Thursday, November 11, 2010
If you have a moment, please write to me a short blurb about your thoughts on virginity. More or less, what does it mean to you to be a virgin in today's modern society?
This can be one sentence to a whole paragraph in length.
Also, please note that I might be using some of your actual words for my piece, but will not be stating your name (unless given permission by you, of course)! Any questions, thoughts, concerns, funny anecdotes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance! I really (truly!) appreciate anything you have to offer.
Why does the fact of not having sex or having sex determine so many people's outlook on others? How did we get to a place in society where we hold celibacy balls and Girls Gone Wild tapes? This, along with much more, is what I'm researching as I undergo the quest of what it means to be a virgin in today's modern society.
As of right now, I believe a lot of it has to do with the feminist movement of sexual expression. Once women were finally able to express themselves as sexualized beings, the obsession began. Suddenly girls everywhere wanted to be viewed as experienced, sexy, or dominant. They wanted to be the controllers, no longer the controlled.
For years (centuries even) men have single handedly controlled women's sexuality. Whether it be through family (the father giving his daughter away) or in marriage (many men would not accept "used goods" as a wife), these are still relevant issues in today's world just as much as they were hundreds of years ago. Now, however, women are grabbing a hold of the reigns and expressing themselves more openly with regards to sex. Such as where we come up with the dichotomy we find ourselves dealing with on an everyday basis. Today we have both the modern Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. There still seems to be a lack of gray area between the two. Some of us might not even see it, but our country is completely divided up between these two ideas.
Either you've had sex and are experienced, or you're a virgin and a prude therefore. There is pride and shame found in both categories. Some women wish to hide the fact that they've had sex, and others wish to portray that they have. Why does it matter if someone has slept with zero, five, or twenty people, and why should we let that determine our views on them as people?
While I'm at it, I should also state that a lot of these thoughts have come from reading The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti. If you haven't read any of her books, I highly recommend doing so. She has also written Full Frontal Feminist, Yes Means Yes, and He's a Stud, She's a Slut. Along with that she is the founder of Feministing.com, a website that I strongly encourage you to check out.
Okay, now that I've plugged Jessica Valenti, let me continue forward with my ideas. Hopefully you've seen the film American Beauty. If not you definitely need to, and this does give some of the plot away, so just be warned. If you have, however, you know the story line between Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari. She's a high school student, best friends with Kevin Spacey's daughter, and a proclaimed slut (for lack of a better word). He's infatuated with her and at one of the final scenes, when they're about to have sex she says, "this is my first time."
Now there is so much to be said about the relationship between these two characters. Heck, I could write an entire book about all the elements that go into the psychology behind this story. Let me just focus on one thing at the moment, this idea of proclaiming yourself to be a slut, but being a virgin underneath. Some of this refers back to my previous blog Turning In The "V Card" And What It Means To Be A Virgin In Today's Modern Society, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself.
It appears that the majority of women today (from my perspective that is) wish to appear as those who have had more experience in bed, even if they haven't. Why feel that way? Not knowing why others do it, I can only explain my own story here.
While I was studying in Prague in the summer of 2009, I wrote an entry in my journal based off a discussion I had with a guy there. It began with: What is it with men and their fascination with virginity? There's something unknown to them about the idea. From there, it went into my thoughts of how people are viewed once they have sex, and the influence other people's opinions have upon them. If we didn't have that kind of pressure in society, I wonder how different our lives would be. If that weight was lifted off young men and women's shoulders and accepted more as a social understanding, where would we be?
If it didn't mean everything to young men and women. And yes, I realize sex is a very important step in anyone's life, but if we took that pressure off of it and made it more of an everyday circumstance (which it truly is), would that help our society? I think about if I have daughters in the future. I would like to imagine myself being completely open and honest with them. I would explain to them that while the first time having sex can be a big deal, don't let it stop them from experiencing the joys and downfalls from entangling themselves with another human being.
Virginity is very important to a lot of women, and was for me for many years. From where I am right now in my life though, I wish it had been a little different though. I wish people would be more accepting of other's choices and not make them feel the need to defend themselves when it comes down to whether they have or have not had sex. I wish it wasn't always a choice between being the modern Virgin Mary or Mary Magdalene.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
"the waiting song" by Ani DiFranco
your basic average super star is singing about justice and peace and love and i am glaring at the radio, swearing saying that's just what i was afraid of the system gives you just enough to make you think that you see change they will sing you right to sleep and then they'll screw you just the same but i will wait yes, i will wait for the truth they think i make a big deal about nothing but they still think i'm kinda cute they joke about the status quo to break the ice once the ice is broken i hope they all fall through 'cause this is no joke to me they don't fool me with their acts of sensitivity they too shall pass just like everyone who's only here for my ass and i can't wait oh i can't wait till they get their due baby i've only got a minute baby i have to go a minute is all my life will ever allow let's grow old and die together let's do it now because you'll do all the jobs no one else will do and you'll step aside and you will let me come through you have all my respect i'll leave it here when i go maybe i never told you, baby maybe you don't know but maybe if we wait if we wait things will improve maybe we just wait and things will improve you know, they've got to improve your basic average superstar is singing about justice and peace and love and i am glaring at the radio swearing saying that's just what i was afraid of the system gives you just enough to make you think that you see change they'll sing you right to sleep and then they'll screw you just the same he says i know you have to go you have gone before we are fighting on two different fronts of the same war but no matter what else i will do i will wait for you
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but the appalling silence of the good people." -Martin Luther King Jr.
Rutgers Tragedy: Young People Lack 'Empathy'
President Barack Obama Signs Hate Crimes Legislation Into Law
California State Univeristy - Fullerton in Santa Ana, CA November 13, 2010 7:15 PM - 8:00 PM
WBC will picket the Laramie Project at California State University - Fullerton to remind everyone that God killed Matthew Shepard and he has been burning in Hell for 12 years now - with eternity left to go. Lest ye repent, ye shall likewise perish!
This nation set up a filthy, drug-addicted sodomite as a hero to be worshipped because he got himself killed while out trolling for his lusts. His mother, fag-pimp Judy Shepard, uses his death as a platform to promote fags across this land. Instead, she should be warning this nation to turn form their lusts and sin and OBEY THE LORD! Like all other doomed americans, fag-pimp Judy wouldn't have it any other way - she will not let go of her sins and doesn't want anyone else to either! Never fear, WBC will step in to do the job of warning this nation to flee the wrath to come. God promised to curse those who follow the path of Matthew Shepard, woe unto those involved with promoting sodomy through such filth as The Laramie Project!
Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.Check out the website for more information about this group.
My friend asked me to help him spread the word, emphasizing the fact that we can't be silent about this. Now knowing that this group has a reputation for picketing The Laramie Project time and time again, CSUF is definitely not alone in this fight. It doesn't help though that they are located in the typically conservative environment of Orange County, but in my heart I believe there are enough good people out there that will help spread the word of love against these hateful remarks.
Please do what you can. Let's come up with some thoughts of how to work together, promote love, and do so in a peaceful way. It is not a solution to fight hate with more hate.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Might be posting some of my scene ideas up here soon, so check back!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Ding! Ding! Ding!
Bells went off in my head and I approached the student after class and explained to her how I'm writing about that theme in one of my play's. We spoke some more and she told me the play she read that inspired her to write that down. It's called BOOM by Peter Sinn Nachtirieb. Guess I have some more research ahead of me!
If anyone has read that play or any other one's that resemble this theme, please let me know!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
This question came up at the dinner table tonight, and I can't stop thinking about it. I asked my playwriting teacher who had said that, and of course it was Judith Butler! Ladies and gentleman, the next book on my reading list:
First I am planning on reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf, which I am more than excited about. Saw the play at Yale last semester and again at Classic Stage Company this month. Fell absolutely in love with the story, which Sarah Ruhl pretty much just took Virginia Woolf's language and put it on stage. So much gender topics flowing throughout it though, I cannot wait to sit down and read it!
Now, I haven't seen the film of it either, but have heard it's worth watching as well.
If anyone else has read or seen Orlando, I would love to talk to you about it.
Also, what do you think of the Antigone complex versus the Oedipus complex?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
It says so much about our pre-constructed notions of what it means to be a virgin today, to be 28 and still be a virgin. How there's "a lot of shame" that goes into it, and that we all have our secrets. So many women don't want to acknowledge the fact that they are still virgins, afraid of what people will think and how their views will be shifted.
Referring back to my blog "Turning in the "V Card" And What It Means To Be A Virgin In Today's Modern Society," I too felt like that before. I would hide the fact from men that I was a virgin until it was mid hook up and then I decided we should be clear about one thing. Their reactions all varied so incredibly much. Some were in shock, "No, you can't be!" Others were calm, "I think that's really great that you're choosing to wait." My favorite by far was the one who said, "I didn't know they made those anymore." Yeah. Needless to say that relationship didn't pursue after that.
And let me just say at this point that I am addressing my own personal experiences with virginity. There is so much area that is not being covered (i.e. with people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender) but this is what I know as a single straight woman and I would hate to declare something invalid regarding other people's sexual escapades. I would love to get some feedback however, as to what others may think regarding what being a virgin means to other sexual orientations, whatever they may be!
With myself, however, I have had numerous encounters with men and their views of virginity. Many of which were painful, and probably why I chose to hide the fact that I was a virgin from people. Also, I didn't feel it was everyone's business to know how many people I had slept with. There were two guys right in a row that I dated who had slept with over 60 people (mind you, these were 22/23 year old men). And when asked how many people I had been with and the number zero came out of my mouth, the looks on their faces made me feel so ashamed. The instant judgement that pursued, along with the series of questions they had. "Why?" "How come?" etc.
Now I'm feeling a little like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City at the moment, sharing my past dating and sexual experiences, but I think these are valid points to make when addressing the topic of America's obsession with virginity.
What is up with the shame game of telling someone you're a virgin? And then on the other side, there's those who are so incredibly proud of the fact they're maintaining their essence of purity that they throw themselves huge parties where they promise their fathers not to have sex until they are married.
This is even more relevant on shows such as Glee where one of the main characters last season was a member of the celibacy club in high school. She ended up having sex and becoming pregnant, and her father practically disowned her for it all. Again, I believe it is just going back to men's strange fasciation and obsession with virginity. Why do fathers feel the need to protect their daughters from experiencing sex, and having them promise not to sleep with anyone until they're married? Why don't sons do that for their mothers? Doesn't that seem a little creepy to even wonder? Maybe that's just me, but to have a son promise his mother that he's going to wait until he's married to have sex just leads me to think of the Oedipus complex. But a daughter promising her father the same thing, it's viewed as appropriate or expected at times. Because it's still typically the father that gives his daughter away at her wedding, as if he is passing her onto the next best thing. This might be me going completely stereotypical feminist, but it's all about ownership with the woman. The father has owned her for said plus years, and now her husband will own her for the rest of her life. Again, trying not to be cynic, and not how I feel about all marriages, these are just thoughts.
How do we go from men who make women feel ashamed for their virginity to the extreme of making women feel like God's rejecting them if they do have sex? Are we still allowing men to hold that much power over us? Or is it the power of the woman and her sexual nature that is running the man?
Friday, October 15, 2010
The question I keep asking myself over and over again
In hopes to gain a better understanding of the world we live in
To educate myself on matters that don't seem plausible
Yet are happening more frequently everyday
The news keeps popping up with stories
NPR blasts through my computer
I meditate in my room
Take long walks around the fields nearby
Remind myself that there is beauty in the world
There is good
There is good
There is good
Mom, can't you hear me?
Dad, can't you make all my problems go away?
Why is nobody listening?
Why is nobody caring?
Why is everyone so silent?
We all sit at our computers hour after hour
Surrounding ourselves with people
But sitting alone in our rooms
I sit and stare
Wonder what the world could be like
Would be like
Has the potential to be like
There can' be that much hate
There can't be that much cruelty
I don't want to hear anymore
I don't want to imagine being that mother
Who finds her child swinging from a tree
Hating him or herself because they thought
They were different than the rest
Unlike any other
That life won't get better
That dying is the answer
And pain is all they know to feel
Make it all go away
Stop the stories from feeding into my ears
Let the voices proclaim love instead
Bring those children back to life
So that I may hug them
Cradle each and everyone of them
Tell them that I love them just as they are
It does get better
What we say
It will get better
We tell ourselves as we go to sleep
Lying in our beds
Staring at the ceiling
And then there's this:
This video below sums up so much of what I want to say. Please pass it on to family and friends. Let's do what we can to help teenagers and adolescents understand that it does get better and we do love them.
PLEASE Watch and share with others.
Now, let's talk about what we can do to help.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
What does it mean to be a virgin in today's society, and why is there so much pressure put into this idea of whether a young woman is a prude or a slut?
It's just fascinating to me the amount of influence someone's sexual escapades have on their social standing. Not to go to much into it, but it's such a double standard for us that when a young woman sleeps around she's dubbed a slut and a guy sleeps around automatically makes him a stud. Yet, there is an equal amount of pressure slammed down upon both genders on whether or not they are in fact virgins.
The movie "40 Year Old Virgin" is about a man who has never had sex, and while it is an entertaining and humorous film, there is a great deal of truth to it. Men are expected to have done the dirty deed at least by their mid to late twenties (and that might be an exaggeration on my part, but please feel free to disagree). Then there's the movie "Easy A" which I referred to in my earlier blog regarding female empowerment in movies, but it touches on the idea of being a young virgin in today's society.
What really influenced me throughout this film was that the main character, played by Emma Stone, began to enjoy her peers viewing her as (for lack of a better word) a slut. While she, and the audience, clearly knows that she's never had sex, there is a great sense of power thrusted upon her when her reputation sky rockets. It is the power of seduction and consists of the pedestal we all put sex on.
The thing is that while "40 Year Old Virgin" and "Easy A" are completely different stories, their themes are pretty parallel with regards to the influence sex has upon someone's social standings. Being a virgin is what defined both these characters. And what defines many of us still.
My friends used to ask me after dates, "Are you still a virgin?" as if it determined so much about my character as to whether or not I chose to sleep with the guy I went out with. But isn't that always the thing though? I mean when I had sex for the first time I did in fact call a bunch of my friends to tell them my "exciting news" and looking back on it now that seems so ridiculous. I had been dubbed "virgin" for so long, I felt the need to wipe that slate clean and redefine myself for everyone else's sake.
Before I had been playing the character of the young woman who seemed to be experienced with her ways of the world, and had probably slept with a handful of guys, but in reality was just waiting for the real deal. And by real deal here I don't mean love by any means, but more for the fact that I was waiting until I was ready. Which is a very common idea among women I believe!
I've struggled with my idea of virginity a lot over the years, and probably due to the fact that I went to a Catholic school for twelve years, I wasn't sure how I felt about it when I distanced myself from structured religion. It's held such a pressure in my life. Weighed me down so many times and defined me for so long. It makes me sad, actually, that sex holds that type of power over us, how it determines how others view us, and the way society welcomes or rejects us.
Why does it have to be either the prude or the slut/stud? Why does it matter? Why does it have to mean everything? Why does being a virgin usually refer to a woman, yet we can't hold a concrete definition of what the word actually means?
Virgin equals never having sex, but what kind of sex? Many young women consider themselves to be "technical" virgins because while they've participated in pretty much every other human interaction you can imagine, they are in fact still virgins because they've never experience the "intercourse" aspect of sexual intercourse. I've also heard that virgin can mean someone who has never experienced an orgasm. So does that mean that even if they've had sex with another person, but never received any pleasure from doing so, they are still considered virgins?
Again I ask, is there a concrete definition of what being a virgin actually means?
Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines virgin as: "an absolutely chaste young woman".
Dictionary.com: 1. a person who has never had sexual intercourse. 2. an unmarried girl or woman. 7. an unfertilized insect. (Had to throw that in there.)
Virgin: n. Person who has not yet had sex. Largely believed to be mythological.
2. A person who has not yet engaged in sex because they are so socially crippled that whenever they are around the opposite sex they begin to hiss and fart uncontrollably.
Virginity: What women are proud to have and men are ashamed of.
-A big issue over a little tissue.
-The greatest gift a woman or man can give to someone. You can only lose your virginity once, if you take someone's virginity, you have taken something that they can never get back: it's irreplaceable. As this is the first time someone has sex, the presence of the hymen will make this the tightest fuck.
"virgin" is often used to refer to someone who has not yet had sexual intercourse, there is no single, clear definition of what virginity is. To most teens, virginity is a personal topic that can be embarrassing to talk about.
Yes, I know these aren't the most reliable sources (and let's face it, some are just entertaining to me) but it goes to show that there are many concepts of what being a virgin actually entails. There is no solid answer, and so I continue forward on my quest. A quest to search for understanding and the fascination I have with everyone else's fascination with having/not having sex.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that this whole thing is based off a new play I am writing regarding virginity and the obsession society has with it. So any thoughts, feedback, sources, quotes, statistics would be wonderful! Thank you in advance!