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Old 07-22-2013, 08:02 AM   #401
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Always enjoyed her.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Helen Thomas, the irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill nine presidents — often to their discomfort and was not shy about sharing her opinions, died Saturday. She was 92.

Thomas, who died at her apartment in Washington, had been ill for a long time, and in and out of the hospital before coming home Thursday, according to a friend, Muriel Dobbin.

Thomas made her name as a bulldog for United Press International in the great wire-service rivalries of old, and as a pioneer for women in journalism.

She was persistent to the point of badgering. One White House press secretary described her questioning as "torture" — and he was one of her fans.

Her refusal to conceal her strong opinions, even when posing questions to a president, and her public hostility toward Israel, caused discomfort among colleagues.

In 2010, that tendency finally ended a career which had started in 1943 and made her one of the best known journalists in Washington. On a videotape circulated on the Internet, she said Israelis should "get out of Palestine" and "go home" to Germany, Poland or the United States. The remark brought down widespread condemnation and she ended her career.

In January 2011, she became a columnist for a free weekly paper in a Washington suburb, months after the controversy forced her from her previous post.

In her long career, she was indelibly associated with the ritual ending White House news conferences. She was often the one to deliver the closing line: "Thank you, Mister. President" — four polite words that belied a fierce competitive streak.

Her disdain for White House secrecy and dodging spanned five decades, back to President John Kennedy. Her freedom to voice her peppery opinions as a speaker and a Hearst columnist came late in her career.

The Bush administration marginalized her, clearly peeved with a journalist who had challenged President George W. Bush to his face on the Iraq war and declared him the worst president in history.

After she quit UPI in 2000 — by then an outsized figure in a shrunken organization — her influence waned.

Thomas was accustomed to getting under the skin of presidents, if not to the cold shoulder.

"If you want to be loved," she said years earlier, "go into something else."

There was a lighter mood in August 2009, on her 89th birthday, when President Barack Obama popped into in the White House briefing room unannounced. He led the roomful of reporters in singing "Happy Birthday to You" and gave her cupcakes. As it happened, it was the president's birthday too, his 48th.

Thomas was at the forefront of women's achievements in journalism. She was one of the first female reporters to break out of the White House "women's beat" — the soft stories about presidents' kids, wives, their teas and their hairdos — and cover the hard news on an equal footing with men.

She became the first female White House bureau chief for a wire service when UPI named her to the position in 1974. She was also the first female officer at the National Press Club, where women had once been barred as members and she had to fight for admission into the 1959 luncheon speech where Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev warned: "We will bury you."

The belligerent Khrushchev was an unlikely ally in one sense. He had refused to speak at any Washington venue that excluded women, she said.

Thomas fought, too, for a more open presidency, resisting all moves by a succession of administrations to restrict press access.

"People will never know how hard it is to get information," Thomas told an interviewer, "especially if it's locked up behind official doors where, if politicians had their way, they'd stamp TOP SECRET on the color of the walls."

Born in Winchester, Ky., to Lebanese immigrants, Thomas was the seventh of nine children. It was in high school, after working on the student newspaper, that she decided she wanted to become a reporter.

After graduating from Detroit's Wayne University (now Wayne State University), Thomas headed straight for the nation's capital. She landed a $17.50-a-week position as a copy girl, with duties that included fetching coffee and doughnuts for editors at the Washington Daily News.

United Press — later United Press International — soon hired her to write local news stories for the radio wire. Her assignments were relegated at first to women's news, society items and celebrity profiles.

Her big break came after the 1960 election that sent Kennedy to the White House, and landed Thomas her first assignment related to the presidency. She was sent to Palm Beach, Fla., to cover the vacation of the president-elect and his family.

JFK's successor, Lyndon Johnson, complained that he learned of his daughter Luci's engagement from Thomas's story.

Bigger and better assignments would follow for Thomas, among them President Richard M. Nixon's breakthrough trip to China in 1972.

When the Watergate scandal began consuming Nixon's presidency, Martha Mitchell, the notoriously unguarded wife of the attorney general, would call Thomas late at night to unload her frustrations at what she saw as the betrayal of her husband John by the president's men.

It was also during the Nixon administration that the woman who scooped so many others was herself scooped — by the first lady. Pat Nixon was the one who announced to the Washington press corps that Thomas was engaged to Douglas Cornell, chief White House correspondent for UPI's archrival, AP.

They were married in 1971. Cornell died 11 years later.

Thomas stayed with UPI for 57 years, until 2000, when the company was purchased by News World Communications, which was founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church.

At age 79, Thomas was soon hired as a Washington-based columnist for newspaper publisher Hearst Corp.

A self-described liberal, Thomas made no secret of her ill feelings for the final president she covered — the second President Bush. "He is the worst president in all of American history," she told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif.

Thomas also was critical of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, asserting that the deaths of innocent people should hang heavily on Bush's conscience.

"We are involved in a war that is becoming more dubious every day," she said in a speech to thousands of students at Brigham Young University in September 2003. "I thought it was wrong to invade a country without any provocation."

Some students walked out of the lecture. She won over others with humorous stories from her "ringside seat" to history.

In March 2005, she confronted Bush with the proposition that "your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis" and every justification for the attack proved false.

"Why did you really want to go to war?" she demanded.

When Bush began explaining his rationale, she interjected: "They didn't do anything to you, or to our country."

"Excuse me for a second," Bush replied. "They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al-Qaida. That's where al-Qaida trained."

"I'm talking about Iraq," she said.

Her strong opinions finally ended her career.

After a visit to the White House, David Nesenoff, a rabbi and independent filmmaker, asked Thomas on May 27, 2010, whether she had any comments on Israel. "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she replied. "Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland," she continued. Asked where they should go, she answered, "They should go home." When asked where's home, Thomas replied: "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else."

The resulting controversy brought widespread rejection of her remarks. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called them "offensive and reprehensible." Many Jews were offended by her suggestion that Israelis should "go home" to Germany, Poland and America since Israel was initially settled in 1948 by Jews who had survived or escaped Hitler's attempt to kill all the Jews in Germany, and many in neighboring conquered countries.

Within days, she retired from her job at Hearst.

CALVIN WOODWARD,Associated Press

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Old 07-22-2013, 09:39 AM   #402
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Her comments about Israel were disappointing. However, you got to hand it to her for being not only a woman in a predominantly man's field (for a long time), but also for being a bulldog of a journalist. Many reporters today act like publicists and don't dig deep, especially when it comes to politics.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:46 AM   #403
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Why do you think her comments about Israel are disappointing? Although the 'go home' comments were pretty harsh, I'd agree.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:51 AM   #404
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I agree that Israel has violated international laws by settling in places where they are not supposed to, but her comments were harsh and insensitive. She could've made it her point with more constructive solutions.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #405
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Very accomplished woman, unfortunate for the way she will be remembered. What she said was really inappropriate, although I also note that she said it when she was 90 and if you listened to her interviews at that stage, she had begun to ramble and sound pretty incoherent at times. I know from my own experience with very elderly grandparents with dementia that the things that can come out of their mouths at that age can be rather breathtaking.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #406
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Institutionalized victim blaming in the UK- good to see it's not just in the US, I guess.

Barrister who called young girl,13, a 'sexual predator' suspended from abuse cases - Crime - UK - The Independent

Anti-sexual abuse campaigners, among them the author who successfully put Jane Austen on the £10 note before having to fend off the resulting torrent of online rape threats have reacted angrily after it emerged that a man who admitted having sex with a 13-year-old girl walked free from court; while his victim was described by the judge and prosecution as sexually “predatory”.
Neil Wilson, 41, faces having his eight-month suspended jail sentence reviewed after the Attorney General Dominic Grieve agreed to look into the case yesterday. And the Crown Prosecution Service was forced to admit that its own prosecutor acted “inappropriately” when he placed a portion of the responsibility upon the victim in court.
Campaigners and charities demanded answers after the “victim blaming” language came to light following weeks of campaigning to better represent and protect women in Britain. Following complaints, the Attorney General’s office will consider whether or not to ask the Court of Appeal to decide if the sentence given to Wilson was unduly lenient.
For more than two weeks, writer Caroline Criado-Perez has been leading a fight against the threats of violence online, which followed her banknote victory. Speaking today, she said: “This latest incident is the very front line of the sexism that still pervades UK society. For two weeks, Twitter has been awash rape and death threats against women who dare to speak out against abuse. The women are accused ‘provoking’ them.
“Now we have seen where this kind of attitude ends up: with what looks like a judge calling a 13-year-old girl a ‘sexual predator’ and letting her abuser off with a suspended sentence.”
Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz added her voice to the chorus of anger, saying that the judge’s behaviour was “of the deepest concern” and called the sentence “lenient”.
She was joined by charities and other campaigners; among them the people behind the Everyday Victim Blaming website, who set up a petition on the campaigning website Change.org demanding change at the CPS. The number of signatories was approaching 3,000 last night.
Their anger followed the comments made by prosecution lawyer Robert Colover. In sentencing, Judge Nigel Peters apparently accepted the suggestions that Wilson’s teenage victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was complicit in the abuse; despite her being well below the age of consent.
The girl was accused in court of "egging her abuser on" and was described as "looking older" than her thirteen years, something the judge said he would consider in Wilson’s favour. But anti-rape campaigners railed at the accusation that the young victim was promiscuous. They argued that it helped facilitate the sexual abuse of children.
The support group Rape Crisis (England and Wales) said it was “appalled and bitterly disappointed” at what it called “shocking and entirely unacceptable treatment of a 13-year-old sexual violence victim in court”.
A spokesman said that the charity “utterly refutes the strong implication of the judge’s comments that a child’s behaviour can somehow mitigate that of an adult who perpetrates sexual violence against her”.
The spokesman added: “This is not only a gross misinterpretation of the law but also a sad and clear signal that we still have some way to go before rape survivors can confidently expect both social and criminal justice in this country.”
And Barnardo’s deputy director of strategy Alison Worsley called the judge’s comments “plain wrong”, adding: “It is difficult to imagine the torment experienced by the vulnerable victims of crimes such as these. Many turn in on themselves and have feelings of shame and even self-loathing on top of the psychological scars inflicted by the abuser.
“It takes immense bravery for these young people to relive their ordeal in a court of law and we must not forget that it is the abuser who is guilty and not the victim.”
One woman, who said she was sexually abused as a child, told The Independent that she “could have been that 13-year-old girl”. She added that child victims of abuse often do not see themselves as victims at all because of the grooming process they have been put through.
Angela (not her real name), 37, said that was the way she felt during six years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather as a child. She said that, because of the abuse, she believed love to simply be a sexual act from an early age. Angela, whose ordeal started at the age of seven, said: “He told me that it happens in every family. I believed him because he was in a position of trust.”
“As a result of the abuse, I adopted some behaviour that could have been described as sexually predatory; in the same way as this girl’s was described. My understanding, as a young child, was that affection and being close to people was about doing sexual acts.”
She said that, when she told her story to police after confiding in a school friend, not even her mother believed her and she was said by a family member to be “very close” to her step-father. He was never prosecuted, she added. “It was my word against his.” When, as an adult, she said was raped again, she did not report it because she said she did not think she would be believed.
The attitude that victims, particularly children, are complicit in their own abuse means that there will be more and more stories like hers, Angela said.
Wilson was told by Judge Nigel Peters that he had taken account the fact his child victim looked older during sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday.
He added: “You have come as close to prison as is imaginable. I have taken in to account that even though the girl was 13, the prosecution say she looked and behaved a little bit older…On these facts, the girl was predatory and was egging you on…”
Wilson will also be supervised by the Probation Service for the next three years and has been banned from contacting children. He must allow police to examine his computer and attend a sex offenders’ programme. The court also heard that eight images of child sexual abuse and 11 images “involving horses and dogs” were found on his computer.
His case follows other recent high profile cases involving the sexual abuse of children, including those of Stuart Hall, Jimmy Savile and a host of child sexual abuse gangs found to be operating across the country.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the case will be “considered by a law officer (the Attorney or Solicitor General), who will decide whether it should be referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme”.
A CPS spokesperson said: “The language used by prosecution counsel was inappropriate. The transgressor in this case was the defendant and he bears responsibility for his criminal acts.”
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:15 PM   #407
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I guess this can go in here

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Old 08-14-2013, 05:14 PM   #408
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perhaps another way to combat sexism -- getting fathers to treat their daughters no differently from their sons when it comes to sexuality. that the protectiveness men feel towards their daughters in regards to other men reinforces the idea that women are there for the conquering.


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Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex
AUGUST 12, 2013 BY FERRETT STEINMETZ 543 COMMENTS

There’s a piece of twaddle going around the internet called 10 Rules For Dating My Daughter, which is packed with “funny” threats like this:

Quote:
“Rule Four: I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilising some kind of ‘barrier method’ can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.”
All of which boil down to the tedious, “Boys are threatening louts, sex is awful when other people do it, and my daughter is a plastic doll whose destiny I control.”

Look, I love sex. It’s fun. And because I love my daughter, I want her to have all of the same delights in life that I do, and hopefully more. I don’t want to hear about the fine details because, heck, I don’t want those visuals any more than my daughter wants mine. But in the abstract, darling, go out and play.

It doesn’t lessen you to give someone else pleasure. It doesn’t degrade you to have some of your own. And anyone who implies otherwise is a man who probably thinks very poorly of women underneath the surface.

Because consensual sex isn’t something that men take from you; it’s something you give. It doesn’t lessen you to give someone else pleasure. It doesn’t degrade you to have some of your own. And anyone who implies otherwise is a man who probably thinks very poorly of women underneath the surface.

Yes, all these boys and girls and genderqueers may break your heart, and that in turn will break mine. I’ve held you, sobbing, after your boyfriend cheated on you, and it tore me in two. But you know what would tear me in two even more? To see you in a glass cage, experiencing nothing but cold emptiness at your fingers, as Dear Old Dad ensured that you got to experience nothing until he decided what you should like.

You’re not me. Nor are you an extension of my will. And so you need to make your own damn mistakes, to learn how to pick yourself up when you fall, to learn where the bandages are and to bind up your own cuts. I’ll help. I’ll be your consigliere when I can, the advisor, the person you come to when all seems lost. But I think there’s value in getting lost. I think there’s a strength that only comes from fumbling your own way out of the darkness.

You’re your own person, and some of the things you’re going to love will strike me as insane, ugly, or unenjoyable. This is how large and wonderful the world is! Imagine if everyone loved the same thing; we’d all be battling for the same ten people. The miracle is how easily someone’s cast-offs become someone else’s beloved treasure. And I would be a sad, sad little man if I manipulated you into becoming a cookie-cutter clone of my desires. Love the music I hate, watch the movies I loathe, become a strong woman who knows where her bliss is and knows just what to do to get it.

Now, you’re going to get bruised by life, and sometimes bruised consensually. But I won’t tell you sex is bad, or that you’re bad for wanting it, or that other people are bad from wanting it from you if you’re willing to give it. I refuse to perpetuate, even through the plausible deniability of humor, the idea that the people my daughter is attracted to are my enemy.

I’m not the guard who locks you in the tower. Ideally, I am my daughter’s safe space, a garden to return to when the world has proved a little too cruel, a place where she can recuperate and reflect upon past mistakes and know that here, there is someone who loves her wholeheartedly and will hug her until the tears dry.

That’s what I want for you, sweetie. A bold life filled with big mistakes and bigger triumphs.

Now get out there and find all the things you fucking love, and vice versa.

Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex — The Good Men Project
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:33 PM   #409
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perhaps another way to combat sexism -- getting fathers to treat their daughters no differently from their sons when it comes to sexuality.
It is my preference that both my son and daughter marry before they have sex. If that doesn't happen (which it probably won't) - I pray it is consensual and protected sex in their 20's.

Sure, father's can be protective of their daughters - but mother's can also be very protective of their sons. Usually, both parents are protective of both genders of their kids.

Is it really sexist to hope your daughter finishes her education and perhaps spend some time as an adult before settling into a serious sexual relationship?

Sex is not the "be all and end all" to happiness. Those who rank it that high probably live very shallow and self-centered lives.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:42 PM   #410
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perhaps another way to combat sexism -- getting fathers to treat their daughters no differently from their sons when it comes to sexuality. that the protectiveness men feel towards their daughters in regards to other men reinforces the idea that women are there for the conquering.
That's a really good read.

I find myself pretty protective of my younger sister however... mostly because I was a teenage boy not that long ago and I remember what most teenage boys are like.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:22 PM   #411
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It is my preference that both my son and daughter marry before they have sex. If that doesn't happen (which it probably won't) - I pray it is consensual and protected sex in their 20's.

Sure, father's can be protective of their daughters - but mother's can also be very protective of their sons. Usually, both parents are protective of both genders of their kids.

Is it really sexist to hope your daughter finishes her education and perhaps spend some time as an adult before settling into a serious sexual relationship?

Sex is not the "be all and end all" to happiness. Those who rank it that high probably live very shallow and self-centered lives.
This sounds nice on the surface, but most research (and even just deeper thought) indicates that it is a poor way to go about it. Sex is an important part of a relationship, whether you like it or not. It's not shallow to consider it so; it's just a fact. Not experiencing it with your partner before getting married only increases the chance that things go wrong later.

I used to hear people spout off things about how people shouldn't move in together before they get married, which is clinically insane. You simply can't marry someone before you know if you can even share a small space with them. Obviously, that's more important than sex, but not as much as you think it is.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:30 PM   #412
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I find myself pretty protective of my younger sister however... mostly because I was a teenage boy not that long ago and I remember what most teenage boys are like.
This is a good point, Cobbo.
I think the general attitude is sexist, but it's sexist toward males. Because a man knows what a scoundrel a teenage boy can be
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:54 PM   #413
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My husband is definitely biased against boys and men for that very reason, in terms of judging their sexuality as predatory and exploitative. But he judges women in other ways, so I can see that the two attitudes are not mutually exclusive.

I liked that article. The problem with the "protective" attitude it describes is that is assumes the dad has some sort of ownership over the daughter and her sexuality, that it's somehow his to protect instead of hers use ethically and enjoyably. As if it's some sort of personal insult to him if her body is used in ways he doesn't like, even if she does. It's true that "purity culture" does specifically emphasize fathers' gatekeeping of girls' sexuality - for example in the bizarre customs of father/daughter proms and "dating your daughter." Not long ago I saw a Purity T shirt for girls with the logo, "No trespassing on this property. My father is watching." Deconstruct that one and you quickly find a girl who has been taught to regard her body as a property owned by someone else; her dad. Yick.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:00 PM   #414
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This sounds nice on the surface, but most research (and even just deeper thought) indicates that it is a poor way to go about it. Sex is an important part of a relationship, whether you like it or not. It's not shallow to consider it so; it's just a fact. Not experiencing it with your partner before getting married only increases the chance that things go wrong later.

I used to hear people spout off things about how people shouldn't move in together before they get married, which is clinically insane. You simply can't marry someone before you know if you can even share a small space with them. Obviously, that's more important than sex, but not as much as you think it is.
You can exchange "married" for "adult monogamous relationship" - in either case, I don't think that it is sexist to want your children to enter these cautiously and only after they've completed a few goals on their own.

Our culture seems to worship sex - as if it something you must have all the time. I try to convince my children that is not the case, it is only something good in the proper context - but not in and of itself.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:07 PM   #415
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Deconstruct that one and you quickly find a girl who has been taught to regard her body as a property owned by someone else; her dad. Yick.
I think father's generally feel it is their duty to protect their entire family: wife, sons, and daughters.

Fathers don't feel like they own their daughter because they won't let teenage boys stream into their house and pile on her. That's ridiculous.

The article and this line of thinking just seems really - strange.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:08 PM   #416
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This is a good point, Cobbo.
I think the general attitude is sexist, but it's sexist toward males. Because a man knows what a scoundrel a teenage boy can be
This is more than likely true.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:29 PM   #417
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I think father's generally feel it is their duty to protect their entire family: wife, sons, and daughters.

Fathers don't feel like they own their daughter because they won't let teenage boys stream into their house and pile on her. That's ridiculous.

The article and this line of thinking just seems really - strange.

I've never seen purity messages that regard boy's sexuality as needing to be protected, have you? And I've never seen a dad, mom or older brother threaten a protective rage and bodily harm towards the girl their boy may sleep with. I've never seen a "This property" T shirt for boys. The purity messaging for boys and girls is just different. The emphasis for girls is on "protecting" themselves and for boys on "restraining" themselves- as though boys may not feel pressured and girls don't need to restrain themselves! (They do. I promise.)

And honestly Aeon I find your last comment kind of disquieting and deeply embedded with sexist attitudes. It's like you imagine that without the dad keeping the door, a girl will naturally allow an endless parade of pimply humpdogs between her legs. You place the emphasis on these boys streaming through the door and not at all on her choice- that she'll have no discretion or preference of her own. Boys streaming through the door to pile on her? What the hell kind of image is that? Essentially you're painting a picture in which a girl has zero control over who she has sex with, and only dad can keep her from the clutches of the randy mob. Not to mention equating sexually active teen girlhood with gang rape. Disturbing.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:39 PM   #418
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hyperbole.

Gang rape? You're cheapening your message with nonsense like that
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:44 PM   #419
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Maybe I missed the intended message of the phrase, "boys streaming in to pile on her." Should I assume that unless dad keeps the gate the daughter will welcome the streaming pile? Cause I find that one disturbing too.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:45 PM   #420
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I can see the point that a father might be instinctually more protective of a girl because women share a disproportionate burden of the negative consequences of heterosexual sex -- pregnancy, std's -- as well as being the potential victims of sexual violence. These reasons account for a lot of the differences between men and women when it comes to sex. Testosterone is a powerful thing and the genital wiring is different, but women are more cautious because they need to be. And that's what would concern me as a father.

However, I think that's much different than viewing her body as a temple to be kept pure, and sex as something dirty and defiling, as well as something that men "get" from women. That attitude always bothered me, and I remain stunned at the sexual double standards I remember accepting as a teenager as I mostly watched from the sidelines.

This is what I think the article is getting at -- changing the arttidue of boys to regard sex as less something that is gotten away with and more something that is entered into consensually, and part of that is the understanding that girls like it too.

The Dutch, with their dramatically lower teen pregnancy rates, seem to get this:

Quote:
it an absolute given that parents of teenagers should object to their children's sex lives? In American culture, the answer is largely assumed to be that it is. The range of acceptable responses from parents to the news that their high-school-age children are sexually active is to rage angrily and forbid it or, at best, reluctantly provide contraception while emphasizing that you wish they wouldn't have sex. But what would happen if parents embraced another possibility and actually accepted their teenagers' sex lives, even going so far as to allow teenagers to have their boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over? After all, sleepovers will begin pretty much the second they walk out your door, so what's the harm in letting it start a little earlier?

These are the questions that Henry Alford addressed in the New York Times late last week, in a piece about how a handful of American parents are experimenting with giving respect to teenage relationships. He interviewed a couple of parents who allow sleepovers—and in one case, cohabitation—and found that they felt quite positive about the results. Parents reported that the experience taught their children values like responsibility and even that it subtly encouraged monogamy. Writing of one mother who allowed her high school senior's boyfriend to move in for a year, Alford notes:

But the greater dividend of his stay was that it gave Ms. Collins’s three younger adolescent children a view of committed love that far surpassed most of what they had seen from adults. Ms. Collins said, “I hope they won’t settle for less.”

Of course, there's no reason to stab around in the dark, just guessing at whether allowing teenage sleepovers is some kind of sign of the apocalypse or just a way for families to handle teenage sexuality in a responsible, realistic fashion. Sleepovers have been normalized in the Netherlands for decades now, and as social scientist Amy Schalet's research suggests, the results have been generally positive. By demonstrating acceptance and respect for their kids' relationships, Dutch parents, on average, enjoy more communication with their kids about sex and relationships than American parents do, which in turn means the kids are more likely to get the health care and education they need to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancy. Oh, and the teenage pregnancy rate in the Netherlands is nearly four times lower than ours.

Schalet also discovered that the Dutch way helped minimize negative stereotyping about gender, love, and sexuality. In the U.S., there's a tendency to see sex as a battle between boys and girls, with parents falling for "the stereotype that all boys want the same thing, and all girls want love and cuddling." But because Dutch parents respect teenage relationships, they have a more holistic view, understanding that most young people of any gender want a combination of both.

Allowing sleepovers in not a license for licentiousness. If anything, the practice even tends to reinforce the idea that sex is about relationships, whereas sneaking around lays the groundwork for the hookup culture that has caused so much hand-wringing of late. Parents actually have the power to lay the groundwork for more responsible behavior about sexual health and relationship management while making sex a little less illicit. Might not be such a terrible idea.
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