While cycling through my blogroll the other day, I ended up being linked to an an article in The Telegraph. It starts out with quite a bang:
A friend’s daughter recently started at a highly regarded boarding school. When her mother asked how she was enjoying the mixed-sex environment, the girl said quietly: “You have to give the boys oral sex or they get cross.” Reeling with shock, the mum protested that her darling daughter did not have to do anything of the sort. “Oh yes you do,” replied the girl. “And you have to shave down there or the boys don’t like it.”
The girl in question is not some brazen, street-smart sixth-former; she is 14 years old.
At which point, I almost vomited.
Then, when I could think coherently: “Build a bunker. Hide the children.”
And then, “How did we get here?”
Finally: “What the hell do we do about it?
A few years ago, for my twenty-fourth birthday, my friends and I came up with an ill-conceived idea to go to Vegas for the week to celebrate. Why? At this point, I have no idea. We should have known better.
One night, in search of a place to sit down and have a drink, we allowed ourselves to be lured into a club—free drinks for the ladies!—which, as we found out when we entered, had “dancers” in various states of undress, doing their best to entertain the masses.
We stayed barely long enough to pound back a drink, but it was time enough for me to see the most heartbreaking sight: A woman watching her husband watch a dancer. His eyes were fixed, barely blinking, at the stage, and his wife, in some misguided attempt to give him some fun, was trying to enjoy herself too. But with every second that ticked by, I could see her smile fading, her confidence eroding, a sadness taking hold of her. Every glance his way begged him to “Look at me! See me! Want me!”
And this demands the question: “Why is she trying to be okay with this?”
The story goes something like this. For a woman, up until fairly recently, sex was a risky thing. She could ask much of a man before she consented to being his. She was the one who risked getting pregnant. The one who would have to carry the child, birth it, and nurture it. She had a right to be picky.
She could require things of her potential suitor. She could say, “If you want me, you had better be kind, and generous, and considerate, and just, and good, and honest. Will you promise to look after me and our potential child? On a lesser note, I like chocolate. Also, roses would not be amiss. Are you up on your diamond knowledge? Have I told you how much a like pearls?”
And in being picky, she civilized the male who wanted her, turning him into a man.
But then, along came the Sexual Revolution. Any personal risk to the woman was greatly lessened. Sex became cheap, and in turn women cheapened their very selves and lowered their own previously high requirements in order to attract the men whom they could no longer require anything from.
In an odd twist of fate, the sexual revolution—meant to raise women to grand heights of freedom and choice—birthed not only the strippers and the woman who was trying to have fun watching them with her husband, it also brought forth the fourteen-year-old girl who is made to feel guilty if she doesn’t attend to the “needs” of her male classmates.
It’s all fun and games, until you look at your child and realize that it has never occurred to her that she is absolutely priceless and worthy of any good thing she desires in a man.
No one has ever shown her this.
And it is the showing that matters. Telling your daughter “You are worth more than that!” means nothing, if you don’t require anything better yourself.
And so we come back to the question that has been haunting me all week. What do we do about it? Well, ladies, are you ready?
Fulton Sheen said, “The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”
Heavy words. Kind of uncomfortable, if one is a woman.
What do they even mean, though? Earlier in the quotation we find the key: “When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her.”
I am not blaming the fourteen-year-old girl for the requirements of her classmates—dear God, no. I am not blaming the woman for how disgusting her husband was. In a sense, they are dealing with the unleashing of an animal it never occurred to them existed. They are the victims of something that promised freedom and, oddly, ended up granting men a type of power they didn’t have before.
But, it’s time to stop the madness. Not to sound crude, but women: but put a price on yourselves. Believe it or not, you are worth it. It’s time to realize that if you want respect and fidelity and kindness and consideration, you are going to have to insist on it, and it’s not just for you.
You enter the battle so that your daughters are shown how they should be treated and so that your sons are shown how to be a men. So that they can pass this on to their daughters and sons.
The fate of humanity once rested in the simple “yes” of one woman. In looking to her dignity and grace and strength, we can claim it for ourselves. We must, if we don’t want to be presented with the forlorn face of a fourteen-year-old girl grown up way before her time, and young boys who treat her as if she is their plaything.