Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Let's Protect the Meaning of Marriage: Archbp John Nienstedt
in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Why should Minnesotans care about passing a marriage amendment?more
Marriage matters to every Minnesotan, whether or not we choose to marry personally, because it is the natural way we bring together men and women to conceive and raise the next generation. The intended reality of marriage as a lifelong, committed, life-giving union between one man and one woman, a reality long accepted as established fact, is severely challenged today. High rates of fatherlessness and family fragmentation impoverish children and leave women with the unfair burden of solo parenting. Children suffer, but so does the whole society, when marriage fails in its irreplaceable task of bringing together mothers and fathers with their children.
Into this confusing mix, so-called same-sex "marriage" throws a whole new level of challenge and uncertainty. Defining marriage as simply a union of consenting parties will change the core meaning of marriage in the public square for every Minnesotan. ...
In years past, our elected officials told us that we did not need a marriage amendment, because there was no realistic threat from the courts. But the Iowa court decision, on the heels of rulings in Connecticut, California and Massachusetts, clearly demonstrates that an amendment is needed.
Labels: gay marriage, marriage amendments, Minnesota
Monday, April 26, 2010
"CROSSING CONTINENTS" ON VIRGINITY IN THE ARAB WORLD
from the BBC:
Across the Arab world, whether the woman is Christian or Muslim, virginity before marriage is the most coveted gift on the wedding list. It signifies the honour of the bride's family and reflects the integrity of the groom and his family.more
Now women who have lost their virginity before their wedding night have discovered a face-saving solution to this controversial and sometimes life-threatening dilemma. Under cover of the burgeoning fashion for plastic surgery, women are undergoing hymen repair surgery to artificially restore the appearance of "virginity", and so bridging this cultural and sexual divide.
Lebanese journalist Najlaa Abou Merhi from the BBC Arabic TV Service meets "Nada," "Mouna" and "Sonia" - Arab women spanning three generations who lost their virginity while teenagers but felt compelled to regain it through the medical procedure called hymenoplasty. While they wish to remain anonymous, they hope by sharing their stories that other women in their situation will feel they are not alone and that there is a way to cross what Nada describes as an unbreachable wall.
Labels: Marriage, virginity
CAN LADY GAGA MAKE CHASTITY COOL?: Elizabeth Tenety
in the Washington Post
What the religious right has tried to achieve for years one pop goddess achieved this week in a single interview: Lady Gaga made chastity cool.more
With her racy lyrics and penchant for going pantless, Lady Gaga seems an unlikely spokeswoman for abstinence. But she recently revealed to London's Daily Mail that she is celibate and thinks it's "not really cool anymore to have sex all the time."
And not only did Gaga say she is celibate, but she's encouraging her fans, whom she calls "little monsters," to abstain, too. "I can't believe I'm saying this -- don't have sex." . . . "It's OK to be whomever it is that you want to be," she said. "You don't have to have sex to feel good about yourself, and if you're not ready, don't do it. (And if you are ready," she adds, "there are free condoms given away at my concerts when you're leaving!)"
Abstinence is often associated with Catholic clergy members and religiously-inspired sex-education programming like True Love Waits. Although in the Daily Mail interview Lady Gaga did not make an explicit connection between her spirituality and her sexuality, she reportedly had a "strict Catholic upbringing" and prays before every performance.
Labels: abstinence, culture, Marriage, religion
HOW THE MARRIAGE PROPOSAL BECAME A NEGOTIATION: Hannah Seligson
in the Wall Street Journal
In 1972, on a park bench in Birmingham, Ala., Garner Lee Green's father proposed to her mother. The proposal came out of the blue. She said yes.more
"That doesn't happen to people anymore," says Ms. Green, who is 30. And it certainly wasn't the way her husband asked her to marry him several years ago. The two of them talked for a long time about how and when the proposal would happen. "I was ready before he was, so we had to come to a meeting of the minds about a time frame. The negotiations lasted about six months," Ms. Green says.
She is not the only one who missed what used to be a classic big moment. Those romantic tales that get passed among friends and relatives—"One day he just showed up with a ring! I was completely surprised!"—are vestiges of the past. We've gone from popping the question to a long conversation, hammering out the details of when and how the engagement will happen.
Amanda Miller, a sociology professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, conducted a study about how proposals are made among cohabiting couples. The result, titled "Waiting to Be Asked," found that couples not only work together as a team to set the date. Ms. Miller says some women script the proposal first, telling their boyfriend something like: "I'd always wanted to be proposed to on Christmas morning in front of family." ...
Even so, do not mistake this for a level playing field. While there is more negotiation and compromise about the marriage timetable, Ms. Miller says her research showed that the man still holds the power to shut down the marriage conversation. Men in their 20s and 30s don't seem to view the backroom negotiation as emasculating or ceding their turf to a generation of empowered women either. On the contrary—all this talking may have simply eliminated the only scary aspect of a proposal for a man: that the woman will say no.
Labels: culture, gender, Marriage, men, women
Friday, April 23, 2010
NIGHTLINE ASKS WHY BLACK WOMEN CAN'T GET A MAN: Melissa Harris-Lacewell
at the Nation
The never-ending story "Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?" received another public forum on Wednesday night. This time it was neither BET nor TV One spewing the oft repeated statistic that 43% of black women have never been married. This time it was the more surprising venue of ABC News' Nightline insisting that a crisis exists because 70% of professional black women are without husbands. The conversation itself was far more dismal than these figures. The serious, interesting and sensitive social and personal issues embedded in these statistics were hijacked by superficial, cartoonish dialogue that relied heavily on personal anecdotes and baseless personal impressions while perpetuating damaging sexism. ...more
For example, the panel failed to address the reality that black boy infants are significantly more likely to die in the first year of life than are black girl infants, creating an immediate gender imbalance. The panel did not address the devastating effects of urban violence or mass incarceration on African American communities. The panel did not mention the systematic nature of inadequate educational opportunities for black boys or the continuing realities of employment discrimination effecting black men and women. These structural realities have an enormous impact on the shape and function of families. ...
Each of these male participants was allowed to pontificate about the ways that black women should behave without being challenged as to their own relationship history and status. None of these men can boast a lifetime marriage to one black woman. Such personal information is relevant only because personal narrative was the sole basis of the conversation. Thus, the women participating in the panel were subjected to public scrutiny of their supposed shortcomings, while the men's biographies were shrouded in an assumption that their maleness alone made them worthy.
Labels: culture, gender, heterosexual couples, Marriage, men, poverty, race, women
ONTARIO TO INTRODUCE MORE EXPLICIT SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS: Globe and Mail
The days of euphemisms and innuendo in Ontario’s classrooms are numbered, with the province set to roll out a new sex education curriculum next fall built on clear and explicit language that has raised objections from conservative parent groups.more
The revision, outlined in 208 pages that were quietly posted on the Ministry of Education’s website in January, will for the first time teach Grade 3 pupils about such topics as sexual identity and orientation, and introduce terms like “anal intercourse” and “vaginal lubrication” to children in Grades 6 and 7. The new curriculum begins in Grade 1 with lessons about the proper names of body parts.
The changes came to light Tuesday, when members of a religious, “family-focused” coalition threatened to pull their children out of school on May 10 unless Premier Dalton McGuinty abandons the changes. ...
Some of the most controversial changes are in the Grade 3 curriculum. In a discussion on human development and showing respect for people’s differences, for example, teachers are invited to discuss “invisible differences,” including gender identity and sexual orientation, in an effort to reflect the fact that more and more students have same-sex parents.
Labels: Canada, homosexuality, schools, sex, sex education