Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘abstinence

I’m sorry so many of my posts lately have been about television.  But I have been watching a lot of TV lately with the season premieres and everything.  I also really like analyzing TV shows, especially ones that I like, because it makes me examine my investments in feminism, society, and pop culture.  I hope to get back to some posts more specifically about feminism after I get some more time and after we get through all the season premieres and everything.

As always, here are some of my favorite posts of the past couple of days.  Make sure to leave links to what you have been writing and reading in the comments!

What’s So Funny About Abstinence and Virginity? [this ain’t livin’] – there are many TV shows that make fun of abstinence pledges and people who are virgins.  But what’s so funny about this personal decision?

Sense & Sexuality: New anti-sex website shames young women [Feministing] – a look at a anti-feminist, anti-sex website.

Feminism in Schools: Teaching Feminism When You’re Not a Feminist [Small Strokes] – As part of her series looking at incorporating feminism into the classroom, Ashely tackles an important question: can you teach feminism or feminist values if you are not a feminist?

Bright Star: Film Review [Entertainment Realm] – a look at the new movie about John Keats and his muse.

Emmys: After-Thoughts [Bitch Flicks] – television seems to still be dominated by men.


This week has been pretty uneventful for me. I get to spend my weekend babysitting three hyper kids, that’s about as exciting as it gets. I hope all of you have had more eventful and productive weeks. Here are some of my favorite blog posts from this week. There are a lot of them because, well, there were a lot of really good posts this week and I am still constantly discovering new feminist blogs that I want to share with everyone!

Health Care, It’s Personal [Womanist Musings]
The Hermione in my Head [Feministing Community]
LOL you’re a feminist [o filthy grandeur!]
What Feminism Is and What It Should Be (with a little help from bell hooks) [Small Strokes] – a little over a week old, but still good!
And finally, both The Curvature and Jump Off the Bridge participated in the blogathon yesterday – check out their numerous posts!

What have you been writing and reading this week? Leave links in the comments!

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.