Did Abstinence-Only Ideology Create a Bully Generation?


Abstinence-only education creates a petri dish for bullying in schools. There is always a lot of back and forth about the efficacy of these programs, and I fall on the side that they demonstrably fail to reduce teen pregnancy, the rate of incidence of teen sex, or the transmission of sexutally transmitted infections (STIs) (all you have to do is look at Texas). In addition, however, I believe that the heyday of our federal investment in abstinence-only programs had a terrible collateral effect — namely, kids who were “educated” in this way were more likely to bully and harass because they learned, in ways integral to abstinence provisions, outdated “traditional” ideas about gender and sexuality. Even kids whose parents talked to them at home, about contraception or healthy sex, were taught gendered rules and more and more of them appear to have enforced those rules to great harm.

To be clear, I am not saying teaching abstinence is the problem. But, teaching abstinence in the context of fully comprehensive, age-appropriate sex ed is qualitatively different from teaching abstinence-only. This is the problem. I am saying that there is something inherently harmful about cultures that insist on abstinence-only teaching.

From 1982 until 2010 funding for abstinence-only programs grew exponentially, from $4 million dollars in 1982 to $176 million in 2007. According to The Department of Health and Human Services, during almost the exact same period, 2001-2008, there was a steady rise of bullying at schools. Fourteen percent of students, ages 12 through 18 reported being bullied during school in 2001, a proportion that more than doubled, to 32 percent, in 2007. Some of the bullying increase might be attributable to better recognition and reporting, but I think that the almost straight line correlation in growth trends during that same period is interesting. A correlation is not necessarily a causation, but here is why I think that there is an intimate dynamic between the two trends:

Elizabeth Meyer, author of the excellent book, Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools defines bullying and harassment in the following way:

Bullying is repeated and intentional hurtful behaviors directed at a specific person, whereas harassment includes unintentional or intentional behaviors that are discriminatory in nature.

When bullying occurs it’s not in isolation from the culture in which it occurs. The idea that bullying is a one-off instance of rule breaking is a misconception. It is, instead, the systematic enforcement of rules, particularly gender rules. And, yes, that includes same-sex bullying–in some ways an even better example of gender-rule enforcing than opposite-sex bullying. The list of children, with which we are now sadly familiar, who have killed themselves as the result of slut-shaming and trans- and homo-phobia is bleak and long. There are serious penalties being paid for not following gender rules.

There are three primary ways that abstinence-only programs, with their emphasis on purity, marriage, and heterosexuality, create hostile environments that perpetuate the growth of rule-enforcing bullies, one slut-shaming, homophobic class at a time:

  1. They rely on offensive, sexist stereotypes about men and women, boys and girls, as a foundational teaching tool and pass it off as “biology.” They portray “real” boys as unable to control themselves, unemotional (particularly about sex), not interested in female desire or sexual satisfaction, not ultimately responsible for their own sexual feelings (which are portrayed as dependent on how girls chose to tempt them) and definitely heterosexual. Girls, on the other hand, are shown as controlling monitors of aggressive male sexuality. In classic Madonna/whore manner, girls, despite being chaste objects of male desire and not “naturally” interested in having sex, are portrayed as temptresses that need to control what they wear and the messages they send. Also heterosexual, they are definitely not capable of managing their own reproductive lives.(*See footnote for examples from texts or click here for some real doozies.)
  2. They marginalize and stigmatize LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) youth by teaching that sex between a woman and a man (obviously within traditional heterosexual marriage) is the only safe, healthy, “normal” behavior. Even if you want to teach your kids abstinence, you don’t have to do it this way. Any other form of sexual activity is a perversion to be avoided. There is a Federal Definition of what constitutes abstinence-only program content (on which we’ve spent $1.5 billion dollars since 1982) and it requires that students be told that heterosexual marriage is the “expected standard.” In addition, these programs regularly represent LGBTQ relationships as a form of disease and provide misleading information about HIV and other STIs. Despite the fact that abstinence-only materials were required to provide “medically accurate” information after a 2004 study revealed the persistence of these misrepresentations, the same materials continued to be used. The messages sent by these curricula not only reinforce a discriminatory environment, but cultivate it. What kind of school environment is produced when teachers are forced to provide materials supporting the idea that non-hetero kids are deviant as a matter of federally-mandated policy? No wonder LGBTQ students are five times more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation.
  3. Lastly, abstinence-only programs teach kids to slut-shame and -blame, and send a victim-blaming message. The flip side of this equation for boys is that they aren’t in control of themselves and can’t be blamed if a girl “encourages” them. We sometimes call that as “boys being boys” and it’s how we laughingly wave away a slippery slope of assaultive behaviour. The Legal Matters study concluded that abstinence materials consistently defined women as “socially and sexually submissive” and concluded that “Many girls fear that if they broach the topic of safe sex with their partners, they will be thought of as promiscuous and be rejected and ostracized as a result.” ***

When adults in authority teach stereotypes and hyper-gendered rules as fact, how are children expected to feel and behave? I could not find any longitudinal, granular research studying this relationship, but why would it surprise anyone that bullying would increase greatly in these settings? Marry, no pun intended, these lessons and environments with teens’ unregulated access to new social media and it’s the perfect recipe for cyber-bullying.

The best part of all of this, however, is how our tax dollars pay to implement the pre-modern, fundamentalist social policy agendas of a minority of parents and teach kids to bully at the same time. You can see why I find it particularly rich when people who proudly tout abstinence-only programs are also interested in funding anti-bullying rules and legislation. Abstinence-only was a subtle form of organized hazing and a not-so-subtle form of national policy bullying if you ask me.

I know that during the past two years we’ve significantly increased commitment and funding for science- and evidence-based teen pregnancy, STI, and HIV prevention programs. I would hazard a guess that this shift in sex ed will have just as much, if not more, effect on reducing bulling and increasing tolerance, than anti-bullying rules and legislation will. But, in the meantime, I think it is unconscionable that we continue to pay a lot of money (a total of $250 million was reinstated for 2010-2014) for the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program. Maybe schools that teach abstinence-only should reconsider how much they want to waste on anti-bullying rules.


Notes:

*Examples from the 2008 Legal Momentum Report: “One curriculum, Why kNOw, teaches that “women gauge their happiness and judge their success by their relationships” while “men’s happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments.” Another curriculum, Facts and Reasons, claims that “in deciding to have intercourse, women are more likely than men to be in love, want a mutually satisfying relation-ship, and are interested in what their partner feels and thinks…men are more likely to engage in sex with a warning to the woman that there will be no commitment…One curriculum taught that women need “financial support” while men need “admiration.”"

** For example, in 2004 a national study found that abstinence only programs taught kids, among other eggregious nonsense, the following: a 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person,” HIV can be spread via sweat and tears and condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission. Four years later abstinence programs were found to be teaching the following: “Sexual identity is not fully established until the late teens or early twenties. Young persons may sense affection and even infatuation for a member of the same-sex. This is not the same as “being” a homosexual. Any same sex “sexual experimentation” can be confusing to a young person and should be strongly discouraged.”

***Heritage Keepers, a provider of abstinence-curricula materials explained, in case kids missed the Slut-Shaming 101 prerequisite class, “girls have an added responsibility to wear modest clothing that doesn’t invite lustful thoughts.” I won’t even get into the representation of abortion.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Soraya Chemaly on twitter: @schemaly

  • powerhousemama

    while fighting an ab-only program in my school district about eleven years ago…I went to the administrator at our local high school who was charged with facilitating student goups, including the GSA. I told her that our middle school was a feeder school, that the kids at the middle school were receiving AO ed and my direct quote to her at the time was “they are spoon feeding homophobia to the very kids who will wind up in your office.” She did nothing! But since that time i successfully ousted the AO program and formed an organization that now helps schools identify and take action to eliminate these illegal programs. Yes…AO programs DO feed the bully factor. For more info about this  go to: http://www.bacheinfo.org/

     

     

  • soraya-chemaly

    What a frustrating experience that must have been!

  • joneenmackenziern

     

    Wow… you cannot be serious trying to link sexual risk avoidance education that teaches life, love and leadership skills  to bullying. Nice try! The examples you quoted are lame. There is no longer a curriculum called Why Know and the other examples listed in your article no longer exist because of medical accuracy reviews and updates of curricula that are aligned with science.

    Risk avoidance curricula are not abstinence only. Information about contraception is taught. However, what is imparted in these programs are skills to develop healthy relationships, build strong lifetime committed partnerships / marriages and form safe and stable families in the future for the well being of children, adults and communities.  This long term strategy to build healthy families will reduce poverty according to robust and plentiful data.

    Most teens are aware of condoms, what they do not know is how to date well, their personality style, stages of attachment, stages of commitment, steps of intimacy, media and financial literacy, their love language, decision making skills, life planning strategies, conflict resolution methods, boundary setting, refusal skills and how to decide rather than slide into relationships. They love learning about issues of the heart and are embracing the message of love education rather than sex education.

    WAIT (Why Am I Tempted?) Training also teaches kindness, tolerance, ethics, cognitive reasoning, leadership, communication skills and strategies to self regulate regarding drugs, alcohol, tobacco, bullying, anger, stealing, overeating and strategies toward a healthy life and successful future.

    So… get your facts straight before you make a ridiculous claim about a connection of abstinence programs to bullying. You might try investigating some of these programs and I bet you will find that you would want your children to learn these life enhancing skills.

    Respectfully submitted:

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

    http://www.myrelationshipcenter.org

     

  • crowepps

    Joneen – if your program teaches that there’s One Right Way for all boys to behave and that boys who do not behave that way are inferior and deserve to be excluded and shamed, if your program teaches that there’s One Right Way for all girls to behave and that girls who do not behave that way are inferior and deserve to be excluded and shamed, then you are teaching social conformity and your enforcement mechanism is shunning and shaming and harassing people to ‘get back in line’, and those are the foundation upon which bullying rests.

    Abstinence Only programs based on rejecting biological realities as ‘sinful’ (even if they inaccurately use the phrase psychological harm instead) , on promoting stereotypical gender roles based in myth, on inculcating superstitions about the ‘spiritual’ value of ‘purity’, are not effective at their stated goals of delaying sexual activity, by discouraging condom use actually make the problems of STD’s and unwanted pregnancy worse, and do not include the specific information which parents want taught to their middle school and high school children.

    You can trot out all the jargon you want about “robust and plentiful data” but anyone who has investigated these programs is well aware that the evidence from studies shows they contain massive inaccuracies and fail at their stated purpose of delaying sex.  Must say, really admire your ability to make lemonade — your statement “the other examples listed in your article no longer exist because of medical accuracy reviews and updates of curricula that are aligned with science” is the rosiest possible way to say ‘we have to keep changing things because the complaints keep pouring in about medically inaccurate and unscientific statements’.

    It may be true that your program attempts to imprint a world view congruent with your beliefs, but that isn’t the reality most people live in, and in the present economy, with most families requiring a second paycheck to keep afloat, parents are no longer quite so eager to sacrifice their daughters’ mind in order to uphold the patriarchy.  While girls still are interested in love and romance and marriage and babies, they no longer are content to be restricted merely to serving men as servants and breeding stock and unpaid caretakers.

  • joneenmackenziern

    Come on… this diatribe that risk avoidance and relationship education programming is about keeping women barefoot and pregnant is ridiculous. More woman and children are in poverty today not because these programs were formed in the late nineties to empower young men and women to protect their heart and mind as well as their future, but because of the drumbeat of normalizing sexual activity at any age for any reason. Look, WAIT Training is a program that empowers all students: male, female, gay straight, young, old, black, white to learn the skills necessary to develop healthy relationships. I would never allow programing to be implemented that does what you describe. I have two daughters and two sons of my own! With the skills they learned through WAIT Training, I watched them find their voice, speak their mind and make healthy cognitive decisions about who they would choose to spend time with. They are self-confident, strong, productive and healthy! I desire that for all kids. By raising the bar of behavioral expectations empowers children to value themselves and to wait to engage in sexual activity.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • heather-corinna
  • silphium

    I saw Shelly Donohue’s WAIT presentation on abstinence, and the sexist, biological reductionist viewpoints expressed in the materials definitely do contribute to hateful behaviors such as misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and treating sex and body as commodities to jealously guard.  School-age children can and should learn how to develop relationships and resist peer pressure, but WAIT is an inferior solution when more gender- and sexual orientation-affirming material is available.

  • joneenmackenziern

    To link Shelly’s presentation with hateful behaviors such as misogyny, homophobia and transphobia is so over the top that you are losing the argument. First it was about bullying, then sterotyping, now homophobia and misogyny. Which is it?? Let’s be reasonable.. aren’t you and those like you upset with risk avoidance and relationship programs like WAIT Training because we are winning the hearts and minds of teens and parents alike who have heard about condoms, contraceptives and safer sex practices for years? What teens are now learning is how to live and love well and they like it!  Calm down… we are not scary.

    Respectfully submitted:

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

    http://www.myrelationshipcenter.org 

  • crowepps

    I don’t think WAIT is ‘scary’.  I think it’s a waste of money.

  • silphium

    In response to Joneen, bullying, stereotyping, and hateful behaviors (misogyny, homophobia, transphobia) are all intermingled.  When a school endorses a program that marginalizes LGBT teens by saying that all sexual behavior should take place only within a marriage, that school is sending subtle messages to parents, teachers, students, and everyone else in the community.

    Among these messages:

    * it is good to discourage perfectly normal expressions of gender and sex, and good to misinform youth about birth control and other reproductive health topics

    * it is acceptable to teach female-bodied people that they must be constantly on guard against randy male-bodied people because otherwise they might get raped

    * boys are aggressive and girls are passive.

    Look closely at any of these and you will find misogyny, homophobia, and rampant stereotyping.  Sex and gender are broad and touchy topics to many communities, and reifying the middle-class gender roles of 1955 as the gold standard of relationships is deleterious to students.

    I’m against (not scared or upset with) abstinence-only and other misinformational sex education because it skips important facts.  Risk avoidance isn’t good enough on its own, even for folks who want to get married before they have sex — not everyone who puts a penis and a vagina together wants a fetus to happen right then.  I know folks who talk about sex like to get into metaphors, so consider driver’s ed.  They don’t teach you to “say no to car”.  You learn about safety belts, following at safe distances, how to steer when you’ve lost control of your car, and countless other tidbits of extremely useful information.  Risk reduction education is fact-based education, and it is not scary.

  • joneenmackenziern

    Obviously there is no reasoning with you all. Fine.. continue to rant and rave, call names, label and try to define what we do. We will continue to do what we do and you do what you do and let the best message to teens win, We are here to stay because what we are doing is working. Teen pregnancy is the lowest it has been in two decades. Our seminars to teens have waiting lists with parents paying to have their children in our classes!

     

    Respectfully submitted,

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • goatini

    “It still focuses exclusively on marriage, alienates sexually active and LGBTQ students, and relies on fear and shame.”

     

    Also has connections to homophobic “Focus On The Family” RW fundamentalists.  

  • joneenmackenziern

    While the adults are  fighting the kids are not getting what they need to live and love well.  You keep fighting.Keep using the same old tired arguements about fear and shame and linking us with organizations that you hate. Keep going on the homophobia and marriage argument. Heck.. our gay friends are he only ones fighting for marriage! 

     

    And.. I bet you have never even seen or reviewed the WAIT Training curriculum. You are just repeating the mantra of those who think like you.

     

    What I  choose to do is  roll up my sleeves and work to empower  all teens gay or straight, sexually active or not , pregnant or parenting, rich or poor with the skills necessary to develop healthy relationships, build strong lifetime partnerships / marriages, and form safe and stable families in their future. 

     

    I choose to continue to monitor the research and the youth development literature to increase the protective factors in young people to be able to reach a healthy and sucessful future. I choose to work tirelessly to find ways to engage parents to love their children enough to talk and connect with them about life, love, relationships and sex. 

     

    I choose  to educate, equip and empower young people to protect their heart, mind and future to live and love well.

    .

    So keep at it. Keep fighting. We in the risk avoidance and relationship education movement can take all the bullying and name calling!

     

    Respectfully submitted:

    Jonen Mackenzie RN

  • freetobe

    describing should be coming from the home. The mother AND the father. Children learn what they live and their parents are their MAIN teachers. Children will do as their parents did whether they want to or not you know monkey see monkey do?

    What really is needed is some sort of mandatory parenting classes in middle and high schools because they are not getting it from home. Maybe if these greedy corporations had not taken over people could have had stay at home moms who wanted to stay at home, like me but could not, simply because my ex’s salary was not enough!

    Then there needs to be a change in the way major religious institutions teach. The world right now is one sided patriarchal. Where does that leave the rest of us? Shaming and blaming does not work. The more you stuff one in a closet the more rebellious they become.

    There is no one program that will stop bullying until humans learn to respect one another starting in the home!

  • ack

    Look, WAIT Training is a program that empowers all students: male, female, gay straight, young, old, black, white to learn the skills necessary to develop healthy relationships

     

    I know we can’t have the actual curriculum to look through for ourselves, so I have some questions about the content that I hope you’ll answer. Can you please explain the ways that the program addresses the needs and concerns of LGBTQ students? What I’ve see of the WAIT program prioritizes marriage, which is indeed exclusionary considering that same sex marriage is illegal in most states. I also visited your website and noticed that all of the pictures feature heterosexual couples. This may seem minor to you, but it isn’t to young people and adults who are looking for information that applies to what they can actually attain in a relationship. If you truly seek inclusivity, I suggest a review by an LGBTQ advocacy group of all of your materials to inform revisions.

     

    I saw this in the SEICUS review:

     

    Messages of shame are effectively dramatized in an exercise called “Spit in a Cup.”  The teacher asks seven volunteers to line up side-by-side at the front of the class.  Each volunteer is holding a sign with an STD written on it (HPV, Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV/AIDS, Gonorrhea, Syphilis), except the last person in line who holds a sign reading “Virgin.”  The teacher then gives a cup to the first person in line and asks them to spit in it and pass it down for the next person to spit in it.  When the cup gets to the person with the “Virgin” sign the teacher is supposed to tell that person to drink it, but stop them if they actually try to.  The teacher concludes the activity by saying “Now isn’t he smart?  This is like what you put into your body when you have sex with someone whose sexual history is unknown to you,” (WAIT Training 80/20 Manual, p. 86).  This lesson is at the end of the Contraception unit even though it focuses on STDs.  And while it’s important to encourage students to communicate with their partners about their sexual history, this lesson takes the inappropriate step of comparing sexual activity to drinking a cup full of spit.

     

    Can you explain your perspective of how the program avoids shaming sexually active students in the program? The script, “Isn’t he smart?” implies that students who do engage in sexual activity are stupid. And of course, the activity itself implies that they’re dirty.

     

    I also noticed in the review that the program implies that marriage is somehow protective against domestic violence (among other claims). This is a potentially dangerous claim to make. Telling young people that they can avoid domestic and dating violence by getting married ignores the fact that 1 in 5 high school girls who date experience physical or sexual violence before they graduate. That statistic has nothing to do with engaging in consensual sex, but with dating, which your program doesn’t discourage. To students who have already been victimized, this seems like a very problematic message to send. Furthermore, to your knowledge, how have students whose parents are married and one is abusive responded to that statement? Were domestic violence experts involved in the creation of the curriculum? I know they have been involved in some of them, and I’m curious if the WAIT program was one.

     

    And on that note, I’m glad that the program covers healthy relationships and dating. Can you explain some of the main points in those lessons, and how they’re presented?

  • joneenmackenziern

     

    You are exactly right…both parents need to be involved in their child’s life. They need to model healthy behaviors. They need to learn conflict resolution skills and need to show their children how to serve one another in love. They need to be respectful to one another and to the children as well. This is a skill set we all need to learn.

    It is so hard today to meet financial obligations. Life is so expensive it is almost imperative to have two incomes to make ends meet. It is so hard to be a single mom or dad.

    Men need to step up to the plate and be engaged and involved. I am with you. Women should not have to do home and work alone. It is very difficult to not have a partner help with all the tasks and responsibilities. When relationships are healthy and respectful… life is sweet.

     

    Respectfully submitted:

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

     

     

     

     

  • purplemistydez

    WAIT is ridiculous.  It’s an abstinence program that is just like the others that have been proven not to work.  Being sexually active is not wrong.  Telling kids that being sexually active is a bad thing is wrong.  We should be teaching our children how to use contraceptives if sexually active.  Comprehensive sexual education will do more for the health and well being of our kids than WAIT will ever do.  My own mother made sure that if I chose to be sexually active that I protected myself.  So far no kids, a long term relationship (not married), and a healthy sex life with my partner. 

  • joneenmackenziern

    I am so glad you have a healthy sex life with your partner. Why don’t you share your secrets with  teens?

    We do share secrets of a healthy sex life with teens. That is why WAIT  Training is so popular with students. We teach them how to have the BEST sex..by waiting.

     

    Respectfully submitted:

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

     

     

     

  • purplemistydez

    I’m sorry but you are very unrealistic.  Teens have sex.  I graduated in 2003 and most teens have had sex before we graduated.  I’m 26 now and I know no one who has remained a virgin until they got married.  It is a fantasy your type tries to brainwash teens into.  The best sex is protected and consentual sex.  Waiting is fine but in no way realistic.  Teens need all the information.  Adults need to realize that teens have a normal biological drive to have sex and make a program that goes with that.  WAIT is a dream and will destroy more lives than save them.  They should be teaching that having sex is not a bad thing and can be great.  Marriage is no gurantee of a healthy sex life.  Knowledge of one’s body and emotions is the best way to gurantee a healthy sex, not promoting an idealistic and outdated lifestyle of virginity until marriage.

  • joneenmackenziern

    The majority of teens in high school are not having sex. I guarantee it is not because of your views and your support of the programming you endorse. It is because teens are learning the different dimensions of intimacy and about the parameters of how to develop healthy relationships with intentionality and skills. WAIT Training teaches the value of marriage and talks about waiting until one is ready to establish a mutually monogamous relationship within the context of marriage.

    The following quotes are actual statements written into the CDC Sexual Health School Health Guidelines:

    School programs should enable and encourage students to….

    “Abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready to establish a mutually monogamous relationship within the context of marriage.”

    “For young people who have engaged in sexual intercourse… school programs should enable and encourage them to stop engaging in sexual intercourse until they are ready to establish a mutually monogamous relationship within the context of marriage.”

    The CDC report continues with the following quote:

    “Any health information developed by the Federal Government that will be used for education should encourage responsible sexual behavior–based on fidelity, commitment, and maturity, placing sexuality within the context of marriage.”

    “Any health information provided by the Federal Government that might be used in schools should teach that children should not engage in sex and should be used with the consent and involvement of parents.”

    I agree with you in that WAIT Training cannot make one of its outcomes to be: not have sex until marriage. That outcome could never be measured or studied. It would be unethical and impossible to follow a young person until they are in a committed lifetime partnership or married. If you would read what the WAIT Training outcomes really are you would see that we are realistic. If you continue with the “unrealistic” mantra take it up with the CDC.

                Respectfully submitted:

                Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • joneenmackenziern

    “ I suggest a review by an LGBTQ advocacy group of all of your materials to inform revisions.”  ACK, Thank you for your thoughtful questions. We have  had a review by a LGBTQ group and they did ask us to make some revisions. I did what they asked. Domestic violence experts also were asked to review the curriculum and I have served on a few panels that have trying to prevent teen dating violence. You are reading the SIECUS review which has taken a lot of editorial license and is not accurate. There is no fearing and shaming. I suggest you call our office and ask us to send you a preview copy of the curriculum so you can see for yourself how this curricula captivates the hearts and minds of all students.

    Respectfully submitted:

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • person-0

    Also, from the CDC,
    “By the time young people graduate from high school, almost two thirds have had sex.”

    When you consider the actual FACTS that fewer people are getting married and 95% of Americans have premarital sex, your program loses. People should be educated for the real world, not your fantasy one.

  • joneenmackenziern

    CDC. Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2009 Adobe PDF file [pdf 3.5M]MMWR 2010;59(SS-5):1–142.

    According to this report your data is not correct. 46%  of high school seniors have ever had sex…that means 54% have not.

    In the REAL world most people desire the skills to learn how to love and be loved well. That is exactly what WAIT Training does.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • joneenmackenziern

    CDC. Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2009 Adobe PDF file [pdf 3.5M]MMWR 2010;59(SS-5):1–142.

    According to this report your data is not correct. 46%  of high school seniors have ever had sex…that means 54% have not.

    In the REAL world most people desire the skills to learn how to love and be loved well. That is exactly what WAIT Training does.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • person-0

    http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/about/hivstd_prevention.htm

    If WAIT focuses on “learning to love” and “being loved well” only within the context of marriage, then it is a flawed program. Having skills to develop healthy relationships is fine, but if the program only teaches those skills within preset and unrealistic criteria, then many teens will be left out. Love and sex exist outside of marriage and not all sex involves love. Clearly, when so close to 100% of Americans have premarital sex, then a program touting the ideal of sex only within marriage is a day late and a dollar short. To say the least.

     

  • purplemistydez

    WAIT leaves out the LGBT that can not marry in most states.  Also it leaves out the teens that do want to marry at all.  Monogamy and marriage is not a guarantee of a happy or healthy life.  Most marriages end up in divorce anyways.  The best thing we can do is teach our kids is accurate knowledge on how their body works and different contraceptive methods to protect themselves.  WAIT ignores the fact most people have pre-martial sex and 99% of women use a form of birth control in their lives.  Sex education needs to accept the reality that most people do not live this fantasy of no sex before marriage or exclusive monogamy.

  • purplemistydez

    That means half of those teens are having sex.  They need accurate medical knowledge.  Not some ideology that has no basis in reality.  Teens need to learn to respect themselves and others.  They can love within a relationship without being married or monogamous.  Also WAIT leaves out the LGBT that can not legally marry.  So what happens to them?  Do they have to pray away the gay?

  • colleen

    46%  of high school seniors have ever had sex…that means 54% have not.

    First of all, 46% is a LOT of teenagers to dismiss and shame.

    Second the MAJORITY of those teens will have  sex before they are 20 and, thank God, most of them won’t be married. 

    Finally the overwhelming majority of adults (something like 97%) had/have sex  before they marry.  I understand that social conservatives don’t like that but comfort myself with the knowledge that the vast majority of social conservatives have been unable to hold themselves to their own  standards. Indeed social conservatives appear to be having trouble finding monogamous secular and political leadership.

     

  • crowepps

    Your assumption that “how to love” includes virginity till marriage and sex only in marriage is a religious tenet, not a psychlological truth.

    Your assumption that “loved well” requires virginity till marriage and sex only in marriage is a religious tenet, not a psychological truth.

    What you are missing here is that promoting these religious tenets through WAIT training also promotes the corollaries to these ideas, that any student who has already had a romantic relationship couldn’t have bene in an authentic *love* relationship because they contaminated it with nasty dirty lust that ruined everything,  and that all those who have had sex (or been sexually abused or raped) cannot ever in future “be loved well” because they won’t be virgins when they marry and are unrecoverably damaged, so that your training stigmitizes that 46% of high school seniors as having missed the “how to live and be loved well” boat before the WAIT trainer ever walked in the door.

  • joneenmackenziern

    Clearly it does not matter what I say. Keep at it!  Knock yourselves out.  We do fear and shame so well and we are not realistic and we are religious and on and on and on. While you keep screaming the same old tired platitudes… we’ll work tirelessly to educate, equip and empower individuals of all ages with the skills necessary to develop healthy relationships, build strong lifetime committed partnerships / marriages and form safe and stable families for the health and well being of children, adults and communities.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • person-0

    Are “committed partnerships” just as worthy as marriage or not? Is marriage the only ideal under which to have sex or do you teach that committed relationships have value also? 

  • rweresponsible

    An interesting point you seem to bring up is the fact that our youth are STARVED for meaning in their relationships.

    Current sexual education–including “abstinence only”programs–fall short of providing a relevant context in which youth can know what is happening to them biologically, intellectually and emotionally in any given relationship. 

    The current context in which the majority of sex-ed is taught is firstly biological: the kids are read the mechanics of the male-female relationship as it applies to their physicality and reproductive function.  While there is room in the curricula for some material addressing the significance that our biology prescribes our entire personhood, the understanding of what constitutes “healthy sexuality” is incomplete.

    Looking at human sexuality in a strictly biological context is wonderfully fascinating.  This is not a problem in itself.  What becomes apparent is that there is more to human sexuality then biology.  “Human sexuality” specifically entails the knowledge and respect of various facets of a person that transcend the biology.  When these are ignored, problems inevitably develop early on even before the youth are mature enough to engage in the various types of human relationships: They are ill-equipped to deal with the urges and “nitty-gritty” of attraction because they do not understand the meaning of a person… never mind finding meaning in a relationship.

    What then is the meaning of human-to-human relations?  I would propose that without a comprehensive introduction to: 1)What is a human person? 2)What is male/female human dignity? 3)How are we to respond to the reality of being male/female?, our youth will continue to be “short-changed” in preparing to engage the world of various relationships.  Your emphasis on educating, empowering and equipping individuals with the SKILLS necessary for lasting, healthy relations is one more step in the right direction.

     

    Keep up the good work!

  • rweresponsible

    The basis for a “committed partnership” is not legally binding in most cases (In Canada there is common-law awarded after 6-months of co-habitation). 

    What that means however is that it’s very likely being awarded that type of legal status represents more of a “secondary relegation” as opposed to two people choosing to actively pursue a life time together within the structure of a legal marriage.

    The word “worthy” seems unnecessary as you are comparing apples and oranges. 

     

    Just an idea….

  • crowepps

    Your last paragraph raises some vital questions, but you haven’t answered them.  What would your answer be to those three questions?

  • person-0

    I obviously was questioning whether the training program being discussed teaches the value of committed partnerships or only marriage.

  • rweresponsible

    I agree these are vital questions–among many. 

    The proper answers to these 3 in particular wound require some “class time” no doubt and some dedicate their entire academic careers to scratching the surface if you will…

    1) What is the “Human Person”?

    I use “human” in the context of a “what” we are as a species, and “person” as WHO we are as individuals.  We collectively know that to be human (species), allows us to participate in a unique sensory experience through which we have the capacity to act, think, feel, contemplate, reason and learn about our surroundings while we spend a short time living on earth. 

    To understand humans as persons requires the acknowledgement of the unique faculties of the mind and intellect. These are unique to the individual.  Through these faculties, we experience our subjective realities, emotions, feelings, hurts, pains, etc.

    Why is this significant? Because each individual person lives out their “humanness” through their person; to understand our humanity requires a recognition of both WHAT we are and WHO we become through experience. It should be stressed that these (realities) cannot be separated.

    Therefore, discussing thick subjects such as sex-ed with students coming from varying experiences may first require an understanding of our “humanness” but also “personhood” in order to fully realize the effects and consequences of every decision we make towards another (i.e. sexual expression, choice of mate). 

    2) What is male/female human dignity

    The response to a person’s “humanness”. As such, there is an objective value to a human given our capacity to do/be all the aforementioned; we can term it a good thing to respond with respect and admiration towards another human person strictly on the grounds of him/her being a human person.

    3) Response to male/female reality?

    Human persons experience their lives through male or female biology.  We have evolved strictly due to the complementarity of the sexes. How we respond individually and collectively to this reality can influence the nature of our understanding of the human person.

     

    If there was an age-appropriate introduction to the value of a person (wholly), PRIOR to and through discussions about biological human sexuality, it may better prepare the individuals to pursue the skills and knowledge needed to responsibly navigate our sexually-charged world.

  • rweresponsible

    AHH! Yes, it would be interesting to note that

    Sorry for the ambiguity.  I have come across programs which sound similar to this one.  I was using the legality of marriage as a way to demonstrate the “security” or framework within which sexual expression may be most ideal.  Also, the psychology of a “committed partnership” may leave an “out” due to the nature of the union (i.e. what does “commited” and “partnership” mean). This was more a speculation on what this program may or may not teach. 

     

    I would be interested to learn what the program in question teaches as well…

  • prochoiceferret

    Human persons experience their lives through male or female biology.

     

    Therefore, people who are born intersexed are not human persons.

     

    We have evolved strictly due to the complementarity of the sexes.

     

    So intersexed people, gay people, trans people, and other people who tend not to get complements haven’t contributed anything to evolution.

     

    How we respond individually and collectively to this reality can influence the nature of our understanding of the human person.

     

    Denial of anything that isn’t complementary has certainly done that, but I don’t think it’s necessarily for the better.

  • julie-watkins

    Obvious (to me). And they shouldn’t be treated as less-than. And stressing binary biology (rather than a continuum) does that.

  • rebellious-grrl

    “There are three primary ways that abstinence-only programs, with their emphasis on purity, marriage, and heterosexuality, create hostile environments that perpetuate the growth of rule-enforcing bullies, one slut-shaming, homophobic class at a time”

    Totally agree –

    As someone who was bullied through much of 6-12 grades for not following gender rules, I believe that abstinence only education is escalating bullying in schools.

    I came across this video yesterday of a 13-year-old vlogger explaining why slut-shamming is wrong http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/slut-shaming-13-year-old_n_1199013.html. I recommend this video to everyone to watch. This girl does a great job at explaining what slut-shaming is and how is reinforces a rape culture/rape supportive culture.

     

     

  • rebellious-grrl

    opps double – mods please delete

  • rweresponsible

    It would be grossly inaccurate to suggest that because of a condition (such as someone born “transgendered”), the individual is therefore less of a human person.  This is simply not so.

    I can see how you have picked out something logically in my statement and then extrapolated it to suppose I do not consider these persons to be human persons. For this, I must apologize as I had not used the appropriate language to account for unique considerations. 

    Persons born with gender anomalies would perhaps–in a profound sense–experience a higher degree of what it is to be a human person.  An incredible amount of courage and focus has to be regimented into their lives as they mature in order to realize what their calling in family life and society may be.  I have a sincere respect for everyone who may be dealing with these challenges.

  • prochoiceferret

    I can see how you have picked out something logically in my statement and then extrapolated it to suppose I do not consider these persons to be human persons. For this, I must apologize as I had not used the appropriate language to account for unique considerations. 

     

    Now you see why it’s easier to just talk about penises and vaginas ^_^

  • crowepps

    The problem with programs which define, teach and attempt to enforce traditional gender roles is that they ignore the outliers.  When abstinence training, for instance, tries to teach relationships by using interactions between the ‘ideal human woman’ like *this* and the ‘ideal human man’ like *that*, it not only excludes the transgender, gay, andf lesbian but also any heterosexual woman or man who does not fit the narrow confines of the stereotypical ideals.  In abstinence training programs stuffed with shoulds *all* girls want to get married, *all* girls wait to have sex until marriage and *all* men respect their decision to do so.  *All* women are maternal and want to have babies, and *all* men are capable of holding down a job and supporting a family.  *All* men are smarter than their wives and should be leaders, and *all* women are happier being submissive and childlike.  There is never any such thing as rape or sexual abuse or disability.

    Your comment sounds like you really understand how hurtful it must be to a person born with ambiguous gender to be considered less than human.  Imagine how hurtful it must be to girl or boy of 14 who was sexually abused as a child to learn that because of the crime committed against them they are no longer eligible to have the *real love* for which only two virgins can qualify.

  • rweresponsible

    I clicked the link to the adorable 13 year old on youtube.  What a remarkable speaker!  She has notable poise and conviction in her presentation… a natural “stage-presence”.

    That said, the content of her presentation–her “argument” if you will–is rather simple.  If she was (and she rightly admits she isn’t), an authority on the subject of sexual responsibility, it would surely translate into something of substance.  As it is, what can be taken from her presentation gets high marks for salesmanship and entertainment value, while in meaning and truth, little more then–as the kids say–an “epic fail”.

    I actually find it rather sad because it is another tragic example of our misled, misinformed and ill-equipped youth touting the ideologies and flawed rhetoric of a “modernistic” view of male/female relations.  It’s not her fault; she has all the access in the world to YouTube and the rest of the “authorities” who murk on subjects that have been dumbed-down in an attempt to validate orgasms-on-demand.

    We adults should be ashamed: Our kids are being shafted and thus not improving their relationships.

    For what it’s worth, what would this adolescents answers to the following be? (prior to spewing on a curious word called “slut-shaming”)

    - What is the human person?
    - What is boy?
    - What is girl?
    - What does it mean to be a boy or girl or a person with a unique condition?
    - How are we to treat persons of the opposite sex (transgendered individuals included)

    - What is a males response to a female and vice-versa? (transgendered responce to another

    included)
    - In what ways can that response be changed/altered? 
    - Is there such a thing as a “mis-guided” response?

    - Is there such a thing as a good way and a bad way to respond to a person?

    - What is modesty and why is it a real term?

    - What is self-respect and dignity?
    - What is a “slut”?
    - Why do we have a need of a term such as “slut”?

    …and so-on and so-forth.

    These seem to be basic, fundamental questions that hold even more relevance today with promiscuity on the rise and the functional role parents play all but lost (due to rising costs, both parents working, complex family situation etc.)

  • crowepps

    Your belief that there can be ‘one right answer’ to any of those questions speaks volumes about where you’re coming from. 

    People are not stereotypes.  There is no one correct answer to ‘what is boy?’  It might be possible to answer ‘what is 11-year old Robert Xavier Smith who lives in California and likes to surf and is good at math and whose favorite color is purple?’  There is no one correct answer to ‘what is girl?’  It might be possible to answer ‘what is 14-year old Betsy Sue Shoemaker who lives in Iowa and is good at carpentry and likes to dance and whose favorite color is red?’

    Since people are not interchangeable stereotypes, there cannot be one correct answer to ‘How are we to treat persons of the opposite sex?’ or to ‘What is a males response to a female and vice-versa?’  Different persons react differently and need to be treated differently in an infinite number of possible combinations.

    If you wish to label her ”ideologies … of a “modernistic” view of male/female relations” an “epic fail”, it might further the discussion if you were to outline what in your opinion is the ”traditional view of male/female relations”.  Which are you referring to?  ’Woman as breeding stock’, ‘woman as free household servant’, or ‘woman as sex toy’?

  • plume-assassine

    You think we have need of a term such as “slut”? Hell no.

    And for that you have earned a rant from me. Actually, here are some bits and pieces from an essay I wrote on the subject:

     

    There is no such thing as a slut.

    Think about it. Everyone’s definition varies on what specific qualifiers amount to “sluttiness.” Some people think you’re a slut if you have sex with more than one person. Others think that you’re a slut if you have sex with several or many people. But is there a magic number? A magic line? If 1 or 2 is acceptable, then what makes 9 or 10 suddenly unacceptable? And still more people think that you’re a slut if you have sex with anyone before marriage. Or if you’ve ever been pregnant outside of marriage or had an abortion or had an STD. Or even if you dress or act in a certain manner (too provocative, too loud, too sexually knowledgable.) By that standard, even a so-called “virgin” can be a “slut.” So, if everyone’s definition varies, does that make all women sluts?

              No, more than likely, the simplest answer is that there is no such thing as a “slut.” After all, there is no equivalent insult for men. In fact, we have a societal double-standard: male promiscuity is seen as brag-worthy, whereas female promiscuity is seen as shameful. Worse yet, not only is female promiscuity shameful, but even female sexuality itself is considered shameful or embarrassing to most people, unless it is a controlled performance for male viewing and pleasure. Female sexuality for your own self and your own sake — without the male gaze or objectification — is seen as shameful. This is where the word “slut” comes from: to try and put women in their “place” when they learn that they can own their sexuality without needing to be seen as coy or submissive, when women realize that sexuality is much more than a performance for male approval, when women are not afraid to adopt the socially-male role as the pursuers within relationships.

                  Why is it insulting to be called a slut? Because the word “slut” de-personalizes the woman; it ignores every other aspect or achievement as a person and it turns her into a sex object. Once you decide to have sex in any socially “unacceptable” manner (whatever that may be, see paragraph 1 for all variations), people think that it is okay to refer to you as though you are a masturbatory object that has been “used” by men. It is unthinkable for people to see you as an autonomous agent, a person who has chosen, wanted, and pursued sex. And on top of that, there are all kinds of other assumptions associated with the slut — all of the whys: because she has “low self-esteem,” because she has “poor self-control,” because she makes “bad lifestyle choices” or because she is “too easy.” Once again, it is unthinkable for people to see you as an autonomous person, an emotionally well-adjusted individual who enjoys a healthy sex life, and makes mutually beneficial, well-informed choices within her relationship as a mature adult.

                  This is why I do not call anyone a “slut,” even if I do not agree with their private sexual choices. Calling someone a slut is anti-sex and anti-woman, and even other women are guilty of reinforcing the old virgin/whore paradigm by shaming and trash-talking girls that do not live up to a certain socially acceptable “standard.” Bottom line: It is not my place or your place to degrade another person’s sexuality, as long as everything is consensual and mutually beneficial.

    It is time that people stop associating sexuality with morality/personal character – they have absolutely nothing to do with each other, and the only reason people today still associate sexuality with morality is because of historically misogynistic Abrahamic religious beliefs. There is no way for you to discern why somebody has sex and there is no reason why you should care, even if you assume they are for the wrong reasons like “poor self-control.” Sex and sexual expression are normal parts of human biology and sociology, and everyone has different preferences.  

                      Most importantly of all, when we return to the realization that there is no such thing as a slut, then there is no such thing as a virgin. And if you think about it, you come to realize that it’s true. There is no medical or scientific definition for virginity. None. It is nothing but a social construct. And how do you define a “virgin”? Some people think that a virgin is somebody who has never had penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse. In that case, does the concept of virginity only apply to heterosexuals? Does that mean that sexually-active gay men and women are still “virgins”? Does that mean that you can still be a virgin if you have oral, manual, and/or anal sex (but never PIV sex) with one or more people? All of these rhetorical questions are meant to illustrate the abstract, made-up qualities of “virginity” and “sluttiness.” Both words are rooted in the ancient obsession with the purity of the female as vessel/object and the fear of female sexual power.

                    A woman is so much more than her sexual history/sexual expression. Abstinence and virginity fetishists often refer to your “virginity” as the “greatest gift you can give to your spouse.” They directly imply that your entire worth as a person and as a partner is measured by whether or not you have had sex. Your achievements and skills and personality don’t matter, because apparently all of that can be sullied and dirtied by PIV sex. It is time to reject this virgin/whore paradigm once and for all. It is time to call on all women and men to end “slut-shaming” and educate each other about healthy sexuality and the importance of mutual consent. This will make the world a safer and healthier place for all women, regardless of how they act or dress or how many people they’ve slept with. This would create a world in which the violent crime of rape is taken seriously every single time, and a woman’s outfit or sexual history is deemed irrelevant. Women and girls should be judged for who they are as people and as human beings, not for how many people they have or have not slept with, not for their sexual anatomy or gender expression.

     

    ____

     

    And if you are truly curious about the biology behind “what is a girl?” and “what is a boy?” — it’s not nearly as neat and color-coded as you have been led to believe by our culture. For more on this subject, I would highly recommend Sexing The Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality by Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling. Much heavier on science than the title implies, and highly informative.

  • rweresponsible

    Thank you for your rant.

    There is no such thing as “promiscuity”.

    Not only do I see it (“promiscuity”) differently then you or her or him, I would probably describe it differently, be unfamiliar with it in certain contexts and so therefore if everyone cannot experience, recognize and agree on this thing called “promiscuity”, it isn’t even real. 

    What you may have picked out amongst the ambiguity is that there is indeed something we have picked out uniformly in the word “promiscuity”:  multiple sex partners.

    On that note, as awful as the term “slut” is (I agree with you here) there is a reason why “slut” is defined in the dictionary. That reason is because we have created the term to negatively point out–however subjectively–the supposed culturally “un-normal” actions of an individual through which their character is judged.

    You will no doubt say “what is normal?”. To avoid a circular discussion on what “normal” is, I would simply propose “normal” to constitute the actions of an individual that follow the nature of his/her person as a male/female. The nature of the human as male or female (or transgendered) person transcends the sum of their biology and therefore demands–out of necessity–that we collectively arrive at objective behavioural “norms” in order to identify destructive behaviours and move forward in common understanding. In other words, “sluttiness” is understood to be contrary to how the species of human persons normally behaves in order to develop healthy relationships with each other.  The term–regardless of the actions which merit the accusation–is hurtful, demeaning and counterproductive to human relations.  That does not mean however that the term was not founded upon the recognition of an “un-normal” behaviour.  You seem to want to qualify the implications of the word as “acceptable” and thus make it “normal” in order to lose to the word “slut” all together. 

    Briefly:

            ”…No, more than likely, the simplest answer is that there is no such thing as a “slut.” After all, there is no equivalent insult for men”

    Can you explain what you mean here? It seems as through you are upset there is no “official” masculine translation of “slut”… what is your point? regardless of gender, persons should not be degrading other persons; semantics is not the issue–its the behaviour which elicits degradation.

    “…the word “slut” de-personalizes the woman; it ignores every other aspect or achievement as a person and it turns her into a sex object.”

    Through our experience of what the term means/describes (subjectively), we understand “slut” to de-personalize the woman.  The word doesn’t ignore her “other aspects” or “achievements as a person”, we do when we use the word.  By understanding the word to do just this, we have given a “negative-value” to the word.  What is it that is negative by being a “slut”? By definition it is promiscuous or questionable activity related to a woman’s sexuality (and now more use the term to describe males all the same).  This is because it is seen as “un-natural” to be promiscuous given the human capacity to understand VALUE in a person.

    The persons value is not in objectifying her as a sexual exploit, rather knowing them as a complete entity: a physical, emotional, intellectual SOMEONE.  Thus, any activity which flaunts or emphasizes the very aspect which you claim we should not objectify will indeed bring about a term as such that attacks that aspect of the person (i.e. “slut” attacks the woman’s sexuality specifically and disregards her wholeness ). This is why promiscuity breeds a utilitarian understanding of woman in society.  Promiscuity primarily utilizes one aspect of the human person.    

    But so what? It’s just sex. Why can’t we simply do whatever we want whenever we want with whoever we want?  Why can’t society just get with the times and accept an idea of the human person that can severe sexuality from the whole and not have consequences? Well, it just ins’t realistic.  It is unrealistic to think the world will unanimously realize one day that emotional, financial, marital, relationship and educational problems will be solved by adopting a licentious ideology promoting a way of living which diametrically opposes the reality of the human person. 

    There is far too much evidence out there which overwhelmingly demonstrates that it is not a good thing to act against a human persons wholeness.  The term “slut” is just one obvious example.  

    Thank you for the book reference, I shall check it out on Amazon.

  • crowepps

    On that note, as awful as the term “slut” is (I agree with you here) there is a reason why “slut” is defined in the dictionary. That reason is because we have created the term to negatively point out–however subjectively–the supposed culturally “un-normal” actions of an individual through which their character is judged.

    The use of the term ‘slut’ is a way of letting the boys know which girls society agrees it’s okay for them to rape without getting hassled.  It’s hard to restrict girls lives to the claustrophobic confines of ‘wife’ and the agricultural role of sex toy/free household servant/breeding stock without an effective punishment, and rape culture has the solution.

    There’s no equivalent term for men because men’s character is *supposed* to include degrading women, and so it’s totally acceptable for men to be promiscuous.  Shoot, it’s pretty much acceptable for men to be rapists.

  • rweresponsible

    To address your earlier question…

    You seem to be confusing “boy” and “girl” with “person”:

    “11-year old Robert Xavier Smith who lives in California and likes to surf and is good at math and whose favorite color is purple” describes a person.  This person is a boy. 

    “14-year old Betsy Sue Shoemaker who lives in Iowa and is good at carpentry and likes to dance and whose favorite color is red” describes a person.  This person is a girl. 

    Of course stereotypes exist about boys and girls and practically every other thing we can think of… but we are not interested in stereotypes.  

    A boy must come to recognize his biological and psychological uniqueness as must a girl in order to best understand how to respond to one another.  Further, it is a life-long journey to know, grow and learn about the person living his experience through the biological/psychological make-up of the human individual.  The question “what is boy/girl” addresses the objective uniqueness within the individual as male or female.
    What is objectively common in the constituent parts of a boy?  Some examples are the way the male brain is wired and the specifically male anatomy of the boy.  What is subjective is the way boys experience the effects these specifically masculine attributes have on their “whole” or “person”. 

    What is objectively common in the constituent parts of a girl?  Some examples are the way the female brain is wired and the specifically female anatomy of the girl.  What is subjective is the way girls experience the effects these specifically feminine attributes have on their “whole” or “person”.

    From here, we can say that a male is fundamentally different from a female and as such, they both must respond to each other in accordance with their differences.  For instance, a male will speak to a female–based on gender alone–differently then he would a male.  Why? Because their is a recognition of a difference in her being as female.  This is not a “right or wrong” notion; it’s just reality.

    From these differences, I would argue it would be beneficial to understand the complementary truths behind being a boy or girl. Why? Because the truth of complimentarity is rooted in our respective make-up as boy and girl. How? Through evolutionary processes and necessity.  For example, a man complemented a woman by being physically more disposed to killing through the hunt and protecting; the woman complemented him by being industrious, maternal and physically disposed to showing affection.  Why did they need each other? To have companionship and carry on the species.  Today, on many more levels, modern man has evolved into a being capable of understanding and perfecting the relationship between the sexes profoundly due to the complementarity intrinsic to males and females respectively. 

    What that could mean for us today is that a boys response to a girl should be directed at the wholeness in her person comprised of female biology, a unique intellect and character (with dreams, goals, likes/dislikes, values, tastes… her entire essence). 

    When we understand this to be “girl”, it becomes clear that this is beautiful.  How can boy even fathom a world without girl? How can girl fathom a world without boy? This is a big deal!

    “Different persons react differently and need to be treated differently in an infinite number of possible combinations”

    I agree here.  You used the term “persons” and no one person is the same as another.  Does it not make sense then to completely understand “what” a person is in their capacity as male/female/persons with a gender condition in order to better respond with respect and appreciation?  I would say it is. 

    You cannot fully do that by ignoring “what is girl” and “what is boy”. 

  • rweresponsible

    …as a side note:
    Promiscuity intentionally denies the essence or wholeness of the person; it focusses exclusively on the sexualness of the male and female. For example, one is not considered “promiscuous” for sitting down at Starbucks ever Monday at 7:30 to engage in a discussion about whether or not the Dow Jones will hold at 12000…

    This is also evident in the simple fact that the definition of promiscuity does not include “…and getting to know the man/woman’s thoughts, values, interests, longings, fears, family history, career interests, emotional make-up, personal quirks, favourite animal, favourite colour etc…”

    Promiscuity serves the sexual self-interests of both parties and endangers the understanding of the person as a WHOLE.  Because it (the sexual endeavours between partners) is consensual has little meaning regarding whether or not it is extremely risky and detrimental behaviour.

  • goatini

    I must say, what a load of bilge.  All that sexual stereotyping and rigorous enforcement of gender roles ever did for me was to, from my earliest memories, frustrate and anger me, because I knew they were utterly false constructs.  Even as a kindergartener in the 1950s, my entire personal essence as a human individual was constantly offended by gender-based stereotypes.  I knew at 4 that, despite the vigorous sociological imprinting of “what is girl” and “what is boy”, I was a square peg in both figurative holes – therefore, I KNEW that these roles were NOT real, they were NOT genetic, and that they existed solely to attempt to impress on females from earliest development that they were Less Than Males.  

     

    Those like you, who demand a gender-based road map as a prerequisite for attempting to “respond with respect and appreciation” to an individual, are simply intellectual weaklings who do NOT respect women at all, and therefore require the use of illegitimate gender role filters to continue to bolster the putative legitimacy of the lack of respect which the patriarchy is accountable for inflicting upon females.  

  • colleen

    You cannot fully do that by ignoring “what is girl” and “what is boy”.

    It seems to me that  the problem isn’t ignoring such questions.  The problem is what happens when the Catholic heirarchy and/or evo-psy pseudo psychologists or some other preening fool  start describing “how the female brain is wired”  and then insist that we all live down to whatever fantasy y’all come up with. I’ve never read a thing that someone claiming to understand “how the female brain is wired” without feeling diminished and limited. And, of course, when the Catholic heirarchy are doing the describing the insults just never stop.

    Simple observation should inform any reasonable person that there are more differences within the genders than between the genders. I would hold that this is particularly true of women.

  • rweresponsible

     

    I do empathize with your experience.  The 1950′s were difficult times for woman in general.

    You have stated that all of our gender experiences are subjective to the individual–I agree with you here.
    What does that mean to you?

    For what it’s worth, ad hominem attacks do not stimulate thoughtful responses.

     

     

  • goatini

    I’m not the one making false assertions of the veracity of absolute gender roles, nor am I the one touting so-called “complimentarianism” as some kind of justification for the oppression of females by the patriarchy.  

  • goatini

    And rape culture is the “corrective” punishment for all females, to attempt to insure that women continue to live in paralyzing fear of rejecting the degraded role of sex toy/free household servant/breeding stock, which the dominant patriarchal paradigm has a HUGE interest in maintaining.  

  • goatini

    for sitting down at Starbucks ever Monday at 7:30 to engage in a discussion about whether or not the Dow Jones will hold at 12000…”

     

    I see it has never occurred to you that there are high-powered business people of the female gender, who very likely have had such conversations that you cite, in such venues as you cite, with high-powered business people of the male gender, with whom they are engaged in extramarital affairs, which are by their very nature “promiscuous”.  Because to you, of course, our weak little ladybrains can only manage deciding whether to wear the low-cut blouse or the lower-cut blouse to be slutty and promiscuous with mighty Mister Man.  

     

    http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/media/features/5976/

    http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/mar2005/nf2005038_5360_db035.htm

    http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/boardroom-agee-cunningham-agee-bendix-morrison/2/11/2010/id/26727

  • colleen

    For what it’s worth, ad hominem attacks do not stimulate thoughtful responses.

    What does?

  • rweresponsible

    AH! But you do see the specific context in which this “Coffeehouse business exchange” is rightly termed “promiscuous” by nature…

    “…with whom they are engaged in extramarital affairs, which are by their very nature “promiscuous”.”

    To term the 7:30 Monday meetings “promiscuous” by nature, there must be the “engaging in extramarital affairs” part.  Again, this scenario being of the promiscuous sort is contingent on the individuals ACTUALLY engaging (directly or indirectly) in sexual relations outside of their marriages. 

    I absolutely agree with you that, in this particular scenario, it would be right to say the individuals are engaging in promiscuous behaviour.

  • rweresponsible

    Why do you feel diminished and limited?

  • ack

    Can I do that for free if I’m not associated with a program? :)

     

    I’m still interested in an explanation of the “Spit in a Cup” activity. You state that the program doesn’t use fear or shaming, but that seems like shaming to me. How, exactly, was shaming defined in the development of the curriculum?

     

     

  • crowepps

    You seem to be confusing “boy” and “girl” with “person”.

    You seem to be unable to accept that both boys and girls ARE persons, and that they are persons first and have gender secondarily.

    Of course stereotypes exist about boys and girls and practically every other thing we can think of… but we are not interested in stereotypes.

    If you’re not interested in stereotypes, then you’ll abandon the cultural assumptions that ’boy’ and ‘girl’ are ‘complementary’, that is, occupying opposite and exclusionary ends of a behavior scale so that each is the negation of the other.

    “11-year old Robert Xavier Smith who lives in California and likes to surf and is good at math and whose favorite color is purple” describes a person.  This person is a boy. 

    “14-year old Betsy Sue Shoemaker who lives in Iowa and is good at carpentry and likes to dance and whose favorite color is red” describes a person.  This person is a girl. 

    “This person is a boy” tells you ZERO about what Robert is like unless you are assuming he has the qualities of a stereotype.  “This person is a girl” tells you ZERO about what Betsy is like unless you are assuming she has the qualities of a stereotype. 

    From here, we can say that a male is fundamentally different from a female and as such, they both must respond to each other in accordance with their differences.  For instance, a male will speak to a female–based on gender alone–differently then he would a male.  Why? Because their is a recognition of a difference in her being as female.  This is not a “right or wrong” notion; it’s just reality.

    Yes, yes, a male does speak to a female differently.  As a general rule he takes it for granted she is less intelligent, treats her like a subordinate without regard to their relative status, interrupts what she says, patronizes her even if her education and professional qualifications are superior to his own, and becomes enraged if she contradicts him.  It is indeed reality, and it is called ‘sexism’, and it is indeed wrong, and we would all get along a great deal better with less of it.

    Through evolutionary processes and necessity

    Personally, I think evo-psych is lousy science, based not in objective knowledge but instead cherrypicking data to prop up religious and gender prejudices, and the evidence that I am correct is abundant.  If men and women did indeed each have a ‘natural skill set’, then all men and all women would just naturally act that way, like birds, who don’t need to be taught how to build a nest or to sing.   It would not be necessary to put the social investment we see around us into constructing and maintaining multiple cultural institutions that teach rigid gender norms and reinforce rigid gender norms and punish deviance from rigid gender norms because natural behavior is what people just naturally do.  To no one’s surprise, cultural institutions, including religion, actually spend most of their time trying to prevent people from acting naturally, and complaining about how people who act naturally are corrupt and debased and degenerate, blah blah blah, and need more religion/social pressure to make them act in the unnatural ways the ruling classes find convenient to make it easier to exploit them.

    I don’t ignore what is boy or what is girl, I just don’t think that’s the most interesting and important thing about other people because I am interested in whether both men and women have the ability to learn quickly, acquire and retain knowledge, display creativity or develop talents, all things that can be harnessed to the process of building, maintaining and improving civilization, while you apparently regard humans agriculturally, and are willing to lose possible products of their brains to maximize their breeding.  It’s an irresolveable conflict; I value quality minds, your focus is physicality and fertility.

  • crowepps

    Two good articles on evo psych and how it is misunderstood, both by the media and by armchair scientists who don’t understand its limitations.

    Men, the popular account of evolution tells us, are rampantly heterosexual skirt chasers. (Anyone who’s gay serves, at best, as evidence of the supposedly nonadaptive delights in which some humans indulge and, at worst, as evidence of what is unnatural and therefore immoral.) This understanding of male sexuality helps fuel a culture Michael Kimmel recently labeled “guyland,” the life stage and social space in which teenage and twenty-something men cultivate a rude-dude attitude, resenting anything intellectual, politically correct, or smacking of either responsibility or women’s authority. What better than the caveman narrative to help these guys avoiding the demands of adult life define themselves as, nevertheless, real men?

    Learning evolution’s significance for male sexuality can enable men to rationalize sexist double standards and wallow in their loutishness, as they do in guyland.

    http://www.alternet.org/sex/104149/caveman_sex%3A_how_evolutionary_psych_pushes_sexist_stereotypes/?page=entire

    and

    What is so annoying about it is that secular knobs have all this ready made “science” to help them talk down to me about my nature. It also makes self interested women who don’t know much about science think that all science is a load of crap after being lectured by an EP fanboy too many times.

    You forgot to mention racism as well.

    What is so annoying to me, is that it makes self interested people who don’t know much about evopsych think that it’s all a load of crap. Not to mention that it also feeds the self-loathing that some POCs and women are stuck dealing with and were dealing with before some snazzy academic type came along and told them there is “science” to back up preexisting social stigmas.

    http://scienceblogs.com/thoughtfulanimal/2010/06/in_defense_of_evolutionary_psy.php

  • plume-assassine

    There is no such thing as “promiscuity”.

    The way that I understand promiscuity is that it means that one has multiple sexual partners, not “too many” sexual partners, as I do not think that there is such a thing as having “too many” partners because that is highly subjective/personal and varies strongly from individual to individual. To me personally, it does not have a negative connotation for a person to have multiple sexual partners or be promiscuous. The only reason people derive a negative connotation from the idea of someone – specifically a woman – having multiple sexual partners is because you wish to push your personal, subjective definition of “too many/too much” on to other people’s sexual activity, even though it does not effect or concern you.

    And that is where “slut” comes into play, from your desire to create an objective definition from the subjective definition of “too many” and apply it to all other human beings who do not conform. It comes from the belief that because other people have sexual preferences unlike yours, then they must be abnormal. It is an abstraction which ascribes a high degree of stigma, shame, and negativity to a woman (and ONLY a woman) for having multiple sexual partners. The mere fact that “slut” is in the dictionary does nothing to reify it.

     

    That reason is because we have created the term to negatively point out–however subjectively–the supposed culturally “un-normal” actions of an individual through which their character is judged.

    Here you are making the assumption that for a woman to have more than one sexual partner is “abnormal.” Given all that we know about human reproductive biology and normal social interaction, there is nothing abnormal about having more than one sexual partner. Historically, most people were not in lifetime monogamous relationships. I challenge you to find reputable scientific resources which demonstrate that having multiple sexual partners is an abnormal sexual behavior, both from an evo-bio standpoint as well as cultural/psychological standpoint. The only reason that you think it is “un-normal” for a woman to have multiple sexual partners is due to the cultural brainwashing that takes place in historically male-dominated religious institutions.

    The nature of the human as male or female (or transgendered) person transcends the sum of their biology and therefore demands–out of necessity–that we collectively arrive at objective behavioural “norms” in order to identify destructive behaviours and move forward in common understanding.

    You’re not really saying anything here of value. At all. What is the “nature” of the human male or female? As I said before, a person’s gender and sexual anatomy aren’t as neatly defined as you have been led to believe. That is, just because somebody has a vagina and other working “female” sex organs does not mean that person necessarily identifies as a female or is even a female on a chromosomal level at all. So, given that understanding, why is it necessary for us as a society to have different, special ways of “treating” men and women? Why do you believe that a person must exhibit “certain objective behaviors” based on their sexual anatomy & gender? Why is there a demand for this at all? It’s utterly ridiculous. And what behaviors would you consider to be destructive?

    There is nothing destructive about sexual relationships which are mutually consensual and beneficial.

    In other words, “sluttiness” is understood to be contrary to how the species of human persons normally behaves in order to develop healthy relationships with each other.

    Once again, you seem to be lost on what is considered normal sexual behavior for human beings. There is no inherent biological inclination for monogamy in human beings. And excluding pressure from male-dominated religious institutions, there is also no cultural necessity for monogamy (or non-promiscuity) in order to secure positive relationships within society. The number of sexual partners one has is irrelevant when considering ‘healthy relationships’ in society. When determining what is healthy or what is destructive in social interactions, you need only to consider the matters of mutual consent and mutual benefit. In fact, the number of sexual partners somebody has does not concern you at all, unless YOU ARE one of their sexual partners. Otherwise, it has no effect on you and is none of your business.

     

    That does not mean however that the term was not founded upon the recognition of an “un-normal” behaviour.  You seem to want to qualify the implications of the word as “acceptable” and thus make it “normal” in order to lose to the word “slut” all together. 

    The only reason that there is stigma associated with promiscuity is because patriarchal religious institutions are fearful of female sexuality if it exists outside of their accepted framework of the woman-as-vessel/object. This framework is used to oppress women who would otherwise be on equal social standing & accomplishment level with men. When you have women realize that they are worth more than their ability to reproduce or their ability to sexually submit to men, then that can be a very terrifying idea, especially if you are the leader of a male-dominated religious institution and confuse ‘equality’ with a ‘loss of power.’

    And, surprise, it is within the normal range of human sexual behavior for a woman to have multiple sexual partners!

    Can you explain what you mean here? It seems as through you are upset there is no “official” masculine translation of “slut”… what is your point? regardless of gender, persons should not be degrading other persons; semantics is not the issue–its the behaviour which elicits degradation.

    Don’t feign ignorance. You know exactly what I mean here. The fact that there is a word used to stigmatize sexually active women but NOT sexually active men is an example of a double standard. Why is it “bad” for women to have sex but not men? The fact that this double standard exists is yet more evidence that the word “slut” (along with “virgin”) are non-existent concepts that have no use other than to oppress and shame women (and only women) for exhibiting NORMAL sexual behaviors which have been arbitrarily deemed “abnormal behaviors” by patriarchal institutions, in disregard with all scientific evidence to the contrary. 

     

    Serious questions: Ask yourself WHY should a person’s sexual behaviors “elicit degradation” from others when such behavior is biologically normal, mutually consensual/beneficial (and therefore does not effect you), and degradation of such behavior only targets ONE gender. Does this not seem suspicious to you at all?

     

    What is it that is negative by being a “slut”? By definition it is promiscuous or questionable activity related to a woman’s sexuality (and now more use the term to describe males all the same). 

    No, you have it backwards. What is negative about being called a slut is that is sends the message that exhibiting behaviors within the range of normal sexual expression (having multiple sexual partners or promiscuity or non-monogamy, etc) is wrong or dirty or bad, especially if you exhibit these normal behaviors while identifying as a woman in some way, shape, or form.

    This is because it is seen as “un-natural” to be promiscuous given the human capacity to understand VALUE in a person.

    Here, you are implying that making the conscious choice of having consensual sex with multiple partners is an act which DEVALUES a person. It does not. What devalues and objectifies someone is when you come to the conclusion that ONE aspect of their entire person — their sexual history/normal sexual behavior — is enough to earn your scorn and stigmatization. You decide that their private sexual business concerns or effects you and that it is okay to reduce everything else about them into this one insult. By calling somebody a slut, you are you are enforcing oppression against women for exhibiting normal human sexual behaviors. By calling somebody a slut, you are saying that nothing about that person matters to you at all aside from how many people they’ve had sex with.

     

    This is why promiscuity breeds a utilitarian understanding of woman in society.  Promiscuity primarily utilizes one aspect of the human person.

    Promiscuity is not what ‘breeds a utilitarian understanding of woman in society.’ Rather, it is the massive cultural misunderstanding of what does/does not constitute normal sexual behavior. And I would argue, it is the cultural obsession with one aspect of the human person — their sexuality — that breeds objectification (“utilitarian understanding”) and oppression of women. If people would 1. mind their own damn business [see above: the number of sexual partners a woman has does not concern/effect you unless you are her sexual partner] and 2. stop obsessing about female sexuality (one aspect of the female as a person), then promiscuity would not have a negative connotation and the word “slut” would not have come into existence at all.

     

    There is far too much evidence out there which overwhelmingly demonstrates that it is not a good thing to act against a human persons wholeness.  The term “slut” is just one obvious example.  

    If you truly believed this, then you would understand that we as a society do NOT have need of the word “slut” (or “virgin”) after all. You cannot have it both ways by arguing that “slut” is a legitimate, concrete, useful concept… while at the same time acknowledging that it’s demeaning and wrong to call someone this because it acts against a human person’s wholeness. If a word’s only purpose/use is to demean, oppress, stigmatize, shame, and act against a human person’s wholeness, then there is no legitimate reason for you to keep it around.

  • plume-assassine

    You seem to be unable to accept that both boys and girls ARE persons, and that they are persons first and have gender secondarily.

    You are so right, crowepps. We do not need to know a person’s gender or sex in order to know how to interact with them as people and respect them as human beings. It is wrong to think that we must react to people in separate, special ways based on their anatomy or gender; it makes much more sense to ”treat” everyone equally as human beings whose inherent value does not rely on their sexual expression.

  • rweresponsible

    Thank you for your ideas,

     

    “you seem to be unable to accept that both boys and girls ARE persons, and that they are persons first and have gender secondarily.”

     
    A few things here (as your statement is rather philosophical):

    1) What do you understand “person” to constitute?
    2) If a “person” is merely an abstraction of the their intellect/thought/value system, then what is the effect of their physicality on this “person”?
    3) If gender is secondary, how come you used the terms “boy” and “girl” to describe the subject or “recipient” of this “personhood”?
    4) It is simply unreasonable (if not impossible) for a human person to live their experience mutually exclusive from their gender.

    If you are philosophically stressing the need to recognize the “persons” goodness–regardless of gender–in our daily interactions in an attempt to make the world a better place, I would agree with you; We need to treat each other better.
    But this is just the point I’m making: It is clearly evident in this whole blogs resentful and militant tone towards MEN–based on the exact stereotypical notions you claim to want to banish from society–that there is a disconnect between what we know to be “man” and what we know to be “woman”. 
    Since you and I start our lives as boy or girl, we can say we are gender before we are intellectual “persons”.  But if you say we are a “persons” at birth prior to gender,  why then are we not a person in the womb?….

    So we have a rub here as we do not agree on a definition of “person”.

    “… ’boy’ and ‘girl’ are ‘complementary’, that is, occupying opposite and exclusionary ends of a behaviour scale so that each is the negation of the other.”

    Exclusionary? Negation? What are you saying here? Behaviour at “exclusionary ends” of a “behaviour scale” leads to boy being different from girl and therefore impossibly complementary?

    “This person is a boy” tells you ZERO about what Robert is like unless you are assuming he has the qualities of a stereotype.  “This person is a girl” tells you ZERO about what Betsy is like unless you are assuming she has the qualities of a stereotype. ”

    Assuming we want to know “what Robert is like”, I agree.  I was pointing out the fact that the person of Robert also includes his gender. Getting to know Robert would be a profoundly different experience then getting to know Betsy.  

    “Yes, yes, a male does speak to a female differently.  As a general rule he takes it for granted she is less intelligent, treats her like a subordinate without regard to their relative status, interrupts what she says, patronizes her even if her education and professional qualifications are superior to his own, and becomes enraged if she contradicts him.  It is indeed reality, and it is called ‘sexism’, and it is indeed wrong, and we would all get along a great deal better with less of it.”

    Who’s reality is that? If your past personal experience betrayed your true identity as a woman, I do empathize with that. The (man) obviouly could care less about your “womanliness”.  Sexism is a direct consequence of disregarding a persons wholeness.  If we are projecting these negative experiences onto the rest of the men in our lives, could that then be another way of continuing the sexism?

     ” If men and women did indeed each have a ‘natural skill set’, then all men and all women would just naturally act that way, like birds, who don’t need to be taught how to build a nest or to sing.”

    We are not speaking of “natural skill sets”.  What I am alluding to is the idea that male or female biology more/less predisposes the individual to developing “skill sets” which are common to the sex and at the same time, unique to the individual.  For example, even though not all woman become mothers (“skill set”), the female (gender) biology facilitates a maternal “skill set” objectively different from a man’s. 

      “It would not be necessary to put the social investment we see around us into constructing and maintaining multiple cultural institutions that teach rigid gender norms and reinforce rigid gender norms and punish deviance from rigid gender norms because natural behaviour is what people just naturally do. ”

    Exactly! But because we are not birds, we do not have “natural skill sets” per se that lead us to act naturally (assuming a bird is acting naturally by building a nest and singing).  Therefore–as subjective beings–understanding the objective realities specific to being male and female sets a foundation from which we can study and identify what is natural behaviour and what isn’t (including a natural appreciation for the opposite sex).  Because we are human, it’s unfortunately not as clear-cut as per  “natural”.  So then it becomes a question of “what is natural?” and if it is “natural” what are its effects/ramifications? This question now begins to sneak into the realm of ethics and what is “naturally good?” or “naturally bad?”.  These are all very legitimate questions.   

    “To no one’s surprise, cultural institutions, including religion, actually spend most of their time trying to prevent people from acting naturally, and complaining about how people who act naturally are corrupt and debased and degenerate, blah blah blah, and need more religion/social pressure to make them act in the unnatural ways the ruling classes find convenient to make it easier to exploit them.”

    I thought we weren’t birds?

    “I don’t ignore what is boy or what is girl, I just don’t think that’s the most interesting and important thing about other people because I am interested in whether both men and women have the ability to learn quickly, acquire and retain knowledge, display creativity or develop talents, all things that can be harnessed to the process of building, maintaining and improving civilization, while you apparently regard humans agriculturally, and are willing to lose possible products of their brains to maximize their breeding.  It’s an irresolvable conflict; I value quality minds, your focus is physicality and fertility.”

    I appreciate your thoughts and better understand now where you are coming from.  Like yourself, I actually find the whole “what is boy…” less interesting than getting to know an individual’s thoughts, abilities, likes, dislikes etc.  This does not mean however that everyone is as well equipped as you are when it comes to appreciating the individual in their entire capacity as a person. 

    Think of our youth who have absolutely no introduction–or even engage in discussion–with regards to a what a “person” is?  I would argue that–prior to exploring all the things you list–it is extremely fundamental to also explore the nature of our being.  Only then can we move on to “building, maintaining and improving civilization”–which is ironically made up of the same PERSONS which you seem reluctant to recognize in their fulness. 

  • crowepps

    Who’s reality is that? If your past personal experience betrayed your true identity as a woman, I do empathize with that. The (man) obviouly could care less about your “womanliness”.  Sexism is a direct consequence of disregarding a persons wholeness.  If we are projecting these negative experiences onto the rest of the men in our lives, could that then be another way of continuing the sexism?

    Before I comment on it inappropriately, I request that you explain a little more clearly just exactly what you mean by

    “If your past personal experience betrayed your true identity as a woman”.

    since it is impossible to have a ‘false identity as a woman’ I don’t understand what you’re talking about here at all.

    I also don’t understand what you mean by

    “The (man) obviouly could care less about your “womanliness”.  Sexism is a direct consequence of disregarding a persons wholeness.”

    When having a conversation about, just for instance, how to number the deposition exhibits so that the local court will be happy with them, someone’s “womanliness” (or manliness) is totally irrelevant.   The definition of sexism is caring about someone’s “womanliness” instead of paying attention to what they’re actually saying. 

    “If we are projecting these negative experiences onto the rest of the men in our lives, could that then be another way of continuing the sexism?”

    If I were actually referencing only my own experiences, and unfairly assuming that other men acted in a way that was not common, that might indeed be sexism.  However, I actually was referring to the voluminous research results coming out of Critical Discourse Analysis and the wide-spread societal problem as evidenced here:

    http://www.discourses.org/OldArticles/Critical%20discourse%20analysis.pdf

    and here:

    http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/accusations-of-sexism-spur-greater-sensitivity-23794/

    and particularly as they relate to work as here:

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/2011/07/20/is-it-cold-in-here/

     

    I find it really interesting that when men have a persistent pattern of sexist behavior that allows them to retain their privilege, as soon as women point the pattern out to them, the men reflexively accuse the women of being ‘sexist’ or ‘misandrist’.  Almost as though the mere fact that someone points out they’re being unfair is an outrageous assault on their right to always consider themselves first.

  • crowepps

    A few things here (as your statement is rather philosophical):

    My statement was not in any way meant to be ‘philosophical’ but rather a matter of fact.

    1) What do you understand “person” to constitute?

    I was using the legal definition of person, although I extended it to include minors.  It is:

    “Person: An entity recognized by the law as separate and independent, with legal rights and existence including the ability to sue and be sued, to sign contracts, to receive gifts, to appear in court either by themselves or by lawyer and, generally, other powers incidental to the full expression of the entity in law.”

    A fetus before birth is not a ‘person’ because it is not separate and independent, and in some extreme circumstances such as when it has no heart or no brain, may actually be dead and have only a simulacrum of life granted to it by the parasitic use of the woman’s organs.

     2) If a “person” is merely an abstraction of the their intellect/thought/value system, then what is the effect of their physicality on this “person”?

    A person is a congruent being, with a body capable of thought.  The physical brain in the body is what gives rise to the thoughts.

    3) If gender is secondary, how come you used the terms “boy” and “girl” to describe the subject or “recipient” of this “personhood”?

    Being a boy or girl (or something else) is part of what a person is, but it doesn’t define them.  Knowing a person is a boy or a girl doesn’t tell you anything useful about their talents, intelligence, preferences, hobbies, likes or dislikes.  There are both boys and girls who are tough, aggressive, self-contained and adventurous, and there are boys and girls who are sensitive, shy, dependent on others and natural followers.

    4) It is simply unreasonable (if not impossible) for a human person to live their experience mutually exclusive from their gender.

    And I didn’t say that happened.  I said that their gender didn’t DEFINE them.  Knowing their gender doesn’t provide any clues to their intellect, intelligence, talents, deficits or preferences.  Both boys and girls have an extremely wide range of expression when they are left to naturally do what their talents and skills lead them to do.

    It is clearly evident in this whole blogs resentful and militant tone towards MEN–based on the exact stereotypical notions you claim to want to banish from society–that there is a disconnect between what we know to be “man” and what we know to be “woman”.

    I don’t “resent” men, although I don’t think they deserve to continue their assumption of undue privilege and it’s about time they gave up being overly advantaged.  All of society would get along much better under a more equal distribution of power.   I know I never said anything about ”a disconnect between what we know to be “man” and what we know to be “woman”" because that phrase doesn’t actually make any sense.

    Again, you and I seem to have entirely different ideas — my whole point was that we do NOT know “man” and we do NOT know “woman” at all, unless you are viewing them as stereotypes — or as ‘ideals’, which is much the same thing.

    So we have a rub here as we do not agree on a definition of “person”.

    That would be pretty hard to determine, since you haven’t actually given your definition of a person.

  • crowepps

    Getting to know Robert would be a profoundly different experience then getting to know Betsy.  

    Getting to know Frank would be a profoundly different experience than getting to know Robert as well.

    What I am alluding to is the idea that male or female biology more/less predisposes the individual to developing “skill sets” which are common to the sex and at the same time, unique to the individual.  For example, even though not all woman become mothers (“skill set”), the female (gender) biology facilitates a maternal “skill set” objectively different from a man’s. 

    An excellent description of “stereotype”, one which is false, since there are no skill sets universally common in only one sex - some women are not maternal at all, and some men have the qualities that would be described as maternal in a woman.

    we do not have “natural skill sets” per se that lead us to act naturally

    Well, actually studies of primates have shown that humans do share quite a few primate “natural skill sets” such as curiosity, a preference for fairness, compassion, jealousy, cooperation and tool use, all common to both sexes.

    Therefore–as subjective beings–understanding the objective realities specific to being male and female sets a foundation from which we can study and identify what is natural behaviour and what isn’t (including a natural appreciation for the opposite sex).

    Sounds to me like presupposing at the beginning that there must be ”male” and “female” sets, and then massaging the data to fit so that ‘natural behavior’ comes out in conformity with ones prejudices.  For instance, many people naturally are not attracted to the opposite sex but instead to the same gender.

    Because we are human, it’s unfortunately not as clear-cut as per  “natural”.  So then it becomes a question of “what is natural?” and if it is “natural” what are its effects/ramifications? This question now begins to sneak into the realm of ethics and what is “naturally good?” or “naturally bad?”.  These are all very legitimate questions.

    It only gets into what is “naturally good” and “naturally bad” if you want to divide up ‘natural’ into ‘what is natural because it fits with my preexisting prejudices and what must be bad even though it’s natural because it offends my preexisting prejudices.

    “To no one’s surprise, cultural institutions, including religion, actually spend most of their time trying to prevent people from acting naturally, and complaining about how people who act naturally are corrupt and debased and degenerate, blah blah blah, and need more religion/social pressure to make them act in the unnatural ways the ruling classes find convenient to make it easier to exploit them.”

    I thought we weren’t birds?

    Instead of nests, we build cultures.  One of the flaws of our cultures is that some people are greedy and want more than their fair share.  Some people are lazy and want others to work for them.  Some people have a lust for power, and want to control others.

    Think of our youth who have absolutely no introduction–or even engage in discussion–with regards to a what a “person” is?  I would argue that–prior to exploring all the things you list–it is extremely fundamental to also explore the nature of our being.

    Why don’t our youth discuss what a “person” is?  What in heaven’s name do you mean by “the nature of our being”?  Are you using some kind of code phrases that only make sense if you’re Catholic?

    Only then can we move on to “building, maintaining and improving civilization”–which is ironically made up of the same PERSONS which you seem reluctant to recognize in their fulness.

    I don’t have any problem recognizing the entirety of persons.  I just don’t figure that I will understand them by looking first at their sex organs.