Recently, I was aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, and I came across a video posted by a woman who calls herself “The Activist Mommy.”
“Mommy’s” video rant was focused on the magazine Teen Vogue. It was one of those posts that triggers an immediate response in me—I sat watching with my mouth gaping open and pulse racing. Was she for real?
In her video clip she talks about how this magazine, which according to her has a target audience of 11-17-year-old “children,” is printing a variety of sex articles. She talks about one article in which anal sex is discussed, or as she called it, sodomy! “They are teaching our children how to be sodomized!” Sodomized?! Who even talks like this anymore? Why do the religious right, whenever arguing their side, end up talking like a Shakespearean play? “Don’t let thy children fall prey to the evil sodomites!”
If the sodomy comment didn’t already have me chomping at the bit to respond, what followed sealed the deal: “We shouldn’t even be talking to our ‘children’ about sex!” Wait! Hold the phone! Did she just say we as parents or adults should NEVER bring up the topic of sex with the younger generation?! Is she serious? So let me get this straight, instead of talking to our kids about all the incredible changes their bodies will be experiencing and all the various emotions and stimuli they will be encountering, instead of maybe even buying an issue of Teen Vogue and using the articles as a fantastic jumping off point for sex education purposes with your kids, this woman would rather sacrifice her own children’s knowledge for ignorance, or as I’m sure she likes to call it, innocence, and use this magazine to do it!
By the way, I took the time to read the Teen Vogue article this woman believes to be so destructive, and found it to be extremely informative and professionally written. The article was fair and honest and never said anything about whether or not you ever even have to engage in anal sex. After all, just because you read about the inner workings of a subject doesn’t always mean you’ll elect to participate, you may come away with the knowledge to make an informed decision about what you want to do. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!
On a side note, in a February, 2017 interview Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth stated, “Our audience is not all teens. Our sweet spot is 18-24.” Where in the world this “Activist Mommy” got her “target audience” is beyond me, but it sure isn’t geared towards an 110-year-old!
As this woman brought home her defiance and hatred, not only for the magazine, but also for the editors who printed such “garbage,” I couldn’t help but notice that with each page this woman ripped from the magazine issue and flung into the fire repeating how the articles were filthy garbage, it became quite clear… to her, sex is garbage!
I couldn’t disagree more!
I’m sorry, but a 17-year-old is not a child! These youth may not have the experiences to back up some of their decisions, but they definitely have the capacity to reason through a decision. Besides, how unfair is it as parents to want our offspring to excel in life, yet when it comes to the subject of sex, an act that will become a constant in their life, we don’t want them to have the facts?!
I happen to believe sex is a beautiful act. It provides many healing and medicinal properties, and let’s not kid ourselves… it feels great! Everything from masturbation, to oral sex, to vaginal sex and yes, even anal sex have the world of science backing its benefits. If the medicinal side wasn’t awesome enough, just look at the empathy and love created when we have the opportunity to bond with ourselves and others on an intimate level.
This whole sex is bad under certain circumstances (outside marriage) but is supposed to be some holy interchange once you have a ring on your finger is simply not true anymore than the belief that revealing the fundamentals of sex is going to see apocalyptic mayhem among our youth. You can’t possibly labor under the delusion that knowledge is going to create anarchy. I would argue instead that ignorance (or that flowery innocence so many prefer to refer to) is the true culprit. Even the government program encourages open, honest conversations with young adults about their changing bodies and the topic of sex.
My hat goes off to all those parents out there who get it. The parents of these budding new ADULTS who are taking the time to have those important discussions. They aren’t afraid to talk to their kids about puberty, about how masturbation is perfectly natural and the beauty of morphing into powerful awesome creatures who will have desires and emotions. It feels good, because it does feel good...and that’s okay. These parents aren’t hiding under a rock fooling themselves into believing their “angelic” offspring would NEVER do anything!
It’s been my experience that parents are typically the most blind to their own brood, kidding themselves, forgetting that it wasn’t all that long ago they were making out in the backseat of a car or that they experimented. Part of our job as parents is to get off this “sex is garbage” train. Sex isn’t garbage. Sex is a natural part of who we are, in whatever capacity we find enjoyment. I’m troubled by the fact that there are still so many people in the world with this “activist” mentality who think keeping our youth in the dark about their sexuality is somehow keeping them safe.
I wonder how many parents would think it’s a good idea to hand over the car keys to their kids without ever giving them any instruction on how to drive. I would wager very few, if any. No, most parents will spend all kinds of time and money to make sure their son or daughter is prepared for driving. These kids will receive “hours” spent behind the wheel of the family car, will go to driving classes, will learn to park and back up and will have driving tests and written tests and restrictions until they can prove they’re ready. But when it comes to sex, so many kids are thrust out into the world with no instruction. Zip… Zilch… Zero!
How can we as parents justify leaving our kids to their own devices when it comes to the topic of sex? I would say the real strength of parenting is being able to climb out of our own discomfort and talk with our kids. Yes, it may feel awkward at first talking about periods and masturbating and condoms and sex in general. We’ll be fighting against our own brainwashing that talking about sex will increase the amount of sex being had. But I say sex is being had regardless. Wouldn’t you rather your soon-to-be-adult have the tools and mystery of sex revealed? Just like with driving, don’t you want your son or daughter to know how to handle the responsibility?
I was so bothered by what this “Activist Mommy” was spouting that I got in touch with a mother of a pre-teen daughter to get her feedback. This millennial mother said the lines of communication had already been opened with her daughter about puberty because “someone” was already experiencing hair growth in all sorts of new places! I couldn’t be more proud of this mother. She was upfront, honest and was taking away the giggly mystery of her daughter’s changing body. “The last thing I want is for my daughter to be at school when her period starts and not know what to do. I want her to have as much information as possible.”
Bravo to this progressive and wise-beyond-her-years mom! Her daughter will be able to make informed decisions and not have to rely on misinformed and “innocent” friends supplying her with faulty tales. This budding young girl will not have to suffer through what I did, not knowing how to insert a tampon until after marriage when my sister-in-law took pity on me. Up until then my life had been pillow thick pads, leaks and walking the halls of school with my jacket tied around my waist. This pre-teen will be taught to love her body and to understand all the ins and outs of its mechanics… shame will NEVER be part of the curriculum.
We’re too brilliant a species and have progressed too far to continue to teach such a painful and self-defeating message. No, this next generation is going to bring all things sex out into the light of day. They’ll strive to rid past generations of the hangups about the almost endless ways our bodies will find pleasure. It’s long past time to throw out the “sex is garbage” narrative for one that is softer, kinder and more true to our nature.