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?”
“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!”