Category Archives: Teenage girls

Of Course, It’s the Bare Shoulders! (Facepalm)

The past year has been enlivened and simultaneously made awful by report after report of girls’ clothing criticized, banned, and all but torn off them by school officials eager to note that nearby boys – and some male teachers – are critically distracted by a bare shoulder or the glimpse of a leg.

 

It’s sad. It’s ridiculous, It’s also terribly ignorant and naïve.

 

While these people — possibly well-intentioned on some level . . . the 19th century one — go after the local girls, to what must be the amazement and confusion of their male classmates, what in heaven’s name do they, the officials, imagine the boys have been watching the night before? Perhaps, in the case of early risers, that very morning before classes began?

 

Do they believe the male-owned phones and laptops were turned to Election 2016 news with its dueling speeches, lies, bravado? How about national tragedies like cyclones and floods?

 

Sports! Perhaps the boys were watching sports and reviewing how unlikely the Leicester City English Premiership victory really was – at 5000-to-1 odds, a bona fide miracle – or counting down the days until North American ice hockey’s Stanley Cup.

 

Think so?

 

Get real. Chances are good that an unhealthy proportion of middle-school and high-school boys are watching internet porn in their off hours. There, the featured bodies wear nothing at all.

 

If teenage guys are getting stiffies (haven’t they always?), it’s much more to do with their imaginations and what they watched on their iPads at midnight than what the girl in algebra class is wearing.

 

I offer for evidence a segment of J. K. Rowling’s highly praised The Casual Vacancy — in this section, the two high-school boys, Andrew and Fats, live in a charming small town in the west of England. One has teachers for parents; the other, a nurse and a printing plant manager:

 

“Andrew knew what naked women looked like, because there were no parental controls on the computer in Fats’ conversion bedroom. Together they had explored as much online porn as they could access for free: shaven vulvas; pink labia pulled wide to show darkly gaping slits; spread buttocks revealing the puckered buttons of anuses; thickly lipsticked mouths, dripping semen . . . Andrew was unsure whether he was more excited or repulsed (whips and saddles, harnesses, ropes, hoses; and once, at which even Fats had not managed to laugh, close-ups of metal-bolted contraptions, and needles protruding from soft flesh, and women’s face frozen, screaming) . . ..”

 

Who in their right mind would believe a classmate’s shoulder blade or lower thigh could distract after that?

 

Recall, too, that images once seen remain in the brain forever, especially images of horror or seduction.

 

In fact, it makes more sense to protect girls from the corrupting influence of boys and male administrators (the latter no doubt enjoying their own favorite online images) than the reverse. As witness, the rise in male adolescents’ requests for unusual sexual behaviors; the pressure on girls to audibly perform like porn stars; and the increase in labiaplasties, even in teenagers.

 

To those teachers and administrators who are all too willing to enforce what are sometimes ridiculous, humiliating dress codes that focus more on girls than on boys – shame on you! Take the log from your own eye before you object to the mote in another person’s. Recognize that, in the 21st century, what you object to has nothing to do with distraction – as if a knee could compete with “pink labia pulled wide to show darkly gaping slits” – and everything to do with blame and control.

 

Honi soit qui mal y pense: Shamed be the person who thinks evil exists where it does not.

 

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Filed under Teenage boys, Teenage girls, Uncategorized

Dear Mayor Bloomberg

 

Found his personal website. Found his official .gov site. Looked through both of them. Could not find a simple “contact the mayor” button . . . unless I were a New York City resident complaining about, say, trash removal.

 

There was no easy way (there could be, web administrators!) for the ordinary non-New Yorker to contact the 108th mayor of the Big Apple.

 

The address of Gracie Mansion is on the internet. But Mayor Bloomberg does not live in the official mayoral mansion on the north end of Carl Schurz Park, overlooking the East River – I know my way around the city – so mail would be unlikely to reach him there.

 

So I’m blogging this in the hope that someone savvy on Bloomberg’s staff links him.

 

If you live in NYC or read national papers, you know that the Mayor’s Office has recently approved a campaign using shame to bring down the rates of teen pregnancy and birth in the city. “It is well past time when anyone can afford to be value-neutral when it comes to teen pregnancy,” says Bloomberg’s press office.Posters have been appearing in the subways, photos of little kids with these sample headlines (bolded words original to the text):

 

“Honestly mom . . . chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

 

“I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.”

 

“If you finish high school, get a job, and get married before having children, you have a 98% chance of not being in poverty.”

 

Is any of this false? No. Is it a good idea to shame people into healthy behavior? Yes.

 

Look at MADD’s campaign against drunk-driving, and the way smoking has become impermissible in many places across the US – something that perplexes puffers who arrive here from Asia, where Big Tobacco is trying to addict as many people as possible in order to make up for quitters in, for example, America. Yes, shame works. A little bit of shame, that is, not enough to crush the person who likes to drink or the one who uses one of the most addictive substances on the planet (that’s tobacco, y’all).

 

Despite naysayers, shame is not a four-letter word, and it can be very useful to help teenagers avoid pregnancy. Holland certainly finds it so. Health experts from other parts of Europe visit the Netherlands to learn how the Dutch attain their low teen pregnancy rate. Hint: shame is utilized. Pregnancy in adolescence is regarded as an inexplicable failure of prevention on the part of both girl and boy. The Dutch also view teenage pregnancy as a family issue, and the state will not provide the young woman with a flat all her own – unlike in the UK, which categorizes a teenage mother-plus-baby as a distinct family unit.

 

So I’m not shame-averse. Not at all. What gets my goat, though, is using shame against only the female half of the pregnancy-creating couple.

 

Teenagers don’t use IVF. They don’t spend thousands of dollars on prime Danish sperm over the internet. No, they get pregnant the old-fashioned way. Which means they don’t do it alone.

 

Chances are, the guy who knocks up a 16-year-old is not himself 16 years old. No, sir. More times than you’d think, the dude depositing sperm is well over 18. He’s an adult, often with a wife or girlfriend. He has no business messing with teenagers.

 

So, what’s sauce for the adolescent goose is more than sauce for the adult gander.

 

Here’s what I want to see: a shame program aimed at the men who target girls. Those guys should be looking at women their own age. Pick on someone your own size, we should say.

 

Remember Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”? Of course you do. It’s still played, and not just on oldies stations. Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

 

So here’s how the next posters designed for NYC subways should read:

 

Hey! Man! Leave those girls alone!

 

Target the other half, the older, supposedly more mature half of the baby-making process. Shame grown men into better behavior. Let them know that picking on adolescents is the opposite of cool.

 

That way, teenagers won’t get pregnant in the first place. Problem solved.

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Filed under Adolescence, Bloomberg, New York City, Pregnancy, Subway ads, Teenage girls