Image of Hello Kitty shoulder vibrator to give a completely
misleading impression about the content of this post.
My new piece of news is best summed up by the article on Chattahbox
The Christian right, including clownish Catholic League President Bill Donahue, is incensed over Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen’s admission that she masturbates with the aid of a trusty vibrator, she calls her “best friend.” Donahue condemned the use of a “dildo” as evidence of “insanity.” And the leader of a biblical parenting group declared that Momsen’s solo performances would doom her to a life of failure. And Foxnews.com wonders if Momsen’s “newfound notoriety” will destroy her career. Hmm–by this reasoning, does that mean only non-masturbating Christians are successful and sane? The mind reels.
Ok so yeah, I know it's Bill Donohue, so I really shouldn't be surprised. And I'm not.
However, Bill Donohue here represents the extreme of a more common issue amongst Roman Catholics and other religious traditions too. The idea that children in their late teens shouldn't masterbate. (People who've seen Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon"
will actually have seen a far more extreme example of this opinion.)
Bill Donohue's comments were made on a discussion on Fox News. Another guest was Shirlee Smith
from "Talk About Parenting":
“In my way of raising daughters, she shouldn’t be involved with ‘men’ and any of these men who have driven her to sexual boredom belong locked up because our society says men having sexual encounters with those under the age of consent are criminals.”
Just in case anyone is worried about the choice of the word "men", you'll be glad to hear that in the original conversation she said she was "tired of d**k"
, so someone on Fox News presumably thought replacing the word "dick" with the word "men" would be less offensive to their audience. *rolls eyes* With that in mind, she's only one year below the age of consent in the US and, within my own country, she's one year above it. The fact that she is no longer a virgin is not the most surprising thing in the world (nor is the fact that she has found early sexual experiences to be less than impressive).
The rather bigger issue I have here is with Donohue's claim
that masturbation is somehow indicative of insanity in a 17 year old:
...and now we have Taylor Momsen prancing around with a dildo in hand. Looks like this gal’s got lots of issues. No wonder she voiced her insanity in a magazine called Disorder.”
At that age masturbation is the most natural thing in the world. In the movie I referred to above a child is informed that it can lead to physical illness and I'm not sure that the claim that it indicates mental illness is any more pleasant.
The way they insist on making children ashamed of their bodies is just horrible. However, I happen to have saved the perfect response to this kind of thinking from a certain Jennifer Howze quite early in my blog
So why do some groups keep condemning efforts to improve and normalise sex education? Why don't they applaud the move to bring education into a safe classroom environment conveyed by teachers or parents rather than leaving it to nuggets whispered by the know-it-all kid in the playground?(Via Right Wing Watch)(Jennifer Howze Article)
It seems obvious to me. What so-called family campaigners' want to teach children about their bodies and sex is shame. Shame explains the thinking that there's something inappropriate and "wrong" for a child to know the correct word to describe a part of their body. That knowing the correct words indoctrinates an attitude of free and easy sexuality. That it sullies their pure souls to know how babies are made and to explain what they can see the cow and the bull doing in the field.
A few years ago I wrote a piece for Seventeen magazine called Vagina 101 that answered the real questions young girls had about their bodies: what should I look like? Should I shave my hair? What's a clitoris and where is it?
It was refreshing to interview highly respected doctors who robustly argued that girls and parents should get over their phobias. "The vagina is no different from an ear or a nostril. It's just a place that's part of us," one said.
The piece won an award, but one chain of grocery stores pulled it from the shelves. Some parents had complained about the "graphic" nature of the medical illustrations and descriptions. They likened it to pornography. One mother of a 17-year-old told a local reporter, "It's dirty. It's dirty."
(Cross posted to Atheism)