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Posts tagged ‘casual sex’

The Cautionary Sex Ed Tale From Season 2 of Buffy

One of my friends, the Red Queen from Elizabitchez, told me once that she uses the story arc from Season 2 of Buffy beginning with “Surprise” to teach about sex ed and teen relationships. Or something to that effect. It makes more sense when she tells it, but the gist of it was that this particular story arc of this particular season is biting (no pun…OK I can’t even type that because I totally intend that pun).

s.e. smith from this ain’t livin’ and also from FWD/Forward has already done a nice evaluation of this story arc, that I encourage you to read, and the fact that I found it enlightening and that it may influence what I have to say here should sit with you while you read what I am about to go on about, possibly at great length as I am wont to do. Ou also mentioned to me one day in a chat conversation that Joss himself denies that this story arc was meant to send a message about shaming a teen girl about sexuality. I encourage any of you with the ability to do so to watch the episode “Innocence” and deny that this message is there. Intentional or not, Joss has once again fallen into that trap of writing that trope.

But before I leave your head spinning with a bunch of references to things that I haven’t explained, I suppose I should get into the story arc of Buffy and Angel, the lost soul, and of course, the loss of Buffy’s virginity.

This is the story that starts with a girl who gives her virginity to her loving boyfriend and ends when she sends him to a Hell Dimension with a giant sword through his chest after he turns evil and goes on a murderous rampage through her town, killing all of her friends because he has lost his soul.

In “Surprise”, Buffy has one of the famed prophetic dreams bestowed to a Slayer where she witnesses a few events leading up to Drusilla killing Angel. Given the “wiggins” by the whole thing, Buffy rushes to see Angel who both reassures her, (read: dismisses her fears which could be genuine concerns) and confesses that he has been feeling deeper feelings for her, that she returns (TV speak for “I really want to get it on”).

We also learn that Jenny Calendar is a descendant of the particular tribe of Gypsies fabled to have cursed Angel with his soul restorative. Turns out she was sent to Sunnydale not just to wow us all with her computer prowess (because as we will learn we have Willow for all of that) but to keep an eye on Angel and Buffy, but not ever to clue them into why. Folks, I have watched enough tee vee to know that denying principal characters vital information about their character never bodes well for anyone. This hardly proves the exception.

In a plot line that leaves me wondering if it is some odd coincidence that Buffy and Drusilla seem to have something akin to Birthdays on the same day, and keeping with the longstanding tradition of birthdays that suck (also steeped in punnage) for Buffy, our Slayer and her undead beaux fail to keep Drusilla and Spike from getting their hands on most of the pieces of a demon who was so powerful that he couldn’t be killed by any weapon forged during his time (this point is important!). Just as Angel is prepared to take off for Asia on a boat to hide the last piece in an attempt by Ms. Calendar to pry the would be lovers apart, they are thwarted. Soaking wet and battle-wounded, Buffy and Angel wind up back at Angel’s not-so-secret and well-decorated hideaway and become a little less would-be.

This becomes the precipitating event for the releasing of Angel’s soul back into the ether, turning him back into the evil, cruel, infamous vampire that he once was, catching everyone unawares.

This is the part in the story where the boyfriend, after getting the Nice Girl to give up her virginity to him becomes the World League Asshole.

Except, when I remember being warned to protect my sacred flower from boys like that, the ones who are just Wired! To Need! Sex! I was never told that they would become blood sucking demons who would hunt and stalk all of my friends, slowly torturing them to death while sending me immolate-o-grams in the form of my friends-turned-new vampires.

It isn’t too far of a conclusion to draw that Buffy is being punished for having sex. That was the message I took away from this. In fact, since in parenting we have discussed with Kid about good and poor choices I asked her what she thought of what happened to Angel, and unprompted she said “Well, Buffy made a poor choice, and now Angel is evil”. It took a bit of discussion before we corrected why this was the wrong message to get, but that why, yes, I could see why she gleaned that from what we had just seen. It is important that while she might get messages like these from pop culture (and pop culture is full of these slut-shaming innuendos aimed at young women, teens, and young girls), that she understand that the message is wrong. And intentional or not, again, Joss, this is the message you are sending to young girls!

The act of sex itself is without morality. Positive or negative. Sex can just be sex between consenting people.

The intent of the people involved are what makes the experience a healthy one or an unhealthy one for either person.

When people care about each other, or when people are consenting enthusiastically, like Buffy and Angel both were (as we understand that at this point that Angel didn’t realize that his actions would have this effect) that this was a positive portrayal of sexuality. This was something they both decided they wanted together. There was nothing wrong going on here, aside from that curse, which in a way violated both of their autonomy, but that is deeper than this conversation right now. And metaphysical. I am not going there.

When either party isn’t consenting, such as when one person coerced the other, or is emotionally manipulative, or if for any reason it isn’t entered into freely, then we have a problem. But that isn’t what happened here.

Usually, as I understand it, one partner is not a soulless demon, or about to become one. Though, experiences from my past would tempt me to believe otherwise, I understand that what happened to Angel is make-believe

Sometimes, when sex occurs between two people, sometimes one person who hasn’t been honest about who they are, changes. The sex can become a tool to perpetuate abuse, and that is what we are witnessing displayed here, an attempt to convert Angel from role one to role two without a logical connection to make that make sense, unless you are to presume that Buffy is being punished.

For what?

Well, being a big old teen slut of course!

Even breaking it down into parts, we understand that Angel, via his curse, is being punished for the crimes of his past. But even Jenny Calendar can’t say what Buffy is supposed to be punished for when confronted with all of the facts. We are left to draw our own conclusions. Surely, if she had just kept her legs closed…

This remains a theme for a long time in Buffy’s love life. Her next sexual encounter is a one-night stand, and the other participant, while not unleashing a murderous rampage on her loved ones, does indeed treat her cruelly all the same.

Then, I hesitate to even address the awfulness who is the emotionally demanding Riley, who is in need of more than he is capable of giving, and who is also unwilling to accept being in a relationship with a woman who is more dominant and also stronger than him. After Riley loses his artificial abilities he betrays Buffy by seeking out risk-taking behaviour. Here, Buffy is punished for being emotionally unavailable while trying to cope with myriad Bid Effing Deals, and Riley just can’t deal with being the second seat to anything. Carrying over into Angel, Buffy goes to L.A. to confront Angel over a crossover story arc, which leads to them getting everything they want. Only, this carries the heavy price of Angel becoming human, her almost dying trying to protect him. She is punished again, having to trade in her memories (Joss loves messing with memories) and her day of happiness for her life, and effectually, Angels as well all really without her knowing or having a say. After returning from the dead (again), Buffy has a sexual relationship with Spike that she is ashamed of, because she has already figured out that having sex is wrong, even if it is to help her fill a need when her world is spiraling out of control and she just needs one thing to hold on to, even if it is a physical burst.

Not until Buffy chooses work (being the Slayer) and family (devoting all her time to Dawn) over love and personal life for herself does this theme of punishment let up, even for a moment. And never is it ever happy for her. The message I glean from this? A woman can’t really have it all. You have to choose, or something, namely yourself, will surely suffer.

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The Cautionary Sex Ed Tale From Season 2 of Buffy

One of my friends, the Red Queen from Elizabitchez, told me once that she uses the story arc from Season 2 of Buffy beginning with “Surprise” to teach about sex ed and teen relationships. Or something to that effect. It makes more sense when she tells it, but the gist of it was that this particular story arc of this particular season is biting (no pun…OK I can’t even type that because I totally intend that pun).

s.e. smith from this ain’t livin’ and also from FWD/Forward has already done a nice evaluation of this story arc, that I encourage you to read, and the fact that I found it enlightening and that it may influence what I have to say here should sit with you while you read what I am about to go on about, possibly at great length as I am wont to do. Ou also mentioned to me one day in a chat conversation that Joss himself denies that this story arc was meant to send a message about shaming a teen girl about sexuality. I encourage any of you with the ability to do so to watch the episode “Innocence” and deny that this message is there. Intentional or not, Joss has once again fallen into that trap of writing that trope.

But before I leave your head spinning with a bunch of references to things that I haven’t explained, I suppose I should get into the story arc of Buffy and Angel, the lost soul, and of course, the loss of Buffy’s virginity.

This is the story that starts with a girl who gives her virginity to her loving boyfriend and ends when she sends him to a Hell Dimension with a giant sword through his chest after he turns evil and goes on a murderous rampage through her town, killing all of her friends because he has lost his soul.

In “Surprise”, Buffy has one of the famed prophetic dreams bestowed to a Slayer where she witnesses a few events leading up to Drusilla killing Angel. Given the “wiggins” by the whole thing, Buffy rushes to see Angel who both reassures her, (read: dismisses her fears which could be genuine concerns) and confesses that he has been feeling deeper feelings for her, that she returns (TV speak for “I really want to get it on”).

We also learn that Jenny Calendar is a descendant of the particular tribe of Gypsies fabled to have cursed Angel with his soul restorative. Turns out she was sent to Sunnydale not just to wow us all with her computer prowess (because as we will learn we have Willow for all of that) but to keep an eye on Angel and Buffy, but not ever to clue them into why. Folks, I have watched enough tee vee to know that denying principal characters vital information about their character never bodes well for anyone. This hardly proves the exception.

In a plot line that leaves me wondering if it is some odd coincidence that Buffy and Drusilla seem to have something akin to Birthdays on the same day, and keeping with the longstanding tradition of birthdays that suck (also steeped in punnage) for Buffy, our Slayer and her undead beaux fail to keep Drusilla and Spike from getting their hands on most of the pieces of a demon who was so powerful that he couldn’t be killed by any weapon forged during his time (this point is important!). Just as Angel is prepared to take off for Asia on a boat to hide the last piece in an attempt by Ms. Calendar to pry the would be lovers apart, they are thwarted. Soaking wet and battle-wounded, Buffy and Angel wind up back at Angel’s not-so-secret and well-decorated hideaway and become a little less would-be.

This becomes the precipitating event for the releasing of Angel’s soul back into the ether, turning him back into the evil, cruel, infamous vampire that he once was, catching everyone unawares.

This is the part in the story where the boyfriend, after getting the Nice Girl to give up her virginity to him becomes the World League Asshole.

Except, when I remember being warned to protect my sacred flower from boys like that, the ones who are just Wired! To Need! Sex! I was never told that they would become blood sucking demons who would hunt and stalk all of my friends, slowly torturing them to death while sending me immolate-o-grams in the form of my friends-turned-new vampires.

It isn’t too far of a conclusion to draw that Buffy is being punished for having sex. That was the message I took away from this. In fact, since in parenting we have discussed with Kid about good and poor choices I asked her what she thought of what happened to Angel, and unprompted she said “Well, Buffy made a poor choice, and now Angel is evil”. It took a bit of discussion before we corrected why this was the wrong message to get, but that why, yes, I could see why she gleaned that from what we had just seen. It is important that while she might get messages like these from pop culture (and pop culture is full of these slut-shaming innuendos aimed at young women, teens, and young girls), that she understand that the message is wrong. And intentional or not, again, Joss, this is the message you are sending to young girls!

The act of sex itself is without morality. Positive or negative. Sex can just be sex between consenting people.

The intent of the people involved are what makes the experience a healthy one or an unhealthy one for either person.

When people care about each other, or when people are consenting enthusiastically, like Buffy and Angel both were (as we understand that at this point that Angel didn’t realize that his actions would have this effect) that this was a positive portrayal of sexuality. This was something they both decided they wanted together. There was nothing wrong going on here, aside from that curse, which in a way violated both of their autonomy, but that is deeper than this conversation right now. And metaphysical. I am not going there.

When either party isn’t consenting, such as when one person coerced the other, or is emotionally manipulative, or if for any reason it isn’t entered into freely, then we have a problem. But that isn’t what happened here.

Usually, as I understand it, one partner is not a soulless demon, or about to become one. Though, experiences from my past would tempt me to believe otherwise, I understand that what happened to Angel is make-believe

Sometimes, when sex occurs between two people, sometimes one person who hasn’t been honest about who they are, changes. The sex can become a tool to perpetuate abuse, and that is what we are witnessing displayed here, an attempt to convert Angel from role one to role two without a logical connection to make that make sense, unless you are to presume that Buffy is being punished.

For what?

Well, being a big old teen slut of course!

Even breaking it down into parts, we understand that Angel, via his curse, is being punished for the crimes of his past. But even Jenny Calendar can’t say what Buffy is supposed to be punished for when confronted with all of the facts. We are left to draw our own conclusions. Surely, if she had just kept her legs closed…

This remains a theme for a long time in Buffy’s love life. Her next sexual encounter is a one-night stand, and the other participant, while not unleashing a murderous rampage on her loved ones, does indeed treat her cruelly all the same.

Then, I hesitate to even address the awfulness who is the emotionally demanding Riley, who is in need of more than he is capable of giving, and who is also unwilling to accept being in a relationship with a woman who is more dominant and also stronger than him. After Riley loses his artificial abilities he betrays Buffy by seeking out risk-taking behaviour. Here, Buffy is punished for being emotionally unavailable while trying to cope with myriad Bid Effing Deals, and Riley just can’t deal with being the second seat to anything. Carrying over into Angel, Buffy goes to L.A. to confront Angel over a crossover story arc, which leads to them getting everything they want. Only, this carries the heavy price of Angel becoming human, her almost dying trying to protect him. She is punished again, having to trade in her memories (Joss loves messing with memories) and her day of happiness for her life, and effectually, Angels as well all really without her knowing or having a say. After returning from the dead (again), Buffy has a sexual relationship with Spike that she is ashamed of, because she has already figured out that having sex is wrong, even if it is to help her fill a need when her world is spiraling out of control and she just needs one thing to hold on to, even if it is a physical burst.

Not until Buffy chooses work (being the Slayer) and family (devoting all her time to Dawn) over love and personal life for herself does this theme of punishment let up, even for a moment. And never is it ever happy for her. The message I glean from this? A woman can’t really have it all. You have to choose, or something, namely yourself, will surely suffer.

Monogamy

We live our lives under so many social constructs.

Gender is a great one. From the moment the doctor slaps a baby on the ass and announces “It’s a ___” a child’s life seems to be molded by whatever object fills that blank. Society expects certain things of certain people based on how that doctor finishes that sentence, and fuck off if you don’t fit neatly into the binary that begins it all.

Sexuality is another one. Socially speaking, boys should like girls and girls should like boys, and if the playground dynamics of some of the toddler mommy groups I see some days are any indication you can’t start that one soon enough. The church nursery is a great place to pick up a date, and it had best be of the opposite flavor. Although, come to think of it, that trust that society put in closed doors as long as I only had girls in my room left so many opportunities open… Maybe some social constructs have their upsides. OTOH, I do know that my kid won’t be getting away w/ too much unnoticed. ;)  When our children are young we seem to fail to recognize when we are busy planning their lives for them that sexuality is a gamut of human possibility, varied and colorful as the floor of the art studio I used to frequent my fourth year in college.

Dovetailing off of sexuality is this idea of monogamy. It is this idea that each human being should bind themselves to another human being in a holy rite for all eternity. You should must remain faithful and true to only this one person forever and ever amen. But, why, if we are only meant to ever be with one person ever should we go on to feel urges or desires outside of the confines of that holy bliss?* We fight against what feels natural because of guilt and fear foisted upon us by a social construct. We feel pressure to marry by everyone around us. Modern day politics tell us that damn near everyone wants in on marriage, and if we don’t, we must be some kind of social outcast, or worse, Hester Prynne.

Because gods forbid you break that contract. There is no going back from that. Shit, you don’t even have to break it in reality, all that has to happen is that someone who isn’t you or your spouse has to believe that some act of impropriety has taken place, and that is as good a deal breaker as an actual happenstance. Or, forbid you have thoughts or fantasies, or are just a fucking writer and like to jot stories down in journals or on your hard drive to get them out of your head. Any of those things seem to be good enough to paint you as a big ol’ breaker of the home.

Then all hell breaks loose. And people, especially in small towns or small communities, love gossip. They love nothing better than to drag a person through mud. My favorite part is trying to defend someone who has been accused (like it was some crime, oh, I’m sorry, in some states it still fucking is, and people tell me that Christian morals don’t rule the world) of cheating, and having people mansplain to you “if you knew what happened you wouldn’t defend her,” as if anyone has any iota of a clue as to how I would defend a friend in that situation.

Because monogamy is a silly social construct.

But let me be clear. All sexual relationships are just social constructs in one way or another, really. You have to be in agreement with all parties involved, otherwise it fails to be consensual on someone’s behalf. If you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t. No judgment here, honestly, because it doesn’t really matter what happens between consenting parties. The only people who have any business judging the sexual acts and relationships of other people are the people directly involved in those sexual relationships as long as everyone is consenting.

If you choose to be committed and monogamous (like I have), do it. If that is too much to handle for you, you really owe it to the other person to let them know. It is the decent human thing to do, but there is no reason to stay monogamous if you don’t want to. Why should you? Because society has told you to? Because archaic laws held up by people who can’t hold to them demand it of you?

Fuck that.

Sex is your own damn business. Yours and whomever you are fucking. And, if you have a partner who believes you are being monogamous, you really should clue them in, and move on. No one is holding you back.

As that same aside, if someone is out getting their groove on, it really is none of your damned business if it isn’t your bed they are doing it in. So keep your scarlet letter out of their sheets.

We, and by we, I mean other people, because I don’t give a fuck who is fucking whom (I am trying to get my Wordle and swear meter results back up) as long as everyone is consenting.

Life is too damned short to look back and have regrets. I’ve had enough of those. My life works for me, and I don’t intend to force it on anyone else. I expect that same courtesy of others. I wish the rest of the damned U.S. could get on board w/ that. But I realize that is like trying to organize a 25 man raid and keep everyone focused after three wipes. That is beyond channeling a major gamer deity.

As long as you are staying safe I say party on.

*The use of holy rhetoric here is cheeky, because I believe that religion should get as far away from the concept of unions as possible, as far as the idea of benefits of partners go, for legal, tax purposes, survivorship and any other benefit we currently ascribe to marriage. Make everything a civil union, for heterosexual, homosexual, for anyone. Take “marriage” out of it. Make it truly equal. Then, if people still want their marriage, they can go to the religious entity of their choice and get “married”, but there should be no extra legal state or federal benefit as a result. Truly separate church and state. Get the fundies out the union business and equality might have a fucking shot. *AHEM*

Here and There…

A grey sriped cat jumps over an orange sofa. Text reads "this cat is not frozen in time, this is a photograph".Shameless Self-Promotion time!

I have a couple of new posts at Change’s Women’s Rights blog:

This Just In: Sex Isn’t Going to Destroy You! :

A study done by the University of Minnesota finds that only a fifth of sexually active youth participate in casual sex, or this rampant “hookup culture” we hear so much about from conservatives and the anti-feminist crowd. (And really, so what?) More importantly, the study found that, of those people, there was no significant decrease in their emotional well being. In other words, they seemed perfectly happy with the joy of a crash and go sexcapade, contradicting abstinence-proponents’ arguments about how sex before marriage or casual sex will destroy us, making us all bitter, unhappy, lonely people. (Think duct tape.)

Well, gosh, color me shocked! Shocked I tell you!

There is a link in that post to make a tax deductible donation to Scarleteen. There is also one here, and at their site. Please consider making one this holiday season!

Target: Breastfeeding Woman is a Threat to Safety:

A security guard told Mary Martinez that she would have to leave because it was illegal to breastfeed in the Target store. Ms. Martinez, and her husband, Jose, knew that this wasn’t the case. In fact, Jose Martinez is a Detroit Police Officer, and they told the security guard that they knew breastfeeding in public wasn’t illegal. The security guard called the police on them.

Veterans Affairs Centers Fall Short of Women’s Needs:

A recent investigation found that one-third of VA centers lack proper facilities for conducting pelvic exams or for the mental health care that women veterans need. I remember having to hunt around for a toilet in an ill-fitting paper gown at my own exit screening, past several other open, occupied exam rooms. I was the only woman there. They had no sanitary napkin to offer me and it was an embarrassing scene trying to find a place where I could insert a tampon. I was fighting back tears when I finally found a (presumably) unisex bathroom.

At Bitch Blogs, I have a piece up:

Transcontinental Disability Choir: The Public Consumption of Britney (there is a little kerfluffle over a snarky remark I make in the post about Fox News. Wev. I hate Fox, they are jerks, and usually the worst offenders of this sort of thing, and snark is what I do.):

As Britney’s life spun out of control we were spared no morsel, from that infamous hospital ride to Dr. Phil’s advice to her and every last bit of her painful emergence back into the world. Everything that was a part of her treatment or recovery that the media could get it’s hands on was plastered on every tabloid on three continents.

That’s what I’ve got. What have you got? What have you been reading or doing?

Photo: Average Cats

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