But if homosexuality isn’t ‘objectively immoral,’ then Anything Goes …

One of the most common and most popular objections that arises whenever anyone acknowledges that homosexuality is not “objectively immoral” is the argument that somehow this means that “anything goes.”

“If we start affirming then all of morality goes right out the window. If we don’t say that gayness is objectively immoral, then the world has gone mad today and good’s bad today and black’s white today and day’s night today …”

Et cetera.

I do not understand this argument.

The majority of the people making this claim do not believe that heterosexuality is “objectively immoral.” Yet none of them believes that, therefore, “anything goes” for straight people. Affirming heterosexuality has not meant that all of morality has gone out the window, so why would affirming the exact same thing about homosexuality produce such chaos and calamity?

The panicked assertion that it would do so comes, I think, from these Christians’ failure to develop any credible sexual ethic.

What they rely on, instead, is a single yes-or-no question. The entirety of their ethical thinking and ethical consideration regarding sex and sexuality consists of asking that one question. Everything else — the entire universe of vitally important ethical concerns — is swept away, dismissed, and replaced by this question: Are the parties involved married to each other?

If the answer is “Yes,” then any sex between them is moral and righteous because, and only because, it occurs between two people who are married to each other. If the answer is “No,” then any sex between them is immoral and depraved because, and only because, it occurs between two people who are not married to each other.

That has come to be relied on as a substitute and a proxy for every other ethical matter that matters when it comes to sex: love, consent, commitment, fidelity, trust, betrayal, kindness, cruelty, respect, mutuality, reciprocity, honor, malice, liberation, exploitation, manipulation, safety, honesty, dishonesty, magnanimity, joy …

All of that and more is meant to be confirmed or contradicted by that one married/unmarried binary question. And that’s too much for this one question to handle. Marriage is not any kind of guarantee that all of those virtues will be present and all of those vices absent. Marital status cannot be the be-all and end-all of sexual ethics. (Libby Anne has a terrific discussion of this in her “tale of the two boxes.”)

I don’t think this ethical immaturity is limited to sexual ethics. The lack of a coherent Christian sexual ethic is likely just a consequence of a more general lack of ethical thinking. American Christians often have long lists of “Dos” and “Don’ts,” but little understanding of, or interest in, why any given item is in one column and not the other.

Sexual ethics, after all, are not a wholly separate and distinct thing. Sexual ethics mostly consists of taking our existing ethics and keeping them with us when it comes to matters of sex — of ensuring that we do not shed our ethics when we shed our clothes. That’s important, because sex tends to involve us at our most vulnerable. We’re naked — exposed and unarmored and enamored.

The same obligations we have to one another in the rest of our lives do not go away when we enter the bedroom. It’s foolish and reckless to presume that all such obligations are automatically satisfied simply because we have checked the box that says “married.” And it’s foolish and cruel to presume that all of those obligations are automatically violated just because a couple is gay.

Acknowledging that homosexuality is not “objectively immoral” is no different from acknowledging the same thing about heterosexuality. It does not imply chaos, calamity and “anything goes.” Affirming sexuality is not the end of sexual ethics but, rather, the beginning of it.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    By the way, there’s a lot of talk here about how a pedophile could “follow you home” and such — that anyone who would rape your child would be a stranger. Not likely. The vast majority of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the victim knows well. Being somewhat cautious about strangers is fine, but it’s far more important to be cautious about whom you trust to be with your children. This includes family members, religious leaders, teachers, and lifelong friends. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Did you bite him? I hope you bit him.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And stuff that’s seen as “sexy clothing” is all for women and girls. (Except in certain subcultures.) And when you tell girls that that clothing is bad, you are telling them that being female sexuality is bad. That they are bad.

    Except nobody’s talking about warning someone off sexy clothing if the someone is an eighteen-year-old girl. Nor if she’s a teenager.

    Preteens, though? No. Children? Fuck no. This discussion has all been about appropriate clothing for a seven-year-old child, and under no circumstances do I think it appropriate for a seven-year-old to wear anything that could reasonably be described as ‘sexy’. It is not about the clothing being bad or the sexuality being bad. It is that people who do not know what sexuality is should not be exercising it.

    Meanwhile, there is a sad lack of sexy everyday clothing for male-type persons. Dear world: get on that.

  • Jenny Islander

    For a close analysis of perceived dangers to children vs. statistically attested dangers to children, see the Free Range Kids blog.  (Example: Stranger abductions are actually less common than lightning strikes without a thunderstorm to provide warning.  But we disrupt and limit our children’s lives for fear of stranger abductions, and nobody is freaking out about lightning strikes.  Meanwhile, most people don’t actually know what drowning looks like and don’t know how to properly install a car safety seat.  Misdirected priorities.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman
    Do I tell her that there are pedophiles out in the world who might take such looks as an invitation? Nope, not a good option.

    You’re right. It’s not a good option, because pedophiles aren’t attracted to clothing, they’re attracted to children. You could dress her in a burka, and it would not alter the behavior of a pedophile in the slightest.

    Not necessarily true.  Pedophiles are attracted to children, not clothing, but how children are dressed is likely to affect which child a pedophile will choose to pursue.  Dressing in clothes that are “sexy” and “older” than the child wearing them is liable to serve as an excuse in the warped mind of such a predator.  Everything I’ve read about pedophiles suggests that most of them rationalize their behavior in order to convince themselves that their victims actually desire and enjoy their abuse; a short skirt or a midriff-revealing t-shirt is a potential hook for that kind of self-deception.

    As to not telling a seven-year-old that some adults are dangerous and that a little girl wearing short-shorts or other age-inappropriate, revealing clothing might be more likely to attract such an adult’s attention, I think it’s worth examining that very carefully before assuming that it’s “not a good option.”  I think we overvalue the particular subset of ignorance that we euphemistically refer to as “innocence” in Anglo-American culture, as a legacy of Victorian prudery and the Victorian cult of childhood.*  “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be,” and a child’s belief that the world is safe is surely one of those things.

    * As expressed in literary works like Peter Pan, The Water Babies, and the Chronicles of Narnia — I know the latter post-dated the Victorian era by several decades, but C. S. Lewis’s mentality did not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    Being a sociopath makes me more liable to do these things, but years ago, I realized the importance of a functional society and dedicated my life toward improving the conditions around myself and that holds more directly than any abstraction of a vengeful deity waiting for the passing of my life.

    You’ve piqued my interest; as far as I know, I’ve never met someone who self-identifies as a sociopath.  The viewpoint of a sociopath who seeks to lead an ethical life out of enlightened self-interest sounds fascinating; do you perchance have a blog on which you’ve written more on this topic?  If not, know that you’d have at least one interested reader should you choose to start one.

  • The_L1985

     True, but schools have MUCH stricter security than they ever did pre-Columbine (if you or your kid was in school after 1999, you know exactly what I mean).  Also, kids are generally not unsupervised in public.

    Frankly, if I were a sex offender, and I didn’t already personally know my intended target, I’d be on the lookout for possible targets any way I could get them.

  • The_L1985

    1.  The myth that men aren’t allowed to look attractive is damaging in many ways. The fact that only women have “sexy” clothing is just one example.

    2.  There’s a difference between “That kind of clothing is bad,” and “I don’t think you’re ready for that yet.”

    3.  I never said that sending the message “I am a sexual being” was, in and of itself, an invitation to have sex.  I am aware of the damn difference.  The problem isn’t “some asshole will objectify you based on your clothing”–although that is a problem, it’s a problem with the asshole, not the clothing.  The problem with the clothing is it has the potential to normalize child sexuality in society, and that would be a Very Bad Thing.  That is basically the entire point of my post.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

     There is something similar with me.  There are times when I think of myself as a sociopath.  Thoughts of death and pain do not disturb me, sometimes I wish to inflict them (preferably in the service of something constructive.)  On the other hand, people like my girlfriend protest that I am not a sociopath, because I actually care what other people think of me, and wish no one exposed to unnecessary suffering. 

    Another part is that I am rarely selfish.  I share with others because I can, because I know that they will appreciate it, and because if everyone is selfless then collectively we all have an easier time.  Heck, I would spend my life willingly if I thought that the payout to those who survive me would be great enough.  This has actually been a source of friction with other people in my life, because I have a difficult time understanding why my death would be more hurtful to them them then any conceivable benefit my death would bring.

    Sometimes I seem callus.  I am callus.  But my callousness is out of a lack of emotional understanding, rather than a lack of compassion. 

  • The_L1985

     ”I think we overvalue the particular subset of ignorance that we
    euphemistically refer to as “innocence” in Anglo-American culture.”

    Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that any understanding a young child has of sex is not going to be remotely the same as how adults understand it.

    1. Adults understand that sex has the capability to form/deepen an emotional bond.
    2. Adults understand that sex is (supposed to be) pleasurable.
    3. Adults have a much more sophisticated understanding of consent vs. coercion than a child does.
    4. Adults generally understand more about the mechanics of sex than children do.  (There are outliers in both directions–abstinence-only “educated” adults can be clueless about sex, and kids whose parents forget to scramble the Playboy channel may well know more than they’re letting on.)

    Also remember that kids often have a simplistic concept of “love” that doesn’t distinguish very well between familial, romantic, and platonic love.

  • Ross Thompson

    True, but schools have MUCH stricter security than they ever did pre-Columbine (if you or your kid was in school after 1999, you know exactly what I mean).  Also, kids are generally not unsupervised in public.

    *shrug* I was in school in Britain, and our equivalent event didn’t have any noticeable affect on schools.

    But my point is that those stick figures on the backs of cars are probably pretty far down the list of things that help pædophiles. What about having a booster seat in your car? That will also tell everyone that you have a child, and their approximate age. Do you keep photos of your kids on your desk at work? Then co-worker pædophiles know you have kids, and can follow you home. What about photos in your wallet? If you drop it somewhere, whoever finds it will know you have kids and where you live.

    I don’t much like those decals myself, but thinking they pose some kind of terrible security risk seems ridiculous.

    And as for kids not being unsupervised outside? It’s far more likely (discounting family abductions) that children will get abducted from a public place than from their homes. So either they’re not being watched, or being watched don’t make that much difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    “In humans, too, sexuality has a lot of different functions”

    Jared Diamond wrote a short book on this topic called Why is Sex Fun?  He doesn’t draw many firm conclusions in it, but it’s a good layperson’s overview of the state of research on this topic (as of 1998, when it was published) and the various hypotheses advanced to explain why several aspects of human sexuality are radically different from that of any other mammal.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve thought about it, but I rarely have the urge to engage in self-dialectic with an audience. I’d just wind up writing slightly longer versions of what I already write here. Not that that’d necessarily be a bad thing, I suppose, just feels somewhat overindulgent to my ego (which is profound, gargantuan, and beyond compare — just ask me). If I can find a decent blog site, I’ll consider it.

    In the meantime, my self-identification is quite genuine. I was a classic case of conduct disorder when I was young, suffered quite a lot of abuse growing up, and by the time I got psychiatric help I was getting formally diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. It’s been some years since then, during which my diagnosis probably will have shifted to nomadic antisocial, but… mental help is expensive, so I’ve had to deal with it on my own. Focusing on psychology, sociology, philosophy and religion has given me a set of tools to deal with my problems, albeit imperfectly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    Agreed on all points; I was only arguing that I don’t see much positive value in keeping children unaware of the existence of sexually predatory adults, and the fact that clothing that signals “I am a sexual being” (or, to someone with a predatory mindset, “I am a sexy little thing for your enjoyment”) is liable to increase the normally slight risk any given child faces of becoming a target for such an adult.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yes, what with children being so rare, they might have little choice other than following cars with those stupid window decals, since hte odd of *any given house they pick* having children in it is negligible.

  • banancat

    Clothing doesn’t send the message “I am a sexual being”, even in adults.  I am so sick of this.  You can’t determine how much sex someone has based on their clothing.  The woman in a miniskirt could be in a perfectly monogamous marriage.  The woman in a turtleneck and baggy jeans could have casual sex with multiple partners.  Telling a child that they’re not ready to look a certain way perpetuates the myth that you can accurately determine a woman’s sex life based on her clothing.

    I don’t like this hand-wringing that children can’t wear short skirts because someone mistake them for one of those women, and that would be bad because it’s bad to be one of those women.

    Or you can say that of course, oh no, you don’t actually believe that it’s wrong to look like those women, only that it’s a sad fact of life that other people do think it’s bad to look like those women, so you want your child to conform to their ideas of modesty so that they won’t judge the child.

    It is really sad that any parent could be glad at children slut-shaming another child so the child will be prevent from being slut-shamed as an adult.  It does make me think that any parent like that actually agrees with the slut-shamers but doesn’t want to admit that.

  • banancat

     Children who have not gone through puberty can’t be sexy by definition unless you’re a pedophile.

  • banancat

     As has been pointed out, whether you’re sex-positive or sex-negative, sexy clothing still sends a message about the wearer.

    And that message is frequently wrong.  You can’t accurately determine a woman’s sex life by her clothing.  And you shouldn’t perpetuate the myth that you can.  I don’t buy it when you say “Oh, you can tell she’s a slut, but I’m totes ok with that because I don’t judge!”  No, you can’t tell who has more sex just by clothing.  Many others try to, and you perpetuate the myth that they are right to do so.  Probably because you believe that they are right to do so, but you don’t want to admit that outright.

    Meanwhile, I’m working for a society where we don’t judge others (inaccurately) based on their clothing.

  • Dan Audy

    Oh come on.  Clothing absolutely can send the message ‘I’m a sexual being’ just like it can send the message ‘I’m refined and classy’ or ‘I’m hip’ or ‘I don’t care about your social norms’.  Clothing is used everyday by most people to covertly and overtly signal what kind of person they think they are and what kind of person they want other people to perceive them as.  Sometimes the message being sent is ‘I am a sexual being’ when a woman chooses clothing that emphasizes her sexual characteristics.  It doesn’t mean that she is a sexual object that exists for the satisfaction of others or that she deserves to be sexually harassed, or raped but it does say ‘I want to feel and be perceived as a sexy woman’.  Culture exists and cultural messaging exists and pretending it doesn’t just makes you look stupid because it is a core aspect of how humans interact and behave.  It isn’t about whether someone is monogamous, has multiple partners, or is asexual but about what you are choosing to present yourself as to the world.

    I don’t think wanting my daughter to not signal that ‘I want you to consider me sexually’ when she doesn’t really understand what sex and sexuality is is anymore unacceptable ‘slut shaming’ than not wanting her to wear biker leathers or a hijab without understanding the culture that is announcing she is a part of is ‘biker shaming’ or ‘muslim bashing’.  We’ve never really had to enforce any particular rules on her wardrobe other than it needs to be clean, fit properly, and be appropriate for he activities.  Since she is extremely physically active that means shorts under skirts (or skorts) and most other sexualizing clothing is out on the grounds of not meeting our criteria for fitting properly.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I was in school in Britain, and our equivalent event [to Columbine] didn’t have any noticeable affect on schools.
     
    Of course not. On your side of the pond, it is not considered utterly batshit for the response to gun violence to be to restrict access to guns.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Children who have not gone through puberty can’t be sexy by definition unless you’re a pedophile.
     
    If something is by definition not sexy, then criticizing someone for that something is by definition not slut-shaming.
     
    By your reasoning, anyone who says a seven-year-old shouldn’t be driving is driving-shaming the kid and contributing to the belief that driving is bad, when we keep telling you that no, actually, it’s just that the earliest any jurisdiction allows someone behind the wheel is fourteen.
     
    There is a difference between “this is bad, don’t do it” and “you’re too young for this, don’t do it yet”. A seven-year-old wearing clothing in a style that, on a postpubescent, would be described as ‘sexy’? “You’re too young for this, don’t do it yet.”

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     I was the kid that always wanted to know why, and I became the parent that explained. Worked for me and my daughter.

    It does my heart good to hear that. Because I was that kid, too, and my parents always said “When you get older, you’ll understand why we don’t want to explain.” Well, I’m older now, and I understand why they refused to explain things, but I don’t agree that was the right thing to do.

    Now that I am older, what I hear all the time is, “If you ever have children, you’ll understand.” (I got hit with that most recently when I expressed a lack of decent concern over smut on mainstream bookshelves.) Or from people who are older yet then me, “You think that now? Just you wait!” Isn’t it annoying when people treat you as an incomplete human being, and assert that once you have become complete by [growing up][getting married][having children][getting another 20 years older], you’ll naturally change your views to conform with their perfectly and objectively correct ones?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Isn’t it annoying when people treat you as an incomplete human being, and assert that once you have become complete by [growing up][getting married][having children][getting another 20 years older], you’ll naturally change your views to conform with their perfectly and objectively correct ones?

    Sing it.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I don’t think wanting my daughter to not signal that ‘I want you to
    consider me sexually’ when she doesn’t really understand what sex and
    sexuality….

    You know, this has been bugging me the whole thread.

    The idea that short-short skirts signal “I want you to consider me sexually” is… really uncomfortably close, category-wise, logic-wise, to the scary rape culture nonsense of “Well, I’m not saying you deserved it, but what message did you think you were sending when you wore that skirt?”

    While I understand the discomfort behind prepubescent children wearing “sexy” clothing, I have to side with bananacat in working for world where we effin’ stop telling women – of any age – that really, how did they expect to be treated, wearing sexy clothes like that? And I think the first step in working towards that world is to STOP insisting that certain clothes invite sexual objectification, and START insisting that people stop goddamn sexually objectifying people based on their clothes. All this concern over the message that a young child’s clothes send — not helping us towards that goal, actually.

    Although “I want you to feel comfortable wearing whatever clothes you like, sweetie, but unfortunately there are people out there with stupid attitudes that will give you hell if you wear that” is certainly a reasonable objection for the 7-yo in the short-short skirt. I like that a hell of a lot better than “No, those clothes send a message you shouldn’t be sending at your age.”

    (The lack of “sexy” clothes that’s gendered male? That has a huge honking load to do with which gender gets treated by default as a sexually pleasarable viewing object, doesn’t it?)

  • Dan Audy

    I don’t think that goal is possible.  Every generation has styles that are considered sexy and every generation has people seek them out because they want to look sexy.  People choose those clothes because they invite sexual objectification.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Can you list three directions from which traditional morality is under siege that you’re particularly concerned about?

    I’m going to jump in and say the fact that a sizeable percentage of the population thinks torture is OK freaks the everliving shit out of me.

    That’s probably not covered under “traditional” morality though.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    HELLO I did not read the post but here are my opinions on Fred and his inability to properly address my needs above everyone else’s.

    That was too awesome to just like.

  • Joshua

    The hole is centred over Antarctica, but increased UV exposure due to ozone depletion occurs in New Zealand and other southern countries.

    NZ has very high skin cancer rates. Public health campaigns to wear t-shirts over swimwear, 30+spf sun block, hats and sun glasses are the norm every summer. Schools require kids to wear hats at lunchtime even if they don’t otherwise have uniforms, and expect kids to wear sun bock daily. I think every adult has had some exposure to the list of features that indicate moles and freckles need medical attention.

    Hopefully this will have good effects – the damage done by the sun tends to turn up in skin cancers several decades later. Except in my case, as it happens. Lucky it was caught early.

  • Raycol

     The “anything goes” fallacy can be disproved by using the no-harm test.  If no harm is caused, then same-sex intercourse passes the no-harm test, based on Romans 13:9-10, and can be legitimately practiced by Christians.  Obviously, “anything goes” could result in harm and should not be practiced.  Details about the no-harm test are on http://www.gaysandslaves.com/noharm_test.html

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It is really sad that any parent could be glad at children slut-shaming another child so the child will be prevent from being slut-shamed as an adult.

    You didn’t read anything else Daughter wrote after the first post you responded to, did you?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Schools require kids to wear hats at lunchtime even if they don’t otherwise have uniforms, and expect kids to wear sun bock daily.

    Where’s aunursa? Nanny state taking away the freedom of parents to choose high risk of skin cancer for their children!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marta-Layton/100001373579092 Marta Layton

    Personally, I think the problem is even more fundamental than Fred seems to get at. Many Christians distrust human reason. If you don’t think human reason is actually capable of sorting the good from the bad, challenges to a kind of divine command theory are truly scary because it seems that take away the divine command and you’re left with anarchy. Many Christians (wrongly IMO) believe homosexuality is forbidden by the Bible. I think that, combined with the distrust of non-divine reason, is what drives this line of argument.

    The trick is getting people to realize that not all positions based on human reason are equally good. Some people just get the critical thinking wrong, for whatever reason. Just because two people have an opinion, this doesn’t mean that both are equally right or good or true or whatever. Of course, good luck driving that point home in this political culture!

  • Jenny Islander

    Dance and clothing are different matters although I posted about them together.  A dance recital that requires a prepubescent girl to bump and grind, and wear an approved costume that shows a lot more skin than the boys in the class are expected to show, connects signals of sexual awareness with adult approval–with getting a good grade from the teacher, in fact.  Clothing that was originally designed for older teenagers to show off their breasts, hips, and buttocks has the double problem of proclaiming that little girls are supposed to stand around and be looked at–with an eye toward sexual attributes that are nobody’s business below the age of consent–and making it very difficult for them to do anything else!

    At the height (depth) of the muffin top craze, I could not find ordinary play pants for my girls–even the one who was still wearing disposable training undies, for crying out loud.  Everything was tight.  Everything had zippers that ended below the navel.  Everything was flimsy.  I finally had my and my husband’s worn-out jeans and sweats cut down into child-size, roomy durable pull-on jeans and sweats that came all the way up over their hips, with roomy pockets in front for putting stuff in. Then they could go play in the dirt.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Many Christians (wrongly IMO) believe homosexuality is forbidden by the
    Bible. I think that, combined with the distrust of non-divine reason, is
    what drives this line of argument.

    Marta — as has been said here a few times, if that were so, I would expect all behaviors that many Christians (rightly or wrongly) believe forbidden by the Bible to be opposed equally strongly. And yet, I do not see self-identified Christians standing on street corners waving signs opposing usury.

    I conclude, therefore, that there are more factors involved than you list here.

  • The_L1985

    You’re right.  You can’t tell who has more sex by their clothing!  But again, it’s still not appropriate for a 7-year-old child to wear clothing that is used in adults to signal pride in one’s sexuality.

    You can be proud of being a sexy woman without having tons of sex, or even having any at all.  That’s really the concept I was trying to get across.

  • The_L1985

    Yes, that’s a very different thing indeed.  I was taught as a young girl that it’s wrong for grown-ups to ask kids to take off their clothes, or to go anywhere with a grown-up that Mom and Dad hadn’t said I’d be going somewhere with.

    The explanation was never sexual, and was always phrased in vague terms of Bad People who take kids away to do Bad Things to them, but I was certainly warned against sexual predators.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DuncanBeach Duncan Beach

    The problem is, Dan, that gay or straight, black, white, yellow, red, purple or bright green with yellow polka-dots, democrat, republican, communist, Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, Jain or Satanist, hells, even the atheists…We are ALL “God’s  Chosen People”. 
       God did, after all, choose US to live, here and at this time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DuncanBeach Duncan Beach

    Don’t give way.  I don’t care, and neither do any of my gay friends or relatives.  Stand there…right there, in front of that train.  I didn’t put you there.  I wouldn’t have put you there.   I don’t like having you there.  But I’m not required by God to pull you out from in front of it, either.  The problem with your ‘slippery slope’ argument, is that it’s based on the hypothesis (not even a theory, since it’s not testable) that homosexuality is even a little bit immoral.  I’ve seen no evidence that it is.   And no, before you ask, I’m not gay.  I’m heterosexual.  I just don’t like bullies wherever I meet them.  And yes, you’re a bully.

  • PJ Evans

     The decals frequently have names attached. I think they’re like having your kids’ names on your license-plate frame: you’re advertising your assets in public, and you don’t know who might notice.

  • PJ Evans

     Have you ever seen some of those clothes? Taken a walk past the children’s section of a W*lM*rt?
    Believe me, they are pushing ‘sexy’ for under-12s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     Traditional morality begins and ends with sexual mores. You can be a corrupt, mass-murdering autocrat, but as long as you are publicly involved in a heterosexual relationship, you’re good with the “values” crowd.

  • Dan Audy

    Uggh, I know.  My daughter (thankfully) chose a junior high school with a uniform and turned into an amazing sewing geek 
    (she started because nothing fit her tall, skinny build and wanted to help out mum making stuff) so almost all of her clothes are homemade unless she wants something we can’t do like t-shirts with text or pictures.  She rolls her eyes and sighs at the children’s section of clothing not because she objects to their sexual objectification of children but because of their shoddy craftsmanship – different reasons but we still share a little moment of contempt.

  • Lori

     

    This has relatively little to do with this topic, but Chris Kluwe (the
    Vikings punter who wrote the rather inventive letter in defense of
    marriage equality) just posed for a photo spread for Out Magazine. Which
    means he managed to become a gay icon in six days. That’s got to be some sort of landspeed record.
     

    Wow, that even beats Ben Cohen and that’s saying something.

  • Lori

     

    Clothing doesn’t send the message “I am a sexual being”, even in
    adults.  I am so sick of this.  You can’t determine how much sex someone
    has based on their clothing.  

    Um, “I’m a sexual being” =/= “I’m having a lot of sex”, which doesn’t mean that wearing clothing that says “I’m a sexual being” is a good idea for very young children.

  • Lori

     

    I don’t think that goal is possible.  Every generation has styles that
    are considered sexy and every generation has people seek them out
    because they want to look sexy.  People choose those clothes because they invite sexual objectification.   

    This. Sending various messages with clothes actually serves a purpose. It’s one of the reasons that I find fashion interesting even though I personally am about the least fashionable person around. Unless we come up with some totally different way to fulfill that purpose that’s not going to change.

  • Dan Audy

    Personally I always liked the approach Lois Bujold McMaster took with Beta Colony in her Vorkosigan books.  Everyone wore earrings that signalled their gender, sexual orientation, and availability through style and colour.  It made perfect sense for a culture with a extremely broad and accepting attitude towards sex and treated it in a no nonsense practical part of everyones life.  It only covered that one particular part of life but it is just different enough from our forms of signalling to offer the opportunity to make comment on it.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I liked the idea, until it occurred to me that this was a culture that arose after the development of sophisticated information technology, at which point I could no longer believe it.

    I eventually managed to convince myself that they were actually earrings that encoded all of this information in a much more useful fashion, and did a first-pass agent negotiation on their wearers’ behalf to determine likelihood of mutual satisfaction, and oh incidentally had some conventional styes and colors that signalled this stuff in a much clumsier fashion because why not?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Traditional morality begins and ends with sexual mores. You can be a corrupt, mass-murdering autocrat, but as long as you are publicly involved in a heterosexual relationship, you’re good with the “values” crowd.

    You’d be interested to know that here one of the biggest advocates for workers’ rights in public discussions about industrial relations is the Catholic church–up to and including the conference of bishops.

    Several years ago we had a government that changed IR laws to shift power strongly towards employers over employees, which had the effect of forcing some low paid workers to take shifts at nights and weekends without penalty rates and other previously entrenched rights. Obviously the union movement saw red, but so did various Catholic bodies, citing traditional morality. Viz, it is important for people to have shared downtime–especially families–and where that isn’t possible they need to be compensated. It is not OK for an employer to say that working shifts in the evenings and weekends so that you hardly ever get to see your kids is equivalent to working a standard 9-5 weekday shift.

    I have several disagreements with my church globally and locally, but I am glad to see that here at least they are reasonably consistent within the framework of their own teaching.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Back at the other end of the twentieth century, it was widely considered likely that in the next few decades, the Catholic church was goingto officially embrace communism.

    For obvious reasons, it didn’t end up going that way.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Which is pretty funny given that in the late 19th century Pope Leo issued an encyclical that rejected communism. It also rejected unrestrained capitalism, so maybe in the eyes of the church’s detractors anyone who is not a one-eyed capitalist is a communist in disguise.


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