Valentine’s day…

I decided to post this on Valentine’s day because I figured it was an easy day to bring attention to relationships. In this case, I mostly wanted to address issues related to the “ordinary” initial advances. I found this article on a few days ago. It starts with a woman being asked whether she has ever had any unwanted sexual contact. As I read the article, I began to feel, well, violated. The experiences described were uncomfortably familiar. If not for me personally, they were similar to stories heard from friends.

To make matters worse, a few days later I found this post (also on reddit) that literally made me nauseous. What these girls are saying is unfathomable to me. My gut reaction is to punch them in the face/sterilize them for their idiocy. But then, the more tolerant, liberal side of me leads me to the conclusion that these girls have maybe just never been taught that they are worth something – that they have intrinsic value because they are women, and moreover because they human beings.

But whose job is it to inform these women of their value? I’d say parents, but how easy is it for parents to talk to their kids about this sort of thing? In many ways, America’s puritanical views/religious system/support for politicians like Rick Santorum has taught children and parents that talking about the sexual part of a romantic relationship is taboo. I’m not trying to say that it is religion or democracy’s fault, but that in cultures where your (male/female) body is not considered inappropriate, parents may be able to impose values on their daughters that reaffirm the power, strength, and significance of being a woman…and that this would lead to more women being likely to stick up for themselves.

While working in Europe this summer, a friend of mine said that he thought American TV was funny because “God forbid you see a nipple, but you can curse and watch people get blown up all day long.” His opinion is valid though. I’m not trying to say that nudity should be everywhere, but we are all human. All women and all men have the same parts as all other women and men.* So, what’s so scary about that? All of this pent up anxiety over parts that we are supposed to cover because they are inappropriate? But everyone else has them too? I don’t really get it. Again, I’m not advocating that people run around naked, but I do think that a comfort level with one’s own body is important. Because, maybe then, instead of being afraid, you can respect it. And then, you can teach others to respect you, both physically and emotionally.

I’m not quite sure where, but at some point, these girls posting about Chris Brown were failed. They have allowed what I’ve heard termed as “rape culture” infiltrate their lives. I hope that the amount of attention being paid to these comments may help people become more aware of this, but it’s still a huge problem.

So, on the “most romantic” holiday of the year, on the day when so many people wish that they had more romantic attention, I think that more attention should be drawn to ensuring that affection is given in an appropriate manner. That this attraction is not shown by making women feel helpless or that their bodies are not their own.  Both sexes need to stop perpetuating this culture in which women are objectified and controlled by the larger male in their lives.

Finally, I’ll note that I wasn’t sure if this post was appropriate or inappropriate. However, as I’ve been typing, I’ve realized that though the content isn’t quite related to classwork, I’m really finding blogging to be an outlet in a way that I didn’t expect.

*Sorry, I’m leaving out transgenders/hermaphrodites in this.

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