Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Talking to Girls about Sex - With a surprise ending



Did you read it? Did you laugh? This meme is all over my Facebook feed again this week, though it's 2 years old. Over half a million people have liked the version on Takei's page, tens of thousands sharing, and there are over 10,000 comments. The ones I saw were all positive, though I read a random sample.

My first response to this was that it was a joke about rape. The girl drinks Jagermeister, falls asleep, and then the guys start kissing her. In the morning, she wakes up in the frat house, doesn't know what happened, and then they slut shame her. But you could read it as occupying just the other side of the line - She goes to the frat house, makes a poor choice of sexual partners, regrets it in the morning, and they slut shame her.

As readers of this blog know, I think a lot about the messages we send to girls throughout their lives, though with a four-year-old daughter we're not to sexuality yet. We've just begun working on a few safety pieces about control of her body (which is hard, as now when she tells me not to tickle her, I have to stop tickling her) and that private parts are private. Right now, she thinks her butt is the funniest thing in the world, and she'd like to show it to you. These are first steps of a long complicated component of parenting.

In many ways, this silly meme encapsulates one of our major problems in the way our society, generally, talks to girls about sex. Shame, reputation, purity, alcohol, bad choices, negativity.

But fortunately, there's Scarleteen. Scarleteen provides "Inclusive, Comprehensive, and Smart Sexuality Information and Help for Teens and 20s." They get millions of hits a year, mostly from people who actually might need their help, advice, or suggestions. If you can think of a topic, from consent to bodies to mental health to how-tos (safely), to birth control and "barriers" and on and on, they have an easily findable piece. Moreover, they respond quickly to people who come to their blog or send them messages with questions. It's just an outstanding resource, and as I face the prospect of thinking about sexuality and my children, I'm glad Scarleteen is out there.

Not long ago, a friend's daughter approached other friends, looking for advice that he/she wasn't getting at home. Scarleteen (and their book) was the answer, or at least the way to begin a conversation long overdue.

Unfortunately, right now Scarleteen needs help. I've given them a donation. If you can, please do so as well. This resource needs to be nurtured by all of us who might know someone needing advice, yet too frightened or ashamed to ask the people in his or her life. Confidential, accurate, information is so important to making good choices about sexual activity. Please donate if you can.

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