Friday, September 26, 2008

Sex and Sensibility: Quick Takes

Sex and Sensibility: Quick Takes
by Kristen Loveland

Hi to all from your Sex and Sensibility lady here. Here are a few things that caught my eye this past week:

1. The Truth About Teen Girls: Belinda Luscombe has an awesome article in Time Magazine talking about how, despite the proliferation of sexual imagery in the teenage world, maybe we shouldn't be twisting our knickers in such a knot over their alleged sexual promiscuity. To wit:
"With the pornucopia of media at teens' disposal in the past decade and a half, on cell phones and computers as well as TVs, early-adolescent sex should be having a growth spurt. But the figures don't necessarily support one. Despite a minor increase in 2006, the rate of pregnancies among teen girls has been on a downward trend since 1991. Another indicator, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, is alarmingly high: nearly 1 in 4 girls ages 14 to 19 and nearly 1 in 2 African-American girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But this is the first year such a study has been completed, and the study doesn't separate 14-to-16-year-olds from 17-to-19-year-olds, so it's still unclear which way that trend is heading."
Keep reading this fantastic article here and thanks to Deborah for sending this to me!

2. I Am Charlotte: The Series: While on the one hand it appears that there are finally a number of voices asking us to put on the breaks for a second and contemplate what the actual sexual experiences of teenage girls are, it looks like Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons is going to be made into an HBO series. Charlotte Simmons the book has often been noted as over-stated and over-bearing in its condemnation of college sexuality. As the New York Magazine Book Review put it at the time:
"Wolfe’s vision of eroticism is ultimately too dark. When, in Charlotte Simmons, an older man has sex with a younger woman, it is, of course, cynical. But when a younger man has sex with a younger woman, it is equally cynical. Indeed, all the sex in Wolfe’s imagined university is rotten. All intimacy is rotten. At the end of the novel, Charlotte falls in with a new man. He comes from a very different walk of life than Charlotte does, and to all appearances he adores her. One might reasonably see this turn of events as a triumph—love conquering differences, love opening doors. But Wolfe intends for us to see it as a defeat: The man is not suited for his clever country heroine; she has forgotten, he suggests, that “she is Charlotte Simmons”; she has lost her identity."
To put it mildly, I'm not overly-optimistic about the way the series will portray yet another young woman who has lost her character to the hedonistic offerings of that Gomorrah now known as the American university.

3. The Old is New Again: And finally, on a slightly different note, Ann over at Feministing recently wrote about John LaBruzzo, a state legislator from Louisiana, who wants to pay low-income women to be sterilized. Something that is consistently overlooked in mainstream's take on what it means to be Pro-Choice is that it is just that: the choice to have or not to have a child. As a political position, it is both concerned with those woman who, for x, y, and z reason, choose not to have a child, and with those from whom the right to have a child is coercively taken away. There have been a number of studies and histories done on sterilization abuse which, particularly in 1970s America, targeted poor and minority women, and included everything from outright nonconsensual sterilizations, to unclear statements signed on the hospital bed before an abortion, to, well, something like LaBruzzo's brilliant idea. The government has no place in coercing a targeted group of women into permanent reproductive decisions.


Unknown said...

Ug. That Charlotte Simmons book is horrible. Total trash. Neither convincing about young women, nor about college. And now it's going to be a series?!?! Feh.

Kristen said...

Yes, I agree. My only hope is that HBO will be smart in bringing it to the small screen and get rid of all the finger-wagging and instead portray... yet another women engaging in sex and not much else? Feh, indeed.

Deborah Siegel said...

I love this roundup, Sex and Sensibility Lady! Charlotte Simmons, c'est moi, on HBO? Oh dear.

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