The Mixed Messages Radical Feminists Send about Sex

The “women are empowered when they control their sex lives . . . as we see fit” message from radical feminists has produced a contradictory gem from PolicyMic, a website for twenty-somethings (? not sure, since it never exactly defines who they are) whose stated mission is to “help our generation understand what’s happening in the world, why it matters, and how it impacts them.” (Looking over their site, this seems to translate to “giving you the liberal rationalizations to do whatever the heck you want.”)

In the article entitled “17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls About Sex,” (was this a Buzzfeed reject?) Julianne Ross tries to have her sex and not offend those who don’t happen to be having sex at the moment, too. The tone is set in the opening paragraph when she suggests there’s too much “fretting” about Miley Cyrus and that the growing trend of Purity Balls is “troubling” — which apparently means there’s a “fascination” in society with controlling young women’s sex lives.

Ross then begins a list whose vast swings — between helpful info and premarital-sex apologia — are nauseating. The informative inclusions that truly are empowering are fewer and include: one does not owe a man sex just because he spent money; even if you start, you can say stop; sexual harassment is not normal; and not everyone is “doing it.” But many of these still seem to endorse premarital sex – as long as it’s on your terms, of course.

The rest of the list seems not just rationalizations for having sex, but for being just like men in terms of one’s sex life, no apologies necessary. First Ross attacks the very notion of “virginity” which — once again — she believes is all about the “cultural obsession” with keeping girls “pure.” While of course we don’t want young women who were raped to think any less of themselves, to suggest that purity is simply in one’s own mind can justify all kinds of risky behavior.

The next “lie” – that the first time will hurt —  isn’t presented as being conditional, but that it’s all because young women fear the pain so much that they tense up. If only women were encouraged to relax during their first time, the pain could be avoided. (How about suggesting that one’s fear could be all but eliminated if a woman were to wait until she is married, with all the assurances such a permanent bond provides against all the pitfalls of a premarital sexual relationship? Nah.)

Even the entries about other physical myths, and psychological ones such as that women don’t think about sex very often – don’t seem to be presented as merely non-factual. Each one is yet another chance for the author to tell young women to go ahead and have sex without hang-ups.

But the most egregious item on the list is the lie that women don’t watch porn. After a caveat that includes only one of the many, very good reasons feminists should be adamantly against porn, the author then turns it into a “his porn’s okay, your porn’s okay” lovefest.

The hatred many women feel towards porn is understandable, given that so much of it promotes unrealistic or downright unhealthy attitudes about female sexuality. The problem is, as the Kinsey Institute’s Debby Herbenick points out, “Most mainstream porn is made by men with other men in mind.”

This doesn’t mean that many women don’t enjoy porn, nor that there’s not a market for more female-friendly fare. Researchers have shown that men and women respond comparably to sexually explicit material, and that the increase in women’s brainwave activity when looking at erotic images is just as strong as the increase in men’s.

Well, of course, some women do enjoy graphic materials. Some women also like going to Hooters. But is the porn ”lie” one that modern feminists should be looking to correct, to the point of endorsing porn? Should we just forget what viewing porn has done to so many men (to the point of addiction) – not to mention its involvement in increasing sex trafficking?

After all the ways women have suffered because of the “sexual revolution,” I can’t believe we still have to argue that the positive aspects of controlling our sex lives do not mitigate the negative repercussions of premarital sex — and that radical feminists refuse to acknowledge that sex before marriage is simply not the best road for young women.

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