February, 2008

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‘Protecting Innocence’ means ‘It Makes me Uncomfortable!’ I Play You a Tiny Violin

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’m tired and I don’t have the time or energy to write a long post, but I wanted to write something before it slipped my mind.

It’s occurred to me that one of the main obstacles in this world is the unwillingness of grownups/parents to accept their child will, someday, be a sexual being, just like most of the rest of us end up being. The problem is, of course, all the more pronounced with little girls. Now before you get all ‘OMG PEDOPHILE’ on my ass, let me direct you to the article that re-sparked this thought: My Daughter Has a Hand Mirror. Basically it’s an article laughing at some conservative blogger freaking out because a book for young people on sexuality seems to endorse young girls looking at their genitals with a mirror.

It’s rather befuddling. Why would anyone be opposed to this? Honestly? I guess people believe that discovery of sexual organs leads to interest in sex? People seems to be so obsessed with this ‘violation of innocence’. Well, here’s a newsflash – your daughter figuring out where her clitoris is isn’t going to be violating any innocence. Most likely she’s going to think nothing of it and go about her little life just like normal. Why this belief that she’s suddenly (apparently) going to become some different person? Why this idea that knowing about sex puts this huge burden on someone? I mean, come on, when you found out about sex, how deeply did you fall into depression? How did you mourn the passing of your childhood? I don’t remember a time I didn’t know what sex was, and I never remember it being distressing, and certainly it didn’t make me grow up any faster. Hell, I lived in my own imaginary world for probably way too long. (I might even stretch to add here that if learning about sex is overwhelmingly distressing, whatever they’ve just been taught is probably an overall distressing version of what sex is that would even cause me distress.)

Of course sex is the realm of adults, and of course we don’t want children involved in sexual acts with other people. But unless your kid has other issues, your daughter at age 8 isn’t interested in sex, at all! Except for maybe that shy curiosity, like I had, but hey, if it was in my mom’s home medical guide, I wanted to understand it inside-out. Telling them about sex, letting them learn about their own sexual organs, even them learning how to pleasure themselves sexually (as long as it doesn’t get out of hand/become a dependency/not in public, etc) – none of this is going to ruin their innocence, or change who they are. In fact, my best bet is that it will teach them to be more comfortable with their bodies, better love the person they are, and be better prepared for sexual experiences later in life (with a strong foundation of knowing themselves as sexual being before some man-boy comes and makes them one before their own self-realization).

Bottom line is this: The only reason you are afraid of spoiling your child’s ‘innocence’ is because you yourself are uncomfortable with the idea, and it makes you all squirmy. Well, get over yourself. Your kid is a person, and will someday be a sexual person, whether you like it or not, so don’t try and hide (‘shield’) it from them – let them learn to love their whole selves.

However, if you have some proof that 9-year-olds looking at their vaginas causes them to become street-walking whores or depressed suicidal maniacs, please let me know.

Ok, well, I hope that made some sense. I’m off to go sit in my internet-less apartment now.

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Those Old Questionnaires

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

While Google-ing myself (oh, come-on, you all do it too!) I came across one of those old question things everyone used to post on blogs. You know the ones, where they had like 80 questions and you had to answer pointless weird questions about yourself.

Well anyway, I started reading through it, and began thinking it was a really interesting way of seeing how life had changed. It was from July 2004, which was when I was fresh out of high school and before I’d officially started at Southwestern. Oh, life since then!

So I re-posted the questions with my ‘modern day’ answers below the originals, in blue font. Take a look if you want, but maybe it was just mostly for me. Maybe in another 4 years I’ll go back and do it again : )

See it HERE

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Cats and God

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I found this article online weeks ago, when I was looking for a home for Leo, the orange tabby stray I took in. It’s a story about a minister who takes in a stray cat (Katie), and I really, really like one of the points it makes. Perhaps it won’t make so much sense to ‘dog people,’ because dogs are in general more obedient/trainable, but for cat people, or even people who know cats, it makes perfect sense. I know it’s long, but I promise it’s worth reading:

“Katie never seeks self-improvement. She never petitions us to help her become a better cat. It probably never enters her cat-mind that she needs improvement.

And that is not because she is a perfectly obedient cat. She does not always do our will. She gives us our dawn-licking even though we command her to stop. She often refuses to come when called. She sometimes jumps on the dinner table even though we have clearly instructed her not to. She disobeys our commandments and ignores our will.

She even has a Pharisaic streak in her. She over-obeys one of our commandments. She obeys so well our dictum, “Thou shalt urinate and defecate only in the cat-box” that, if she is outside and needs to relieve herself, she scratches at the screen-door to come indoors to use her facilities!

She is not, by religious standards, a righteous cat. Yet, despite her breaking of our rules, we love her.

No, more than that: because she breaks our rules we love her. Her very disobedience is a part of the perfection of her felinity. She is perfectly cat-like and being cat-like includes indifference to our desires. We find her independence delightful (most of the time).

Might not God feel the same way about me? I have been told that the Lord accepts me the way I am. Might there not be more than mere acceptance? What if God enjoys me the way I am? Maybe the Holy One takes a certain wry pleasure in my indifference to the divine will, a certain amusement in my attempts to get away with something….”

(Read the whole article here.)

It’s true. I don’t love Svara because she does everything I say, or because she never jumps on the counter (she does) or never throws up on the floor (she does) or never sneaks into an ‘off limits’ room (she does). I love her because she’s her. She does her own thing – she might be ‘mine’ but I certainly don’t control her. And I have no desire to control her. In her independence I find pleasure. Is it so hard to believe that God feels the same way about us? Perhaps we don’t always follow the rules, perhaps we don’t always do the right thing. I didn’t get my cat just so I could indefinitely keep her off tables, stop her throwing up on the carpet, and barricade my off-limits rooms. And I really doubt God created us just to follow his rules.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a religious person. I created my own religion, with one member (me) (you can find details of it in previous blog-posts). I’ve always had a very peaceful, abstract idea of God and life, and it works really well for me. However, I do feel the need to talk about it from time to time just because it bugs me how vengeful, angry, controlling, selfish, and petty everyone else’s God seems to be. My God is to me as I am to Svara: no matter how many times I throw up on his carpet, there will always be a place for me in his heart and his arms.

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Madonna* and the Slut

Monday, February 11th, 2008

So I was waiting for microbiology class to start this morning when some girl behind me decided to share a story that went something like this:

So my dad’s friend’s girlfriend was a TA for a micro[biology] lab in college and they were doing the thing where you swab your mouth and look at the swab under the slide to see the cheek cells and bacteria and all that. And this one girl got all excited and said, ‘Oh I think I got something, it’s swimming around!’ And the professor came over and was like, ‘That’s not a bacteria, that’s a sperm.’

Forgetting that the story in itself is doubtfully true (sperm are quickly flushed out of the mouth by saliva and broken down by our salivary enzymes (they wouldn’t live more than minutes) – and do you know my professors who would publicly announce such a thing to the class?), the reaction of the class pissed me off.

Of course the story is funny-ha-ha, and the usual ‘Oh my God!’s and ‘Eww!’ and ‘Hahaha, that’s hilarious’ went up. Nothing wrong with that. But then five or six guys started harking on and on about how they would totally tease and name-call anyone that happened to. One of the girls said, ‘But not if you didn’t know them, right? I mean, it’s one thing to tease your friends, but if it was a stranger, you don’t want to, like, make them go commit suicide.’ ‘No way!’ was the general consensus from the guys, ‘If it was someone I didn’t know, I’d tease them more!’

This really irks me, and here’s why: I am sure that these guys have had or currently have girlfriends, and I am sure that they expected, or even demanded, oral sex from their girlfriends (remember, the ‘Christian’ in TCU doesn’t really count). But when a girl actually has some evidence of having given oral sex exposed in a very unfortunate way? Oh man! What a slut! That’s so nasty! Talk about your Madonna* and the Slut dichotomy.

So remember girls, put out like there’s no tomorrow, but make sure there’s never any evidence that you’re anything but the perfect angel. The men-folks, they don’t like that.

* And when I say ‘Madonna’ I, quite obviously, do not mean the pop singer. I mean the virgin mother.

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Yes means Yes, No means No…

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

I read this article, which pretty much tries to defend the idea of ‘grey rape,’ when I came across this quote in the comments, that I thought was pretty clever, and thus would share with you all:

Yes means yes,
No means no,
Whatever we wear,
Wherever we go

In a nutshell, there is no such thing as ‘grey rape’. There’s a clear line between rape and non-rape – consent. If consent was not given, it’s rape. If consent was revoked, it’s rape. If consent was given while the person wasn’t legally able to consent (ex: inebriated), it’s rape.

In the article above the author outlines a scenario where a girl dresses provocatively, gets drunk, acts like she wants sex, and then changes her mind at the last minute. The guy “he disregards this as momentary insanity on her part and enters her anyway”. The author claims this is ‘grey rape’ because she “vehemently sen[t] the message that sex was what she wanted” and “even showed up to the party looking like pure sex”. She asks who’s really at fault.

There are a hundred things in this article I could sink my teeth into and tear to pieces, but I feel like it’s been well accomplished by most of the commenters. (Please go read these if you are unconvinced that this is, in fact, rape.)

True, it kind of sucks for the guy – here he was all raring to go, and he gets denied at the last minute. But there’s a really, really easy way to avoid this situation – don’t hook up with girls who are drunk or who seem unsure. Because it doesn’t matter how ready you are or how disappointed you feel – you still need consent all the way through. If you don’t want to be in a situation where you might ignore someone revoking consent – avoid the situation entirely! You have no one to blame but yourself if you get charged with rape because you put yourself in a situation where you knew it might be difficult for you to back down.

It’s hard to listen to ‘no’ when you’re horny as hell – I think lots of people can relate to that. But that’s no excuse. If you think you might not have full control when you’re hot and heavy, avoid getting into that situation with someone who’s unsure or drunk. If you’re really worried, avoid that situation completely except with those you are involved in a relationship with.

Anyway, it gets me all worked up to hear about stuff like that. Be careful out there, everyone.

And let me know if you see a bumper sticker with the above quote on it : )

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