Thursday, May 31, 2012

VIRGINITY: TREASURE OR BURDEN?

"If she had said, 'I’m doing this for myself, because I only want to be with one man,' I would’ve thought, 'Do your thing, sister.'”

Miley
In one of the strangest reversals in cultural history, being a virgin when you marry has gone from being the norm and celebrated to being so rare if someone famous claims to be a virgin, its news. Not being a virgin used to be a source of shame, now being one is a source of mockery and confusion. Sex has become such a dominating force in modern culture that refraining from it is considered surprising, even bizarre.

Consider the story of 29-year-old American track athlete Lolo Jones, who will compete in the Olympics. She said that getting into the Olympics wasn't as hard as her constant effort to remain a virgin until she finds a husband. She told Bryant Gumble:
“It’s just a gift I want to give my husband. But please understand this journey has been hard. There’s virgins out there and I want to let them know that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life; harder than training for the Olympics; harder than graduating from college has been to stay a virgin before marriage. I’ve been tempted, I’ve had plenty of opportunities.”
I believe its been a struggle, especially with what I understand about the Olympic Village where the athletes live, its divided between training and an orgy, with crates of condoms shipped to the place. Young, attractive, athletic people living in the same buildings together, many away from home the first time, I suppose its not surprising.

Yet here's the response to her comments from Alexandra Gekas at The Frisky:
My personal philosophy in life is to live and let live. So if Jones’ decision is right for her, then not only do I say more power to her, but I am impressed that she has neither succumbed to the pressure nor the temptation.

However, my respect for Jones’ decision has one big “but,” and that is because of one little sentence: “It’s just a gift I want to give my husband.”

With this archaic notion of “value” placed on a woman’s virginity comes the belief that exclusive rights to her womb should be saved for the highest bidder; that it is a commodity to be bought (in most cases by her husband) and sold (usually by her father). And if she gives it away or, God forbid, it is taken from her, she loses value as a woman and as a human being.
Aside from being hilariously dramatic and an overreaction, there's something strange going on here. Reading further you get a good feel for what that something is. For example, Ms Gekas says:
"to “give” it to a man is to suggest that it is about him more than it is about her and that’s what irks me"
and
"that is certainly a step up from those creepy virginity balls where daddies take an inappropriate stake in the comings and goings of their daughters’ vaginas"
and finally
"but I just wish she’d made it clear that she’s doing this for herself instead of for him, whoever he turns out to be."
What this all comes down to is that she's mad that Lolo isn't thinking of herself enough. She thinks that a woman considering giving herself to her beloved is demeaning and upsetting. And she has a problem with the idea that saving yourself for one specific man is a gift to him. She understands the principle, noting that this is something special to have with only one guy - something she didn't bother with - but thinks that isn't a gift.

Why? Because its all about yourself, not the one you marry. Because sex is personal and achievement rather than gift and an expression of love. Oh sure, she'll make some gesture toward that, saying its "one of the deepest, most profound ways two human beings can connect" but her entire focus is on what she gets out of it.

This makes me suspect her relationships are, shall we say, troubled, since she's not about love directed toward someone else but inwardly focused. Getting mad at someone for wanting to give themselves to another is creepy, not fathers worried about their daughters virginity, Ms Gekas.

Then she praises Disney mini slut Miley Cyrus for saying
“The girls that really base how much they’re worth on the sexual favors they can do for somebody, that makes me really sad. Sex is actually really beautiful. It’s the only way we create, and it’s the only way the world keeps going. It’s ignorant not to talk to your kids about it or [not] make it seem as magical or cool as it actually is.”
Which is actually contradictory: make sex seem magical and cool, but girl shouldn't think sex makes them cool. Now, given Miley hasn't created anything (unless she's aborted the baby), but is having sex, her lofty statements about creation are just that - statements, even excuses, trying to make her leg spreads into something noble and poetic.

But again, its about yourself. Its magical, its beautiful, but its not about giving, love, and sacrifice It isn't about what you do to show love toward someone, its about "connecting" and "creating" (unless you didn't want to create, then just flush it out at the clinic). Its about "scratching the itch" instead of coming together in the most glorious statement of relationship and love we have as human beings. Becoming one, if just for a short time.

This woman's head is a mess. She's been packed full of feminist notions of woman roaring and not being owned by men and she's so inwardly focused I doubt she even really understands what love is. She's so full of grrl power and self actualization and finding yourself that it all becomes inwardly focused and selfish.

And she's hardly alone, these days. Because that's the thing most people don't seem to understand. Ultimately, sex isn't about you. Sure, there are parts of it that are, but its about giving yourself to someone else and becoming one, not about what you get. And its certainly not about "scratching that itch."

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