Spot-on's Chris Nolan is spot-on

BlogHer Original Post

Don't get Chris Nolan going, because when you do she writes lengthy, incisive and absolutely spot-on analyses that will show you no mercy (not that you, obviously, deserve any.)

What has her going now is an article in this month's Atlantic Monthly [Full article only available to subscribers, sorry.] The article is about teens and sex, and the possibly over-blown hysteria around teen sexual activity.

This reminds me of a conversation my S.O. and I had with a couple we know on Saturday night. They were quite worked up by the risks involved for kids online being preyed upon, and resented our even questioning how the problem stacked up vs. predators in meatspace. As though we were saying we heartily approved of online pedophiles by trying to get some perspective on the scope of the problem.

What gets me about the article is the sad perpetuation of the (I thought) outdated archetypes:

Girls are either bad girls or good girls, based on what kind of sexual behavior they engage in. Meanwhile boys will just be boys. And their level of sexual activity is not part of the moral equation.

It's easy to see why this is bad for girls. It's a clear double standard and along the way it helps girls learn they should repress their own sexual desires & needs, and makes them feel like they're asked to be some unachievable combination of madonna/whore.

But it's not good for boys either.

Why? Well, let's take a look at this quote from the Flanagan article:

I am old-fashioned enough to believe that men and boys are not as likely to be wounded emotionally and spiritually by early sexual experiences or by sexual experiences entered into without romantic commitment as are women and girls."

This is exactly the kind of thinking that makes people joke about male victims of sexual abuse and call them lucky! I can tell you I've met numerous men who were sexualized too early, and that expectation that they were supposed to feel good about it and lucky only added to their inner conflict years later. [In these particular cases I'm not talking about a meeting of equals in age and experience, but when one is significantly older and more experienced than the other.]

Flanagan serves it up, and Chris responds with an overhead smash.

For an alternate view from someone who found Flanagan's article fascinating and obviously thought-provoking, read Petronilla's take at Road to Fontevrault.


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