Okay, look, I don’t do this very often, but I’m about to get on my feminist soapbox for a minute here for a rant so brace yourselves because I’m a wee bit pissed.
This morning, someone sent me a clip from a movie called Pamela’s Prayer. The movie was made by Christian filmmakers and revolves around the idea that you shouldn’t kiss anyone until your wedding day.
Now for full disclosure, I am not a Christian. My mother was an Irish Catholic, I think my dad was raised Anglican and I was baptized United, but aside from a brief religious interlude I had at 14 where I belonged to my school’s Christian fellowship group and attended church*, I have not lived my life as a religious person. Basically, I just grew up with my parents telling me to be an honest and nice person and I stuck with that.
Having had some exposure to them, I generally do not have issues with Christian based teachings. Most of the Christians I know are awesome, loving people and I like having them in my life and learning from them. However, what I do have an issue with is when those teachings are turned into something based on the idea of shaming other people. We may not all agree about the way we want to live our lives, but singling other people out because they do not adhere to a specific lifestyle is wrong to me.
I especially hate it when this kind of stuff is focused on women. Young girls have a shitty enough time growing up and dealing with their sexuality as it is, so making them feel like dirty whores because they kiss a dude or two (or – gasp – decide to have sex before marriage) isn’t helping things. They don’t need the guilt or the shame or the judgment of God pressed on top of an already confusing situation. Young adult sexuality is not black and white. It’s not a question of right or wrong and it shouldn’t be presented as one. In real life, women are not the sexual gatekeepers of all relationships and failure to “guard the gate” as it were shouldn’t be made out to be a blameworthy situation.
Before we got married, I lived with Boy for two years, so I obviously did not adhere to this no kissing thing myself and, well, he was not the first person I slept with. As a young girl, I truly believed that I would wait until marriage but over time, my feelings changed significantly because I changed significantly. My first time wasn’t ideal, and it certainly didn’t match the candlelit, rose petal strewn, Mazzy Star accompanied experience I had in my head, but I don’t think it was wrong or feel ashamed of it. It was an experience I felt ready to have, so I had it.
In spite of my experience, I wouldn’t begin to judge anyone who felt or feels it is important to wait because that is a matter of personal choice. I know a number of people who waited because it was what they wanted to do and have gone on to have happy, healthy married sex lives because that was the right way for them to go about it.
But after watching these clips, I can say pretty definitively that this kind of movie is not the right way to go about espousing the no kissing philosophy. It’s mean and misogynistic and just downright creepy. And I don’t just mean the hairstyles (which border on mulletlike – hello Colorado 1998!), I’m talking about the main character’s dickbag of a dad. Your poor daughter probably gets enough $h!t at school dude, the last thing she needs is you being overinvested in her sex life and giving her grief about how “none of this would have happened if you’d listened to your father.” If I were her, I would go to a lawyer and get legally emancipated pronto!
I’m posting a montage below so have a watch and see what you think. If you have/had kids who were hitting serious dating age, would you encourage them to wait? Would you be honest about your own sexual past? What would you tell them about this kind of stuff?
*Incidentally, I left my school’s Christian fellowship group when I came to the conclusion that I was interested in having premartial sex and didn’t want to be a silver ring wearing hypocrite. I was lucky enough to have a mom who supported me and brought me to the doctor to pick up “precautionary measures.” I didn’t end up using them for some time (most of my friends lost their virginity before I did), but I appreciated that I was prepared and that I had parents who trusted me to make a good decision. I hope to do the same for my kids someday.