Friday, March 14, 2014

Camille Paglia Takes on Sex Ed

Yesterday, Camille Paglia offered a sober assessment of how America teaches sex in public schools. Much of what she said can easily be applied to the culture at large.

Evidently, Paglia is not talking about every school in every American school district. She is identifying at trend, one that seems to prevail more often than it doesn’t.

Coming from a lifelong feminist who has never been accused of prudery, Paglia’s views will shock some. They are not groundbreaking—many of them have even appeared on this blog—but considering the source, they are likely to be influential. It's only a matter of time before she is denounced by one or another Jezebelle.

Paglia begins by aiming at the greatest failure in American sex ed. It ignores fertility. One suspects that college courses about sexuality share the same failure.

She writes:

Fertility is the missing chapter in sex education. Sobering facts about women’s declining fertility after their 20s are being withheld from ambitious young women, who are propelled along a career track devised for men.

Paglia is not the first and will not be the last to question the feminist life plan.  Through a campaign of misinformation and social pressure, young women are being pushed to postpone marriage and childbearing in favor of career. Many of them discover, too late, that they have been conned out of their chance to have children.

Astonishingly, contemporary feminism has imposed a life plan that is better suited for men. Is this a sign of misogyny?

Instead of spending their time attacking Susan Patton for recommending that they marry young, women start doubting the feminist masters who have imposed a life plan that is more suitable for men.

Paglia offers a better direction:

Above all, girls need life-planning advice. Too often, sex education defines pregnancy as a pathology, for which the cure is abortion. Adolescent girls must think deeply about their ultimate aims and desires. If they want both children and a career, they should decide whether to have children early or late. There are pros, cons and trade-offs for each choice.

It needs to be said, and it especially needs to be said by a woman like Paglia. Regardless of one’s views on the politics of abortion, the American pro-choice movement treats pregnancy as a disease that can be cured by abortion. 

By eliminating fertility, the sex ed industry has diminished female sexuality, in particular.

Paglia insists, correctly, that women have a right to make a free and well-informed choice. They might choose to pursue a career before they start a family. They might choose to find a husband in college. In either case, there are trade-offs.

Naturally, feminists have ignored the trade-offs. They have told young women that if they postpone marriage and family in favor of career, they will be more desirable as mates because they will be independent and autonomous feminists.

If you believe that, you will believe anything.

Since the realities of biology belie these assumptions, feminists have needed to browbeat women into following their life plan.

If sex educators believe that they are presenting scientific fact, Paglia begs to differ. As she sees it, sex education is not value neutral.  It promotes political and cultural points of view. That is, its purpose is to indoctrinate as much as to inform.

It does so, Paglia continues, by suggesting that the sole or primary purpose of sex to obtain pleasure. Sex educators tend to reject the connection between sex and procreation because they believe that the link discriminates against those whose sexual preferences tend toward the non-procreative.

If you do not accept that all forms of sexual release are created equal, you are a bigot.

The victims of this ideology are, Paglia is saying, the girls who are being misinformed about their sexuality.

Paglia explains:

Similarly, public schools have no business listing the varieties of sexual gratification, from masturbation to oral and anal sex, although health educators should nonjudgmentally answer student questions about the health implications of such practices. 

Paglia is correct, though one does not see how, in today’s America, schools are going to teach children the “health implications” of anal sex. They will instantly be denounced as bigots.

Paglia continues:

Sex education has triggered recurrent controversy, partly because it is seen by religious conservatives as an instrument of secular cultural imperialism, undermining moral values. It’s time for liberals to admit that there is some truth to this and that public schools should not promulgate any ideology. The liberal response to conservatives’ demand for abstinence-only sex education has been to condemn the imposition of “fear and shame” on young people. But perhaps a bit more self-preserving fear and shame might be helpful in today’s hedonistic, media-saturated environment.

More shame… where have we heard that before?

Early lessons in sex education tend toward exhibitionism. If the name of openness and honesty, schools show and tell children more than they need or want to know.

And they do it, Paglia emphasizes, in coed classrooms. Girls, especially are being taught to value immodesty. It isn’t too much to speculate that this tells children that sexting is not such a big deal.

Since very few people understand shame, allow me to elaborate Paglia’s point. More shame means more modesty, and more modesty means more desire.

Sex educators and a considerable part of American culture have been selling the idea that you can enhance sexual desire by exposing it on the public square. The notion is demented. Unfortunately, more exposure means less sensitivity to sexual stimuli. Desensitized young people are more likely to seek out more crude, rude and lewd forms of stimulation.

Anyone who thinks he is doing young people a favor by helping them to overcome their sense of shame knows nothing about shame.


Leslie Loftis (AHLondon) said...

1. Love "Jezebelle".
2. Paglia's comments come on the heels of a new book The Big Lie, a personal story of failed IVF. What's quite interesting to me is how the author notes all the shortcomings of sex education, jokes that she, an Ivy grad, knew nothing of fertility but goes out of her way to deny that feminist objectives necessitated the contraception focused sex ed. Women were told how to avoid pregnancy, not how to plan for pregnancy, because pregnancy is a hindrance to professional parity with men. The new push is that we need feminism more than ever to push for, you guessed it, daycare and now, universal coverage for egg freezing.

Leo G said...

Strike two for the lib dominated education system. As you showed earlier, "anti" bullying classes are actually helping the bullies to be better.

During my apprenticeship scholling, there were men from all over the province attending. One was from a small town, where one weekend, cars travelling along the highway were being shot at. I approached "Tex" and asked him if he knew about this incident;

"yes" he said

Did you call the cops" I asked?

"Call the cops? Nope. We took the 2 sixteen year olds behind a barn. Let one of them go, as he hadn't been involved in the actual shooting, then (he illustrated taking the trigger finger and bending it all the way back), snap. He won't be shooting that gun for awhile"

No sensitivity training, no psychological assessment, just an action to counter the wrong action.

Twenty years hence, there have been no more reports about cars being shot at from that town.

Lastango said...

AHLondon, I'm glad you mentioned failed IVF.

The fertility industry strikes me as a racket; it has a vested interest in failure, because success truncates the patient's series of costly, lucrative treatments.

Genderfeminists cannot examine this, of course. They need the myth of late-in-life fertilization as their getaway driver from one of the central problems of what Stuart rightly calls the feminist lifeplan.

As men continue to retreat from marriage, feminists are increasingly hoist on this petard, and it's one they own. Together with their push for daycare and universal coverage for egg freezing, a third leg of the feminist stool consists of tricking men into becoming New Dads who stay home. The social engineers are busy trying to produce these demasculinized males so the supply can meet the surging demand. It's a bonus that these men clear the way for women by stepping off the career track, which makes them less competitive for the positions of power genderfeminists covet.

Lastango said...

BTW, I wonder when/how the progressivist establishment is going to mobilize to address it's Paglia Problem. She is really getting annoying!

n.n said...

Yes, morality does not exclude, and is certainly not antithetical to pleasure. It does require that men and women be capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior.

Paglia is an old-school feminist. She is awesome. She distinguishes between behaviors suitable for normalization and others/most which are only worth tolerating. She is far too practical for generational progressives or libertines, and is mildly controversial for conservatives, especially of the moral variety.

Anyway, almost without fail, yesterday's progressive is today's conservative. There are few authentic rebels who continue their rampage after acquiring the wisdom which follows with knowledge and experience, and perhaps the temperance of seniority.

Anonymous said...

Paglia is a woman of courage. The only feminist I know of who, early on, stood by her principles and WCiv at the cost of a brilliant career. She reminds me of another Italian. Oriana Fallaci.

While dying of cancer, she wrote a passionate defense of WCiv, and a clear-eyed assessment of the Islamic threat. As a v young woman, she risked her life fighting Nazis.

BTW. Sophisticates scoff (and worse) at Sarah Palin. She fought the oil companies - and won. No other US politician has ever dared to even try.

She left office early because the media and legal onslaught was too much for her family to endure. Rape jokes about her 12 y/o??? -- Rich Lara

Baloo said...

Camille Paglia is a national treasure. I've reblogged this here, with gratitude, with commentary and links back to you, of course.

Squarepegger Camille

Dennis said...

I have three lovely grand children that were IVF births where the birth mother was unable to carry a child to birth. Both sets were twins. In the first the male child died at birth and the female child survived with some minor issues.
In the second set of twins both the male and female child survived. There are minor issues, that had/need to be addressed as they grow.
The selection of the surrogate mother was extensive with an emphasis on intelligence and health. We will be taking them to Disney World this summer and they are also looking forward to spending a lot of time in our pool. This week is the 6th birthday for the younger two.
I do worry a bit because the fraternal twins are really close which could lead to misunderstanding in the feminist's hyperactive school system.
Always thought Camile was a one of the most honest liberals in this country. Normally, considering what passes as today's liberal, honest liberal would be an oxymoron.

This may be interesting considering hyperactive feminists and their perpetuating myths:

Dennis said...

Speaking of hyperactive feminist schools. Who really gets more education?

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