Selling Beauty Short

bernini1

Nathan Biberdorf would like us all to stop affirming each other by asserting that everyone is beautiful.  It's doing more harm than good. There are plenty of people that are not physically appealing to look at, the primary and most widely used meaning of the word “beautiful”. So why do we use the word as a catch-all for any sort of positive attribute?Nobody says, “Everybody is a good listener.” Nobody says, “Everyone is athletic to somebody.” Nobody says, “You are an amazing writer, whether … [Read more...]

Fear of the Friendzone, Wire Monkeys, and Communion

paro-o

Why do people have so much contempt for "the Friendzone"?  Part of the problem is that we've defined romantic love as the highest form of emotional and physical intimacy, so missing out on dating feels like missing out on communion.  At The American Conservative, I'm talking a little about this problem in "Our Starved for Touch Culture." In the wake of the Santa Barbara shootings, the unpleasant underbelly of the pickup artist community (PUA), involuntary celibates (incels), and other unhealthy … [Read more...]

Making a Home for the Homely in Romance

mary sherlock

I don't follow the opera world, but critics made enough of a stir about the attractiveness (insufficient, in their judgement) of a mezzo-soprano in an English production Der Rosenkavalier for the conversation to cross over to the mainstream media.  The NYT brought together two classical music reviewers to comment, and I was particularly struck by this analysis by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim:[O]pera has a complicated history of celebrating and exploiting women, and I can’t help feeling that th … [Read more...]

A Trans-Atlantic Dating Gap

some people juggle geese

By playing the clip below, you can get a sense of my level of bafflement when I read these remarks by French GQ sex columnist Maïa Mazaurette.In an interview with New York, Mazaurette summarized the difference between the American and French approaches to sex and dating.So tell me, how would you describe the French attitude toward sex? I can only compare it to the countries I’ve lived in — Germany, and now Denmark, and I’ve made some trips to the U.S. I’d say the main difference is t … [Read more...]

Getting Sex Ed from Literature

qc

Just to follow on from yesterday's AmCon post about the importance of the liberal arts (and the ensuing discussion over here), I wanted to get a little more specific with a case study.Health classes and sex ed are usually taught in a just-the-facts style.  Here's some slides of various unpleasant diseases, here's a poster assignment to make on various drug subtypes, here's a guide to ways to decrease your chance of infection.  These are certainly germane, but they're hardly the fullness of sa … [Read more...]

Sex Ed is Obviously Meant to Teach…

radio mic

Last Friday, I was on Sheila Liaugminas's Relevant Radio show ("A Closer Look") with a couple other bloggers from the Catholic channel here (Calah Alexander, Sam Rocha, Betty Duffy).  We all sat down for a roundtable on sex-ed (the mp3 can be found here).The format was a little unconventional.  Instead of Sunday-morning-political-show-style crosstalk, where all the participants speak in dialogue (frequently overlapping dialogue) and question or build on the previous speaker's comments, S … [Read more...]

The Rotten Orange and the Kingslayer

kingslayer iron throne

Calah Alexander kicked off a Patheos Catholic-wide conversation about certain kinds of abstinence-only education with "Sloppy Seconds Sex-Ed" and Elizabeth Scalia has been aggregating the responses.  Calah is criticizing specifically the kind of program that sends students (especially women) the message that sex before marriage will leave them used up and worthless. When I heard it, it was glasses of water. Women (and only women, mind you; the boys got a separate talk about cherishing each … [Read more...]


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