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A Revolution for the Prudes and Sluts: A Few Thoughts on Virginity

 

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“It’s kind of a double-edged sword isn’t it? If you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have, you’re a slut. It’s a trap.”- The Breakfast Club

Why is that? This whole concept of virginity is so intriguing yet confusing to me. It’s this way to me because when talking about virginity, you first have to define what it even means. Is it strictly penetration? If so, does that mean people who identify as lesbians are incapable of ever losing their virginity? In that case does losing your virginity mean oral sex? Once you define it, I begin to wonder why it even matters. Why does it matter that we know that two people came together to pleasure each other? But more than that, why are we placing so much emphasis on it? After all, if you’re anything like me who is in her first year of college, you cringe when you hear stories of people you know losing their virginity (most commonly to random “hookups”), yet you are taken aback a little to find out that someone is still a virgin. We ourselves are hypocrites and because of that, you can never win with this virginity battle, and it’s because no matter which path you choose, there’s going to be some stigma around it.

So why is it such a big deal to be a virgin? Or is it?

To some, having sex is kind of like a right of passage, something that shows maturity and coming of age. Others hold the act sacred or at least live with the belief that sex should be taken seriously and virginity should be lost with someone special. Neither are better or worse than each other, especially because they both hold their strengths and weaknesses. But for some reason, it is still more socially acceptable to have lost your virginity than it is to have kept it. There is such an emphasis for your first time to be something magical, unforgettable and pleasure filled, but often times it’s not and when that happens, it’s hard not to feel as if you’ve done something wrong. Not only that, but there becomes a component of regret. It sets in and it begins to be hard not to feel as though you didn’t handle the situation right. There are so many mixed emotions about what the “right” way to lose your virginity and I strongly believe in eradicating those ideas set in place about the way we “should” do it so that each time a girl loses her virginity, her story is valid and not judged, all because she didn’t do it the way you thought she should.

It frustrates me that girls are still shaming each other into believing that the way they are handling situations aren’t right. Everyone decides to do what’s best for them and there is not right or wrong scenario when it comes to losing your virginity. Sure, some might have wished they waited or that their first time was different than it was, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that they were wrong to do it the way they did. But on that same token, there seems to often be this odd sense of despair when girls who have had sex talk to virgins about sex. However, it shouldn’t be like that. People shouldn’t feel pitty for the virgins because they haven’t had the same life experiences.
This double edged sword is tough and it saddens me that it still exists. The Breakfast Club was made almost thirty years ago and yet the line about virginity still holds true. So I challenge you. I challenge you to stand up the next time you hear someone bash either side. I challenge you to stand up for the perceived sluts. And I also challenge you to stand up for the perceived prudes. Nobody deserves to be labeled a certain way based on something so silly as virginity, or lack there of. So take a stand and create a change. We might not change the world, but you might change someone’s world.

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Violence Against Women: Why Should Men Care?

April is sexual assault awareness month. It’s sad to think that I didn’t know that until this year, but hey, it’s never too late to learn (after all, at least one more person is aware!). The reason I now know this is because I had the pleasure of listening to Jackson Katz, who is recognized as one of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists, talk about how violence against women is also a men’s issue. His talk that he gave to various members of the student body here at AU was loosely based off of his TED Talk, Jackson Katz: Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue and provided a unique viewpoint on violence against women- one that I had never heard or pondered.

If there was one main thing that he wanted to get across to those who attended his talk, it was that it enrages him that violence against women has, “been seen as a women’s issue that some good men help out with” because he believes that, “calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem”. By calling sexual assault and violence against women a women’s issue solely, he believes that it gives men an excuse to not pay attention. Even here at AU, his belief was held true. When you look at who attended his talk, the majority were women. Not only that, but even though all Greek organizations were required to have at least 70% of their organization in attendance or else they would be faced with a fine, only two fraternities of thirteen on campus met the requirement, while almost every sorority did. (I guess now I know which frats to avoid). This is part of the issue: gender violence is a problem that affects both men and women, yet it is viewed as “unmanly” to actively support women in the effort to alleviate said violence. Every man has a mother and grandmother. Some have sisters. Eventually, most will have wives. We can’t coexist on this planet without members of the opposite sex, so it baffles me that in 2014, there is still gender inequality and patriarchal dominance that reigns superior in our society.

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April is sexual assault awareness month.

But what can we do? There’s still work to be done and it all starts with taking action instead of only taking interest, so I’ll leave you with this idea from Katz.

“There’s so many men who care deeply about these issues, but caring deeply is not enough. We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them.”

What do you think about this topic? Should more men be challenged to stand up for women or is it too ingrained in their minds to put women down? How can we begin to make positive changes to help the genders become more equal? Is this even possible?

*If this interests you, make sure and check out my post about AU and EI and how sexual assault plays a part in the whole debacle.