Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sometimes I think the net exists to enrage me

I mean it. I know my friend Greg thinks all I do is read knitting blogs and skims my blog for fear of being forced to read about non-edible fiber, but in point of fact I read a LOT of political blogs, mostly written by women who find stories that raise my blood pressure. Like this one. Which leads to this one. I just discovered Molly, thanks to my dear blog friend Ancrene (hiya honey!) While Twisty has access to some wonderfully annoying information about the world, she and I disagree about sex big time (I agree about the surgery, I most emphatically do not share her opinion of heterosexual sex, and certainly not about BDSM, while Molly and I seem, so far to be on the same page.

Reading about Victoria's S*cret's campaign really ticks me off, and not only because I can't afford to shop there as often as my less steely feminist desires would like to, but because it's wrong to target young girls in this way. It's hateful, it borders on brainwashing and perhaps some even less acceptable things (oh, like pedophilia, the oversexualizing of youth which could lead to the lowering of the age of consent - oh yeah, I'm getting extreme here and I haven't even poured my coffe yet this a.m.). I did say something about enraged, did I not?

It's true I read Cosm* as a 12-year old. It's true that I was no longer attached to my virginity in the biblical way by the time I was 14. It's true that I took great pleasure in sex early on (though so much more so as I age - let me tell you!), yes I wore real stockings with a garter belt while still in high school, but it thrilled me more than anyone else because I knew what was on underneath my clothes, I wasn't showing it off to the masses. Do I look back now with regret at some of my behaviors, yes and no. I don't have many regrets, okay maybe about not going over my perfectionism and insecurity so that I could really excel at ballet rather than hide in the back of the room or leave early so as not to do floor work. About my first boyfriend? Again, yes and no. I learned a lot from the psychopath - I suppose I should change his title now that I know more about psychology, but suffice it to say he was controlling, abusive and a very messed up young man. To use today's verneracular whether he was really a gangsta or just posin' he constituted a serious threat to my well-being. Now I clearly see that information about sexuality and sensuality was not given to me in a healthy way (okay, I've known this for decades but you get the point) but at least the clothing targeted to me as an 8 year old, or a 12 year old couldn't be mistaken as a hot to trot 17-year eager to show how powerful she thought she was around sexuality. It is normal, at least in the united states for youngsters to want to be older, mostly be we want to feel like we have some control, we crave the freedoms this country purports to offer it's citizens. We have cheapen that freedom down to have sexual behavior be the only viable expression said freedom. As a nation we have forgotten that with freedom comes responsibility. That actions should be carried out after some thought about consequences, only we don't teach about consequences since it is harder and harder for there to be access to information about, oh I don't know, contraception and sexually transmitted infection.

In addition to my usual frothing at the mouth over these things, which usually only The Girl Friend has to sit though, I suppose another thing bringing this to blog is I just met with my client for the first time yesterday - a 13 year old girl who is turning 14 in a matter of days. Soon I will be hanging out with this young woman-child for many hours a week and hopefully having her really talk to me about her life and her inner thoughts. It terrifies me what she may say about such things and how I can calmly talk about sexuality, cell phones (she wants one for her birthday, to fit in), and educational goals with a latina girl whose family is suffering from extreme financial distress, racial bias (her mother had been a social worker in Mexico - goodness knows what career opportunities she has had here), and who knows what else. I did note that she was wearing sweat pants (I can guarantee they didn't come from Victor*a's), sneakers, a sweatshirt with a big jacket over it. But I can't help to think that her clothing choices are as much about finances as another version of required uniform - she lives in a very poor area in the Richmond/San Pablo neighborhood, which is predominately latino from what I could see.

It's not that I haven't dealt with a number of other adolescent females, but I have never been formally counseling them, an additional set of protocols are going to be in place this time. I am practiced at straddling boundary issues, of balancing a fine line of mentor who can talk their language, but somehow getting paid, having a supervisor, needing to write progress notes adds a dimension that makes my stomach churn just a bit. Other times I have been much more open in conversations about sexuality, out and out discussions about sexual practices but I realize this may be very different. Supposedly M isn't sexually active, but the reality is that it is probably just a matter of time so conversations about how to make choices should happen, though it's not necessarily anything I am going to put on the treatment plan.

Somehow my temper has simmered down now. Probably something to do with picturing M's somewhat placid face of yesterday making very limited eye contact, uncomfortable with the attention being focused on her, having all these people in her living room who want to help her have a future while she can barely conceive that there is a life past next week. Especially if she doesn't get a cell phone for her birthday.

1 comment:

Wyatt's Mom said...

Oh blame the poor little net for everything evil! I'm sure that had insidious thoughts when launching, and knew that in or around 20 years that Victoria S*cret would be hocking their pink collection online. (I had to defend my lifestyle here)

I do agree that it sickens me, but have ya seen their tv ads? If someone lusts after one of their models, does that make them a pedephile? The lines are so blurry. And this scares me even more. Do the people making the ads do so in hope of making every little girl out there so insecure that they will be rushing to buy all their products?

Bottom line, I think Victoria is making a whole lot of new pedephiles and a whole society of insecure teens and pre-teen girls.

Just my enraged 2 cents.

The Girl Friend