June 11, 2008

Abstinence and modesty

Another quenchista sent over this delightful gem. It's a magazine that seems to be created for middle schoolers who were shielded enough not to know the professional layout of Seventeen and would be captivated by their "colorful graphics" and font that looks handwritten.

Beyond the typical abstinence spiel that claims to be bolstering a girl's autonomy of choice while actually degrading it (see Top 8 come-backs for come-ons), and heteronormativity, the magazine seems to have a dose of victim-blaming for immodest dress as well.

True, in their dating tips, they have a lot of good advice for young girls that can go beyond simple abstinence, whether in regards to rape, sexual assault, coercion, or even just an uncomfortable date, including:

" DO develop high standards and set boundaries of personal space. DO let your date know where your boundaries are. DON'T let him violate any portion of your boundaries. If he does, tell him to stop. If he doesn't stop, LEAVE....DON'T think you owe him any physical or sexual favors even if he helped you or spent money on you. DON'T give in to verbal manipulation. It's a form of abuse and can be a red flag that he wants to violate you. DON'T blame yourself if you are attacked. It is not always possible to ward off an attack."

While I'm sure they mean it to be in regards to just boundaries of abstinence, this does sound like sound advice all around.

HOWEVER, I'm suspicious of the DOs and DON'Ts of dating's intentions when I read "The Inside Scoop on Guys."

"Dressing modestly is important if you desire to protect and assist the guys in your life who wish to remain abstinent as well. You might think that it's "their problem," but guys are wired differently from girls in what turns them on....Start respecting yourself and your guy friends by dressing modestly!"

So many UGGHS with this statement, including the idea that girls need to make a guy's actions/staring THEIR responsibility, that guys are reduced to biological machines, and.. so much.


emily0 said...

I particularly like the bit where they have a section entitled "Graphic Pictures of Aborted Babies".

Anonymous said...

It's not that bad. I find it refreshing that girls are given advice contrary to the many sleazy messages coming at them from the popular culture. Something like one in four or five teenagers today have a venereal disease. Nothing good about that. Telling young teens to wait to have sex - much like telling them not to drink to excess or smoke or take drugs - is a good thing.

Heternormative? Catch a clue, hetero is the norm. Why not revel in your differences from mainstream society instead of aspiring to be mainstream?

emily0 said...

Catch a clue, anonymous - no one is arguing children should be told that they should wait for sex. I'm not a pervert, I don't encourage children to have sex. That's a red herring.

The real thing is that they are not teaching them anything else. This is a magazine specifically not teaching sex education. It's a sum zero: so-called "abstinence education" is sex education without the sex education.

Hence the ridiculousness of this magazine. It's preaching ignorance. It's a lack, not a positive.