T'was ever freakin' thus. And yet, and yetgreat novels have been turned out by those constrained by both corsets and society. Women's rights were vindicated on paper before an untimely death in childbirth and today girls with Playboy bunnies on their pencil cases outstrip (HAH unintentional) boys in school studies.
It would be easy for me to dismiss this message about girls and objectification from the NUT as hand wringing, as targeting the wrong group. And I have in the past. I stand by that. However it is interesting to see that just as the Coalition has given schools permission to write their own sex education curriculum, the NUT are calling for an increase in sex education as the answer.
We still cast girls in passive and boys in the active role when it comes to sexual subjects. But it's a peculiar passiveness and a peculiar activeness. Girls slather themselves in fake tan and plot mini skirt length in order to perfect a passive honey trap lure. They bring all the boys to the yard and they're like... thanks for the permission to contrast and compare young women for our own delectation.
Boys see porn and apparently passively allow it to inform their sexuality. Thanks to internet porn boys are limited to thinking sex is long nails, shrieking and shoving. It is, perhaps, a complicated gullibility we are ascribing to our teenagers.
Necklines come and go but girls are always men's play things
Abstinence only education and some futile attempt to ban under age teenager's access to porn won't re-wire that message. Because as Preston Yancey writes, it is actually the message given in purity culture too. "Purity culture told me that I couldn't help violating a woman, because if she wore something revealing, I was naturally inclined to have my way with her."
That attitude, that line of teaching is why apparently the latest development in the Steubenville case is lawyer Walter Madison's plan to appeal. On what grounds? That at 16 his client's brain could not have developed fully enough for him to be responsible for his actions. Oh, you know, pubescent rape. Like a starter marriage, it doesn't need to be counted.
Necklines come and go but girls are always men's play things. Whether you wrap Barbie in silver foil and call her an astronaut or put her in tiny pink surgeon scrubs (am I over estimating children today's imagination and resourcefulness?) she's still Barbie. In short skirts or baggy jeans teenage girls are still teenage girls. And teenage girls are still human.
It's not clothing and I don't think it's even porn. It's this continued idea of ownership. From the tradition of the bride's father giving her to her new husband to the language of 'on the shelf' to the victim blaming notion of drunkenness or revealing clothing This all is about being picked and being owned. And as is the nature of capitalism because we talk in these terms it's natural to assume the goods should actively make themselves more appealing.
So what should we teach our teenagers (I mean teenagers, not girls or boys but as a queer mass)? That porn is bad? That consent is mandatory? Perhaps that sex should be about mutual pleasure? Or that you can do what you like with your own body, because it is your body to own.