As I said, I’ve vacillated on this issue – I wrote one story for it and then hedged and changed my mind. We still have 1.5 years left to make a decision (the vaccine is administered when a girl is between 9 and 24), so the advice of The Girl Revolution readers would be helpful.
Did you get the vaccine for your daughter? Will you? Why or why not?
While in the shower, meditating on how to effectively reduce the teen pregnancy rate in the United States, I had an epiphany.
Access to condoms? More educational information about risks? Push more abstinence? Make girls wear Purity Rings and have Virginity Balls with their Daddies? Eh, Maybe.
But, I was thinking something way more revolutionaryand radical!
What if we – their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, mentors, counselors – talked about our real sex lives so much that it made sex seem like a middle-aged, kinda-grody thing to do?
If we told them the TRUTH about sex – the vaginal dryness and the right kinds of lubricants, the scheduled passion that begins with the ever so hot “wanna do it?” during the precious 20 minutes after the kids go to bed and Mommy crashes,the wet spot, the very exciting way you still must remind each other to brush their teeth if there’s to be any french kissing, the way it’s really awkward and somewhat painful to do it in water, how it took us years to figure out our bodies enough to be comfortable in certain positions and even longer to figure out how to move our bodies so as to have an orgasm, how we sometimes get too winded and have to take a breather, how you have to hold your breath to have morning sex.
And after we’ve made them really want to throw up, we can admit that even with all that “old married sex is still the best sex we’ve ever had.”
What if we took sex back from the media by talking about it more than they do? What if we planted our own images in their heads to combat the big fat lies the media is telling about sex?
Did you see my series on the book So Sexy So Soon? Authors Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne made a very compelling argument that companies – with their marketing – are making humans sexually attracted to objects. They are sexualizing objects. We used to be worried women would be turned into objects via porn – and that is true.
But we didn’t really expect the opposite to happen. That companies would use all their marketing power to make us turned on by their products. Sex produces dopamine in the brain. If they can produce enough dopamine in the brain when we think about Doritos or GoDaddy, for instance, we are likely to buy them. Because we have “feel good” feelings about them.
We can see this in children. When they talk about “sexiness” or being “sexy” they might say something like “those shoes are sexy.” Or if they mention that someone is “sexy” or looks “sexy” you might ask “what about them is sexy?” Ainsley will say, “her clothes, her shoes, that dress, the bikini, the belly shirt.” Things. Not personal attributes like her boobs, her hips, her lips, her hair.
Ainsley, like most girls today, are tying the feeling of L-O-V-E and her innate sexual feelings, desire to be loved, to companies like Disney with saturation of Disney Princess Culture, High School Musical, Hannah Montana. Disney is telling her “this is what love/sexual attraction/romance is and you can get it through our company.”
People are supposed to be sexual, sensual, sexy. Not objects or things. But, a kajillion dollars in marketing and media has been spent to change that part of our brains. To make us associate sexuality and our sexual feelings with their product or brand.
It sounds insanely fundamental and not at all what Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives fight about when they fight but sex.
I think the key to regaining the sacredness of our sexuality and indeed, to achieve a fulfilling sexy life is to convince kids – and ourselves – that certain human beings in our actual life are sexy and worthy of attraction. And that their personal attributes like a great sense of humor is what really attracts people to each other. Instead of the imitation sex we’re sold everywhere we look to make us feel hot for brands and objects.
On Blog Fabulous today I wrote Porn Killed Sex, referring readers to a very insightful article by Naomi Wolf in The New York Times about the true impact Free Porn 24/7 on the Internet has had on human sexuality.
Companies will keep doing it if it keeps working. Also, I know many of you are pissed about the GoDaddy Super Bowl Commercials, Glennia Campbell from The Silent “I” is leading a campaign to cancel domain registrations with GoDaddy in her post How to Transfer A Domain Name: Phase I (or, Bye-Bye GoDaddy). I’m thinking I will jump on that train. Vote with my dollar.
I’m pleased to introduce Alexis Saint as a Guest Writer on The Girl Revolution. Alexis is a personal friend of mine. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Intern. She is also the mother of five-year-old Sarah, one of our beautiful Poster Girls in the rotating header.
By Alexis Saint
The four of us were crowded into a public restroom at a high traffic big box store and I was wrangling my three small children, all under 36 inches, up to reach the sink. Attending to the business at hand which was getting all 40 fingers washed when my oldest son, four at the time, asked if he could have some candy while pointing to the feminine products vending machine.
Having already decided to handle questions pertaining to sexuality in a very matter-of-fact way, I answered that the machine did not have candy in it. It had pads, kind of like small diapers, to catch the no-longer-needed lining of a women’s uterus if there was not a fertilized egg inside of it already.
He seemed satisfied with my answer, but just then a woman came out of one of the stalls with a very embarrassed look on her face, glared at me and made straight for the door, without washing her hands, I might add. I wondered if starting her period as an adolescent had been somehow bound up with shame, secrecy and fear.
In that moment I decided that my daughter’s period would be a source of honor and celebrated as a benchmark on her path to womanhood.
Although she was only 11 months old at the time, I started a collection of items that I thought would be appropriate for the occasion. So, in my quest to honor her as a maiden, as a contributing member of the earth’s life force, and as my prepared, informed and confident daughter, I began collecting things in a wooden lock box decorated with pixies. The box is big enough to encompass the following…
A dream journal…a collection of multi-cultural stories about how menarche is celebrated around the world…letters written to my daughter from my trusted and loving sisters about their feelings/experiences of femininity, menstruation, and growing up…these are to give her sense of the community with all women.
A lunar calendar...to illustrate the harmonious cycle of the earth and the women on it.
Bath salts…tea bags…a candle…a mirror…for alone time to reflect and relax.
A well-written book on female sexuality…for practical education.
A new package of dark colored undies (period panties)…pads and tampons…for self care on the big day.
And finally an OTC pain reliever for cramps..lets be real, cramps and PMS happen.
My hope is that my daughter will grow to revere and embrace her full inheritance as a woman.
In celebration of this special moment in a girl’s life, Marianne Impal, of Red Goddess at www.redgoddess.org has offered to give one Red Goddess Box to a reader of The Girl Revolution.
This Red Goddess Box, which retails for $49.99, includes:
A Solid Wood Fabricated Keepsake Box
Lavender Bath Salts
Comfort Herbal Pillow
Energy Leg and Foot Rub
Active Leg and Foot Spritz
Calming Body Myst
Purse Pats Cleansing Towelettes
Moon Calendar with stickers
Positive Picks Inspirational Cards
Gift Giver’s guide to walk you through what can sometimes be an awkward time in a young girl’s life
LEAVE A COMMENT about how you’ll handle your daughter’s period or a story about how your parents handled it for you and you’re entered to win.
This post is entered in Bloggy Giveaways. This contest will run for 7 days, and shipping to the United States and Canada are accepted. Enter for a chance to win another popular Fit Girl shirt on Blog Fabulous.
Perhaps you noticed that your daughter has both a vagina and a uterus when she was born?
Oddly, this causes discomfort in some parents.
I admit to some discomfort in myself when I deal with rashes, itchy or irritation in the general area. As our daughters get older the issues surrounding their feminine organs and parts becomes more complicated. As far as parental discomfort regarding these reproductive issues – it’s time to get over it.
Jeanne Connor Dessert has suffered from endometriosis since she was a young teenager. She currently runs a support group for women with endometriosis and she has some fantastic advice to parents of daughters.
I’m 39 years old and my endometriosis symptoms began at age 13. I was not properly diagnosed, however, until the age of 23.I would like to make all parents of girls out there aware that endometriosis is a serious illness and that symptoms should not be overlooked, marginalized, or viewed as “in a girl’s head”.
Endometriosis is a very real illness that affects an estimated 80 million patients worldwide. Society has taught women and girls that menstrual pain is “normal”. It is not. Endo has a wide variety of symptoms. Cramps are just one of a great many. click on Endometriosis Association “what is it?” for a complete list of symptoms.
The important point I’d like to make is that if you think there’s any chance your daughter is having endo symptoms… I urge you to take it seriously, have her seen by a highly skilled gynecologist highly trained in recognizing and surgically removing endometriosis, and advocate for your daughter. This illness can cause pain (sometimes debilitating and disabling), infertility, less commonly it can cause bowel obstruction. The list goes on. Endo patients are also at an increased risk for ovarian cancer, melanoma, and breast cancer.
If you have endo in your family (which some people do have family history without even knowing it due to societal “taboos” regarding talking about reproductive organs and menstruation), then your daughter has a higher risk of developing endo. I urge parents to learn the basics about endo. If your daughter has it, you want to be proactive, have her see a properly qualified gynecologist, and not ignore her symptoms. Empower your girls to obtain appropriate health care and not be cast aside by a health care system that isn’t doing all it should for endo patients.
Also, the research dollars for endo have historically been far too limited and I do not think this is an accident. Since this illness affects women and girls, the research dollars are just not as available for it as they would be for an illness affecting both genders.