Saturday, November 17, 2007

National Review Online on 'Modest Proposals'

Emily Karr writes of the seminar I co-organized:

Far from being a nest of clucking prudes deriding the indiscretions of “kids these days,” these women were concerned about the waves of depression and sexually transmitted disease that are sweeping over our young women. They placed their disapproval not upon the girls so much as the school systems and parents that failed to teach them the buzz about the birds and the bees, and called upon college students to expose incidences of these prejudices in universities so that they could be reversed.

Grossman, who has devoted her life to university health, had the most stirring condemnations for the collegiate sex educators. She warned that despite their claims of neutrality, policies towards sex on campus were anything but neutral. Built-in assumptions that experimentation with sex is always beneficial and that youth are going to be sexually active no matter what warp the effectiveness of campus sexual-health programs. At my pre-college physical, my pediatrician began to write me a prescription for birth control without even asking, assuming it was routine for such a visit. My own experience at a university hospital forced me to deny sexual activity no less than four times. After they removed my mother from the room to ask me again, still squinting at me with suspicion, I was about ready to pitch the bedpan at the attending doctor’s head. What does it say to a college freshman struggling to be abstinent when physicians treat an 18-year-old virgin with the same mixture of curiosity and revulsion that they would the Elephant Man?

While those assumptions may encourage doctors to uncover the truth of sexual activity in some shyer girl, these presuppositions do more harm than merely isolating the chaste — they conveniently silence mounting scientific evidence that might convince girls to put their clothes back on. The biochemistry of post-coital attachment, the increased vulnerability of women to STDs, the risks inherent in so-called safer-sex programs — all of these go unmentioned in the clinics. ...

... As the panel neared its end, Eden pondered aloud that even though she had not planned on starting a “modesty movement,” one seemed to be organically sprouting up with the advent of all of these books and groups. And with the founding of each group and the publishing of each book, letters and e-mails pour in, saying, “I thought I was the only one!” Each speaker was optimistic that the emptiness of the hookup culture could be effectively combated, because all signs point to a silent majority of women desiring to unhook themselves from its claws.
 [Read the full article.]
AND ANOTHER THING: Watch this space for video of "Modest Proposals," coming on Monday.