Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why I Believe in "Slut-Shaming"

Don't freak out--yet. Just hear me out.

Today in my research for a Brit Lit paper, I got vastly distracted. One thing led to another, and I ran across the most obnoxious online strain of feminist tirades I've read in a long time.

As you probably know, I'm a pretty proud person {...who alliterates}. And that is why I can live my life as a young woman without demanding to be treated like a man. The feminist argument is essentially "Look how great women are! We can be just like men!" Um, irony, anyone? The logic just doesn't jive.

The article that most captured my attention was a crusade against "Slut-Shaming:"

"Slut-shaming occurs when a source attempts to elicit feelings of inferiority or remorse [by] attacking a woman’s perceived or actual sexual behavior or feelings." - Feminspire

I see.

Are there not perceived or actual sexual behaviors for which people should feel remorseful? Because basically what I'm hearing in that definition is that it is now unacceptably offensive to label promiscuity as a bad thing.

What is this, A Brave New World?

We talked about free markets in International Relations this morning. If you create a product and it doesn't sell, you either improve it, or you create a different product. The feedback from people, positive or negative, guides you to produce the best product you can.

I think the concept of discouraging promiscuous behavior can work the same way.

Unless you have no respect for individuals, you view luring people to bed-hop as a contemptible behavior. If you're a Christian, you believe that sex/sexual thoughts belong in a specific context--and that context is not strutting around the mall. If you're a feminist, you rabidly oppose instances where people--specifically women--are objectified. Really, there should be no version of sleeping around that isn't frowned upon.

So give the "product" of promiscuity negative feedback. If you don't like it, if you don't want it on the market, if you think it's a bad product, discourage it.

One way to do that is obviously not to "buy the product." If a girl is getting nowhere with her physically flirtatious behavior, theoretically she'll quit. However, there will unfortunately always be someone willing to take advantage of a girl's availability.

I guess that's just too bad, right? If you think something is wrong, but it seems to be successful, you're just supposed to let it go.

Well, no one seems to think that when it comes to drugs, animal testing, Chick-fil-A's stance on homosexuality, tobacco use, or a whole host of other things.

Success should not exempt something from criticism, especially if you believe it to be immoral.

In addition to not "buying the product of promiscuity," offer an additional kind of negative feedback.

Basically, SHAME IT.

If you think something is wrong, is it not right and natural to speak out against it? In our culture of hyper-sensitive political correctness, no one is allowed to believe in absolute morals because it might hurt someone else's feelings.

I hate to break it to you, but Flannery O'Conner has it right:  "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."

Now, I'm not saying that it's okay to ridicule someone. People are insecure enough without being torn to shreds by the judgmental public.

But some behaviors are objectively inferior to others. {"Love your neighbor" > "Eat your neighbor"}. I believe that being a sexually forward, indiscriminate young woman is an inferior behavior.

Should that behavior be called inferior? Yes. Should that behavior elicit remorse? Yes. Do I then support "slut-shaming?"

I guess you could say that. But I prefer the term "promoting self-respect."

Now, what was I doing? Oh yeah. Writing a Brit Lit paper...


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Real Adventure

I just started dating someone, and the other day, he confessed to me that he's a "sappy romantic."

I have never wanted a sappy romantic. I am a self-professed hopeless unromantic, and emotion of any kind makes me uncomfortable. But ever since he said that, I've been creeping closer and closer to an eye-opening personal revelation:

I always assumed that since I'm not mushy, I should look for someone equally unmushy. But maybe that's a cop-out, you know? In my quest for challenge, I've actually been tackling things that are completely within my comfort zone.

See, usually stretching oneself involves being brazen and dauntless. But for me, maybe it's more of a challenge to be, well, "romantic." Maybe THAT will be the audacious adventure I look for in a relationship.

This guys makes me see a lot of things differently. I love it.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

A World Spinning on Words

What if writing goes out of style? What if books become obsolete? What if one day, the last of the writers dies, and from then on, people just sit around and text and watch movies and talk? Maybe even handwriting will become extinct.

What if people forget how to write? What if imaginations get smaller and weaker until all people talk about are real events and the here-and-now?

What if novels are put in display cases in museums and people look at their covers and think, “Someone made up stuff and stuck it together with words for fun. Who does that? How weird.”

But you know what? I doubt that will happen. A lot of things have come and gone, but stories, words, and sharing have never faded. They’ve been around since the beginning of time. Humans have an innate desire to remember, create, discover.

I can’t imagine a world where words aren’t valued by a single person; a world where everyone goes around throwing out words that are “close enough;” a world where no one gets chills when words are put in a painfully beautiful order.

I think someone will always be writing.

But how much can be said, really? There are many words, but so many people, so much time. Will we ever reach a point where everything has been said? Will there come a point where every combination of words, every pattern, has been penned?

I don’t think so, but if that time does come, I think it will be time for the world to end; to quietly fold on itself in satisfied darkness, like a blanket. Tender, gentle, crisp finality will settle over the earth. When everything has been said, thought, experienced, loved, trusted, written, mocked, taught, and pleaded, what is left to live for?

The last written words would be like the final piece in a puzzle, or a dying man being forgiven, or lying down after a rough day.

Of course, if that time comes, it will be something new to write about, and someone will capture that moment and write it and keep the world spinning just a little bit longer.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is Yesterday Still a Friend?

When I was younger, I used to be really arrogant. {*irony meter explodes*} I loved to hear poems or songs or stories and dismiss them as "stupid" because they didn't speak to me. I thought I was so much wiser beyond my years, and that if there was anything to be gathered from a work, I'd be able to gather it--at age twelve.

Daddy and I talked about these things a lot. He was never rude or judgmental, and he never mocked or laughed at me. He would listen to my conceited little tirades about love and life and then suggest that I might come to understand the song better as I experienced life.

My dad's profound strength in humility always caught me a little off guard, and made me at least give lip service to the fact that maybe I didn't know everything.

At twenty, I know more than I did at twelve. However, I'm also acutely aware that I don't know what I'm doing half the time, and the other half I'm quite possibly wrong anyway.

I like to think {and I hope I'm right} that this admission of ignorance has made me less judgmental and more open to new understanding. Now, when I encounter a song, poem, or story that doesn't speak to me, I try not to write it off. I consider it from many angles, play with potential double meanings/puns, apply it to different scenarios, and look for symbolism.

Sometimes, I'm pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite revelations deals with a line from a Shinedown song:

"Now that you've lost tomorrow, is yesterday still a friend?"

A few summers ago, after trying to make sense of that line for a long time, I decided that I had not yet experienced that phenomenon. The words made sense, but the spirit of the concept was lost on me. I decided to continue to love and listen to the song, hoping that someday I would understand what it meant.

I think I finally do.

We live our lives toward a future. Sure, we all have those nights when we decide to live in the moment and make a poor decision {and by that I mean eating that third chocolate bar, of course}, but overall we are goal-oriented people. The way we live our lives today reflects what we're ultimately striving for.

This might mean making good that you can get into a good college/get a degree.

This might mean investing in a that you can spend your lives together.

This might mean saving up your that you can travel over the summer.

More or less every decision is made with "tomorrow" in mind.

But what if you were suddenly disillusioned? What if you suddenly discovered a truth that undermined your future?

What if you realized you had read the wrong chapter in your biology book?

What if you realized your special someone had been lying to you?

What if you misplaced your money?

This new knowledge means that you have lost the "tomorrow" you were striving for.

Knowing what you know today about tomorrow, would you have acted differently yesterday?

Would you have checked the syllabus again?

Would you have demanded answers sooner?

Would you have taken your money directly to the bank?

Now that you've lost tomorrow, is yesterday still a friend?

It's a beautiful, sad question, one that I finally understand. I'm oddly proud to be able to say that. I'm thankful to my dad for teaching me how to listen to things I might not understand, so that I can be prepared to understand them when I'm ready.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Reason

I was born with my eyes open. Much earlier than "normal" children, I learned to talk, mostly so I could metaphorically bludgeon everyone around me with the words "Why" and "I know." I grew up with a powerful imagination, an anathema to change, a passion for learning, and a rigid belief in a world of absolutes.

Since graduating high school in 2012, I've discovered that the world IS full of absolutes...but they are fewer and farther between than I once believed.

My mind is constantly engaged by people I meet, places I visit, professors I hear, and progress I make. As my ideas are challenged, I use writing as a tool of exploration and resolution. Out of my "rhymes," I often discover my reasons.

It's like Faulkner said, "I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it."

Welcome to the arena in which I explore the world with words.