Thursday, June 20, 2013

virginity, sexual property, stratification

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  1. Coming from a strict Baptist upbringing, I can relate to this topic immensely, and I really appreciate the bloggers take on it. Growing up, I was taught that as a woman it was my job to protect my self-worth, and to not cause men to stray by being flirtatious, scantily dressed, or provoking attention to our looks. In my teenage years, I started to discover how crazy this idea was. There is so much pressure placed on women and sex, notice that in this video she primarily talks about women losing their virginity, not men. Through history we have created social constructs for what a virgin consists of (untouched hymen), a construct that men could in no way be judged as they do not have the same anatomy. The inequality of this judgment system is incredibly bothersome as a woman. From my upbringing, I have learned to look at this topic in a more constructive manner, and this is what I've learned:
    1) My body is mine, not a man’s conquest or trade, not a religion’s tool of oppression, and definitely not a social construct.
    2) As a woman, I do have more power than history has shown; it is my responsibility to take it.
    3) It is my obligation to demand respect, and not allow my body or virginity, or lack thereof, to be used against me.
    4) It is a man’s responsibility to not lust after me; their weak character cannot dictate what I wear or how I act.

    While yes, I will admit that my upbringing of “cause no man to lust “ was definitely on the extreme side of things, I appreciate what it has taught me and I appreciate having a childhood that was not ran by sex, as most teenagers now a days do.

    -Rebekah Miller

  2. I'm going to use Rebekah's post to go off a little bit of a tangent (though it relates, I promise), because while this video doesn't specifically mention virginity's role in religion, religion does absolutely play a role in people's sexuality and expression thereof.

    Coming from an Agnostic/Deist perspective, I would argue that religion, as Laci would put it, is "bullshit." Understandably, this argument is not going to win me very many friends in American society (or in many societies, for that matter)- but there it is.

    It's not just virginity that religion affects, but sexuality in general:

    We can see how religion affects people's views on those with different sexual practices. Chick-fil-a, anyone? What about the Defense of Marriage Act?

    Marriage (though, I would argue that marriage is also a social construct- it only has meaning because people say that it does) gives people certain privileges and advantages that unmarried people do not have (most of which are fairly obvious)- by denying homosexual people the legal right to marry, we are denying homosexual couples the access to these advantages. The Defense of Marriage Act is definitely discrimination, based on religious ideology, that perpetuates social stratification between "straights" and "gays."

    Religion has also been used to defend slavery- I'm sure I don't have to explain how that's oppressive and stratifying...

    What about sexism? Of course, when we objectify people, which sexism often leads to, we can more easily justify violence against them, so what about violence against women?

    Here are some thoughts on Karl Marx's views on religion and social control:

    Of course, these are not the only example of religion leading to social stratification through discrimination, but I'm not trying to write a dissertation... :)

    So, I would argue that it's not just the concept of virginity that contributes to social stratification, but religion in general. Of course, having the interest in social psychology that I do, I would argue that the formation of religion is due to our need to alleviate anxiety concerning our mortality (social psychology's Terror Management Theory) and it's not so much religion but the basic human psychological needs that lead to the creation of religions that are at the root of this problem. Because of this, I'm a little pessimistic as to whether we can ever get rid of religion and the stratification it leads to.

    I would ask though- if religion is a social construct, why can't we simply revise religion doctrines to be more egalitarian? But this brings up another question: are people discriminatory because of religion, or is religion discriminatory because of people? I'd say it's probably religion and psychology working in tandem, so modifying religious beliefs may still have an affect on our level of stratification.

    I think it's time for another Enlightenment period.

  3. I completely agree with this video. Being a Christian growing up in a single parent home my mom always talked to my sister and I about sex, and how to abstain and all that good stuff. Basically she talked to us because she always said she didn't want us to be like her. She wanted us to grow up successful, go to school, then marry and have a family. This video makes me think so heavily about the power of sex and how it can actually complicate life and make a lot of things harder on one’s self. Sex is something man should share with wife. it's sacred, with that being said it goes back to the views that my mom had for my sister and I. she wanted us to understand that in order to do better than her "in life" she asked that we be mindful about who we decide to have sex with if we do, and to make sure whoever wants to be the father of our children we will marry them so that we will not have to struggle like she had to.
    -Samone Lindsey

  4. I believe the whole Virgin status is fictional. Yes it probably did do something back in the times of dowry and arranged marriages. In some countries yes virginity is very important. But speaking for the American culture I don't believe it to be a big deal. I personally believe if a woman/man wants to be with multiple partners in a lifetime then so be it. Who are we to judge. As long as that person is happy and finds a person that is happy with their previous lifestyle then it is not our business to classify, admonish or to ridicule the person for their choices. Virginity does have a double standard but society can change that as well. Laci Green makes a good point to bring up the fact that society does have the gays and lesbians in the whole virginity conversation. Does that mean that gays and lesbians are heterosexually virgins? Virginity should not be put on a pedestal because sometimes that is taken by force and that does not make a woman or man less important or be of less class than anyone else.

    We should just do away with the word and concept of virginity and how about just look for the person who makes you happy whether they have been with one individual or 100's.

    Josue Castro

  5. This video is interesting and entertaining, and Laci Green does bring up some good points about the term "virginity." However, her point is a lot more relevant in other cultures where religion and values are held to more extreme measures. Maybe calling virginity "bullshit" is not the ideal way to go about it, unless you're willing to take on debates on religion, morals, and God. Perhaps calling it "unnecessary" would be a bit more appropriate.

    I do believe the purity of a virgin is important to other cultures and their beliefs although I do not agree, by any means, with the honor crimes. In America, however, the term "virginity" is not as powerful or sacred as it once was. It is the 21 century! Granted some Americans still hold true to this practice, nothing wrong with that, but more than 1.6 million women have children out of wedlock, which makes up over 40 percent of all births (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010 stats). It is almost half as likely to meet at married woman with a child than it is to meet a unmarried woman with a child. Now consider those having premarital sex who do not have children; "a lot," would be an understatement.

    We live in a modern society where it is socially acceptable to have premarital sex. Losing your virginity is not as big of a deal as Laci makes it out to be, at least not in America. I don't think she should portray the majority of Americans as prudes who put the term virginity "on a pedestal."

    Maybe it is more of a personal issue that Laci is trying to tackle. She does appear to be at the age where fitting in is a formidable priority. Nonetheless, the video enlightened me about the origins of virginity, and hopefully she raises awareness of the horrible honor crimes.

    Also, props on her creativeness!

    Francisco L.