Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Our Precious Little Daughters

Rebecca Hagelin doesn't want teens to have sex, which means that she doesn't want them to learn about sex, which means that she doesn't want them to use contraceptives.

It seems stupid, until you understand her rationale. At which point, it seems stupid and vicious.

The basic idea, as always, is that the sexuality of young girls must be strictly controlled for the good of society.

Cynics might claim that this is a way for society to give itself permission to dwell a little more avidly than is necessary on the ins and outs of Teen Sex. But real Americans understand that anything done in a child's name is sincere and blameless by definition, unless it involves pollution control or increasing access to healthcare.

One thing that worries Hagelin is the portrayal of women in the media:

[W]e've created a culture in which our precious little daughters are constantly bombarded by messages that degrade their innate value, reducing them to nothing more than sex objects.
You'd think this would allow her to find some common ground with feminists, who've been making the same point for a pretty long while. Unfortunately, there are some obstacles to a true rapprochement. The first is that Hagelin's idea of "innate value" is skewed rather heavily toward women's utility as breeding stock. The second is that according to this essentially market-based idea of value, women who become sex objects are damaged goods, and will be passed over by male buyers. To feminism, a woman's "innate value" is a bit more durable than that.

Which, I guess, is why Hagelin calls feminism "insidiously evil." You can't blame her, given that feminists are simultaneously complaining about a culture that reduces women to sex objects, and training Our Precious Little Daughters to give blow jobs while they're still in kindergarten. (Please note: While that last statement is not literally true, it does illustrate the severity of the problem.)
Many educators are obsessed with promoting a promiscuous lifestyle. One particularly disturbing tactic is to strip our little girls of their natural inclination toward modesty and replace it with an attitude of sexual dominance. They teach young women that the way to get ahead in the world is not through their grace, or goodness, or intelligence - but through their sexual power.
No citations are necessary, since this is what Hagelin's readers already imagine is happening (especially while they're masturbating). And besides, it's not like someone who really, really, really cares about children would tell a lie. So we may as well face the awful truth: Little girls are indeed being trained for "sexual dominance."

As opposed to what, exactly? Well, let's just call it "modesty." Or better yet, let's say "a natural inclination towards modesty," so that we can pretend something's being stolen from them, rather than imposed on them.

Wouldn't it be nice if women were respected for their intelligence (an important component of which is knowing when to play dumb)? Instead of judging women on their skill at lap dancing, shouldn't we be encouraging them to write essays in defense of female subordination?

Admittedly, the main attraction of both activities is that a woman has "consented" to degrade herself, by representing herself first and foremost as a means to male ends. But you can't conclude that these career options are two sides of the same coin. At least, not if you're using your goodness, grace, and intelligence to assess the situation properly.

Hagelin worries that all this S-E-X people keep having will "destroy the beautiful and selfless concept of committing one's sexuality and heart to only one person for life." But in fact, that commitment is only as beautiful as the feelings of the people making it. An unsatisfactory marriage is not ennobled by monogamy, and lifelong commitment is not "selfless" when it's imposed as a social duty, under pain of censure or worse.

I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn that although unruly girls can "destroy all notions of fidelity, and commitment for both genders," male promiscuity is more of a design flaw, and doesn't seem to shake the very pillars of Heaven. Boys will be boys!

You can't curse the darkness of radical feminist critique without lighting the candle of traditional female submissiveness, and so Hagelin offers a number of suggestions for protecting our daughters -- by which, of course, I mean our sons -- from the existential threat of equality. One good idea is to help them find strong female mentors, like Phyllis Schlafly, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Duggar. But here's an even better one:
Help your daughter discover the joy and peace of mind that comes with teen years that are free from the threat of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and the low self-esteem sexually active girls report having deep in their hearts.
The first two threats can be addressed pretty well by education and condoms. The latter threat may be a bit more intractable, so long as people like Hagelin keep screaming at sexually active girls that they're not just squandering their innate value -- in a buyer's market, no less! -- but also dragging civilization itself into the grave.

Some people might even argue that Hagelin's entire worldview is designed to reduce female self-esteem to the bare minimum, in that it treats personal worth as something you maintain by existing primarily for the benefit of men. It'd probably seem to Hagelin like an intolerable paradox if a teen girl gave in to sexual bullying because of "principles" like the ones espoused in this column. But I'm sure it's happened once or twice.

Which is why, as much as I'd love to share Hagelin's excitement over the decline of traditional values, I remain a pessimist. I'm afraid they're still very much with us, from our hard-right Websites to our high schools to our strip clubs.

(Image via I am the Lizard Queen.)


Anonymous said...

I just hope my precious daughters, both of them, never hear Ms H's kind of crap. So far, so good. We live in a fairly sheltered neighbourhood where homophobia doesn't, to this point, even register on my children's radar and where they talk a lot about which girls are the best runners, artists, singers, readers and mathematicians but, so far, not much at all about their prettiness. I know this idyll won't last forever. But I hope that the poison of Ms. H's view of female as walking uterus owned and sealed by the (christian) certificate will be something distant and abstract that they hear about when they're old enough to laugh at it.

Phila said...

But I hope that the poison of Ms. H's view of female as walking uterus owned and sealed by the (christian) certificate will be something distant and abstract that they hear about when they're old enough to laugh at it.

I'll drink to that.

Jazzbumpa said...

I guess this is why they have things like "Focus on the Family."

Alas, I abstained through my teen years, and still wound up getting into a marriage at age 21 that turned into a total failure.

Saved myself for absolutely nothing.

JzB the regretful trmbonist

Phila said...

Saved myself for absolutely nothing.

Yes, but it was a moral victory!

grouchomarxist said...

The thing that always puzzles me about screeds like Ms. H's is that we've already tried doing things her way, and by most accounts, it didn't and doesn't work out so well in practice.

Not that we don't have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality, but how many women really believe they'd be better off living by 19th Century rules?