Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

March 12, 2010

The New Virginity

As I lazily channel-surfed my way up to TLC to watch What Not to Wear, I stopped, for what I thought would be a moment, at VH1. A show called "The New Virginity" was airing, exploring the trend in young Hollywood to profess their virginity and commitment to abstinence. The beginning of the show was true to it's stated summary:

There's a trendy pop culture movement that's burst into the mainstream to take a stand against our hyper-sexed society.It's born out of traditional values and sealed with promise rings, abstinence clubs and purity balls. It stars the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, who've made headlines with their public pronouncements of sexual purity. It's a hip new calling card: virginity.

However, as I continued to watch, the show began to take a turn for the worse. The reporters argued that these young celebrities were actually selling their sexuality by professing their virginity. "As the show will point out, virginity doesn't stop celebs from looking and acting provocatively--playing both sides with impressive marketing results." Young women who have a highly sexualized image while professing virginity wind up appealing to men (in what some say is an even more sexually aggressive tactic as it appeals to men who desire to "conquer" virgins). What was sad to me, though, was that I don't think the reporters were far off the mark with certain celebrities. I find it troubling that young women and men are getting mixed messages about virginity and abstinence. Well, they are getting one message: don't have sex, but be highly sexualized. What we need is consistency between image and action.

This "new virginity" does have a lot of promise. If it is true that youngsters are getting tired of all the unsolicited sexuality thrown their way, maybe we're on the right track. I just think some of these celebrities could use some help with the steering.


Agatha Magdalene said...

goodness gracious.

I have similar thoughts about the TWILIGHT series. It got a lot of discussion going about chastity--since the couple abstains until marriage--but it is actually consonant with a hyper-sexualized culture (and has created it's own uber-sexulaity in its stars).

Angela Miceli said...

My rule of thumb - if it's 'trendy' in Hollywood, it's probably not real. Britney Spears tried this one, and look how she's ending up, poor child. But you are right, Julian - consistency is key. By over-sexualizing, girls are still taught not to respect themselves, and in turn - boys are not taught to have any respect. And they become men and women.

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