Thursday, August 01, 2013

Make No Mistake: Abortion and Porn Blocking Are Just The Beginning

If you shrug when you drive past a bunch of anti-abortion protesters holding up a fetus porn picture, or think that instituting global blocks on internet porn are "not so bad", it's time to think again.

The same people who oppose those things also have it firmly in their sights to go after just about everything to do with sexuality, including contraceptives and even basics like sex education.

Why?  Because somewhere in their festering little minds, anything to do with sex and sexuality is "bad" and shouldn't be openly discussed.

Once upon a time, sex education was a simple biology lesson. Students learned the facts of life, and, with those facts, that sex is part of something bigger, called marriage. Teachers explained that this was the moral and healthy way to live. 
In those days, people understood that men and women are different, and that their union is unique, unlike any other relationship. It went without saying that boys grew up to become men, and girls, women.
Well, guess what?  Once we started to talk about human sexuality, we quickly discovered that there is a fair bit more to it than simply "sex to make more babies".  Why yes, there is.  Human sexuality, like all other aspects of being human, is wonderfully diverse - and decidedly not as simple as the far right would have it.
Gender itself is a complicated matter. A boy might turn into a man, a woman, or something else. A girl might feel she was born in the wrong body, and want her breasts removed. This is all normal, children learn. 
There are over two dozen sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with one of these “lovebugs” is considered by some to be a part of growing up. A doctor declares on YouTube, “Expect to have HPV once you become sexually intimate. All of us get it.” 
And childhood innocence? Forget it! Material created for children makes most adults uncomfortable. On websites recommended to students, nothing is taboo—sadomasochism, polyamory, and what were once called “deviant” behaviors . . . they’re all good. When I first discovered this, I was astonished. What do these bizarre behaviors have to do with health, I wondered? How can responsible adults allow this? How can they fund this?
How can a responsible adult allow this?  By realizing that sticking our heads in the sand and trying to ignore the realities of human sexuality, we do our children a disservice.  Making people ashamed of their bodies and who they are does nothing to make a stronger, more resilient society.  Shaming people for being homosexual doesn't make them less homosexual, it makes them afraid of you.

As for "childhood innocence", I hate to point out the obvious, but kids these days have already seen things on the Internet which would cause their parents' heads to spin.  Talking about sexuality openly and honestly is going to do more to make sure that our children are armed with the information needed to separate reality from porn fantasy (or worse).  Anyone who believes that not talking about sexuality with our kids is somehow preserving any kind of innocence is deluding themselves.
Modern sex ed began in the sixties. It was based on Alfred Kinsey’s model of human sexuality. Thanks to the brilliant and courageous work of Dr. Judith Reisman, we now know that Kinsey was both a fraud and a deeply disturbed individual. 
For Kinsey, it was anything goes when it came to sexuality, and I mean anything. He believed, for example, that pedophiles were misunderstood, and their punishments unjust. “Sexuality is not an appetite to be curbed,” Kinsey insisted. He taught that, and he lived it.
Frankly, Reisman's work on Kinsey is less than objective.  It seems to me that she interprets Kinsey through the lens of rigid moralizing, rather than trying to understand the bigger picture of sexuality that Kinsey's work ultimately revealed.  In an era when open discussion of sexuality was virtually nonexistent, Kinsey cracked open the doors on a lot of variations of human sexuality that were previously invisible.

The right wing has twisted Kinsey's interest in sexuality - including pedophilia - into a rather judgmental equation that turns Kinsey into a pedophile.  Whether Kinsey was a pedophile or not is actually quite immaterial.  In the broader view of things, Kinsey recognized something that the far right wants you to forget - namely that human sexuality is very rich and diverse ... including pedophilia.  (as an aside, recognizing pedophilia as part of the spectrum of human sexuality is quite a different thing from acknowledging the consequences for those who are victimized by pedophiles - the latter is something which we already have laws about for good reason)

Understanding pedophilia as part of the overall spectrum of human sexuality does not "legitimize" it from an objective standpoint.  Objective research does not attempt to assign moral valuations to that which is being studied - that is another discussion entirely.  Kinsey's work, whatever flaws it may have had at the outset was groundbreaking at the time and opened a far more frank dialogue about human sexuality than had taken place to that point.

By accusing Kinsey of being a pedophile, the far right is attempting to push that conversation back into the closet.

Why?  Fundamentally because they believe that they can control the participation in the dialogue on sexuality by accusing any opposing perspectives of moral perfidy, rather than objectively assessing the evidence.  The far right wants to regulate every aspect of sexuality to suit their paranoid view that all sexuality is somehow inherently evil - derived from a scriptural notion of women as deceptive temptresses.

No comments: