Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Must Read in The Atlantic Monthly

Caitlin Flanagan, "Are You There God? It's Me, Monica," January/February 2006. [Subscription required]

Flanagan's essay is ostensibly a book review, but it is really a brilliant discussion of the disturbing popular trend of preteen and young teen girls performing casual and quasi-anonymous or*l s*x on preteen and young teen boys (I'm editing the words to avoid any creepy searches). I do not want to excerpt too much from the essay, because any one paragraph might make it seem as if Flanagan is some sort of prudish schoolmarm, which she is not:

A huge report was issued by the National Center for Health Statistics. It covered the topic of teenage or*l s*x more extensively than any previous study, and the news was devastating: A quarter of girls aged fifteen had engaged in it, and more than half aged seventeen. Obviously, there was no previous data to compare this with, but millions of suburban dads were quite adamant that they had been born too soon.
The article is much more than just an expose on a very expose-able issue, it is a complex look at the roles and values of women in modern America:

We've made a world for our girls in which the pornography industry has become increasingly mainstream, in which Planned Parenthood's response to the or*l-s*x craze has been to set up a help line, in which the forces of feminism have worked relentlessly to erode the patriarchy--which, despite its manifold evils, held that providing for the sexual safety of young girls was among its primary reasons for existence. And here are America's girls: experienced beyond their years, lacking any clear message from the adult community about the importance of protecting their modesty, adrift in one of the most explicitly sexualized cultures in the history of the world.
If you have the means, read the whole thing. The Gene Weingarten article has some competition for the Pulitzer.

UPDATE: Reader Paul has found a free link to the article in its entirety. Here it is.


Paul said...

Great! Just in time for the birth of my daughter.

got it free at:

Paul said...

Some typos, but still readable.