lies on the floor of the forest for who knows how long. Showing that she apparently cannot live without Edward. After that, she allows the vampire Laurent to taunt her and call her “mouth watering” while she just stands there helpless.
From what I can tell from the trailer and the little that I know of the plot of the book, I can see that New Moon is not going to be any less anti-feminist than Twilight, not that I was expecting much. I just wish that people wouldn’t idolize Edward and Bella so much. They have such a messed up relationship. Edward is creepy as hell and Bella is this meek, little excuse for a woman. Even just looking at the tag line for Twilight: “and so the lion fell in love with the lamb.” Bella (the lamb) is portrayed as this helpless animal that has no agency of her own. She’s not even falling in love. Edward (the lion) is falling in love with her.
I won’t even pretend to say that I won’t go see New Moon. I really do have this weird fascination with this phenomenon. I honestly don’t see why people are sooooo obsessed with it.
I am a huge fan of Jessica Valenti and all of the people over at Feministing, so when I saw Valenti’s article, “The Virginity Movement, Rebranded,” in The Nation, I had to read it right away. Valenti’s book, The Purity Myth, is about how the virginity movement is sexualizing abstinence and rolling back women’s rights. According to Valenti, the virginity movement is,
much more than the same old sexism; it’s a targeted and well-funded backlash hellbent on rolling back women’s rights using modernized notions of purity, morality, and sexuality. Its goals are mired in old-school gender roles, and its primary tool is young women’s sexuality.
In this article, she discusses how the virginity movement is fighting back against some of the bad publicity they have gotten recently, from Bristol Palin to Leslee Unruh, founder and president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, screaming “I want more babies” on Fox News.
After these hits on the virginity movement, it has been trying to change its image. It has changed from abstinence-only education to “abstinence-centered” education apparently grounded in science.
Joe Sonka, managing editor of the Advocates for Youth blog Amplify, wrote of the lobby day, “Instead of abandoning their demonization of condoms and adherence to social conservative ideology over sound science, they would simply rebrand themselves as a curriculum that ‘wasn’t just about abstinence,’ but was all about ‘holistic approaches’ to ‘healthy lifestyle choices.’”
So while they claim that they are grounded in science and not just about abstinence, they are still using the same old tactics and same old curriculum to scare teenagers into not having sex.
They have even turned Bristol Palin into a poster child for abstinence. In a People magazine article, Palin said, “If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex.” What sex education was she getting if she didn’t know that sex could lead to babies? I’m pretty sure most people know this, they just aren’t educated on how to stop a pregnancy from happening. It’s unrealistic to expect teenagers to not be curious about sex. What is realistic is expecting them to make responsible choices about their sex lives by educating them about birth control and contraceptives.
According to Valenti, stopping the virginity movement is very important for women, teenagers, and basically the entire American population.
It’s about stopping a movement committed to the regression of women’s rights, enforcing gender norms and teaching America’s youth — especially young women — that sexuality is wrong, dirty and dangerous.
Jessica Valenti does a great job at explaining the goal and strategies of the virginity movement and the reasons for fighting back. Another must-read by Valenti.
I am normally a huge fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and of Jon Stewart in general. But his “debate” with Mike Huckabee on June 18, 2009 about abortion made me really disappointed with him.
He had Huckabee on to discuss the “pro-life issue.” Not only was the debate framed in an attack on anti-choicers by calling it the “pro-life issue,” Stewart did not do a good job at framing the pro-choice side of the debate. Stewart does admit at the end of the interview that abortion is one of the issues that he struggles with the most and doesn’t really know how to address it. My complaint is that he should have done his research on pro-choice arguments before the “debate” and took more of a stand. Jon Stewart is normally really good at debating serious issues while keeping it light and funny. I was hopeful at the beginning when he jokingly brought out a bottle of alcohol, but it went down hill from there.
Stewart does attempt to raise some of the key issues in pro-choice arguments, such as a woman’s right to her body, but it was just not done well. He didn’t question Huckabee on the belief that life starts at conception. Huckabee even said that this was “biologically and scientifically” proven…um, maybe it’s a human fetus, but life, I don’t think so.
Stewart also did bring up the need to abolish abstinence-only education in order for people to be fully informed of the consequences of sex in order to reduce the need for abortions, but Huckabee managed to kind of skirt around that issue.
I hate to say it, but Huckabee did such a better job in this debate. He knew what he wanted to say, he stood his ground, and he argued against Stewart’s points. Jon Stewart, on the other hand, was very vague and didn’t really seem to have that much of an opinion.
Not to mention the fact that these are two white guys sitting around discussing abortion. Does it matter what a woman has to say about the issue? According to them, men can handle discussing it. Women don’t have to concern themselves with it. One thing that made me chuckle a little was when Huckabee said, “I’ve counseled scores and scores of women,” about abortion…therefore he must know what he’s talking about.
How do you think Jon Stewart did in this “debate”?
I had some trouble embedding the video, so here’s the link to the video. There are three parts, make sure to watch all of them.
This is one of the best books I have read in a while. The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Women was written by Jessica Valenti, founder and executive editor of Feministing (one of my favorite blogs, you should check it out). So, how is the virginity movement harming women and girls? The virginity movement and the “purity myth” place women’s value in their sexuality. Moral women are women who are pure (i.e. save themselves for marriage) and immoral women are dirty (i.e. have sex before marriage). Boys are taught to be respectful, strong, aggressive, etc. to be moral people where as girls are taught that their morality lies in their sexuality. Valenti offers many examples of this from purity balls (gag!) to Girls Gone Wild to abstinence-only education and everything in between. The book is very comprehensive in its argument and just overall a good read. It is easy to approach, funny and sarcastic, but obviously has valuable and credible research behind the argument.
So what needs to be done about the virginity movement’s attack on women?
“Abstinence classes that tell girls they’re dirty and used unless they “save it”; a culture that doesn’t believe women who are raped; porn-based beauty standards for our genitals; a moral compass for young women that’s based solely on sexuality…There’s no doubt that we have a difficult fight ahead of us, but I know we’re up for it,” (203).
What we need is a more complex and comprehensive approach to sexuality. Should all teenagers be having sex? No, that is not what Valenti is arguing. She is simply arguing that we should teach our youth (through schools and cultural views and values) that sex is a natural thing, but you have to be prepared for it both in the way of protection and in the way of maturity. We cannot stop women from having sex. That is not what we want to do. Women’s sexuality is a natural thing. We want women (and men) to be prepared for sex and not feel ashamed of their sex life.
I cannot not make this argument as eloquently as Valenti did, so I recommend that all of you read the book (and check out Feministing!).