Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Beyond being "nice girls"

Today, while I was looking for movies to use in Abstinence class, I found a documentary on my free OnDemand menu about the evolution and use of the word "slut." According to Merriam-Webster, the first meaning of the word is "a slovenly woman." The second definition is "a promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute." According to wikipedia.org, Chaucer used the word "sluttish" to refer to a sloppy man, but when the word "slut" appeared a few years later, it was almost always in reference to a woman.

Watching this documentary, I starting thinking about teaching abstience to teenagers. In my opinion, it is so much more complicated than saying "God made your body for your spouse. Pray for God to make you strong enough to not have sex." First of all, it seems to me that it is absolutely imperative that kids have a sense of self-worth. They need to really believe and feel that God made them special and beautiful, so that they aren't as suceptible to the validation addiction. I was 21 before I really believed that I only needed to be beautiful if the eyes of God, myself, and my future husband. For a lot of kids, its too late by that time. What with our "sex sells" culture, and social sabotage in the form of words like "slut," its amazing any of us survive adolescence with our virginity.

Urban Dictionary is a website where people can submit their own definitions of words. The most popular definition of the word "slut" according to this page, is "a woman with a man's morals." How's that for an example of the sexual double standard? I can't speak for the boys, but it is so confusing to be a girl what with being caught between two impossible standards: there's the one that says, "be a nice girl and keep your knees together, or you'll be called a slut," and the one that says, "the perfect girlfriend is fun and beautiful and sexy, and if you aren't that, you'll sit at home with your parents every weekend."

I have been teaching an abstinence-only sexuality curriculum (from 1997) at the Generation Station, and I my beliefs are firmly rooted in my belief that God created sex to be shared in marriage. I was also a psychology student, and totally believe in women being educated about their bodies and taking control of their sexuality. So I'm struggling with how to mix that all together without totally confusing kids. Then again, maybe the best thing I can do is help them to wrestle with all of this. Lets be honest, I'm only a few years ahead of them, and seeing as I am not married, abstinence is still very much a part of my life, so really we'd be wrestling with it together.


Blogger dwainhuron7530771670 said...

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2:41 PM  
Blogger B said...

I don't know if you're teaching boys as well as girls, but I think it's messed up that girls are always expected to bear the brunt of sexual responsibility. I realize that anatomically they're the ones who get pregnant, etc, etc, but boys need to be seriously taught that it takes two to tango, and that they shouldn't be doing the crime if they can't do the time (or something that doesn't involve cliches :D). The double standard bothers me more than anything else, because girls are bombarded with mixed messages and guilt trips while guys' sexual proclivities are usually dismissed with a wink and a nod. Grrrrr.

Anyway, I don't see any easy solutions and it's definitely challenging but crucial to instill integrity in kids... another reason why I'm not a teacher, so more power to you! :)

10:07 AM  

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