The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Precociously Skanktastic

Posted on | March 26, 2011 | 21 Comments

Risking the wrath of feminists — who are already accusing her of misogynistic “slut-shaming” — Jennifer Moses wonders why “sexual liberation” must now be extended to middle-schoolers:

Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this — like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves — but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards? . . .
In recent years, of course, promiscuity has hit new heights (it always does!), with “sexting” among preteens, “hooking up” among teens and college students, and a constant stream of semi-pornography from just about every media outlet. Varied sexual experiences — the more the better — are the current social norm.

Among the many, well, interesting responses to Moses’s column, Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams begins mockingly:

Watch out, little girls. High heels cause sluttiness — and a lifetime of regret. But it’s not your fault if you don’t know that yet. It’s your mom’s.

Williams then goes on to accuse Moses of promoting a “mind-set [that] reduces . . . girls to the role of gatekeepers of male sexuality rather than participants in their own,” while she (Williams) would prefer that girls “think, instead, of sex as something to be shared with another person.”


Slap! Slap! Wake up, you stupid woman! We are talking about teenagers here. A teenage boy’s penis is a heat-seeking missile, an indestructible cyborg that will not stop until it accomplishes its mission. Whereas our mission, as parents, is to prevent the predatory adolescent RoboPenis from getting its infrared sex-radar targeting system locked onto our daughters.

All that starry-eyed idealism about thinking of “sex as something to be shared with another person” may be fine for romance novels or Hallmark greeting cards, but it makes no sense at all when “another person” is a horny, hormone-addled teenage boy. Might as well teach sheep to think of mutton as “something to be shared” with wolves.

UPDATE: Awarded Bob Belvedere’s “Spot-On Quote of the Day” at Camp of the Saints — thanks.

As explained to Richard McEnroe in the comments below, the temptation to write an entire essay on this was resisted because (when I wrote it Friday night, forward-posting it to Saturday afternoon) I was very tired, recovering from my recent cold. But to add some background . . .

I’d just gotten through writing about billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when, while browsing Google News headlines, I saw the Jennifer Moses WSJ column. Immediately recognizing that Moses’s viewpoint would enrage the so-called “pro-sex feminists,” I did a quick search and saw Williams’s reaction cited at numerous blogs.

While I hesitate to connect the Epstein story with Williams’s liberationist philosophy — obviously Williams would not endorse or excuse Epstein’s crimes — thoughtful minds reading both stories together might be inspired to ask: Whose side of the Moses-Williams argument would Epstein take?

And I think it obvious that Epstein would wholeheartedly agree with Williams that a girl’s sexuality is “something to be shared with another person” — although Epstein might add the caveat that “another person” should be a hedge-fund billionaire with a mansion in Palm Beach.

Which isn’t at all what Williams means to suggest, of course, and she isn’t at all to be blamed for Epstein’s criminal predations. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

So while I’m not trying to make Williams the co-villain in a farfetched moral panic about negligent moms enabling billionaire perverts — “Soon to be a Movie of the Week on Lifetime Channel!” —  there is yet something problematic in her theme of promoting an attitude of “sexual sharing” among young girls. The question automatically arises, “With whom will this ‘sharing’ take place? At what age? And under what conditions?”

Here we stumble onto the “is” and “ought” distinction. Williams certainly must have in mind some ideal situation, the World As It Should Be — an “ought” — wherein teenage girls are enlightened and empowered and thus exercise a preternaturally wise agency over their sexual lives. These ideal girls in an ideal world as imagined by Williams would never yield to peer pressure or tumble into the sack with the first semi-cute guy offering a four-pack of wine coolers while his parents were out of town.

In this Williams-imagined Utopia, teenage boys are perfectly amenable to the “sharing” ethos of sexuality, and are never a bunch of foul-minded oversexed animals just trying to score some action.

In other words, the ideal advocated by Williams requires that the existing reality of actual teenage human beings — an “is” — be completely transformed into an “ought” that, even if it could possibly be achieved, isn’t going to be achieved by the time some mouth-breathing pimply high-school sophomore boy asks your daughter out on a date Saturday night.

Whereas the ideal espoused by Jennifer Moses can be achieved immediately, merely by parents acting the way responsible parents of young girls have always acted:

“No, you are NOT leaving this house wearing that skirt! And tell that creepy Josh What’s-His-Name to stop calling you all the time! . . . . Well, if that’s the attitude you’re going to take, young lady, you can march yourself right back up to your bedroom, because you’re grounded for two weeks — and I’m taking away your cellphone!”

Problem solved. And no philosophical discussion about your daughter’s “sexuality” required.

Call this the Occam’s Razor Principle of Parental Authority: When in Doubt, Send the Kid to Her Room.


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