Thursday, March 12, 2009

Imputing meaning

Abstinence-only education doesn't work and many curricula have information that is objectively inaccurate, but some of the criticisms I've read seem to come from imputing meaning to their statements. For example this critique calls an abstinence education curriculum puritanical and sexist for saying that men and women may look differently at women's dress: women may think they're wearing a fun and trendy outfit, but men are thinking sex. Let's put aside the fact that all generalizations are false, as they say, as well as any concerns about wording because certainly it's a touchy issue, and acknowledge that obviously rape is rape and we all know that dress has nothing to do with rape.

Looking at (what I'm pretty sure is) the intended meaning --- think about how others view your dress and err on the side of conservatism --- it's not controversial at all, and is the same point made in articles about professional dress and manners.

Oddly the editorialist says that these curricula are asking women to "dress like Puritans". Which is funny because as far as I know the standard in evangelical circles is just no cleavage or midriff or very short skirts, which still leaves a lot of room for clothes that many mothers still wouldn't want their children leaving the house in. I've posted to the right a picture of some girls at a purity ball in spaghetti strap gowns. That hardly looks puritanical. Except I can't get the picture to work. It's here.

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