April 18, 2005

"They are just totally floored that you can even go to an Ivy League school and hold some of the beliefs that we hold."

Abstinence and chastity at Princeton.


Wade Garrett said...

This article really bothered me. If they want to claim the moral high ground, I will let them have it, I sure as hell don't want it. But I vehemently disagree with the claim that "their aim is not to pass moral judgment, they say, only to inform."

The reason that sex is discussed out in the open is because even worse things result when it is not discussed at all, or when it is only whispered about late at night behind locked doors. Most college freshmen come from environments where sex is not discussed in a frank and open manner, if it is discussed at all, and if college counselors do not take up this slack then any number of unfavorable outcomes may result.

I, for instance, went to an all-boys Catholic high school. Fortunately I had great parents who made certain to educate me about sex before I was old enough to make any mistakes, but most of my high school classmates were clueless about sex, and stood to gain quite a bit from those mandatory, freshman year sex-ed talks. They make everybody squirm from discomfort, but they serve an important role. Some of my female friends are still to embarassed to walk into a pharmacy and buy condoms, and I'm 25. The free condoms, which they can pick up anonymously, and the literature about how to avoid rape, avoid unwanted pregnancies, and avoid STDs are invaluable. The universities are not encouraging sex, they are just trying to practice preventive medicine, and these Anscombe society members are too naive to tell the difference.

Furthermore, Jennifer Mickel character better watch her mouth. "The discussion was very sex-focused, like about having rape kits," and I asked, 'What do your schools have for women who are not having sex?'" Is she serious? Classes, athletic teams, a capella groups, debating clubs, visiting speakers -- are those insufficient? This woman must be the most worldly and well-read person in the state of New Jersey, if she is intellectually understimulated at Princeton University because there aren't enough activities for virgins.

Most importantly, I'd like to stick her in a small room with my female friends who have been the victims of rap and have her say to heir faces that having rape kits and the morning after pill is a bad idea. Women who get raped don't belong in the easily dismissed and sure-to-go-to-hell-anyway category of "women who have sex." They have been raped. Whatever value system this little choirgirl is pushing, it is not one in which I, or anybody I would want to befriend, believes.

Wade Garrett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

I just removed a double posting. I wasn't censoring Terrence.

Ann Althouse said...

Terrence, I do think there is legitimacy to getting the message out that abstinence is an option. There are a lot of kids who go ahead and do what they think is expected of them or what they think everyone else is doing. If some students serve as abstinence role models, it really does help other students think through whether that's right for them. It's like students demonstrating to other students that you can have fun without getting drunk. It seems like an obvious option, but it's easy, when you're young (and even when you're not young) to forget about that.

Jennifer said...

Hi, I AM Jennifer Mickel, and I suppose I could just keep my mouth shut, but since your title is my quote I thought I'd add a comment or two.

First, I'm not a member of the Anscombe Society. I was at the interview as a student who sees a need for them on campus, and I do. Because even in the extra-curriculars you named, it is assumed that everyone is having sex. There are jokes about it and discussion, etc. I'm not saying I don't participate in this or that it is bad, but if you're trying to stay abstinent, it's hard and it's even harder when you truly can't seem to find anyone else who is.

I don't think we should get rid of rape kits or the morning after pill, and that's an unfair extrapolation from my comment. The conversation was on women's issues--not sex--but the entire conversation revolved around it. My point was that perhaps some women's funding and women's issues should be targeted at other topics--not all women are having sex. Furthermore, the current state of things doesn't do much to combat the image of women as a sex object when we only deal with that aspect of womanhood in all of our programming. That's a perfectly legitimate point that every delegate from the Ivy League agreed with.

Should we talk less about sex? No way. But we should also let those who aren't having it have their say. That's what a university is for--the exchange of ideas. That's why diversity is exalted, and I'm proud to welcome the intellectual diversity Anscombe brings.

Ann Althouse said...

Jennifer: Thanks for coming by! That was pretty cool. Has getting conspicuously quoted -- and on such a subject -- affected things on campus for you?