Sunday, November 29, 2009

Abstinence-only music videos.

Washington City Paper features Top Five Abstinence Only music videos as well as a music video about the Christian Side Hug.

The potentially most negative video for STD prevention, "Ain't NO safe way" shows a couple in a drive-through. The man says no on the grounds that sex is dangerous. The woman holds up a condom saying vacantly as if hypnotized, "If they give these out in school, it must be safe." Her eyes widen further, unblinking, crazed, as she intones, "Don't worry. It's SAFE." "Safe" echoes in the background. Heavy metal music starts with "Wages of Sin = DEATH" on TV screens blinking in the background. (The boy says no, and gets out of the car, and the girl drives away disappointed.)

All five of these fall into the shaming language of "lose" and "take" virginity, and one girl even telling her friend "you should be ashamed" for having sex, as well as the ethnic stereotypes: many feature black women saying no to black men, and none feature Asians (who are disproportionately represented among virginity pledgers, but the stereotype is that they have no problem saying no.) Nor do they include black men turning down women.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twilight books romanticize domestic violence?

The Twilight book series has been thought of as promoting abstinence, so I've followed it somewhat because of my work. I found it interesting to read this post, which goes through the checklist from the National Domestic Violence hotline for Bella and Edward's relationship, and finds 15 signs that their relationship is abusive. Fifteen! I have only read articles about the books and movies, not read the books or seen the movies myself, so I am frankly surprised to hear that Edward throws Bella through a glass table. But even the other signs, like repeated statements of jealousy, abandoning her in a dangerous place, threatening suicide. . . This is supposed to be romantic? Religious groups can't possibly approve of these books, abstinence message or no.

Also: the view from a school librarian (and member of my Cambridge synagogue).