Mom, what’s Chlamydia?

Thankfully, no, it was not Buster asking me that question. It was the seemingly very bright and forthright son of the author of this post, which I think I may have stumbled on either from Maxed Out Mama or Sigmund.

The author, who is unknown to me, writes some chilling stuff, and writes it well.

“What’s chlamydia?” he asked.

With my coffee scoop suspended in mid-air, I turned and looked at him. “This is an academic question, right?”

“Geez yes,” he said. “There’s an outbreak of it in the freshman class. A few of the girls were talking about it.”


And how old was this young lady? Try fourteen. And how many compose an outbreak? At least eight or nine girls who are talking about it.


“Let’s put it this way,” he said, “there are a bunch of freshman girls who have lists. They call them Rape Lists. They have a list of guys on them that they want to give beejays to. It’s like a competition. The more they can cross off the list, the hotter they are.”

And while that was sinking into my brain, he said, “I’m on a couple of those lists.”

“Oh, buddy,” I said. “That’s not good, is it?”

“Not really.”

“What happens when they don’t cross you off their list?”

“I go on their Death List,” he said.

“What does that mean?!”

“I’m dead to them. I’m a nerd. It’s a pressure thing. A lot of guys don’t want everyone to think they’re a sexual nerd.”

“And you?” I asked.

“I don’t really care about that,” he said. “And I wouldn’t go near a fourteen year old, anyway. But it’s insulting. I’m not just a dick with a name on it.”

And a moment later…

“Ewww,” he said with a shudder, “They’re going around talking about having chlamydia and think any sane guy would want them to touch him? How disgusting is that?”

He sounds a lot like Buster, who confirms to me that the girls have “gone wild.” It explains to me why the only girls he’s ever had a crush on have been the demure and rather lady-like ones who seem differently focused.

Why are the girls so out of control?

Well, if they are watching MTV and VH1 and looking at fashion magazines, or going to the movies, the role-models they’re being exposed to are (I’m sorry, but I have to say it) pigs like Paris Hilton. If they stay up past midnight, they’re watching “Girls Gone Wild” infomericals that make it look like exposing themselves and acting like sluts is the thing to do.

It almost sounds like these teens are in a mindless frenzy, not thinking at all about what they are doing, merely moving forward, taking their cues from television and peer pressure. There is no thinking going on here, and clearly there has been little-to-no moral grounding.

I’ll bet too many of these girls are confirmed Catholics who “made it through” their very deficient “everyone is special and YOU are special” CCD programs and haven’t seen the inside of a church since, and won’t, until they decide they want the big church wedding. (The church “pastoral teams” of too many parishes are going to have to answer to God for the way in which they have dumbed down instruction in the faith until it is meaningless and incomprehensible. And parents, of course, are also to blame on that front.)

But beyond religious training or the lack of it, the message that is being put out there, and consumed, continually, is that a girl’s value and self-worth is completely tied into how sexual and forward she is. And their moms, are – unfortunately – falling down on the job, or not thinking, themselves. I heard a few mothers talking, recently, about the sorts of clothes available to young girls. One mother thought they were trampy – the other mother (of an 8 year old!) said, “my daughter has a great little body, why shouldn’t she show it off?”

I shudder. I want to tell that mother that I can think of two recent pedophile-related murders in Florida which are very good reasons why should shouldn’t “show it off.” I want to tell her that if all she is communicating to her daughter is that she should be proud of her “great little body” she is failing her in so many ways.

In our house, there is very little tv watching, and that actually started right about the time Nickelodeon became more about propaganda and trendiness than about lighthearted entertainment (Pete and Pete was one of the greatest, most inventive family comedies ever created) and it was my kids who turned it all off, because they were fed up with the noise and meaningless of the drivel they watched. The TV is on for sports, for breaking news and – lately – for HOUSE on Tuesdays at 9PM.

Otherwise it is on for DVD’s and tapes, and old black and white classics and screwball comedies are very popular around here. Buster has introduced his friends to Destry Rides Again and My Man Godfrey and they’ve howled with laughter. Buster has told me that he watched the old movies and he becomes filled with a sense of longing. He likes how people dressed back then, and how they comported themselves. He likes the manners. He likes the modesty. He likes the deference men paid women, and the fact that women expected deference. He likes the chivalry. And he wishes it existed in his generation.

In our house we have never allowed televisions in anyone’s bedrooms. We always figured one tv was enough for a family – that with one tv, we would all be forced to compromise on what was watched, and no one would be allowed to simply go off and isolate and absorb all the crap that comes out of that box.

Buster has visited friend’s houses and come back wondering…”everyone has their own tv, and their own vcr!”

I don’t think it’s a good thing. I think televisions have way too much power, force and sway over our lives, our values and our reason. Turn ‘em off, say I. Then maybe a 14 year old daughter won’t have chlamydia.

UPDATE: David Brooks has a different take on things.

UPDATE: The Internet Monk may be on to something, too. A long essay worth reading. I hope he has read some of JPII’s work on the genius of the feminine – he’d like it. He’d GET it.

About 15 years ago, my dh and I were involved with helping to build a new parish. There was one nun on the “pastoral team” and the men defered to her when it came to pick out the decor for the ladies bathrooms. She was so against anything remotely “feminine” being introduced that she chose the most awful, mustard yellow tiling – it’s SO awful – every woman who goes in there comes out complaining that she looks like she has jaundice!

The men have nice grey and white restrooms. We women have these dreadful yellow ones. But as sister said, “at least it’s not PINK!”


About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Sigmund, Carl and Alfred
  • newton

    Last night, while eating with friends at a Chinese restaurant in Corpus Christi, my husband sat next to me and said this:

    “Do me a favor: fifteen years from now, if we have daughters, let’s not allow them to wear anything that exposes their belly nor too-short pants with letters hugging their butts, which makes it difficult to read and make one look at their butts…”

    “Where? Who?”

    “This girl at the buffet.”

    And our friends have a 6-year-old boy and a 20-month-old girl. I’m sure the boy would have asked something to his mom later at home.

    We have seen one girl too many dressing as skanks around here, and that’s without mentioning the guys dressing as gangsters or pimps…

  • newton

    Not to mention many of these kids are behaving like skanks, gangsters and pimps…

    This is sad, indeed.

    Keep up the good work with Buster.

  • Dan

    Kids today are following the logic laid out by the previous generation.

    The idea was that women could act like men sexually, devoid of consequences. Well the 9 month bombshell exposed that as nonsense. So ABORTION was placed on a par with freedom of speech, right to an attorney, jury trial, and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances.

    And now, not just women, educated, mature and “seasoned” are behaving aggressively, but barely pubescent girls.

    We are now in an age where pubescent girls are predatorial.

    I wish you gave that woman who said her little 8 year old shouuld flaunt it, a look of total disgust.

    You should have upbraided her, then and there.

  • Valerie

    I have two teenage daughters, ages 14 and 17. While it is difficult to find clothes that don’t “show off their great little bodies” (as the mother of the 8 year old girl commented) – it can be done! It’s important for parents (especially moms) to be a PARENT and not a “friend”, to be able to say “no” to their kids, and to not allow the age old argument “oh, but the other kids are allowed to ________ (fill in the blank with whatever)” be a part of any argument or used to sway your judgement and authority as a parent.
    The chlamydia epidemic is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of teenagers don’t believe oral sex IS sex (hmmm – I wonder where they got that idea). We are now seeing a lot of girls who are finding out the hard way that you can still get an STD even when performing oral sex, because the bacteria thrive in the mouth, too. Sometimes, the STD is misdiagnosed as strep throat!

    I am a counselor in private practice, and I see the ramifications of permissive parenting on a daily basis. Parents, please reclaim your moral authority! Please teach your kids there is a definite right and a definite wrong. Please teach your girls how to respect their bodies, and your boys how to show respect to the girls.

  • Jeanette

    As the mother of a daughter who is now almost 33 years old and the grandmother of two granddaughters ages almost 7 and almost 8, I can tell you the problem with the girls you are referencing is bad or no parenting. With divorce rates sky high and mothers tramping along to find another guy–any guy, and no moral code to hold them down they are teaching their daughters to not respect themselves or their bodies. What they are giving away is a gift you can give only once, and that should be to your husband.

    This is what I taught my daughter and hopefully what they’re teaching their daughters. One granddaughter lives in the same town as I so I get to influence her a lot. I can remember when she was in pre-school–PRE-SCHOOL! a mother had her daughter dressed as if she were going out to work the streets right after school. And this mother attends church! God help our country and our young people. Obviously you have done an excellent job with Buster or he wouldn’t share the values you do.

  • a4g

    My 14yo daughter and 16yo son are at Confirmation class as I write this. WowLife Teen. They play games. They write slogans for Jesus. They get in groups with other teens and talk about — well, not much at all.

    The one thing they ask for and never get is faith formation. No catechism. No doctrine. No history.

    Since they’re homeschooled, it’s not a huge problem. They already know their Catholicism forward and backward, they’re mostly just bored and are learning the values of patience and obedience (yeah, the sucky ones!). But for the rest of the teens, it seems like the whole program is designed to get in their way as little as possible, to cajole or console them into the Church. I suppose the idea is that its better to keep them in the pews until the day they are ready to listen. But what a sad, frightened way to lead a generation of children on an unneccessarily long and tear-filled road.

  • a4g

    Crud. No closing tag.

  • Darrell

    Girls were too smart in my day to ever allow any of this. At least the girls in my social circle. They had absolute power and set all the rules. And that seemed acceptable to me. If I did everything they wanted, perhaps I could get a kiss at the prom, perhaps a bit more. Why would anyone give up this level of control? Why would women, feminists, be part of such a scheme to strip women of control? To destroy society as we know it? To destroy the institution of marriage, and the family unit? Don’t laugh. Read feminists from the 1960′s. That’s exactly what they set out to do. Note, there principal “weapon” was to get full recognition of homosexual marriage(see Friedan). Casual sex is designed to strip women of their self-worth, and breed hatred toward men when they come to the realization that they have been used, abused, and abandoned. And men will go along because they will believe they are getting the better end of the deal, until it’s too late.

    I remember hearing a teacher tell a story on a radio show in 1993 or 4. Her Catholic grammar school in Boston had begun handing out condoms and latex face shields(oral dams) to the 4th-graders, and provided them with pretty explicit instruction. One day, between classes, she heard crying coming from a stairwell. She went to investigate and found a little 4th-grader performing oral sex on one of her classmates and crying as she was doing it. She broke it up and the boy went crazy telling her that she can’t stop it or tell him not to do it. She hauled him off to the principal’s office and consoled the girl. The other kids were making fun of her because she had not done it before, so she went with the boy. Anyway, long story shorter, the next day the boy’s mother had to show up in the principal’s office and she chewed out the teacher saying “how dare she keep her son from doing what all the other kids were doing, and doesn’t she know how that might affect her son’s mental and social development…stigmatizing him..etc., etc.” The worse part for the teacher was the principal effectively siding with the mother. Her warned her not to act so aggressively in the future, and to not interfere with personal interactions between the students. He saw concerns for a lawsuit. At a Catholic school! She saw this as a wakeup call to teach elsewhere. She wound up in the Midwest.

  • Darrell


    How I miss the “Preview Post” feature that you used to have! Any chance of getting it back? It made it much easier to proofread the postings…

    Of course it is “their” not “there” in line 10.

  • bonnie

    May I say how grateful I am for my older daughters who carefully and winsomely pass down lessons in propriety, modesty, and dignity to my little girls? The unexpected joy!

  • newton

    Great! Even religious schools are not safe from this!

    Homeschooling, anyone?

  • Momma K

    A Wonderful book —the Complete Gentleman— speaking about what makes a true gentleman—it inspires boys to be soooo much more than the “metrosexual” toy our media loves so much

  • DeputyHeadmistress

    Yes, homeschooling rocks.=)
    Our family recently settled down after 20 years in the Air Force. We moved around a lot. During the course of our moves, we’d run into people (at every single location) who would say, “Oh, you won’t *need* to homeschool here- our schools are great. We don’t any of the problems that other schools have.”
    And we would find out that this wasn’t true, people were just blind to their own school’s faults.
    One thing we found was that without one single exception, in DOD schools in Japan, in schools in Alaska, the west coast, the midwest and the west, every one of them- kids were getting the put the condom on a cucumber lessons in fifth grade. They were getting free condoms in the fifth grade. The same parents who were telling me how problem free their schools are would express shock when this would come out- and then would keep right on sending their kids to the same school.

    I so agree with those in the comments who are saying that parents need to be parents. WE have six daughters who dress like ladies, not like hookers. We have friends whose daughters are walking, talking, wardrobe malfunctions. Sometimes the mothers ask me how I do it. They complain about the clothes their girls wear. And I ask them, “Who bought those clothes? What are those clothes doing in your daughter’s closet? Get them out of her closet. Get rid of them. Then she can’t wear them.”
    And they sigh and tell me how much of a hassle that will be, because the girls will be mad and will make life miserable for their parents and complain about how ‘mean’ they are.

    And I shrug my shoulders and drop it, because they aren’t going to listen, anyway. They needed to wise up and be the grown-ups about fourteen years ago.

  • TheAnchoress

    #13 – MommaK – thank you for the recommendation – I took a look and thought Buster would love the book! It’s now included in the bookshelf!

  • Robert

    Anchoress, Buster sounds like a very wise young man (how old is he?). You should be very proud of him. You should also be proud of yourself for your part in raising him.

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  • Joi

    I give thanks to the legacy of femininity given to me by my mom and grandmother! both are well-dressed without sacrificing modesty, and insisted that me and my sister learn to do the same.

    I am at an excellent conservative Christian school, and it amazes me the clothes some of the girls will wear. The pants, especially: I wasn’t aware that pants that low could actually stay on the human body. Then, girls wearing these pants will sit down on the floor during chapel, and you see WAY more than you EVER wanted. But heaven’s forbid we have an actual dress code, that would be restrictive!

    I feel sorry for the guys around ym campus, because these girls do not make it easy for them to keep their minds on God. I feel sorry for the girls, because they are training themselves to be objects, and not persons. They watch groups like Destiny’s Child, and think that THAT is liberation!

    Stop the madness!

  • Joi

    BTW, an excellent essay on this topic can be found at

    The I-Monk is a great resource as it is, and I particularly liked this essay.

  • stephanie

    Read the article in the NYT you mentioned- the point he missed is that kids these days DO NOT THINK ORAL IS SEX. Huh??? They’ve learned to protect themselves from pregnancy, but we’ve fallen donw on the job of teaching them that pregnancy is not the only thing to worry about- which is why there are very good reasons to WAIT.

  • stephanie

    I would argue part of this comes down to the “abstinence only” message we’ve been preaching. Not too long ago, kids were educated about STD’s- with an emphasis on how to prevent them, true- but at least they knew they were there, the activities that caused them and how to avoid them. Nowadays, kids just hear they should wait to have intercourse. And, as kids do, they’ve figured out ways around the “rules”- and they don’t know about why that is wrong, or how to protect themselves. We’re failing our kids on that point. I remember the same about “just say no” to drugs…I was very antidurg, even then I thought the message too simplistic. “Just say no to sex” is too simplistic as well. We say they shouldn’t do it, and that stops all conversation- leaving them without crucial information.
    I waited. Not til I was married, but I was 30 before I found someone I trusted, respected and cared enough about to go there. Why? Cause AIDS scared me. I knew I should be darn careful about who I was willing to take that kind of risk with.

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  • Denise

    One point in the essay talks about the girls’ lack of self-esteem, which I found pretty ironic considering that “self-esteem” seems to be the parenting and teaching message du jour. For example, teachers are not using red pens for corrections because the color causes “too much stress” for kids. IMHO, self-esteem comes from challenging yourself and learning what you are capable of. Often, we parents and teachers don’t ask enough of our children–they have no challenges to overcome. We tell them they’re great and worthy, but they don’t believe it (much like Anchoress and her problem with compliments!). My guess is the girls with the “Rape Lists” need a goal, a purpose, and it can’t be too easy. The adults in their lives have failed to give them any, so this is what the girls came up with on their own.

  • John Yancy

    What is most amazing to me is that the girls actually seem to understand what they are asking for. I used to think that they just didn’t understand what men think when they dress like prostitutes, but the girls mentioned here seem to understand just fine and even welcome the sexual acts. The culture must have reached a new low with this. How far are we from destruction, I wonder?

  • Kate

    Denise, just a remark or two. Self-esteem was not a term used in the essay.

    ‘…these girls who apparently value themselves and their well-being so little…” was what I said.

    Self esteem is surely a part of placing a value on yourself, but it’s not the whole ball of wax.

    These girls most assuredly do not place a very high value on themselves if they are so able to put their emotional health, physical health, and spiritual health at risk. Nor do they value their goals or reputations as highly as transient popularity and a sense of power. Somewhere, someone has failed to teach them that real personal power comes from within and much of it is associated with being the best one can be and working hard to achieve goals and the success derived from their achievements. Forward thinking-ness. In some way, these girls are making sexual conquest a goal and an achievement. That’s a pretty low bar for a measure of achievement, yet it appears to be the one place where they *think* they can be successful.

    Conversely, perhaps someone has taught them that a woman’s power comes from her sexuality and the way she uses it. (Britney?) It’s an easy enough message to pick up, but they’ve been failed someplace.

    I would suggest that charity begins at home. Whatever messages are out their for the kids, we the parents have an enormous amount of control over how that message is processed. And it starts early. Anchoress’s example of the 8 year old’s mother boasting of her little girl’s great little body is a good example of a parent who needs a whack upside the head and a reality check.

    If a girl is raised to believe that her looks and sexuality are the things that will open doors for her, she’s going to be seriously let down when all that is past its prime and she finds she never really learned to be self-reliant on her abilities, talents, and the results of applying herself to their development.