The Shame of Slut-shaming Shaming

So I’ve gotten so tired, up-to-here with the whole concept of “slut-shaming” and how this is a very bad thing.

It started with this article (and be warned that, shockingly, shockingly the woman who wrote it – this being the first time she ever wrote in public – made a grammatical mistake, probably as a result of having got flustered and revising things wrong.  This grammatical mistake – one, yes – causes a bunch of commenters to call her stupid.)  But it goes deeper than that.

Her article for those who don’t feel like clicking is a response to a snooty idiocy of a list “23 things to do instead of getting engaged before you’re 23.”  Again, feel free to click through to it from the response, but be prepared to shed IQ points.

What was astonishing to me was the number of people who reacted to the RESPONSE by saying that it was really negative.  The brand of pious stupidity that told the woman writing the response she couldn’t be negative and Christian is something else.  I’m sort of used to it, most often by having younger friends who are committed evangelicals (which I am not) coming to me in tears because so and so said they were hateful and not Christian.  There seems to be a sub-sect of what I – not being evangelical – will call Candy-*ss Evangelical Christians who think that their duty is to go through life being kissy kissy about everything and saying everyone is so wonderful and lovely.

How they reconcile this with the scene in the temple, or with the many cutting remarks of the Nazarene in the Gospels, or with the fact that that he instructed his apostles to shake the dust from their sandals and invoke the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah on any place that rejected them is beyond me.  How they square serious religious commitment with their saccharine inability to say boo to a mouse is even more puzzling.  And how they manage to square their attitude of approving of everything and blessing everyone with coming down like a ton of bricks on anyone who doesn’t candycoat everything the way they do is most puzzling of all.  I’m going to assume Quaaludes are involved.

This reaction struck me as bizarre, as I thought the response was quite polite and not at all mean.  In fact, in a snarkometer it was well below my most polite and well behaved responses.

But beyond all that, it was the accusations that the woman writing the response was evil, nasty and JEALOUS.

Okay, the original list includes things like “get a passport and travel” – which is fine and dandy and as someone who did a ton of it before getting married at 22, I can safely say that there isn’t anything to prevent you traveling once you’re married.  The response points that out.

But it also includes sheer lunacy like “Stand at a window, naked” and “make out with a stranger.”  The responder pointed out that these suggestions – clearly originally proffered as good, fun stuff all women should do before marrying – were “slutty.”

This unleashed acrimony in the comments.  It was “Slut shaming” and therefore evil.

Sigh.  Slut-shaming and slut encouraging are BOTH forms of individual behavior control, a demand that people “fit in” with the current mood of society.

I don’t particularly care for “slut-shaming” but I also don’t care for “slut-shaming-shaming” and don’t like that the second is considered a worse sin than the first in our current society.

Look, I don’t care what people do with their private parts, in public or private, provided all spectators are okay with that; you’re of age; your partners are of age.

I’ve had a lot of friends (of both genders) who could technically be called “sluts” and who suffered no harm by it.  In fact, the bohemian life suited them, and they enjoyed it.  It was not my way.  For one, I never had enough time and emotional availability to love “the world.”  I’m one of those people who is naturally monogamous, and realizing that, I’m glad I’m married.  I don’t regret not having a long “hit list” in my past, nor do I feel I lost anything.  Sex without love is messy exercise.

BUT when someone is recommending women engage in what can only be called slutty – also stupid.  With the rampant spread of antibiotic-resistant STDs, you should not feel it is necessary nor good for your development to “make out with a stranger” –  behavior in a preachy and superior tone, surely they can be preached back at, right?

I don’t have a dog in this fight – much – but since when did slut-shaming become a worse crime than being a slut, even for self-appointed Christian moralists?

And who in heck thinks this is a good thing?

Again, I don’t have a dog in this fight, because I have fortunately grown past the place where I feel guilty about not fitting the mold everyone expects, and I no longer care if I had too many sexual partners or too few, too odd or too normal, if I married too young or too old according to someone else.  I care that the path I took worked for me, and that’s all I care about.  And I hope everyone else will be as happy.

BUT I remember being young and stupid and feeling positively ashamed that I was still a virgin at nineteen, because all the pop culture, all the advice columns, and most of all all of my older friends made it clear you never grew up till you had sex.  (I still don’t agree with this.  Well, I think you grow up in a sexual relationship that includes love and mutual respect and obligations, but a sexual relationship absent that… not so much. Also, people in that kind of relationship – with parents, with an organization, with friends – that doesn’t include sex clearly grow up.)  I remember being very worried I’d never have sex and thus never be “an adult.”

The original 23 things article propagates that belief.  You never grow up till you do this and try this.  For some people that might be at least semi-accurate.  There are people out there so devoid of imagination that they grow by personally hitting their heads on every wall and experiencing the results.  And there are people out there that are what I’d call “natural sluts” who do enjoy sex with practically everyone.  (More men than women fall into that.)  For them sex and love blur and their relationships all end up including sex.  They might not grow without sex, because they never get in a serious relationship if it doesn’t have sex. So their every minor sexual relationship on the way to the big one WILL involve sex.  Fine.

I would say that the percentage of women like that is vanishingly small.  I’d say that because studies on the hormones women release during sex seem to indicate women tend to get attached to their sexual partners in an emotional way.  Which would make perfect sense, evolutionarily, since natural-female-sluts would be less likely to have a male who stood by them, looked after the kids, and made sure everyone survived – necessary things in times without government welfare.

Most other women who confuse being free or individually actualized with “acting like a male cad” by “making out with strangers” and exposing themselves naked (does anyone else think this sounds like a middle aged male’s advice to a nubile young woman?) will come to deeply regret it, and probably inflict psychological damage on themselves.

Shaming?  No.  I don’t see any point in shaming anyone for acting like that.  If they’re adults, then it’s their choice.  But pointing out that such things as a universal recommendation for all young women are “slutty” and frankly stupid and parochial (those places where the woman recommends they travel have absolutely no issues with slut-shaming.  No, not even in Europe.  In fact, the recent murder trial of a young American woman in Italy was predicated among other things on the fact locals thought she was a slut and therefore a likely murderer) seems to me to be the right of any woman who would like to point out there is another path.

And this should not under any circumstances lay the person responding to accusations of being bitter or … envious?  What in heck does a young married woman have to envy someone who seems to be lost as to where she wants to go in life?

But this post is precipitated by something even crazier.  As you know, I spent the week I had some kind of stomach bug reading about Henry VIII.  One of the things was a mention of Kathryn Howard…   a) They called her a “good time girl” b) they went on about how she clearly enjoyed sex just for sex.  c) They scolded all previous biographers for “slut-shaming” her.

As you know, I wrote a novel – No Will but His – about Kathryn Howard (and no, it can’t be selling because the title (which was a her motto) sounds like tie me up, tie me down.  The subtitle is “The story of Kathryn Howard, 5th wife of Henry VIII.”  Also, I’d have more returns if they expected S & M.

While I was writing, her skeleton was found.  As far as can be determined, she was not yet eighteen when she was beheaded, after being married to the king for over a year.

The perspective this gives you on her “affairs” before that time is appalling.  When her music teacher (a middle aged man) insisted they were in love… she must have been around 11.  When she supposedly “contracted marriage” and lost her virginity to a hanger-on at her grandmother’s house, she must have been under 14.

I am aware that people grew up faster at that time, but all the same, the idea that someone that age knew what they were doing, much less “liked sex” is frankly sick.

The book I just read estimated her age as late teens at death.  Even that would be far too young.  And then – and this is the amazingly stupid thing – this feminist author goes on about how Kathryn probably found sex “empowering.”  Kids, this is claptrap.

No, I don’t know if she enjoyed the physical act or not – she might have for all I know – but it is highly unlikely she found it “empowering” in itself.  Whatever the heck that means.  (Does anyone know?  Sex and power do not correlate in my head.  Sex and love or even affection sure, but… power?  What is empowering about doing something every female mammal can do?)

It is possible that as the more or less ignored daughter of a rather marginal nobleman she found sex got her attention or gifts or even just physical affection (which is important for seriously neglected kids.)

But it is far more likely in that time when there was no pill and no female alternatives but marriage, that the poor kid got taken advantage of by those who were supposed to protect her.

Slut-shaming?  Yeah, sure, THAT is the biggest problem in the treatment of Kathryn Howard.  The fact that most biographers treat her as a dumb blond is not far more offensive.  And then, to add insult to the injury, this oh so sensitive biographer, celebrates her for “finding sex empowering” BUT calls her a “good time girl” and stupid.  (The stupid thing is because her written notes were appalling.  If she was only 17 and never had formal education beyond music, this is not in any way proof of low IQ.)

The whole thing is revolting and stomach churning, like a carnival glass reflection of Victorian morality.  It’s like the person kept telling herself “must not slut-shame” but aping all the judgments of the people who did.

Let’s call a slut a slut, shall we?  One of the most magnificent sluts I ever knew also placed right below me in the foreign-language exams.  As far as I could tell that girl ENJOYED sex, and had no brakes.  Something that is quite possible thanks to the pill and to the professional opportunities of our day and age.

OTOH she also knit frantically (all through class. She never took notes) and last I heard of her she was the lover of a Basque terrorist and in jail for bombing school buses.

So, was her promiscuity a sign of a deeper problem?  I don’t know.  I’m not, thank heavens, her psychiatrist.  Or did a desire for permanence and stability as she aged lead her to a relationship with the one man she found exciting enough, who was also criminal (not unusual)?  I don’t know.

What I know is that she was neither stupid nor did she find sex “empowering” – she had sex because she enjoyed it, which is fine.

People who scold you into having lots of sex because it’s good for you and “empowering” and, somehow, you’re not “fully grown up” without it are the worst king of scolds.  Puritans in black leather and whips, they manage to make the transgressive – or even mildly naughty – completely uninteresting.

Part of my issue with that school of “morality” is that not only do they risk all kinds of disease and psychological trauma, but they do it joylessly, by the book, the same way that I used to be forced to swallow codliver oil every spring “because you should.”

And then, having driven every bit of true emotion and joy out of their lives, they run around trying to destroy everyone else’s fun.

By comparison, getting married early, being monogamous, and thumbing your nose at the establishment is a positively countercultural act.

Be revolutionary, sisters!  Become stay at home moms.  The intellectuals will rage and foam with hatred.  Oh, what fun we shall have.

285 responses to “The Shame of Slut-shaming Shaming

  1. There is a weird sort of logic operating here that I haven’t seen applied to any other type of human behavior.

    “Since [belief system] regulates [behavior] then all people who follow [belief system] must hate [activity] and any regulation of [behavior] is due only to [belief system] and is therefor bad.”

    To put it into another context, suppose that every time anyone pointed out the importance of a healthy diet they were shouted down by trolls who claimed that they must be Jewish and seeking to impose Kosher laws on everyone else. Or if anyone urging others to drive less and walk more must be motivated only by a desire to make everyone observe the Sabbath?

    Young people are constantly bombarded with messages about how they should live their lives–what to eat, how to exercise, what to read, what causes to endorse or oppose. These messages are seen as important instructions from wise elders.

    However, when one points out the ways in which reckless sexual behavior can damage a person’s life, physically, emotionally, financially, socially, this is seen as “slut shaming” and dismissed out of hand as narrow-minded, fundamentalist, and evil.

    It’s almost as if there is a billion dollar industry that profits from the consequences of poor sexual choices by young people-oh, wait, there is.

    • Thank you. You put it more logically than I did.

    • Agreed. Some people – whether they’re broken or not – seem to thrive as “sluts” – but they’re relatively rare, and still arguably engage in behavior that increases the risks they’re exposed to.

      One can argue that in this day and age of fewer consequences for lots of sex with lots of people due to the pill, etc. we don’t need to be QUITE as adamant about telling people that’s stupid and irresponsible behavior. We can also argue that we should then judge those who indulge in it less harshly as they’re not exposing themselves to AS MUCH risk as it would have involved in the past. It at least is a valid argument to make.

      But I’ve been called a “rape apologist” for pointing out that the viewpoint character in one of Lady Gaga’s first songs (“Just Dance”) was engaging in ridiculously stupid and irresponsible behavior. We’ve definitely crossed a border, leaving reality far, far behind.

  2. The Horror of “Slut Shaming” is yet another in the long line of tactics from the liberal side of the spectrum to … well, make it easier for liberal men to get laid without commitment.

    If you look at it closely enough, that’s really what most so-called “Women’s issues” boil down to.

    Abortion and the “right to birth control” are both examples of removing the consequences from sex. No kid, no reason to stick around, and no reason to avoid being sexually active.

    Promotion of promiscuity and casual sex – Any Hippie guy telling a girl about the wonders of free love basically wanted to get into her bell-bottoms, but didn’t want to be stuck with her, and if you hear what it was REALLY like from former Hippie women, it was more about being a passed-around sex toy.

    The “Celebration” of the strength and all around wonderfulness of Single Motherhood. Yeah, it’s “Empowering” to raise your bastard spawn alone because you somehow failed to avail yourself of BC or Abortion. And it’s especially ennobling because we know all those BabyDaddies out there are worthless, except maybe for child support. You’re a victim, baby, but the government will give you money as long as you stay single.

    Equal pay – Now this makes perfect since, all other things actually being equal, but the motivation behind it is actually to increase a woman’s financial independence so that she sees less need to cling to a man, i.e. the liberal dude who wants her to go away after he’s had his fun.

    And the most amazing bit of this is the institution of Feminism, which paints a happy and empowering face on all this objectification of women, transforming them into easily obtained and easily disposed of sex objects, all the while complaining that more traditional forms are what’s doing the objectification.

    And the wonder why they feel so empty inside when it’s all over.

    • There’s a reason why the pro-abortion movement has always been heavily funded by Playboy.

    • To be fair, if the liberal guys are all like Pajama guy, they NEED all the help they can get.

      • I haven’t seen the ad myself, but I don’t think Pajama Boy likes women sexually.

        • The actual ad, for reference. Just so you have some visual context for what I’m about to say.

          No, Pajama Boy likes women. At least he would, if he could find any who were willing to go out with him. But no matter how often he tells every woman he meets that he’s sensitive, romantic, and caring (and witty, too) — and demonstrates it by presenting her with a dozen roses, swearing his undying affection to her, and then asking her out on a first date — he can’t quite figure out why women always turn him down. Nor does he have a clue why they have that frozen, brittle smile on their faces when they turn him down, why they never answer his friend requests on Facebook, and why his text messages to them go unanswered.

          But he definitely — well, technically “theoretically”, but definitely-theoretically — likes women.

          • He’s too feminine, he needs too butch up.I saw that picture but I thought that there was a live TV ad. He is also a bit infantile and creepy looking in his footie jammies, holding his cocoa. He looks like a man-boy who probably loves his mommy more than any woman he might meet.

      • I’m sorry, I missed the conversation. I was throwing all the red flannel out of my closet.

      • Heh. That they would.

        That said – while I’m sure some predatory borderline sociopathic cads were more than willing to take advantage of anything they could sell to get into girls pants, I’ll note that most guys don’t seem to do well in this kind of regime (what is it, 80% of men are below average??) – just the successful, popular ones.

        If you listen – the most strident complaints about slut shaming, etc. and any kind of enforcement or discussion of consequences and responsibility tend to come from women. It’s like they don’t want to be made to feel bad because someone disapproves.

    • It’s been shown that children do best living in a traditional family with a mother and father married to each other. Single motherhood is especially toxic because it has been shown that the absence of a father leads to young men men who are violent and commit crimes much more often than those living in a stable two parent family.

  3. During the last hundred and fifty years, Christianity in America has become feminized. It was once a manly religion — or at the very least, a religion that once tolerated the manly virtues. Jesus Himself was certainly no “candy-a**”.

  4. Slut-shaming or slut-encouraging, either way it is about shoving a group prescription down individual throats.

    Sluttiness devalues sexual exclusivity in a sort of Gresham’s Law of the sexual marketplace, and thus imposes harm on third-parties in a way that sexual restraint does not, no matter how dearly you clutch the Splendor in the Grass myth to your heaving bosom.

    Also, slut-shaming clearly resonates with some deeply held moral tenet, else it would not work. If only stupidity-shaming were one tenth so effective.

    • “…either way it is about shoving a group prescription down individual throats”

      Of course it is! Today it’s all about the group not the individual.

      • Obama quote of the day, “We are not a people who say you are on your own, we are a people who say we are all in this together.”

        • I’d love to have Ringo do something inventive with the Zero. Maybe have the Posleen eat him? He’s a wannabe Aldenata.

        • If I’m anywhere together with him, I want my shots, and also sheep dip.

        • He has a remarkable facility for catching a hold of a cultural concept, misreading/misinterpreting/twisting it to be exactly ass-backwards and leaving the sane kids in the room to shake their heads and repudiate his mangled misrepresentation.

          I find I’m irritated by that.

          • It’s part of the Liberal Religion. Years ago, I read (or tried) to read a book titled “Conversation with a Conservative”. The female author made the same mistake. IE Confusing “help given to others by groups of individuals” with Government “help”. Oh, the book wasn’t really a “Conversation” as the “Conservative” existed only in her head.

            • I’ve been introduced to those “conservatives” by liberals a time or two. And I’m forced to conclude that liberals have dark and fevered imaginations. And progs have good PR.

    • “Also, slut-shaming clearly resonates with some deeply held moral tenet, else it would not work. If only stupidity-shaming were one tenth so effective.”

      Yes, the moral tenet to fit into the group. Look at the efficacy of smoker-shaming over the past 20 years. And stupidity-shaming has been phenominally effective. The only problem is that the people doing the shaming have inverted the definition of stupidity, so that the useless twit Melissa Harris-Perry is proclaimed “America’s leading public intellectual.”

      I’ve adopted the frequent refrain “if they were intelligent they wouldn’t be liberal” as an attempt to reverse the trend.

  5. Reports are that many people find snorting cocaine “empowering.” That does not constitute a reason to rot out your sinus cavities.

    Arguments based on subjective experience are generally suspect.

  6. Applying the standards of our own times in judging the intelligence of a member of a pre-literate culture seems the worst sort of parochialism, an act of near willful arrogance & stupidity. I daresay that the critic of Ms Howard would prove woefully dim if measured according to the standards of 16th Century England. She probably hasn’t the slightest idea how to direct servants, sit a horse, upbraid a groom or tat lace — much less how to catch the eye of a monarch.

  7. I had one of those wonderful conversations with a friend over the holidays that started out with an innocent question about whether he had seen Ender’s Game, and devolved into me being lectured about how my old friend wasn’t going to participate “in that sort of thing” (eh? Sci Fi?) because it is just wrong. It comes to me that most of the lefties’ propaganda techniques are slut shaming. Well, those that aren’t assault and violation of civil rights.
    In this case, I just gave a “surely you don’t mean that” and followed up about the importance of tolerance of the right of conscience and the twit wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the evening.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      For Shame Bob! Don’t you know that ” the right of conscience” only applies to Liberals! [Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

    • It sounds like you and your friend were having different conversations. Here’s the background I think your friend had but you don’t seem to have had. Orson Card has had publicity recently for opposing gay marriage in Utah and making significant financial contributions to back his political statements on that subject. Some organizations have responded by encouraging a financial boycott of Card’s books and the Ender’s Game movie.

      • Do you have links for “made significant contributions” and “opposing gay marriage” — because ALL I saw was an article in his church newsletter saying that gay marriage was incompatible with LDS doctrine. I disagree with him, but I’m not LDS so what do I know? And THAT was why he was being boycotted. The rest, including reporting he’d called for death penalty for gay people was INSANITY propagated by the echo chamber.

        • I have no links. I was told this by a person who felt no one should go see Ender’s Game. (I saw the movie anyway. Not great, but I will generally see even lousy space movies just for the special effects, so I was content with the movie.) I shall google and see if anything reliable comes up.

          • When I googled all I came up with was his article to a church newsletter.

            • So far as I remember the controversy, Mr. Card said that he opposed homosexuality on religious grounds. He wrote this article in his local church (?) newsletter. This article was taken out of context to mean that he hated gays. I think that he has said that he doesn’t hate gays. It seem that there’s only a binary set of options seen here by many people: Either you are intensely in favor gays in every aspect of their demands or you are a gay hater.

              Personally I can see a middle path where has no personal issue with gays while holding a religious dislike of homosexuality itself. You can hate an action a person does while not hating them. It seems that there are two separate issues here: One, people are their actions. If you are teetotal, you can’t like a drinker. Second, an underhanded political trick, if you don’t go along with every position I take then you must hate me.

            • Card writes an occasional political column for a local weekly (sorta conservative) newspaper, with columns collected at his site http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/index.html (The Ornery American.) I usually would skim them when I noticed them and don’t especially recall any particular focus on Gay issues. He was much more opposed to Liberal foreign policy and conservative domestic policy.

          • My impression was akin to Sarah’s; Card isn’t enthusiastically pro-homosexuality inasmuch as he thinks someone who follows that lifestyle shouldn’t be advanced in LDS church leadership, and this is a terrible horrible thing for someone to think so let’s boycott his stuff and yell at people who want to read about smart kids doing cool things…

            After the thing exploded, he wrote a couple of clarifying (and angry) responses because it was all so ludicrous, and of course that just went to show that he was Unrepentant.

            (I don’t think of homosexuality as a choice myself, or as being particularly more of a sin than, say, eating shellfish, but I do get p*ssed at the idea that someone should be financially punished or even ruined for expressing their opinions.)

          • Card might be on board of the National Organization for Marriage. Various sites claim Card contributes “millions” to oppose gay marriage, but it seems like these are granting Card personal ownership of all the money the National Organization for Marriage controls. http://www.salon.com/2013/05/07/sci_fi_icon_orson_scott_card_hates_fan_fiction_the_homosexual_agenda_partner/ (I checked the NOM site too in hopes that they would list their own board members, but they don’t.)

            • I didn’t include the other sites because they link each other and the salon article seems to be the earliest with the most detail.

            • I don’t even know if that is true. The other part of this is I don’t think Orson has MILLIONS. NO, seriously. I mean, I have bestselling friends and they don’t HAVE that. Writing is not Hollywood.

              • I also doubt he’s got millions. The movie option may have given him a one-time single million, but he probably needed to spend it. At least half would have gone straight to taxes anyway.

                • Yes, and when someone signs a publishing contract for x millions (which doesn’t happen these days, unless you’re a celebrity) it is usually paid over years, sometimes twenty, so what you’re really signing for is “100k a year” which I’d love, but is not exactly the stuff of multi millions, you know?

                  • I know someone whose gross income is 100K and it just mean a few more luxuries and some more savings, maybe less worry about being laid off. They worry instead about being able to get a full night’s sleep because they work so much and so hard. They also worry about being able to see their families.

                  • Although I have lived in the same town as Card for several decades I have never met him (well, there was one book reading at the B&N) but my impression is that he is comfortable; if he is rich his neighborhood does not bespeak it. Beloved Spouse used to run into him at used book stores long ago but I rarely visit such venues as it pains me too much to see books that have been so horribly used. My Gawd, do you realize that some people put creases in the spines of their paperbacks!!???

                    But even if he is rich and even if he contributes millions to causes I deplore I don’t s’pose that justifies my giving half a hoot about his opinions (except where his agree with mine, of course.) Of course, I don’t think all his money belongs to The People and is merely granted him so long as he pays obeisance to the popular idols.

                • I think the problem is that there are some media and social network savvy people who believe with a fiery passion that people who don’t agree with them are more evil than the Devil. I believe that these people are known as activists.

          • Bear in mind the recent case of Phil Robertson, where “Homosexuality is a sin” became “Compared homosexuality to bestiality.”

            Progressives lie because they’re evil. Liberals believe them because they’re dumb.

            • I think it was closer to “Homosexuality is a sin. Beastaility is a sin. Running around with a bunch of women is a sin.” Which got condensed down to “Compared homosexuality to bestiality. Funny how they don’t bring up the “running around with a bunch of women” part.

              On Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > Jeff Gauch commented: “Bear in mind the recent case of Phil Robertson, > where “Homosexuality is a sin” became “Compared homosexuality to > bestiality.” Progressives lie because they’re evil. Liberals believe them > because they’re dumb.” >

              • Given that he himself confessed to the running around part, you’d have to believe that a college graduate, and a person intelligent and situational-aware enough to beat out Terry Bradshaw to be quarterback, was comparing his sins to bestiality as well.

                Well – I can believe the college graduate part. I’ve heard college professors effectively claim teachers are not competent to handle simple mechanical devices responsibly, but they’re the only ones smart enough to teach students – including shop class.. Granted, the logic for the latter steps through several levels of causality.

        • As for the INSANITY, has anyone tried to shut you up like these groups have with Card? I see things like this and can’t help but wonder how common it is for activist groups to try to control art makers.

          My quite small story publication list has gathered me a few threats including one promise to see that I never write again. I didn’t have any intention of sending the message that particular reader got, so I blame myself for not writing more clearly… And then I wonder if better writing will actually earn me more anti-fans instead of fewer. Readers are entitled to emotionally respond to story however they happen to respond, but I wish the haters had found something else that they actually could love.

          Any advice besides grow a thick skin?

          • The only time I got serious issues was when I intimated that if history had gone differently the Chinese might be free market capitalists. I was denounced on the pages of Analog.

            Weirdly even though I have gay main characters in A Few Good Men and even a romance (though nothing explicit) the only critique I got that was off the wall was an accusation of having made all straight men in the book evil. (This is SO far from true.) Eh.

            • Blink. I read AFGM. I guess reading comprehension varies widely for someone to think that. :/

              • Well, that was an attempt to fit the square peg in the round hole, I think. “Sarah has gay characters, so she must be one of those feminists who hates straight men.” Meh. It’s easier than engaging brain, I guess.

            • I suspect that Card gets more attention than usual from that crowd because he himself is a liberal. He’s obviously not a die-hard like many of the libs these days (for instance, his active membership in the LDS church suggests that he has conservative social mores; and he also supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), but he has revealed publicly that he’s liberal and a Democrat. As such, Card’s refusal to toe the line regarding homosexuality has got to be more enraging to the “out-there” liberal population than, say, Rush Limbaugh stating the same. And I expect that’s part of the reason why Card draws so much flack.

              Also, while I’m not sure how many of his detracters are aware of it, there’s an interesting bit in his Homecoming series which no doubt causes some to go apoplectic. In that series, a small group of people (around a dozen individuals or so) permanently leave civilization and head out into the wilderness. One of the male characters is secretly gay (the city they left was virulantly homophobic – to the point where he likely would have been lynched if anyone had known)… but gets married to one of the women in the group and later has kids. It makes sense in context, but it’s the sort of thing that’s likely to drive certain individuals into a froth.

            • When did the incident in Analog happen? I would very much like to read the story or article and the responses, just to see how they line up with the current situation in China, where they’re all free market capitalist communists these days.

              • Story. Trafalgar Square. It’s in my book, Wings. I can’t for the life of me remember when it was published in Analog, but I think 2002?
                Look, like most alternate histories it’s a simplification, so yeah, I didn’t take a ton of other things into account and I was positing a single cause for the culture turning.
                OTOH their upset with it is that the Chinese are not “naturally capitalists”
                (ROLLS EYES.)

                • Phil Fraering

                  They said that in 2002?

                  I just checked Analog’s website, they don’t seem to have back issues available online.

                  (I went to order Wings, and Amazon told me I already have it on my kindle).

                  I guess I can always try checking at the library or something when I get the chance.

            • As a matter of fact, even the statement, “all the evil men are straight” would be incorrect, and I’m pretty positive Athena would disagree violently with Kit being called either evil or gay.

            • But China has always been a great country for merchants, whenever anybody let them be. Why would the idea of free market Chinese capitalists be evil? Did they have a big hatred for Taiwan and Hong Kong?

        • For the curious, gay marriage is (currently) against LDS doctrine.

          The church’s official stance is: “The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
          (taken from the church’s official website on the subject – http://www.mormonsandgays.org/)

          So while people can and will disagree with the doctrine as expressed, Card’s statement that gay marriage is incompatible with LDS teaching is correct.

          Of course, one of the things about being LDS is having a somewhat open canon – which has led in the past to the Church making sweeping changes regarding other doctrines, including the practice of polygamy and a prohibition on black people holding Priesthood (church authority). So, you never know.

          • It’s more he said people couldn’t have two all-consuming identities. Now, in the fifties being gay might have been all consuming (and he was basing his opinion on his youth in college) but now? It’s starting not to be. And it would be less so without the “activists” So I think he’s wrong on that. BUT again, though I have LDS friends coming out of my ears (there goes one now!) — In fact, about one third of my friends are LDS — I’m NOT LDS, and I no more presume to meddle in your doctrine than I would tolerate your meddling in mine. So

            • Understood on the doctrinal point, and I’m sorry if I came across as implying you were something you weren’t or believed something you don’t which was very much not what I was trying to do. You were clear about that, and I just wanted to make sure it was clearly stated what the “official” church position currently is.

              As for not being able to have two all-consuming identities, you make a good point that it’s becoming “not a big deal” to be homosexual. Unless you’re an activist, in which case you’re trying desperately to MAKE it a big deal and all-consuming.

              So, I agree that it’s not as big a deal as it used to be, but doesn’t that necessarily mean that it’s no longer all-consuming?

              Bah. I’m quibbling. It’s a quibble.

            • They believe I think that no one is allowed to believe differently than they do.

              • I would think that anyone who believes in allowed to believe that homosexuality is a sin.

                Some don’t believe this. But it doesn’t give them the right to try to force other people to stop believing in biblical laws.

            • I think part of their objection is the need to blame California’s effort to render gay marriage unconstitutional has to be blamed on the LDS, never mind the facts that the strongest opposition and vastly greater number of votes came from the African-American Community. Card became a useful tool in this effort to distract (as, in similar manner, did “binders full of women” provide a useful distraction from how they were buying women’s birthright for a mess of contraception.)

          • I don’t think the LDS church’s stance on this one will be changing. For one thing, there was a strong push by the church to support Prop 8 in California. For another, getting married and raising a family is considered a key part of the church’s doctrine. Same sex couples have obvious problems with that second bit. Finally, the church still considers acting on a same sex attraction to be a sin (in addition to the usual out of marriage sex that typically happens at the same time, and which is also a sin).

      • And acting on your personal ethics and your right of conscience is wrong exactly how? Why is supporting a drive in opposition of something you dislike, even if it occurred, bad?
        What damage is there is making a moral stand and backing it with your fortune, or your life, or your sacred honor – as opposed to say, using taxes and the irresistible power of the state to force everyone to fall into line with a politically driven moral stance?
        If you can explain what is wrong with making a moral stand beyond “homophobe=bad” we could have a conversation. If you are just going to say, “well, you are a bad person for supporting such morally wrong behavior and you should know better and no-one will like you,” then you are just slut shaming.

    • Please, PLEASE, tell me what you said, so I can use it. 🙂

  8. And just the other day I was reading a blogger’s plaints about how other members of the leather-and-chains crowd were scolding and berating her and her partner for their lifestyle choice. As you said, Sarah, even on the fringe, you’ve got to be their exact length, width, and bead pattern of fringe or else you’re 1) oppressed or 2) doing it WRONG or 3) a wanna-be.

    • There is something brain-twistingly stupid about running into the attitude that the individual must be diverse, exactly like everyone in the in-group.
      “I want to be unique, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE”

      • “I want to be unique, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE”

        In case the embedded-video code doesn’t pick up the start time in that link, it’s supposed to start at the 1:40 mark.

      • The big thing these days to be a interchangeable member of a collective.

  9. alexlikesswords

    I’m sure there are women who can have meaningless sex on a regular basis with parade of different men and not have it negatively affect them. I’m sure there are also people who can use cocaine or heroin every weekend and still hold down a responsible job and family. They are not, however, the norm, and as a society we benefit from discouraging those behaviors.

  10. Christopher M. Chupik

    We have all this “shaming”, and yet people have no shame. Including the shamers.

  11. You have touched on a subject about which I have given much thought in the raising of my daughter.

    I am not a Christian. (“Asatru leaning agnostic” is how I describe myself. But, you know, it’s interesting how Tacitus in his Germania described the folk who would be the ancestors of my practice as being quite straight-laced.) I don’t really have any moral issues with sex qua sex. (Oathbreaking, OTOH, is a whole other ballgame.) I think I’m supposed to lose “man points” for not having exactly had a plethora of sexual partners and none but my wife since I’ve been married (although I can’t say I haven’t had my fantasies), but combine social awkwardness (no? Really?) with a preference for an actual emotional connection and, well, there you are.

    So how to deal with my daughter? I don’t have “God said wait until marriage” as a fallback position. And I refuse to be dishonest. (Sex, done right, feels really, really good.) So, I consider how to explain things to her, how to say “yes, it feels good but there are these other factors you need to consider as well”, things like “because sex feels so good, there are people out there who will do anything–they will lie, cheat, manipulate you, tell you whatever they think you want to hear–in order to get that feeling good for themselves. And if you get a certain reputation then you’ll end up attracting a lot of those people who only want you for… And you can end up getting really badly hurt.”

    But that would be “slut shaming” in certain circles. [shakes head].

    • Colorado Alex

      It sounds like you have a good start. Sex is wonderful, it’s also very dangerous. It’s a powerful and fundamental part of being human.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Using good judgement is the key to avoiding most of life’s big problems.

    • “God said wait” isn’t all that satisfying an answer for Christians either. Yes, if someone is highly motivated to practice obedience it probably works, but the truth is this… sexual sins are sins against *yourself*, not sins against God. So you tell her the truth. Humans are designed (by whomever the designer is, nature or otherwise) to form bonds during sex. This is why we don’t have “heat” cycles and disinterest the rest of the time. Yes, sex feels really really good, and sure, guys are more likely to have multiple partners without getting attached, but having multiple partners without getting attached is *not* something to aspire to, because the fun fun fun sex and all the hormonal elements and bonding elements are for a purpose. You subvert those and you don’t have them anymore.

      Training yourself not to become emotionally involved with your sex partners is probably not a good life plan.

      Also, having sex messes up your ability to think objectively about your prospective partner. It engages parts of your mind and self that don’t have much to do with making rational choices and evaluations. People have sex before they date. They move in together with no notion if they even like someone well enough to make a life together.

      Which comes to the next thing… wasting your time… and momentum. It’s easier to continue as you are even if you don’t particularly like the person you’re with and can’t see making a life with them. The more your life is entwined the harder it is to change direction. It’s an investment in a person that you never get back again and have to just drop and call a loss… which is sort of hard to do.

      Also, there are more older virgins out there than you know. They aren’t socially hopeless or unattractive or immature. It’s just that what the media shows us and what everyone insists is that all teens are humping like bunnies. But they aren’t. It’s true that our society *unnaturally* delays marriage far past sexual maturity and this is a problem, but we’re not bunnies, we’re thinking creatures.

      • This is more or less what we told the boys.

      • I was a 40 year old virgin. I waited until I was engaged before I had sex. It took that long until I met a man I wanted to share my life with. There is also the health aspect of it too. There are lots of nasty diseases out there that you can catch if you have sex with random partners. This was a major part of my decision to be celibate until marriage.

        • I recall a conversation with a friend in graduate school (Caltech) when I was about 27. I snarked that I was probably the only virgin on the entire campus.

          His response was to point out how many nerds there were at Caltech, so I was almost certainly not alone.

          Not really my point, not to mention a bit insulting in its implications. (Even if true.) I wasn’t particularly bewailing my virginity (though I had been known to do that; most of my coreligionists on campus were married by then, and I was feeling a little like the last kid picked at P.E.) I was snarking at the moral atmosphere, or lack of any such, on the campus. I suppose it should not have surprised me that he completely missed my point.

          And Caltech is a relatively conservative school in such things compared with comparable very highly ranked schools.

      • Training yourself not to become emotionally involved with your sex partners is probably not a good life plan.

        Also, having sex messes up your ability to think objectively about your prospective partner.

        Both these statements are very true. Furthermore, there are far too many people who look for people who are too ready to have sex in order to take advantage of them.

        “But wait, it’s not being taken advantage of if it’s all just good shallow fun for me too!”

        Indeed. But because having sex does mess up one’s ability to think objectively about the other person, the likelihood that it will be “just good shallow fun” is directly proportional to one’s own degree of sociopathy — lack of ability to form emotional connections with others. That means that promiscuity is a way of attracting sociopaths — and if one is not oneself a sociopath, this is likely to lead to one falling in LOVE with a sociopath. Rarely a good idea.

      • I look at it this way. Casual sex is a White Castle (inset name of other local small cheap burger) that has been pre-chewed. Committed sex ,is a full on, well cooked, steak dinner that fills the belly as well as the heart.

    • Perhaps a modification of what I told my kids about drinking–it should only be done in the company of people you’d trust with your credit card 😉

      • And this truth emphasizes why I’ve never understood “can I buy you a drink” as a useful way to begin an introduction to a non-sociopath. Why would it be a good idea to intentionally lower defenses and reduce intelligence in the company of a stranger? Why would someone who offered to make you weaker and dumber be a good person to get to know better?

    • I am religious, but I think saying “Because G-d said so” is a cop-out when raising kids. Also, given my upbringing and my particularly beliefs it would hypocritical. SO what I told them is basically “These are the dangers. These are the emotional attachments/maturity you need to do this. These — like making sure you’re not making a kid you can’t care for — is the responsibility you’re assuming.” Success? Better than I expected…

      • I’ve run into “because God said so” as the “sole” arbiter of what was “moral” (the flip side of “How can you have morality without God”) that I felt motivated to write another of my essays on the subject:

        http://coldservings.livejournal.com/48388.html

        (In which I demonstrate that if one starts with the goal of the happiness and well-being of people, both individually and collectively, and with the idea of a deity that is powerful, wise, and disposed toward the happiness and well-being of people that the moral codes from both approaches must eventually converge.)

      • William O. B'Livion

        Success? Better than I expected…

        Well, at least as far as you know…

        • Well, I haven’t been presented with a grandchild… 😉

          • Which is a significant metric. If not the significant metric.

            • True. However, if one of the boys had sex there may have been a conception he is not privy to. Even if he isn’t the father, later on, if he is doing well, some unscrupulous woman may say that it’s his just to leech off him. I still don’t see why a woman would do such a deception. But then I have more self-respect than that. Long term such a deception would back fire on the woman rather badly; and cause a good deal of bitterness in the man, possibly even cause him to him women.

              This discussion is based on events related in Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith.

              • Which is why any paternity claim that is disputed by the man in question should, in a sane world, lead to a court-ordered DNA test to establish whether or not he was the father. Costs of the test to be paid by whoever proved to be lying (e.g. he claims he’s not the father, turns out he is — he pays the costs of the testing. He claims he’s not the father, turns out that’s true — she pays the costs of the testing.)

                Since we live in this world, rather than in a sane one, well…

                • It’s female centric. I think there was one case where the man was forced to pay child support for a child that was proven to not be his. Radical Feminist judge I think.

                  • There have been many, many, many cases where a man was thus forced. Law is that you can’t contest it after a certain period of time — even if you can prove the woman willfully gave an inaccurate address for you, so you weren’t notified.

                    And other cases where molested boys have had to pay child support to the rapist. And many commenters will get very indignant about the idea that there’s something wrong with that. (Since the boys have been victims of a crime, the parents should have immediately sued for the tort: since he’s liable as a result of her crime, she should pay damages.)

    • You might want to point her at some of the pick-up-artist sites. Forewarned is forearmed.

    • That sounds like the talk I had with my son on one of our road trips. Sex is really, really wonderful – but you’ve got to be careful because there’s women who will manipulate the hell out of you with it if you aren’t, and you need to look at the WHOLE package, not just the glossy outside.

      And then we talked about the emotional aspects of a good relationship – the friendship, respect and affection that has to be there for anything long-term. Lust is quick to kindle, but it burns out fast. Love takes longer, and gives a lifetime of warmth.

      Must have worked – his first real girlfriend is a girl friend first – and she’s a real sweetheart (in the best sense of the word…)

  12. Birthday girl

    “By comparison, getting married early, being monogamous, and thumbing your nose at the establishment is a positively countercultural act. Be revolutionary, sisters! Become stay at home moms. The intellectuals will rage and foam with hatred. Oh, what fun we shall have.”

    Heh heh that’s what we did, well, after a false start in 80s-two-careers-no-kids. But once the kids came along … why, we even gave them traditional biblical names! You know how parents sometimes discuss how they named their children? I say we wanted to be countercultural, so we gave them strong biblical names … always makes people chuckle.

  13. BUT I remember being young and stupid and feeling positively ashamed that I was still a virgin at nineteen…

    WOW, am I glad I didn’t have any of that kind of thing in school. I had it bad enough because my eyes were starting to cross from frustration without any additional mental trauma from being made to feel by my peers that there was something wrong with me. Biggest problem is that it probably led me to get too worried that there would never be a second chance, so I jumped too soon.

  14. “Be revolutionary, sisters! Become stay at home moms. “
    Or try being the one who decides (as a teenager) to celibate until the right person comes along and get married.

    Of course, the down side is, if Mr Right never appears, or walks away because he can’t cut those apron strings, you end up being a 40 something virgin that everyone thinks is defective. ((Upside of that, you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that celibacy does not kill. ))

    • I’d rather be celibate than have sex with Mr. Wrong just to have sex.

      • I tried to convince my niece of this, with limited success. As well as the fact that abstinence, does not kill. Pregnancy and STD can.

        Of course she thinks I’m aberrant. ((But then I’m the evil aunt who didn’t think everything she did was spectacular. ))

        • What happened to your niece? She thinks that shouldn’t get criticism? Wow!

          • Short version: After an abysmal year of HS football, where she was obviously untalented and disliked by the rest of the team, I had the audacity to suggest that she not go out for the team the next year. I further had the gall to agree that a freshman, who was skilled at a Lacrosse, deserved to be on the Varsity over her – a one year player.
            She dropped lacrosse, because she didn’t stand out, and stayed in football, because she was the only female player in the county.

            As to the “keep your knees together” comment, she ended up hopping into bed with her boy-friend of 4 years. Fortunately, she ended up marrying him, but at the time, they were just bf/gf.

      • Arwen Riddle

        Agreed.

      • I was long of Groucho Marx’s thesis: I was highly dubious of anyone whose standards were so low they would consider having sex with me.

        Happily, Beloved Spouse has convinced me that, like Poutine, I am an acquired taste.

    • ((Upside of that, you prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that celibacy does not kill. ))

      Like seasickness. You just *wish* it did:-/

      • Maybe YOU wish it did.

        • My celibacy didn’t make me wish I was dead. I sometimes did wish that. But it was due to psychological issues I had.

          • For some people, celibacy is a continuing increase in pressure, which even masturbation cannot alleviate completely. There MAY be a point at which the pressure build-up stops, but I’ve never found it.

            • I’ve been told that men have a much stronger sex drive than women. Which would seem to explain our different situations.

            • Heh. Sex drive in men and women *is* different, but mostly complimentary, I think. Done right, sex is healthy and good for body, mind, and soul- “done right” is obviously going to mean different things to different people. *grin* Lack of sex can cause some psychological issues, but I tend to think the psychology of the brain is a continuum rather than discreet categories.

              I can say that abstinence won’t kill you, or at least not quick if you’re a guy. It’s either that or I’m odd again, in this instance, as I’ve not had a sexual relationship in, oh, a dozen years or so. Given the time and energy I’m not spending on a relationship, I’ve done a lot of stuff since then. Sure I miss sex, but I’m not pining away for it or throwing myself at the first female that shows the slightest interest. All joking aside, I really do have higher standards than “willing to sleep with me.”

              My personal code of honor is not for everyone, either. I knew a young couple in college, call ’em Richard and Jane, had a rough time in their early relationship. Jane was a bit of a town bicycle that moved to the Big City (compared to Speck, Appalachia) for college. Richard was something of a wolf, had a certain reputation with the ladies.

              Jane fell off the wagon first, on a trip to Australia. Came to her man a-crying ashamed and miserable- she thought college would be different, that she’d left that bicycle girl back home, never to be recalled or mentioned again. Richard, a decent sort at heart, took her back. Then, as the stress of really buckling down to study got to them both, his eye (and his hands) wandered, too. Despite intentions otherwise.

              They fought. They reconciled. They fought some more. They went to counseling, talked to friends, decided to give this one last try. Jane, for all her other quality seemed to define her in the past, was as naturally whip-smart a woman as I’ve ever met. Just had a sex drive that would not quit. She sat down with Richard in their crummy apartment, looked him in the eye and said, basically:

              “Look. We’re both flawed people, young, and still growing up. I love you, and I want to stay with you. But. This has got to stop.

              “There will be sex in this house, in our bed, at least once every other day. Be home by eight if you want us to stay together.”

              That may sound a bit familiar, and I believe she cribbed her actual plan from an old joke, but for them, it seemed to work. Last I heard they bought a house together in North Carolina and were thinking about adopting. If they ain’t dead yet, they’re living still.

              Shame serves a useful purpose in a culture. It helps define what behaviors are acceptable and what ones aren’t. It can get out of hand. Alternatively, enough lack of shame gets us the Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiners of the country thinking they can present their execrable behaviors as “normal.” Breaking promises *should* be shameful behavior, I don’t care what religious or political credo you follow. It’s bad behavior, no matter if you’re a twenty-something dating two guys (and not telling either about the other) or an elected official telling your constituents “I did not have sex with that woman.”

              There are certain basic things that support our culture, our nation, and our general way of life. That’s one of them- keeping promises. It’s a part of trust. A person who chooses to sleep around with anyone who catches their fancy with cavalier indifference to what the other chooses to do for themselves the next morning is making a personal choice. On a large scale that could cause an erosion of trust, I believe, but by and large it isn’t wrong in and of itself.

              Humans are social creatures, and the way some of us live naked to the window by tweeting, status updating, and generally letting their private lives live in the public arena means it’s there for public critique. As long as no one’s trying to force someone else to conform to their own idea of what’s Right, I mostly have no real problem with it. With one glaring exception.

              When we take a stand for freedom and adherence to the Constitution, that protects everybody. Not from being offended, but from being literally forced to conform through application of law (and enforcement of said law). Yes, I went there. *chuckle* Been reading Breitbart and it has infected my brain.

              Anyways, while I might *like* to see more tolerance and acceptance in general (terrorism and the like are still out), I am offended by the Aliskyesque rush to apply Candyarse Christian morals to the second young lady. The tactic is trite and boringly predictable. As “racism!” and “sexism!” have become the go-to tangent boosters for the left, attacking someone taking a moral stance for not adhering *strictly* to what the attackers perceive as the moralist’s own code is another red herring.

              Soap box? What soap box? And why does my wallet suddenly feel lighter?

              *chuckle*

            • Rob Crawford

              Tain’t the lack of sex that grates. It’s the lack of intimacy. Different things.

      • Quite the contrary, I’m perfectly happy. Any desires I have for death have nothing to do with sex.
        I do not have to worry about getting pregnant and the statistical odds on acquiring an STD and extremely slim. Plus, I don’t have to worry about the emotional baggage. 😉
        At this stage of the game, why would I want to change?

        • To each his (or her) own of course. My remark was largely intended as a snide aside rather than a sincere statement of desire. IME, celibacy tracks closely with loneliness, and enough of that gets difficult to cope with. Especially back in the hormonally hyper-active years.

    • Funny thing is that accepting Mr. Right Here, Right Now you reduce the population of that category termed Mr. Right.

      Because Mr. Right is not a category composed of but one person, any more than Ms Right is, but for all of us it is a finite class and who you make of yourself shapes who will put up with your crap, which in turn shapes whose crap you will have to tolerate. We are Human, we are all of us full of crap.

  15. The term “Candy-*ss Evangelical Christians” alone is worth the price of admission.

    All I can say to sluts so shamed by slut-shaming that they must shame slut-shamers is, “How’s that working out for you?”

    • Sadly, Steve, its probably far more successful for them that you would believe. The core of being among the “in crowd” these days is being sure to hate the correct list of people.

  16. Which raises an interesting question – is a slut a female who sleeps around, or is a slut a female who sleeps around with malice aforethought? Because where and when I grew up, “slut” implied easy, lazy, has poor hygiene, and out to cause mischief if she could. (Another term for dust bunnies is “sluts’ wool.”) A floozy or “easy” woman just slept around for fun. A slut causes trouble. And then there’s the fairy queen who “Bakes elfknots in foul, sluttish hair” . . .

    • I don’t know about that, I just remember what I used to hear in school: “A slut is a girl who will sleep with anyone. A bitch is a girl who will sleep with anyone but you.”

      • Or alternately, a slut is “A girl who just slept with your boyfriend.”

        😛

        Women tend to use that term quite frequently as well – to the extent that I’ve heard some suggest that women actually sling it around more than guys do.

    • Legally, in a slander case, you must put the mildest possible interpretation on the terms used. As a consequence, for a long time, the mean of “slut” at law was “a bad housekeeper.”

      So I think it’s 3) a female who sleeps around out of sheer incontinence.

    • Sounds as though your area still has some of the overtones of the original meaning of the word—”slut” used to basically mean the dirty pot-girl, the one who wasn’t clean (probably because they were always working in the dirty parts), and the one who didn’t bother to keep herself or her surroundings clean.

  17. Among the most bizarre of the bizarre ideas our society traffics in these days is the idea that when people engage in stupid, destructive behavior that those who point it out are the villains.

    • But that’s hate, you know.

    • Will and Ariel Durant put it this way:

      A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; [but] if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or laws, he may ruin his life before he … understand[s] that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.

      (From “The Lessons of History”)

      Now, I’m a fortunate guy in that my wife and I have a daughter with a good head on her shoulders (so far, fingers crossed, and keeping things shored up at every opportunity), but we still have a lot of conversations in our family now about homosexuality, because a surprising number of her friends are claiming to be homosexual or bisexual, and she’s trying to square that with our religious teachings regarding homosexuality.

      In the long run, having this come up and having these conversations with our daughter will, I believe, stand her in good stead because we’re not just saying “Well, honey, God said so.” She wouldn’t accept it if we did (although there are things where we do sort of shrug and say… “I don’t know why He said that, but I’ve made a commitment to follow it.” Prohibitions on tea, for example.) and being able to grapple with the argument NOW in our home and with our help beats the HECK out of having to grapple with it when she’s out of the house and on her own. So, while there’s a part of me that hates the culture that forces us to have these conversations with the kiddo, in the long run, I think she’ll be better able to hold her own ground on an ideological / theological (and yes, that’s a goal for me and the wife) and behavioral grounds than she would have been if we’d never discussed it.

      I grew up in a little town, 98% or so LDS, and I’m sure that parents did NOT have those kinds of discussions with their kids. At least mine didn’t with me. They figured, “they’re good kids, and it’s a good community of good people. What could go wrong?” or something like that. And I can understand the thinking behind that approach. Anecdotally, we also had what I was told at the time was a relatively high per capita teen pregnancy rate. The implications I leave to you.

      • O could make an argument why not tea*, but as I am bound in the warp of Time I can only guess His intentions. What I am confident of is that He has my best interests at Heart, not in this world and not what I want but what I need.

        I really hate that, same as I hated the parents who wouldn’t let me pull the pretty glowing coals from the fire.

        *For example, it is because you must learn to rely on yourself and on Him, without artificial stimulant.

        • O stands for Orson Scott Card, right? Please God, not Obama.

          • I read that as a small typo, seeing as “I” and “O” are right next to each other on my keyboard.

          • O could make an argument why not tea*,
            I
            I could make an argument why not tea*,

            Several characters on this keyboard (Logitech) have quite worn away, so that the “I” and “O” are essentially blank. The “L” looks like a “_” and the “A” is half gone. My apologies to the misled multitudes for any typing failures.

            • Would you like me to send you a new keyboard? They aren’t that expensive. Wireless, right?

              • Thanks for the offer (and yes, without strings attached), but I remember where I left those keys and can still tap them when necessary. What i don’t remember is to proof my work before posting and there’s no reason to think a new keyboard would help that.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      It’s because you sound just like their killjoy parents.

  18. Interesting coincidence, but Ace had a link to an article with a similar theme at Glamour.com yesterday.

    http://www.glamour.com/entertainment/2013/12/rashida-jones-major-dont-the-pornification-of-everything

    The focus is on the pop industry, and how “sexy” seems to have devolved down to putting naked women in front of everyone. And when the article’s author posted on Twitter to suggest that maybe there were other ways to do “sexy”, she was promptly jumped on by a horde of people who were apparently horrified that some slut shaming prude – which the author makes clear she is not – was suggesting that maybe some covering up might be helpful. Her point is simple enough – there are lots of different types of sexy, and there are lots of ways to show it. But the pop industry appears to have decided to exclusively go the “show lots of flesh” route. And Sinead O’Conner had a legitimate point in her advice to Miley Cyrus.

    • Sometimes concealment and hinting at what’s underneath is far more erotic that baring it all.

      • definitely.

      • There is a reason women wear make-up, and it is not because “baring it all” is erotic; it is the same reason why fishnet stockings compel the eye.

      • So true. The scene in “Key Largo” where Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart are just starting to sizzle, and Lauren Bacall is sitting in profile fully dressed but with with her blouse just very slightly open and the light kind of backlighting … um …

        What was I talking about? I lost my train of thought there …

        • I find this is true in reading too. If the author insists on telling me what goes where how many times, I get either icked out or bored. BUT give a bit of tantalizing and I stay with it. Heck, Heyer’s Venetia has some of the hottest scenes ever, and the characters kiss twice, I think, and never go beyond that.

        • Hmmmmm, Lauren Bacall.

          Excuse me, I’ll be in my bunk.

  19. Obligatory Gods of the Copybook Headings reference goes HERE.

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

  20. Our culture is very binary on some things. You’re either a prude OR a slut—there’s literally no allowed in-between. I can get on board with anti-slut-shaming that is attempting to establish a middle ground—that is, you can make out with a boy and not immediately become a disease-raddled whore. I can also understand trying to eliminate the double standard of praising a guy for sleeping around (you dog, you) while simultaneously sneering at the girls they slept with. Or especially trying to fix the problem of rape, where a girl who is raped is often considered a slut because she had sex at other times, therefore she must have been “asking for it”.

    BUT—you can’t fix that by disallowing discernment. If you say it’s okay to champion one choice, the other choice can be championed too. People have different priorities, and maybe one set of advantages is more appealing than the other. It’s becoming increasingly evident that there are a lot of folks out there who are deeply offended that other people have opinions.

    • Of course they are offended that other people have opinions. They have the only opinions that matter. Everyone should think, believe, and act as they do. Anyone who doesn’t is evil and needs to be punished at the very least.

    • Rob Crawford

      Ya know, maybe we were weird where I grew up, but we could just as easily call a guy a “slut” as a girl.

      • Yep, although the term ‘man-whore’ was more common. It was not as derogatory as calling a girl one, however.

        • From a Demotivator “A key that opens a lot of locks is called a Master Key. A lock that is opened by a lot of keys is a lousy lock.”

          Guess that’s why one sex has the gatekeeper role. And why the left works so hard to get them to give that role up.

        • “Gigolo” is not yet a compliment, however.

  21. I think that the word ‘Scut” meant the cleaning woman, cleaning not just the kitchen but animals and fish for supper too. Slut, was saved for behavior that needed cleaning.
    Shame is the favorite, probably only real tool the liberal progressives have, if they can’t shame you for something considered inappropriate, then they will accuse you of trying to self righteously shame someone else. Because, in their mind, shame is a weapon.

  22. It seems to have started because there actually were some situations where women were in various kinds of double-binds where no matter what they did, they got condemned (especially for being victims of rape, sexual abuse, etc.). Some of this was edge and corner cases where several factors converged such that rules contradicted one another, but a lot was the sort of victim-blaming that happens when people are trying to convince themselves that this Bad Thing won’t happen to them because *they* make all the right choices, so therefore the victim must’ve done Something wrong and therefore is but getting her just deserts.

    Except instead of reforming the rules to prevent the double-binds and educating people about the psychological roots of victim-blaming, the response became to throw out the whole of the social furniture relating to sexual conduct, rather like William Roper in _A Man for All Seasons_ who would cut down all the laws in order to get at the devil. And we’ve gotten exactly the ill wind Sir Thomas More warned about.

    Yes, I know that passage is more about the perils of weakening the due process of law in order to get at criminals (something that also concerns me a great deal about contemporary society), but there does seem to be a very big tendency in human nature to just chuck an entire social edifice that’s malfunctioning in a few cases. Oddly enough, it’s often done by the same people who, when someone’s causing harm, want to make more rules rather than make sure the existing applicable ones are properly enforced. Never mind that making more and more rules fairly ensures the sort of thicket of contradictions that creates double-binds.

  23. mikeweatherford

    I married my wife when I was 19 (she was 23… ), and we’re still married 47, almost 48 years later. I had standards, and Jean met (even exceeded) them. I was ready to get married, even though at the time I was an E-2 in the Air Force, barely a year into my enlistment. We made it through 26 years in the military, three (going on 4) children, sixteen moves (8 of them across the Atlantic), unemployment, both working, me working and Jean being a stay-at-home mom. I read both the “reply” article AND the original, somehow NOT losing IQ points (but just barely). I also read most of the comments. I agree with the second young lady far more than the first. The author of the original article has some SERIOUS mental issues, and a very warped outlook on life. Think of her as having arrested her mental, moral, and social development as a tweeniebopper. Unfortunately, thanks to the propaganda bombardment in our public school system (through the PhD level), we have far too many such “people” in our society.

  24. Everything I know about Ms. Howard is from the mnemonic, “Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.” She’s not Anne Boleyn, so she must be #5.

    For all I know, she thought sex was the best fun ever, but it’s a shame that, at 17, she didn’t know any better than to get in bed with that homocidal maniac. He had a chilling track record.

    • Yes, but that is really hard to fight back on, when your entire family is pushing you…

      • And a 16th-century noble family could “push” its daughters in ways which would be utterly-improbable in the modern West for anyone save Muslims, and Muslims living in a culture whose police had decided to turn a blind eye to Muslim-on-Muslim crime, at that. Also, she didn’t know that Henry VIII was going to kill her — he’d only killed one wife before, and most of his accusations against Anne were probably believed at the time.

        The great irony is that Henry VIII executed Anne — who was fairly virtuous — for supposedly-committing the sorts of actions which Kathryn Howard was actually to commit. (I think he actually executed her for a combination of “refusing” to produce a healthy male heir and the great sin of being intelligent and strong-willed). Which does make me wonder why Kathryn was willing to take the risk of betraying King Henry in that fashion.

        I’m guessing that this is why many people think she was a bit stupid. It’s also possible — even perhaps likely — that Kathryn Howard was more than a little bit self-destructive. The world of the 16th-century highest upper classes was a treacherous and unforgiving one: any tendency toward self-destructive behavior often led to, well, self-destruction in the most final sense.

        • There is a good case to make for the idea that she thought he was dying and her ONLY protection in that case was an heir. If he was impotent…
          Though there are people who think her affair with Cullpepper was platonic. What she’d done before marriage was not unusual for that time and place.

    • The reason he married a subject was that two princesses, having gotten overtures, flatly if wittily declaimed on the danger of marrying him.

  25. Speaking of shaming, there’s a call to list & name the colleges/universities that haven’t withdrawn from the ASA in light of its academic boycott of Israel. This was in a comment on a post on Legal Insurrection on UTD’s leaving the ASA.

  26. Imagine how many problems we could solve if people remembered that there’s such a thing as “public sphere” and “private sphere” and the two need intersect only so far as you, personally and individually, deem fit.

    ‘Tis going to be difficult for anyone to shame me for my private sphere behavior, if they don’t happen to find themselves in that private sphere. If they do find themselves there… well, nobody’ll know.

    • ” If they do find themselves there… well, nobody’ll know”

      What you have 40 acres and a backhoe?

      • Hah! *surprised snort*

        Heh….hm. Well, I was really alluding to those in the private sphere being a matter of privacy. But as regards acreage and backhoes, I know a guy…

      • I’ve got one better. My back yard is Puget Sound. As I frequently reminded my now brother-in-law, I don’t even need a shovel.

        • But don’t things eventually wash up somewhere? Where do you live? I don’t know a lot of geography.Are you near the Navy Base?

    • The private sphere is reserved for those of whom the party approves as being useful. Public conformity to Party Orthodoxy is the primary requirement. This is why Chelsea Clinton had a privacy sphere but not Jenna & Barbara Bush, and why any criticism of a Democrat Senator for seeking anonymous gay sexual trysts in airport bathrooms would be denounced as a) intrusive and b) evidence of the harm done to gays by this nation’s homophobic policies. I believe the technical term for the rule is the Packwood Principle.

      • If you are interested in Oregon politicians (spit) try looking into Neil Goldschmidt. Everyone found him…useful. And for that he had great…license.

      • Which is why Obama can bring up his daughters in a discussion of Obamacare but asking why they do not attend a gun-free school is verboten.

  27. Your old classmate is a good example of how promiscuity is a good way to attract sociopaths. What’s more, by that point she may have been so happy to believe that she was genuinely loved that she jettisoned all her morals (such as her aversion to murder) in order to please her beloved.

  28. Andrew Cowling

    Of course the real slut in the sad tale of Katheryn Howard is her husband, who made Kitty look chaste in comparison. Just like his maternal grandfather (Edward IV), Henry’s motto should have been recorded “Damn the kingdom, I must have her,” given that both Edward and Henry proved repeatedly willing to shatter the stability of the realm chasing tail.

    • Oh yes. Kathryn needed a kind, loving and understanding husband to heal whatever had damaged her in the first place.

      What she got, instead, was a sociopathic monster.

      Not that the world of the 16th-century upper classes was very kind to those with character flaws, but Henry VIII was close to the worst possible husband for her.

    • Ironically, Harry seems to have been desperate for a healthy male heir, in order to ensure a stable dynasty, which provided much of the excuse for his inexcusable behavior.

      Incidentally, someone (I forget) once published a list of amusing titles of nonexistent children’s books. The one that made me laugh out loud, in a “Boy that hurts” kind of way, was “Why Daddy Had Mommy’s Head Cut Off” by Henry VIII.

  29. Pingback: the Revision Division

  30. When I became sexually active, I remember thinking “If I don’t want to marry a slut, then I better not be one myself.” I approached my sex life as what I would be willing to accept from the future Mrs.- if I don’t want someone who did XYZ, then I better not do XYZ. I was not interested in “slut-shaming”, but I did not want to marry one either. I figured to each their own, so long as I don’t have to live my life with it, or the risk that comes with marring a slut.

    I disagree with the notion- Women, you can have as much of any kind of sex you want, just like a man (though a report of a study I read pointed out that 90% of college women surveyed where having sex with 80% of the men… who is setting the standard now?). And then she does not have to own up to it. Sure, everyone deserves to have her sexual past accepted by her partner. She does not have the right to accept if for him.

    Why do I think this is important? Because while her sex life is not “who she is” it still is a PART of who she is. Not to say just because she is/was a slut she would also be a cheater, but who do you think is more likely to lack that moral compass?

    I recently learned after several years of marriage (and an “emotional indiscretion” on her part), my wife would have fit the category of “slut”. She was extremely promiscuous prior to our meeting. This has been devastating. My wife knew what I was looking for in a partner and withheld the fact she did not fit that bill, and now finding out after I am so many years in, I feel trapped.

    Her past shaped her and though I did not know then what I know now, it is apparent her past has always haunted our love life (it manifests in her own actions (or lack there of) and attitudes based on her “baggage”). It also sets her standard of “right and wrong” lower than my own (figuring if she not having sex with another man, a relationship (not friendship) with him is ok).

    Now I wrestle with my own foolish, wasted youth. If I had known my own discretion and standards would not have been reciprocated, then I would not now be haunted by the Ghost of Sex Not Had and the Ghost of All the Sex SHE Had. I would not have been saddled with someone whose selfish sexual youth now translates to a selfish spouse.

  31. Limbaugh’s pronouncement that Sandra Fluke is a slut was outrageous because it was tactless and poor politics. That it was perfectly true was not terribly relevant.