We all have to face the music someday. It appears that day has come for a generation of women who, under the guise of “liberation,” approached sex the way one might approach chocolate: with zero self-control. My generation was the first to absorb the notion that sex should be recreational – something to do on a first date, or even something to do with friends.
In an article entitled “Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?” (Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2011), author Jennifer Moses sheds light on the mothers of today who must now face the reality of their promiscuous pasts. For this group of (supposedly) liberated women, being sexually uninhibited was once enticing. But it looks a whole lot different now that they have daughters of their own.
Sex and love have been officially extricated. Young girls and women are encouraged to embrace their inner slut, and young men happily follow suit. This trend became so popular so fast that those who didn’t, or don’t, jump on the bandwagon are immediately labeled backwards, or frigid. In my day, associating sex with love was akin to being cute – as in, “Aw, that’s so sweet.” Weird, but sweet.
Phyllis Schlafly, the original “anti-feminist,” teams up with her niece Suzanne Venker in a tour-de-force defense of traditional womanhood – don’t miss “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say”
Fast forward several decades. My generation now has children, and some of them are teenagers. What will we tell them? “Here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. Scads of us don’t know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We’re embarrassed, and we don’t want to be, God forbid, hypocrites,” writes Moses.
And therein lies the rub – this idea that parents can’t tell children what to do if they themselves have engaged in the behavior they’re warning against. It’s an approach that belies common sense and has become the hallmark of modern parenting. The motto is this: “Well, you’re going to do what you want anyway, and I’m no model, so I might as well give in and just tell you to be safe.”
To a generation of parents consumed with the notion of being their kids’ friends (“What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after, and popular?” writes Moses. “And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause?”), the idea of telling children not to become too sexual too soon seems disingenuous. But it isn’t. Keeping children safe from harm – and sleeping around indiscriminately is most assuredly harmful – is a bona fide parental responsibility. Whether or not the parents fell short on this goal when they were young is beside the point.
The current generation of parents has a decision to make: Will we continue to applaud the hook-up culture? Or will we have the courage to tell young people the truth about what we know? As former campus psychiatrist Miriam Grossman, M.D., writes, “It’s been almost 50 years since we embarked on an adventure called sex education, all fired up about change and the new world it would bring: open, positive, and free. Where did it get us? From rare instances of teen infections to 9 million new cases a year. From two bugs to two dozen. It got us to babies having babies, sixth-graders on the pill, teens with cervical cancer, and to HIV and AIDS. Some new world, huh?”
Suzanne Venker is co-author of the new book “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say” (WND Books). Her website is www.suzannevenker.com.