Monday, May 09, 2011

What Would Your Mother Do?

You have to read this piece from the Ms. blog and let it sink in. It is about a line of abstinence underwear. There are cute little panties and undershirts with sayings like "Not tonight" and "Dream on" printed on them.

Annie Shields, the blogger, writes about a web site, (stands for "What Would Your Mother Do?"), which has text saying:
About Us

Having high schoolers of our own, we realize that at one point or another, teenagers are going to want to date … We’ve decided there’s no reason to get uptight about it, after all, finding a romantic partner is a normal and healthy part of adolescent life. But, why not help our teens make wise choices while they navigate the dating scene? We created a line of underwear to use as conversation starters to help reinforce family morals as they relate to relationships and dating. One part Victorian (who are we kidding?), three parts frisky, these adorable undies put new meaning to saying it loud and proud. New Line of Tween Panties Promotes … Abstinence?

Shields' response is, I think you can say, snarky:
What better way to reinforce family morals than by wearing underwear that doubles as a conversation starter, right? If the junior prom after-party starts to get dull, just take off your pants and encourage a dialogue! Awkward first date? Lift up your dress and ask for some feedback!

On the one hand, these panties were created by parents to encourage their teens to remain abstinent. On the other hand, these are panties. A strange choice of merchandise to hawk in the name of chastity.

It is a good point. It seems that by the time the guy is reading the message, it's too late.

There is a deep inconsistency in the abstinence movement, which is that they are excitedly happy when girls get pregnant. You remember when Bristol Palin was pregnant -- a rational person would have expected that the religious right would use her as a poster child for sexual abstenance, that parents would be telling their daughters, "Don't be like Bristol." But they loved her. They were proud of her and would not allow any criticism of this unwed teenage mother who had obviously not been abstinent. No, oddly, the abstinence people love babies, even when the mother is an unmarried teenager.

This blogger at Ms makes another important point:
What’s more, the panties can really muddy the notion of “consent” in young people’s minds. What if a teen girl wears “Not Tonight” panties and decides at some point in the evening that she actually does want to have sex? Nothing wrong with that, but the dissonance between the panty-message and her ultimate decision may well reinforce the mistaken idea that “no means yes” in her partner’s mind.

I have seen some serious discussions lately regarding the question of consent, and its flip-side, rape. Women are starting to ask why they should be the ones who have to go out in groups and stay away from dark streets and watch how much they drink, why women are blamed for being raped. It's an important question, and it is acutely important for everyone to understand the simple message that only "Yes" means yes, and "No" means no. It may be cute to put sassy sayings on your panties, but if you're showing your boyfriend your panties, you are contradicting the word "No" with your actions.

Here, watch this:

Catchy tune, huh?

One of the commenters asks, where's the guy's "Not tonight" shirt? Good point. The fact is, the boy is just as responsible for their sexuality as the girl is. But somehow we think it makes sense to assign the girl the job of saying no, though her libido is running at full volume the same as his, she's supposed to tell him no even when she feels like yes, and he is supposed to be saying yes yes yes until she gives in. It's twisted. Guys who pressure girls and women for sex are jerks, and girls and women who tease guys by hinting at sexual interactions they have no intention of going through with are not much better. It's a nasty game and we are going to have to take a hard, honest look at ourselves to figure out how to escape the cycle of behaviors that does not ultimately satisfy anybody.
Abstinence-promoting strategies as ineffective as these will certainly prove to be are, unfortunately, not unprecedented. Just last week it was reported that the Candies Foundation paid Bristol Palin more than $260,000 to be a pro-abstinence spokesperson–seven times the amount they spent on actual teen pregnancy prevention programs. With the rise of what’s been called the chastity-industrial complex, peddling purity is big business. Once again, social and religious conservatives say one thing, do another and wait for the money to roll in.

There may have been a time when we lived in an agrarian society and the distribution of labor between "men's work" and "women's work" made some kind of sense. Now it doesn't. Women work beside men, they accomplish all that men accomplish, and the norms that supported agrarian culture simply have no place in urban life in the Information Age. The transition is not being made gracefully, but it must be made. There is a game where we "pretend to pretend" that girls do not have sexual desire and boys do, where the game is to undermine the explicit fiction through frills and flirtation and mixed messages and guys are supposed to think that "Don't. Stop." means "Don't stop." The game is guaranteed to make sure nobody gets what they really want, on one hand it sexualizes every friendship and on the other it freezes the natural sexuality out of romantic relationships where the flow of affection is appropriate. And these panties ain't helping.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Women are starting to ask why they should be the ones who have to go out in groups and stay away from dark streets and watch how much they drink,"

just to clarify, then, you think guys need to exercise caution lest they are attacked by gals out to sexually assault them?

May 09, 2011 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A mother would not write a message to her daughter's date on her daughter's undies.

May 09, 2011 5:24 PM  
Anonymous LBJ has been reincarnated said...

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers is the latest to demand the United States leave Afghanistan, raising the pressure on President Barack Obama to speed up his withdrawal timeline now that Osama bin Laden is dead.

"The success of this mission does not change the reality that America still faces a determined and violent adversary," the congressmen, led by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), wrote in a letter sent to Obama today. "It does, however, require us to reexamine our policy of nation building in Afghanistan."

"We believe it is no longer the best way to defend America against terror attacks, and we urge you to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan that are not crucial to the immediate national security objective of combating al Qaeda," they argued.

Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), John Campbell (R-Calif.), John Tierney (D-Mass.) and John Duncan (R-Tenn.) also added their signatures.

Letters seeking a speedy withdrawal revved up almost immediately after the news of bin Laden's death. The organized nature of this letter and the equal bipartisan makeup of its signatories reflect a rising sense in Congress that it's time to end America's longest war.

Chaffetz and Tierney are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, on the House Oversight Committee's subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations. Other representatives are considering those leaders' opinions in the wake of the al Qaeda leader's killing in Pakistan last week.

"The Osama bin Laden event is creating space for many more members who were being quiet to start asking questions," Welch said.

The public, which has been divided over how it sees progress in Afghanistan, has also grown increasingly discontented with the war.

In a March ABC News/Washington Post poll, 64 percent of Americans said they felt the war was not worth its cost, a fact the eight lawmakers picked up in their letter.

"The cost to taxpayers of this war is immense -- $2 billion weekly and $386 billion already spent, while billions more in legacy costs await us. Every dollar spent is added to America’s deficit," they wrote.

"The burden on our overstretched military is likewise immense. There are 99,800 American troops on the ground as we write this letter engaged in this nearly 10-year-old war," they noted, arguing that a focused force makes no sense when "the terror threat is dispersed and decentralized."

The lawmakers signaled intelligence and covert operations such as the raid that nailed bin Laden as more cost-effective strategies to pursue.

The White House, however, has shown no inclination to change its plans to begin what it calls a conditions-based withdrawal, lasting into 2014.

But more and more lawmakers are examining the costs, the deficit and the need to address issues on the homefront.

"As our national debt grows, the borrowing and importing from our competitors continues, and the drug-related violence on our borders increases, we must evaluate the best use of our resources," the eight representatives wrote. "The time has come to acknowledge that the threat posed by Afghanistan no longer justifies 100,000-plus troops on the ground."

May 10, 2011 6:42 AM  
Anonymous is BO worse than W? said...

At the end of his "60 Minutes" interview, President Obama said of Osama bin Laden's death, "Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn't deserve what he got needs to have their head examined."

The longer he serves in office, the more Obama sounds like George W. Bush.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd also has started to sound like Bush. In her Sunday column, "Killing Evil Doesn't Make Us Evil," Dowd writes that when Navy SEALs shot and killed bin Laden, it seemed like "the only civilized and morally sound response."

To review: Obama and Dowd long have claimed that it was morally reprehensible for U.S. intelligence operatives to waterboard 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Candidate Obama said that waterboarding was "never acceptable" because it contradicts our values. Obama even dished his now-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, for having said in 2006 that she would authorize brutal interrogation measures to prevent a terrorist attack.

Apparently, it is consistent with Obama's and Dowd's values to shoot and kill an unarmed bin Laden -- as long as you don't waterboard him to learn possible intelligence that might prevent a terrorist attack first.

It's amazing how partisan politics can make the medicine go down.

May 10, 2011 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh brother! Looks who's lamenting the death of a terrorist but had no qualms about the bunker busting bombs dropped on Iraq by the US in its only ever "pre-emptive war." Some of our bombing raids into Iraq wiped out entire civilian neighborhoods while Bush went after Saddam's non-existant WMD instead of pursuing bin Laden "Dead or Alive" like he said he would.

Intelligence about the bin Ladens' courier obtained via waterboarding was false and misleading and cost US investigators wasted months of effort.

I offer my congratulations to US Navy Seal Team 6 for bringing home "the largest cache of information gotten from a senior terrorist gotten from any terrorist in one operation."

Meanwhile the Navy continues to move forward. NavyTimes reports:

"Navy would allow gay weddings on base
By Sam Fellman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday May 9, 2011 14:28:54 EDT

"Once the military’s ban on gays serving openly is lifted, Navy chaplains will be permitted to officiate at same-sex marriage and civil union ceremonies on base, according to an April 13 memorandum from the Navy’s head chaplain.

“Consistent with the tenets of his or her religious organization, a chaplain may officiate a same-sex, civil marriage: if it is conducted in accordance with a state that permits same-sex marriage or union; and if that chaplain is, according to the applicable state and local laws, otherwise fully certified to officiate that state’s marriages,” the memo signed by Chief of Chaplains Rear Adm. Mark Tidd states. The memorandum, designed to update chaplains’ training guidance for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay members from serving, was posted by the conservative website Media Research Center.

In addition, the memo states that “if the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage. This is true for purely religious services (e.g., a chaplain blessing a union) or a traditional wedding (e.g., a chaplain both blessing and conducting the ceremony).”

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Alana Garas said that the new policy guidance was a revision to the repeal training and emphasized that no chaplains will be required to officiate at same-sex messages, if that conflicts with their faith.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Responding to questions about the law and the new policy in an email, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez wrote: “DOMA does not limit the type of religious ceremonies a chaplain may perform in a chapel on a military installation. Chaplains are authorized to perform religious ceremonies consistent with the practices of the chaplain’s faith group in chapels on military installations.”

But conservatives contended this policy violates the Defense of Marriage Act.

“This new guidance from the Navy clearly violates the law,” Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee, said in a statement Monday. “While our president may not like this law, it is unbelievable that our Navy would issue guidance that clearly violates this law. While a state may legalize same-sex marriage, federal property and federal employees, like Navy chaplains, should not be used to perform marriages that are not recognized by federal law.”"

May 10, 2011 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are schools now mental hospitals?

May 10, 2011 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

School anti-bullying programs protect all students from bullying.

The revision to MCPS's sex ed curriculum addresses the problem of bullying, teaches respect, and shows students its own non-discrimintation policy:

“A. Purpose
To affirm the Board of Education’s commitment to maintaining an environment where all students and staff members conduct themselves in a manner built on mutual respect”

“To affirm the Board of Education’s position that it regards all acts of hate/violence and illegal discrimination to be unacceptable and intolerable and in particular those based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, marital status, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, physical characteristics or disability.”

The students at BCC who came up with their own anti-bullying campaign to honor their fellow student's memory should be commended for trying to protect MCPS students from bullying.

To purchase a medallion and contribute to American University's "endowment in [Aiden Rivera Schaeff's] name that will be perpetuated by the college to help build student initiatives to fight bullying against gay, lesbian or transgendered high-school students," click here.

May 10, 2011 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The unexpected and potentially rotten news that the world will end on May 21 rolled into the District on Thursday morning, plastered on a caravan of five recreational vehicles that parked near the Washington Monument.

“Have you heard the awesome news?” the side of the RVs asked, in big bold letters. “The End of the World is Almost Here!”

As if the message weren’t scary enough, the dozen or so occupants of the RVs — vanguard of a national campaign funded by a fundamentalist Christian radio network and fueled by bus ads and Internet buzz — wore highlighter-bright yellow shirts that said “Earthquake So Mighty, So Great.” They offered pedestrians handouts saying there was “ marvelous proof” that “Holy God will bring judgment day on May 21, 2011.”

The Rapture, they warned, is upon us.

A woman waved off the pamphlet: “Already have one.” A jogger ran right past. “No thanks,” said another. A tourist simply said, “No.” Many people said exactly nothing.

Although the District is apparently a tough audience for doomsday forecasts — despite the power here to make something like it happen — many Americans have been captivatedby the idea of the end of time since the country’s beginning. Some have even been so bold as to pick a date. William Miller, who spawned a 19th-century religious movement that remains visible today, is the most classic example: He created a nationwide stir when he predicted that Jesus would return and the world would end before March 21, 1844. (He was stood up.)

“In American history, you have always had a fascination with this stuff,” said Doug Weaver, professor of religion at Baylor University.

End Times, as the phenomenon is known, has spawned an economy that rivals the GDP of small countries. There have been scores of books, movies, video games and albums that revolve around Armageddon and the end of the world.

There was, among others, the 1991 movie “The Rapture,” starring Mimi Rogers and David Duchovny. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, authors of the “Left Behind” series, have sold more than 63 million books. Even Johnny Cash dabbled in End Times lyrics, particularly in his popular song “The Man Comes Around.”

“This is a cottage industry,” said Weaver. “People really love this stuff.”

And for many Christians, it is a core part of their beliefs. About 41 percent of Americans think that Jesus will return before 2050, according to a 2010 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

May 10, 2011 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't know why someone felt it necessary to post this story from last week's post but let's discuss

I'm somewhat familiar with the guy who has calculated May 21 as the date of Christ's return and I've always liked him

he has a radio show where takes calls and answers questions about the Bible

he is generally pretty solid theologically

but while it is certain that Christ will return again, it is wrong to claim one knows the exact day:

"But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,but the Father only."

Matthew 24:36

of course, for any individual, this is somewhat irrelevant

you may die at any time and that would be your judgement day

and this is offensive:

"The unexpected and potentially rotten news that the world will end"

when Christ comes again, he will establish a just world, recreated without the problems now caused by the Fall

doesn't sound rotten to me

May 10, 2011 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 33 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.

The outcome is a reversal from only two years ago, when a majority of the church’s regions, known as presbyteries, voted against ordaining openly gay candidates.

This time, 19 of the church’s 173 presbyteries switched their votes from no to yes in recent months. The Twin Cities presbytery, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday. The vote was 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions.

Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the church’s General Assembly, its highest legislative body, said in a phone interview from Minneapolis after the vote: “Everyone was civil. There was no applause, no cheering. It was just reflective of the fact that we are moving forward one other step.”

Although by the time the vote was taken in Minneapolis the outcome was expected, Presbyterian church officials said that even a few months ago they would not have predicted that the church was ready to change its policy.

“All of us are surprised,” said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the church’s stated clerk, its highest elected official. He attributed the turnabout in the votes to both the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the larger culture, and to church members simply wearying of the conflict.

“We’ve been having this conversation for 33 years, and some people are ready to get to the other side of this decision,” he said. “Some people are going to celebrate this day because they’ve worked for it for a long time, and some people will mourn this day because they think it’s a totally different understanding of Scripture than they have.”

“I hope that going forward we can stay together and be faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) now joins a growing bloc of historic, mainline Protestant churches that have voted to accept gay clergy members and church leaders — a bloc that includes the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church. (The largest mainline Protestant denomination, the United Methodist Church, is still fighting over the issue).

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has about two million members. The Presbyterian Church in America, a much smaller and more conservative denomination, prohibits the ordination of women and openly gay candidates.

Longtime advocates of gay equality in the Presbyterian Church savored the day. The Rev. Heidi Vardeman, senior minister of Macalaster Plymouth United Church in St. Paul and a spokeswoman for a pro-gay church group called More Light Presbyterians, said in an interview, “Finally, the denomination has seen the error of its ways and it will repent, which means, literally, to turn around.

“I’ve had young people who have been exemplary, obviously good candidates for the ministry,” she said, “but then you have to have this weird conversation in which you say that, umm, because they might be gay or lesbian, it’s not going to work. But now we’re free! We can endorse and propose and assist and elect those whom God has called.”

In the next few months, the denomination will gauge the reaction from its more theologically conservative members, who believe that ordaining sexually active gay people is inconsistent with the Bible. Some have already departed. The Presbyterian News Service estimates that approximately 100 congregations have left the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the last five years. Several were large congregations, which could help explain why the vote in some presbyteries switched from 2009.

May 11, 2011 10:14 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon asked:

“Are schools now mental hospitals?”


That should have been obvious from even a cursory reading of the article you posted.

There was no mention of MCPS hiring doctors and psychiatrists, installing beds, dispensing medications, or even hiring a few more school counselors.

Despite concerted efforts by the Christian Homophobe Agenda to thwart any attempt at anti-bullying education, it is apparent that the students themselves have become disgusted and perhaps even morally outraged with what they are witnessing and its side-effects on other students’ lives. In a good old-fashioned American way they’ve decided to take it upon themselves to do something about it and make changes for the better. I applaud their efforts.

Montgomery County isn’t the only place where the students are standing up against homophobia and transphobia. Here’s a YouTube post from a student at a school about an hour away from Montgomery County:

I know the victim he’s referring to personally, and consider her a friend. He’s talking about a recent incident where her clothes (which were in a locker) were urinated on by several people during gym class. He describes this incident as “crossing the line.” I disagree with that because I believe the line was crossed when her head was bashed into a wall and she had to go to the hospital to get stitches – that happened just a few weeks ago. She also has to deal with death threats from some of the students. Somehow I think a line has been crossed there as well. She’s in 10th grade for God’s sake.

If these students manage to make a significant dent in the bullying that’s going on, one can expect the need for any mental health services to drop commensurately.

Have a nice day.


May 11, 2011 10:48 AM  

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