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Seksualiteit en jongeren

Voorkant Cohen 'Dirty little secrets' Kerry COHEN
Dirty little secrets - Breaking the silence on teenage girls and promiscuity
Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc., 2011; 367 blzn.; geen ISBN

(15) Introduction - Girls like us

"They are almost every girl you see. They believe in their hearts that they are worth nothing, that they have little to offer. They believe boys will pull them out of their ordinariness and finally, finally, transform them into someone better than who they are.
They have sex too early and for the wrong reasons. They get STDs, and they get pregnant too young. They are “friends with benefits,” but with no benefit to themselves. They give out blow jobs like kisses and hope for love in return. They are ignored. They don’t get called. They get dumped again and again. They lie alone in their beds and hate themselves for being so unlovable, for being so needy, for not being like every other girl, for not being able to just have fun. But they aren’t sex addicts or even love addicts. What they crave is the attention, that moment when a boy looks at them and they can believe that they are worth something to someone. They can believe that they matter." [mijn nadruk](15-16)

[Je zou zeggen: hoe kan een meisje / een vrouw hoe dan ook naar jongens / mannen kijken met het gevoel 'Hij kan me redden'? Hoe kun je zelfs maar voelen dat je pas iets betekent als een jongen of man je aandacht geeft, seks met je heeft? Dan moet je wel heel onzeker zijn. En dat is volgens Cohen precies wat het is. En ze zal duidelijk maken dat dat veel te maken heeft met dat er nauwelijks gepraat wordt over seks en tieners, laat staan over seks en tienermeisjes. De benadering is: zie af van seks, terwijl de media vol staan met seks. De therapeuten willen er niet over praten, maar bij Ophrah wordt er wel over gepraat. ]

"The bottom line is that we don’t like to talk about teenage girls and sex. Sure, we see it everywhere. Teenage girls in provocative clothing flood the media. They have sex on Gossip Girl and Degrassi and One Tree Hill. And they definitely have sex on reality shows like The Real World and 16 and Pregnant. But when we discuss adolescent girls and sex, it is only in one way: don’t have sex. This is easier than anything else. We tell teenage girls to stay away from sexual behavior and to practice abstinence. Don’t have sex, we say, because we don’t like to imagine them having sex. If they do, then we have to think of them as sexual creatures, and that makes us squirm." [mijn nadruk](20)

"But while we refuse to discuss teenage sex, it is happening. According to the Guttmacher Institute, although teenage sexual activity has declined 16 percent in the past fifteen years, almost half (46 percent) of all 15- to 19-year-olds have had sex at least once, and 27 percent of 13- to 16-year-olds are sexually active. The larger proportion of these teenagers are black (67.3 percent) and Hispanic (51.4 percent) rather than white (41.8 percent). Much of the sexual behavior occurs in populations traditionally thought to have less experience in sexual activity, though, such as teenagers from affluent homes and preadolescents."[mijn nadruk](21)

[Uiteraard gaat het hier over de VS, belangrijk om dat meteen vast te stellen. Maar hoe dan ook: omdat seks onbespreekbaar is krijg je SOA's, ongewenste zwangerschappen, en dergelijke.]

"There is some research that casual sex among teenagers can be more harmful than we’ve thought."(22)

"In other words, when teens bond and break, bond and break, before the cortex is fully developed, as most teens do, they potentially set themselves up for trouble with real intimacy later on."(23)

[Soms is Cohen zelf erg normatief aan het oordelen. Ze maakt nergens hard wanneer seks 'te vroeg' plaats vindt - zie eerder. En hier maakt ze niet hard dat 'casual sex' schadelijk is. Die verwijzing naar de neurologische ontwikkeling van de prefrontale cortex is wel erg zwak. En wat is 'real intimicy later'? Ze noemt zelf het bezwaar tegen dit onderzoek op p.23, waarom er dan zo veel woorden aan vuil maken?]

"Not all teenage sexual behavior derives from self-harm. Ideally, in fact, none of it would. Sexual curiosity and experimentation is a perfectly natural part of growing up. Girls have just as much sexual desire and curiosity as boys. They are curious about their genitals and others’ as children. They masturbate. The hormones that race through a teenage girls’ body create just as much sexual feeling as boys’ hormones do.
Psychological discussions about why girls might engage in sexual activity, however, do not include any information about girls’ sexual desire. Michelle Fine refers to this as “the missing discourse of desire” in her article of the same name. She notes that we talk about victimization, violence, and morality, but we almost never examine the fact that girls, too, have desire."[mijn nadruk](24)

"Our notions today about girls and female desire are built on outdated patriarchal, religious notions.
Today, the cultural narrative is as follows: boys are horny, but girls are not, and so girls must do what they can to keep boys and their out-of-control hormones at bay. We like this narrative, outdated and unscientific as it is. It keeps us safe from the notion that girls might want to be sexual as much as boys do.
But, you might be thinking, what is the problem with keeping girls safe? As I explore in this book, the problem is that when you deny a group of people an essential part of who they are, a part they have full right to, they often wind up using it in a self-destructive manner rather than as a natural part of their development. In other words, if teenagers getting STDs and becoming pregnant and acting out sexually is a cultural problem, then stigmatizing teenage sex only makes it worse—much worse."[mijn nadruk](26-27)

"Meanwhile, the media continues to propagate the double-edged sword, the messages that girls have always received. You must be sexy, but you may not have sex. You must make men want you, but you may not use that to fill your own desires."[mijn nadruk](29)

"This is not a book telling teenage girls not to have sex. On the flip side, it’s also not a book that encourages promiscuity. It’s a book about how we can all work together to find a way to let teenage girls stop harming themselves with their sexual behavior. It’s a book — at its core — about girls’ rights and sexual freedom."(30)

Ze interviewde 75 vrouwen van diverse achtergronden en milieus en leeftijden. De rapportage hier is geanonimiseerd.

"I do not claim by any stretch of the imagination to present scientific findings. These are qualitative stories from real girls who believed in this project and understood that by sharing their stories they could potentially help other girls out there who struggle with similar feelings and behaviors"(31)

[Wonderlijke opmerking. Waarom zou een kwalitatief onderzoek met interviews niet wetenschappelijk kunnen zijn? Dat is juist een instrument dat vaak gebruikt wordt in sociaal-wetenschappelijk onderzoek.]

(40) Part One - The loose girl

(41) Chapter 1 - Girls will be girls - Female sexual development

Het hoofdstuk begint met voorbeelden van het ontstaan van schaamte door hun lichamelijke ontwikkeling, schaamte bij het meisje zelf (wat zullen anderen van me vinden?) en op een andere manier bij ouders die zich ineens anders gaan gedragen (de angst voor de seksuele kant van die ontwikkeling leidt vaak tot verraad).

[Is het nu echt zo dat alle opgroeiende meisjes zich voor hun lichaam gaan schamen? Mij lijkt dat er al van alles fout zit qua zelfvertrouwen als dat gebeurt. Of niet? Waarom is een meisje niet gewoon blij met zichzelf op zo'n moment? Of maakt die blik van 'de anderen' altijd onzeker en worden de verwachtingen van de samenleving zoals via de media aangekaart door alle meisjes ervaren als een maatstaf waaraan ze moeten voldoen?]

"For girls, these developmental changes are particularly affected by what happens in the environments surrounding them, and most particularly in the ways they are sexualized by our culture. The images that control our understanding of girls are, in fact, so pervasive, such an ordinary part of our lives, that they are almost unseen. To even say that girls are sexualized in our culture verges on not saying anything at all.
Images of womanhood, of who we are supposed to be, are fed to us from infancy—go to any store that sells toys and there is a distinct “girls’ aisle” where everything is pink and tulle and satin. It doesn’t matter that there are also career-themed Barbies, or other dolls and playthings meant to encourage independence. The point is simply that everywhere a girl looks, from the moment she comes out of the womb, but then especially once she reaches adolescence, the media establishes clearly that it owns her sense of self.
What we speak of less, though, is how that wave of objectification and those mixed messages—“be sexy but not slutty”—are so strong that girls really don’t have a fighting chance. Magazines, billboards, commercials, Internet ads—these are just the tip of the iceberg. Take a quick glance at some of the top teen girls’ magazines and you see these headlines: “How to Get a Guy’s Attention,” “383 Ways to Look Hot,” “Look Pretty,” “How to Get Perfect Skin,” “Get Pretty Now,” and “Be Irresistible.” Girls see more than four hundred advertisements per day telling them how they should look. The images are so pervasive that we barely notice them."[mijn nadruk](48-49)

"The most pervasive and scrupulous of these images, however, are the ones pertaining to sex and romance. Everywhere we look is a carefully designed suggestion of sexiness and the clear message that girls’ primary interest should be getting a boy’s attention through her looks."[mijn nadruk](50)

"The meaning has been the same for decades: be available but not too available and, most important, get male attention at all costs. Girls have limited choices in how to respond to these messages. If they want social acceptance, though, the options vanish and there is really only one message left: “be sexy but not sexual.” The message is only made worse by the sheer number of outlets available to deliver it."[mijn nadruk](51)

[Haar weergave van de beeldvorming door de - Amerikaanse - media is erg goed. Zou het met de Europese media net zo erg gesteld zijn?]

"Images alone don’t create promiscuity. The real problem is that girls see those images as their tickets to male attention and romance."(55)

"Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne write in their book Sexy So Soon: “[S]ex in commercial culture has far more to do with trivializing and objectifying sex than with promoting it, more to do with consuming than with connecting. The problem is not that sex as portrayed in the media is sinful, but that it is synthetic and cynical.” In other words, our media shows sex as something artificial, unnatural, maybe even porn influenced. Think about some of today’s female singers, such as Ke$ha, Rihanna, and Beyoncé, who have expressed their sexuality by accentuating cleavage, wearing stripper heels, and pouting at the camera. How does that have anything to do with real sex or intimacy? Girls learn that male attention — and potentially then romance and love — comes from appearing artificially sexy."[mijn nadruk](55-56)

"But while the media images encourage sexiness, institutions such as the National Abstinence Education Association, Focus Adolescent Services, and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy pressure girls to not be sexual at all. In fact, the institutions seem as obsessed with trying to control girls’ sexuality as the media does. Parents and schools often exert this antisexual pressure as well."[mijn nadruk](57)

[Goed geformuleerd. Prachtig. Ook die dubbele moraal ten aanzien van jongens en meisjes die ze hier weer weergeeft is een ramp, inderdaad. Het maagdelijkheidsideaal voor meisjes, en dat in deze tijd ...]

"On the one hand is abstinence-only education and on the other hand is the push to make themselves desirable: girls learn quickly that there is no happy medium.
The images and pressures are indeed so tremendous that it is sometimes hard to remember that beneath all of it there is a girl who has genuine sexual curiosity and desire, a girl who suddenly is receiving massive amounts of attention not for her intelligence or sense of humor, but for her body."[mijn nadruk](58)

"It is easy to see how genuine sexual desire gets submerged within each girl, even lost. In conversations with adolescent girls, researchers have found that girls will not speak spontaneously about their own desire; rather, they will only speak of their own desire in terms of relationships."(60)

"Sexual desire for anyone doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Indeed, desire is very much a socially constructed experience, and our society is not keen to include teenage girls in a discourse about sexual desire."[mijn nadruk](61)

"These false beliefs—“I’m not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, quiet enough…”—are one of the defining features of girlhood. For loose girls, sex and sexual attention become the answer to these beliefs. They possess the potential to make us good enough, pretty enough, lovable enough. This is why promiscuous behavior for a loose girl doesn’t end in adolescence. It often grows into an addiction of sorts. We try and try again to make the sex mean something about us. But ultimately it only harms us further."(64-65)

[Het is een goed verhaal. Maar: als alle meisjes dit meemaken, waarom reageren dan niet alle meisjes met promiscue gedrag op dat gegeven? Er moet bij die 'loose girls' - zoals Cohen dat noemt - dus meer spelen dan die blik van anderen, die verwachtingen van de samenleving, lijkt mij. Een dieper soort onzekerheid, een extra gevoeligheid voor bevestiging en aandacht.]

(67) Chapter 2 - Boy crazy - The fantasy girls have about boys

Over haar zoontje van drie die al de koene ridder speelt zegt ze:

"But the narrative of a girl needing a boy to save her, and a boy coming along to do just that, is so insipid in our culture that it slipped into his very young consciousness without my knowing."(71)

"Whereas girls must rein in their desires, sexual and otherwise, boys can allow their legs to fall open when they sit; they can yell out the car window at girls walking along the sidewalk; and when they chase girls for sex, they are acting like “typical” boys. For these reasons, boys become appealing to girls on yet another level. Heterosexual girls are drawn to boys physically and emotionally, but they’re also attracted to the self-determination and lack of restrictions that boys are allowed in our culture."(72)

"Since there has been no way for girls to harness this freedom, they have learned — sort of smartly, I’d say — to harness boys, the owners of that freedom, instead. And this is where the “bad boy” comes in. We all know who the bad boys are. They are charming, generally unconcerned with us, disinterested in any sort of commitment. They are sexy as only things that we can’t truly have are sexy. And they are dangerous. Girls are taught early on to stay away from these boys, the ones who will give them freewheeling experiences, including — perhaps most especially — sexual desire."[mijn nadruk](73)

[Waardoor een voorliefde voor onbereikbare slechte mannen ontstaat. Die mannen hebben alles wat ze zelf niet mogen hebben als ze niet gezien willen worden als een slet. In veel van de weergegeven verhalen spelen vaders een agressieve en moeders een bedenkelijk slappe rol. M.a.w.: thuis is er geen begrip of ondersteuning of gesprek mogelijk, en dat versterkt dus de droom van een man die je laat ontsnappen aan die ellende.]

"No wonder bad boys are so appealing to so many girls! No wonder they will do whatever they must to get inside that experience with such a boy! For her, sexual feeling is only allowed in the presence of a boy who can contain her, who will take responsibility for the wildness and loss of control. Boys become the stand-in for everything she can’t do herself, and she winds up playing out all her drama, discovery, and passion in her relationships with those boys."(76)

"Why do some girls want older men? A few of the girls I interviewed told me they felt that teenage boys were immature and that they liked how the older men treated them, referring to older men treated them, referring to dinners and gifts. One noted, “It doesn’t hurt that they have cars, too.” It does seem that girls who like older men gravitate to their money, but research also suggests that girls who choose men so far out of their age ranges also tend toward low self-esteem and depression."(79-80)

"Regardless of the girls’ claims, men who choose teenage girls tend to be immature and insecure, with egos matching those of teenage boys. Many have criminal histories, so they are not the safe havens girls make them out to be. Of course, partnering with a teenage girl under the age of consent is statutory rape, not to be taken lightly."(80)

[Hm, dat vind ik toch wel een erg oppervlakkige conclusie.]

"It is also easy to see how we don’t vilify or shame boys for their sexual behavior the way we do with girls. That double standard is still entirely alive and well.."(81)

(83) Chapter 3 - The unholy trinity - The virgin, the slut, and the empowered girl

The Virgin

De maagd ontzegt zich plezier en wordt daarvoor van alle kanten toegejuicht. Dat hele beeld gaat uit van de tegenstelling: mannen zijn er op uit - zij weert hen af; mannen hebben een sex drive - zij niet.

"The virgin owns a mythic narrative that goes like this: She is more desirable to our culture in every way than the girl who has sex. She is lovable. She is girlfriend and wife material. She is prettier, cleaner, holier, and just all-around better than the girl who has sex. We say that virgins “respect their bodies.” (Although this is a concept that always has seemed misguided: Why does not sharing oneself intimately and physically with a partner mean respecting oneself? Why does respect equal denying one’s own physical pleasures?)
The virgin myth also assumes that girls have a much lower sex drive than boys, that they don’t want sex. It assumes, in fact, that girls are responsible for fending off boys’ out-of-control, aggressive libidos. (You can see how easily this notion leads to the deduction that girls can be responsible for their own rapes: “If you dress in sexy clothes, boys can’t control themselves,” or “If you let a boy kiss you or get sexually excited in any way, you shouldn’t be surprised when he can’t help himself, even as you say ‘no’”)."[mijn nadruk](85-86)

Daarmee maak je de passiviteit van vrouwen tot ideaal:

"In other words, a girl’s strength comes from doing nothing, as opposed to from actually doing something in the world, such as being a powerful athlete or saying truths that are unpopular but necessary.This is especially troublesome because it also suggests that there is no possibility for healthy sexual exploration. In this scenario, all sexual activity equals giving away one’s power. There is no possibility that a girl can have sexual experiences and still be powerful. Having sexual experiences renders girls weak and helpless.
Most important, though, the virgin myth emphasizes the idea that a girl is only worth as much as she’s able to keep her legs closed. Forget compassion, honesty, integrity, or kindness. As Jessica Valenti notes in The Purity Myth, “For women especially, virginity has become the easy answer—the morality quick fix. You can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a ‘good’ (i.e., ‘moral’) girl and therefore worthy of praise.” She notes that this view is just one more way that we value women most for their bodies and sexuality, and for what they do with those."[mijn nadruk](87-88)

[De samenhang van dit soort opvattingen met de ideologie van het christendom in de VS is opvallend. Het verhaal over die 'purity balls' met hun 'father-daughter-pledge' is schokkend. Cohen zegt terecht cynisch: 'where are the mother-son pledge balls? Good luck finding one.'(89) Het illustreert opnieuw de dubbele moraal. En dan de feiten: van alle 12-13-jarigen die die 'pledge' doen breekt 88% die belofte en SOA's zowel als zwangerschappen komen bij die groep even vaak voor als bij vrouwen die niets beloven. Bovendien leidt de benadering van 'je onthouden van seks' ertoe dat op scholen bijvoorbeeld geen seksuele voorlichting wordt gegeven of dat de tieners nergens voorbehoedmiddelen kunnen krijgen met als gevolg dat de ellende voor vrouwen alleen maar toeneemt.]

"This is not to say that a girl choosing to stay a virgin isn’t a perfectly acceptable decision for a teen girl. But so is choosing to have sex. The girls are not to blame here. It’s the abstinence train, the coopting, once again, of a girl’s control over her own sexual choices."(89-90)

The Slut

"The slut is always the same: desperate, dirty, curvy, asking for it. She is all desire, all sex. She is as bad as a girl can get.
The narrative of the slut has been repeated so often that I almost don’t have to note it here. She has sex with lots of boys. She teases lots of boys. She wears sexy clothes. She will do anything boys want her to do. She gives blow jobs, hand jobs, rim jobs. She usually has big breasts. And everyone knows she is a slut. In fact, they are the ones who named her. White noted that when she interviewed girls, this slut myth, the belief in the slut as a real thing, was so powerful, so all-encompassing, that it overwhelmed any of the women’s stories."(93)

"Fiona asked me outright, “Why are so many kids so cruel when it comes to this stuff?”"(96)

[Dat is echt een heel goede vraag. Waarom wordt je aan de schandpaal genageld als je (vaker) seks hebt met meerdere jongens, als mensen je naakt zien via sexting]

"If nothing is more frightening than a woman’s desire, then a young girl’s desire is even more horrifying. We ostracize because we are jealous; the slut is the one getting all the male attention. Or we ostracize the slut because we want to protect our girls, because there is some sense that all sex-related behaviors for girls will lead to harm. Or we ostracize simply because we are afraid of what feels different and unfamiliar. Whatever the reason, when we banish the slut, more often than not it’s the punishment that harms her, not her behavior."[mijn nadruk](99)

The Empowered Girl

"Something new has entered the culture of women. Lynn M. Phillips, in Flirting with Danger, calls this the “together woman discourse,” in which women are “sassy” and free in their sexual agency, but in actuality, that “freedom” is limited to a heterosexual stance, one that aims to attract men. In Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy refers to it as “raunch culture,” a culture in which some women have co-opted what men think is sexy and made it supposedly empowering.(...) Tied up with this is the idea that being a slut is a good thing. It means you’re strong, in control of your sexuality. The notion starts in the right direction — women can own their sexuality — but it’s almost as if, more often than not, women fall back into the familiar tire grooves of what men desire about women’s sexuality.
Certainly, this empowered-girl culture has invaded adolescence as well. Thirteen-year-old girls proudly extol their abilities to give blow jobs, which they do in the bathrooms at parties or at school. Middle and high schoolers have sex parties. Girls compete with one another to dress as slutty as possible. In Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both, Laura Sessions Stepp notes that, in our hookup culture, teenage girls have abandoned dating and courting altogether and are simply engaging in sexual acts with others. They don’t have to want to be boyfriend and girlfriend. They don’t have to even like each other."[mijn nadruk](100-101)

"A proportion of our culture, tired of the old double standards about sex, have begun to say, “We can have sex because we want to!” Put another way, “We can have sex like men! We can treat our sexuality like men treat theirs!”"[mijn nadruk](104)

[En het is inderdaad de vraag of je dat moet willen. De imitatie van mannengedrag door vrouwen is een groot probleem. Je houdt typisch genoeg mannenwaarden in stand (emotieloos, oppervlakkig, liefdeloos, zonder verantwoordelijkheid voor een ander, met competitie en bluf. De dubbele moraal is weg, maar de moraal die overblijft is slecht.]

"Also, girls having sex with whomever they want, whenever they want, and without the desire for anything more, seems, like Levy noted, to be a little too close to men’s fantasies about girls and women. I’m not convinced that this should be the primary model we put forth for women’s sexual freedom."(105-106)

[De vraag moet dan natuurlijk zijn: wat dan wel? wat is een geëmancipeerde seksualiteit voor vrouwen én voor mannen?]

"Let’s imagine what empowerment might look like regarding females and sex. Girls and women who wanted casual sex, not love, would be accepted and respected. In fact, girls and women would want casual sex because it would be understood that wanting sex without strings is a perfectly honorable thing for a girl to want on the basis of where she is in her life. It makes sense for a teenager or young woman in her twenties, for instance, to not want the intensity and sometimes burden of a relationship because she wants to focus on other, more important things: personal exploration, travel, career building, and more. Likewise, if she wants to have sex only with someone she loves, then that’s honorable as well, just not more so than the other choice. An empowered girl wears what she wants—she can show off her breasts if she wants to, but she certainly doesn’t have to for her to be sexy. She doesn’t need to lift her shirt or participate in wet T-shirt contests to be sexually powerful. She doesn’t need to have a long list of conquests.
Empowerment has nothing to do with these things. Sexual power is always about a woman’s—and a girl’s—core sense of herself as a desiring, desirable being whom she is entirely in control of. She decides who touches her and when. She decides how much to share her body or not. And no one else has the right to dictate what that says about her, or to shame her, or to silence her. No one else gets to say, “I’m good at this, but because you do it differently, you aren’t.” That, my friends, is empowerment."(106-107)

[Nou, dat verhaal is nog rijkelijk vaag vind ik. Ik denk dat die would-be-empowered meiden van hiervoor ook zullen zeggen dat ze het echt willen etc. Je moet dus heel erg duidelijk maken waar het verschil zit en dat doet Cohen niet zo.]

The Loose Girl

De 'loose girl' lijkt in gedrag nogal op de 'slut', maar het grote verschil is dat ze voortdurend bezig is met wat jongens / mannen van haar zullen vinden en op zoek is naar iemand die haar 'redt'.

"When I understood, when I admitted that truth, everything came clear. This was my dirty little secret, the same one so many girls and women shared with me. I had been after something all night. I had wanted this male attention, and now I was getting it. The dirty secret was that I liked it, even as I was ashamed and humiliated, even as I was a victim."(111)

[Ook dat is toch tamelijk vaag en ook nogal hypocriet: natuurlijk trek je hier zelf aan wat je krijgt, ik vind niet dat je dan jezelf als slachtoffer mag beschrijven. Of leg die dubbelheid beter uit.]

"Guinevere’s confusion about what boys want is an extremely common feeling among loose girls. They get the clear message from media and peers that boys like sex, that boys like girls who are sexy. But then, again and again, the boys leave after sex. Loose girls almost always assume it’s about them — they are simply not lovable enough. There is something horribly wrong with them. They also know the other message that bears down through the schools and Christian organizations: boys don’t like girls who put out. So, loose girls shame themselves. The fact that they can’t help their neediness, their desperation to be loved, they believe, is surely why boys leave."[mijn nadruk](113-114)

[Ook met deze weergave heb ik wat moeite. Waarom zouden al die jongens niets met haar willen na de seks, terwijl ze aantrekkelijk is en niet moeilijk doet over seks? Dat wordt helemaal niet duidelijk. Er wordt gesuggereerd dat jongens niets willen met iemand die het zo gemakkelijk voor hen maakt wat betreft seks of zich zo 'needy' gedraagt. Maar waar is dat op gebaseerd?]

"Cynthia’s dirty little secret is not sex. Like that of all loose girls, her dirtiest secret is her need.
Loose girls come from every walk of life imaginable. They are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, poor, rich, middle class—you name it. Many had great childhoods. Others did not. For some, we can track back to what happened with their parents—mothers and fathers—to get some sense of why they headed down the paths they did."(114-115)

(116) Chapter 4 - Best friends and role models - Mothers and loose girls

Moeders hebben vaak een verkeerd beeld van hun dochters, zeker op seksueel vlak. De gesprekken over seks zijn over het algemeen niet open, over masturberen wordt vrijwel niet gepraat, de moeders dragen oude taboes en waarden over.

"And yet, according to studies of mothers and adolescents, mothers understand less than they think. According to studies by James Jaccard, Patricia Dittus, and Vivian Gordon in Child Development, mothers tend to underestimate their daughters’ sexual activity."[mijn nadruk](118)

"This sort of disconnect is reflected in the Seventeen and O survey, where 90 percent of mothers claimed that they’d spoken to their daughters about how to make the decision to have sex, but only 51 percent of the girls claimed to have had the same conversation."[mijn nadruk](120)

[Tja ...]

"Most adolescent girls claim that their mothers don’t talk to them about the aspects of sex that they deem more important — such as the emotions involved and the physical feelings. Generally, they feel like they’re receiving warnings and rules, and that the conversation is rarely much of a two-way street."(120-121)

"Mothers are uncomfortable partially because sex is such a taboo subject for teen girls. But they’ve also adopted the social standard that if you discuss sex and sexual desire with your daughter, she’ll fall down that slippery slope into promiscuity. As a result, many tell their daughters about abstinence. They let them know that sex before marriage is off-limits. Then they assume (or pray) that the girls will follow their advice."(121)

"Certainly, this adds to the reasons that one of the more important topics missing from most conversations about sex is masturbation."(122)

"Masturbation is a major taboo, and a long standing one at that. Some of the myths are familiar — you can go blind, you’ll grow hair on your palms, or your reproductive organs will fail. Others contain that common double standard — boys masturbate, but girls don’t, or girls who do masturbate are hypersexualized, exposed to images or experiences they shouldn’t have been.
But the real truth about masturbation is that it’s as natural and normal as it can get when it comes to sexual exploration. The larger percentage of the population masturbates, and they do so through old age. In fact, one study suggests that 20 percent of all senior citizens masturbate at least once a week. The joke goes that 98 percent of the population masturbates, and the other 2 percent are lying. Although statistics suggest that men masturbate more than women, I think we can all agree that this is due to both the stigma put on women for having desires and the likelihood of girls’ and women’s lower honesty in reporting masturbation occurrences, as women are traditionally not accepted for their sexual desires. If girls and women are expected be in love to have sex, then certainly admitting their solo sexual desire is too risky."[mijn nadruk](123-124)

"Meanwhile, when we look beyond opinion and stigma, research suggests that masturbation is an essential part of sexual development, and girls’ hesitations about masturbation are correlated with having uneasiness about intercourse. The sex educator Sharon Thompson notes that one of the things masturbation teaches is that all those things we feel happen inside our own bodies. So many girls make all that sexual excitement about the other person. In reality, those feelings are their own creation and they could have those feelings without needing a boy around to feel them.
Assuming that girls will develop more confidence about their sexual feelings if they do masturbate, they might also be more self-directed about their sexual behavior. They will likely know better what they want and what they don’t. And what better way for girls to acknowledge and attend to their sexual desires without putting themselves in the way of STDs and pregnancy?"(125)

"Children — perhaps especially teenagers — are hyperaware of hypocrisy. Communication to teens about sex—from media, from parents, from educational institutions—is loaded with mixed messages. Teenagers look perhaps most critically at their parents for hypocrisy and will quickly dismiss a mother’s admonishments if she isn’t following the same advice. And if a mom is acting out sexually, needing too much attention from men, or even focusing too much on romance, girls pick up those messages more than anything else that might be said."(127-128)

(138) Chapter 5 Daddy issues - How fathers matter

Promiscue gedrag wordt toegeschreven aan de afwezigheid van een vader of aan misbruik door mannen. Dat zijn culturele vooroordelen die evenmin blijken te kloppen, er is simpelweg geen bewijs voor te vinden. Een en ander heeft meer te maken met de situatie van een gebroken gezin (en ja, traditioneel zijn het vaker de vaders die daarin afwezig zijn). Er is weinig onderzoek gedaan naar de rol van vaders op dit punt.

"Stories like Breanna’s, and to some extent Sarah’s, are the stories we expect when looking for narratives behind loose-girl behavior. We expect loose girls to have problems with their fathers. Why? Well, the assumption is that a girl who seeks attention in men has daddy issues."(140)

"This type of lack of evidence crops up repeatedly in discussions of daddy-daughter issues. I don’t doubt that it can be a part of the picture, but I fear we tend toward giving fathers too much responsibility for their daughters’ sexual lives."(141-142)

"So, although there does seem to be some evidence that fatherless girls will become more sexual, there’s also the suggestion that those with “bad” fathers wind up with behavioral problems."(146)

"Whatever type of home you can imagine, loose girls grow up there. All it takes is for a girl to have some sense that she isn’t good enough, isn’t lovable, isn’t right. And that is too easy for a girl to feel when every image reflected to her reminds her that she will never be as pretty as she should, when every message she’s given about who she must be to be worthwhile is confusing, ambiguous, and contradictory to the others.
Still, fathers matter to girls, and perhaps it goes without saying that when fathers are absent or abusive or otherwise not present and loving, girls will probably feel they aren’t good enough, aren’t lovable, and so on. Put a different way, a girl’s relationship with her parents — whomever and how many of them there are — matters. And if there’s a father in the picture, that father can do things to better ensure that his daughter won’t engage in self-harming promiscuity."(148-149)

"Fathers don’t need to be physically absent to abandon their daughters. There are many ways to leave. Many fathers worry about how to negotiate boundaries — particularly regarding physical contact — with their sexually blossoming daughters, but they often set up bigger boundaries than necessary. Some physically withdraw, unwilling to provide affection anymore. Others become more controlling with their daughters. Both reactions set a girl up to feel left out, misunderstood, and treated unfairly."[mijn nadruk](152)

"Every last message tells girls that they are the sum of their physical parts, that they can tell whether they matter in the world by whether boys like them. Fathers are in a unique position to show them that men can feel otherwise, that girls can be wholly loved simply by being themselves."[mijn nadruk](154)

"If fathers focus on their daughter’s appearance, just like the rest of the world is already doing, they miss out on the chance to teach their daughters that they are worth pursuing for much better reasons."(155-156)

(161) Chapter 6 - Loose girls in context - Risks and losses

Dit hoofdstuk gaat over de samenhang van 'loose girl' gedrag met het gebruik van alcohol en drugs, met stemmingsstoornissen als depressie, eetproblemen en dergelijke. Veel interviewmateriaal hier.

"Promiscuity is commonly associated with almost every disorder you can imagine — bulimia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder, to name just a few. Promiscuity in teenagers is also typically associated with adolescent depression. Sexually active girls are more than three times more likely to be depressed than girls who are not sexually active. They are also three times more likely to commit suicide."(165-166)

"There are many answers to why loose girls have trouble stopping the behavior, but an important one to consider is that the behavior is an addiction."(169)

"It is important to determine what really is addiction and what is shame with respect to behavior that is simply culturally unacceptable. As with everything surrounding teenage girls and sex, the lines are blurry. Our society is so firmly opposed to any teenage sexual behavior, particularly from girls, that it would be easy to say that all sexual behavior is negative and should be treated as addiction. But teenage promiscuity isn’t always the result of severe pain or low self-esteem. Statistically, that is more often the case, but as with any statistics, it is important to acknowledge that there is a percentage of girls who develop low self-esteem because of how society judges and punishes them for wanting and having sex."[mijn nadruk](177)

"Sex abuse and molestation are commonly associated with promiscuity. The assumption is that when children’s formative experiences with sex are some sort of violation, they will be unable to have a normal relationship to sex in the future. This makes perfect sense until we address the question of what makes for a “normal” relationship to sex, particularly when we’re discussing teenage girls. Is the fact that they are having any type of sex somehow abnormal? I can’t help but notice, for instance, as I read through various studies about adolescent boys, that sexual activity is almost never listed as a “problem.”
In a meta-analysis (a study of studies) performed in 2001, researchers found a significant correlation between sexual promiscuity and childhood sexual abuse. But when we look more closely at the data, we see again that promiscuity is undefined. What does this mean to the various authors of the studies?"[mijn nadruk](183-184)

"Even more likely is that the promiscuity as a separate issue doesn’t get attended to: we assume that if we treat the more general issue — substance abuse, depression — then the promiscuity will resolve itself as well. But unfortunately, girls who learn to act out sexually tend to keep doing so until they address the core issues surrounding those actions; usually those issues include a tremendous amount of shame and neediness. And that point — that shame and neediness sit at the heart of loose-girl behavior — is probably the most important one a counselor to a loose girl can know."(189-190)

(191) Chapter 7 - Saying yes, saying no - Consensual sex and rape

Dit hoofdstuk vat op een gegeven moment het culturele ideaal van maagdelijkheid samen. Weer veel interviewmateriaal.

[En Cohen doet dat erg helder, vind ik.]

"Every girl learns early “The First Time” narrative. There is only one acceptable way to lose your virginity. You fall in love, the two of you decide you want to share your love in a deeper way, you do it, and he loves you forever. Usually, too, this happens on your wedding night. You “save yourself” for him so you can be special and pure, so you can be clean and worthy of him. Girls are taught that their virginity is a gift, one that they should give only to the “right person.”"(192)

[Over waarden en normen gesproken ... Waarom zou je zo willen denken? Het slaat nergens op en de meeste meisjes blijken zich ook niet aan die waarden en normen te houden als het er op aan komt.]

"Many speak of their first time as “disappointing,” because the myth around losing one’s virginity, of how special and meaningful it’s supposed to be, rarely matches the reality. Many wind up date-raped or lose their inhibitions via alcohol."(192)


"So why do girls lose their virginity? Most do so because they are simply curious; they want to know what it’s like, and they want to know if they will change in some essential way. So much hoopla surrounds girls and sex that one can see how they would believe that they might be changed. But often that belief leads to disappointment or deflation."[mijn nadruk](194)

"In chapter 1, we examined the idea that girls tend to associate sexual desire with being desired. A curious twist to the disallowance of desire is that in our culture, girls are permitted to want sex if love accompanies it. They cannot want sex without it, lest they be sluts."[mijn nadruk](197)

"Maybe girls want to have sex. Maybe they want to lose their virginities. Maybe they even just want to be sexual beings. But without a culturally acceptable avenue to act in such a way, they often feel they have to be blank—not there—in the process."[mijn nadruk](200)

"These experiences of having sex when you only sort of want to, or even don’t want to, is one of the defining qualities of loose-girl behavior. We have sex because we want something from it that has nothing to do with the sex itself ..."(205)

Volgt een stuk over wederzijdse instemming en hoe lastig dat is en slecht de wetten op dat punt zijn omdat ze er van uit gaan dat minderjarige meisjes nooit kunnen instemmen met seks..

"Consent laws have a solid purpose to protect girls when they are truly victims, but legally designating an entire group of people as unable to consent to sex is maybe not the best way to protect girls from having sex that adults don’t want them to have ..."(211-212)

"The Netherlands has a great example of how to use such a law to protect rather than silence. There, sexual intercourse between people aged 12–16 is legal, but victims who were coerced or forced and need the law’s protection can opt to use the statutory consent age of sixteen to prove that a violation occurred."(212)

[Klopt die weergave wel? Dacht het niet.]

"So, while teenage girls in the Netherlands start having intercourse much earlier, the country also sees some of the lowest teen pregnancy birth and abortion rates (approximately one in one thousand births) and STD rates in the Western world, which gives evidence of their increased levels of contraceptive use.
If we compare a girl from the Netherlands and the United States, we can see how this might happen. A fourteen-year-old girl from the Netherlands may make a mutual decision with her boyfriend to have sex using contraception. A fourteen-year-old girl from the United States may want to have sex with her boyfriend but knows she’s not allowed, so she sneaks it, too uninformed to use protection because no one taught her about sex, thinking her too young. She puts herself at risk of pregnancy, and she likely winds up feeling ashamed.
If we are going to teach girls to say no, we also need to teach them how to say yes."(213)

[Die laatste uitspraak is fantastisch.]

(220) Chapter 8 - Brave new world - The loose girl online

Dit hoofdstuk gaat o.a. over 'sexting', het op allerlei manieren uitproberen van rollen.

"Like role-playing in video games, cybersex is a way to try on a persona who girls can’t be in real life ..."(222)

"Parents and school officials are scared, and our often frantic concern about kids being exposed too early to sex through technology makes some sense."(222)

"As part of this fear, a number of states have criminalized the sending and sharing of nude photos, like the ones Johanna sends, hitting teenagers with child pornography and sex offender charges. As of this writing, at least twelve states have introduced legislation to prohibit or deter sexting. State laws range from minor dings on a juvenile record to child pornography convictions. Each state controls the severity of its laws about sexting, and school officials and parents of girls who’ve had their pictures distributed bring the most charges. The question is, What really happens to girls who use this sort of technology?"(223)

[Jongeren worden dus zonder meer gecriminaliseerd en in de VS natuurlijk weer in extremo.]

"Hope Witsell, a thirteen-year-old in Florida, killed herself after a topless photo of her was sent around her high school and the high school in a neighboring town. She sent the photo after pressure to do so from a boy she had a crush on. Really, though, the harm didn’t originate with the sexting, which is how Witsell’s and Logan’s cases were presented. It came from the girls’ peers, who bullied them. The photos were just tools of a much greater harm, which is rarely addressed as seriously: slut shaming."(224)

"But is sexting really worthy of such extreme policing? There has been much hesitating and changing minds in the courts, which suggests that we might be overreacting, typical of people’s fears surrounding teenagers and sex."(225)

[Precies. Je laten leiden door angsten is nooit erg verstandig. Waarom leren we meisjes niet om werkelijk te vinden dat het maar een naaktfoto is, niet iets om je druk over te maken. Dat is volgens mij de enige weg tegen 'slut shaming': duidelijk maken dat je je niet schaamt.]

"Indeed, almost half of sexually active teens tend to be involved in sexting and cybersex as well."(226)

"Regardless of all the increased access to sex online, teen sex rates haven’t skyrocketed. In fact, they’ve lowered some during the past decade."(226)

"The danger here is not necessarily that girls are victims of predatory males. It’s that they are victims of very narrow definitions of sexual desirability, and in many ways, sexting is one more way girls wind up viewing sexual behavior as completely removed from their own desires. Girls believe that a girl’s desirability comes not from her personality or her coolness or how fun she is. It comes from her ability to fit into a male-defined stereotype of a sexually willing girl."[mijn nadruk](229)

(236) Part Two - Gaining power

(237) Chapter 9 - Grown-up girl - The adult loose girl

"A common goal for most women — and men, but more so women — is to get married. The marriage aspiration is reflected throughout our culture."(239)

Het willen trouwen is voor vrouwen nog steeds de essentie, aldus Cohen. Ze geeft de culturele invloeden hiervan weer. Maar ondanks een huwelijk blijft de 'loose girl' een 'loose girl': het gevaar van terugval in de alousde verslaving is altijd aanwezig. Ze geeft er voorbeelden van. Met andere woorden: dat ideaalbeeld bvan het huwelijk helpt niet zo erg. Gelukkig zijn met één iemand voor je hele leven is natuurlijk betrekkelijk.

"In truth, half of our marriages end in divorce. People have affairs—60 percent of men and 40 percent of women (but 70 percent of married women and 54 percent of married men did not know of their spouses’ extramarital activity). We have blended families. We have open marriages. We have polyamory. We also have miserable marriages, loveless ones, sexless ones, deeply passionate and jealous and abusive ones. There are many, many ways to have love."(255)

(260) Chapter 10 - The beginning of change

Veel interviewmateriaal hier. Voor een 'loose girl' zegt een relatie of een huwelijk nooit genoeg dat je 'waardevol' bent, die halen simpelweg alle basale onzekerheid niet weg, zou je kunnen zeggen. Het vooroordeel dat dat wel zo is is een leugen die door de media al te gemakkelijk wordt verwoord. Het begin van een oplossing is: aanvaarding van wat / wie / hoe je bent. Je moet minder gevoelig worden voor, onafhankelijker worden van het oordeel van anderen. Je moet je behoeftigheid leren accepteren ook al houden anderen niet van mensen die behoedftig zijn. Wel moet je zelf proberen niet de ander te controleren vanuit die behoeftigheid. En er over praten heklpt ook natuurlijk.

(290) Chapter 11 - Waves - Protecting against loose-girl behavior

De vraag is hoe je kinderen kunt beschermen tegen de beschreven culturele invloeden, waaronder de 'geen seks' beweging, de inadequate seksuele opvoeding, de invloed van de alom aanwezige beeldvorming in de media en dergelijke.

[Nogmaals en ten overvloede, dit betreft dus de situatie in de VS.]

"My comment is only to point out that our panic about girls having sex is based on a man-made philosophy, not empirically supported research, and is therefore worthy of questioning."[mijn nadruk](294)

"But as we’ve explored in this book, the harm is not in the sex but in the circumstances in which sex can happen, such as girls having sex solely because they want to feel cared for, or girls having sex without protection because they want to please the boy more than they want to protect themselves.
Good sex — when a girl wants to have the sex, both physically and emotionally, and when she does what she needs to protect herself physically — cannot be a bad thing, and certainly not any worse than it is for a boy."(297)

"Missing from sex-education curricula is really anything that might help a teenager know what to do with her sexual feelings. Sure, she can identify the ovaries on the diagram, but she knows nothing about her desire, or a boy’s desire, or how to protect herself physically and emotionally during sexual acts."(299)[mijn nadruk]

Volgen tips voor een goede seksuele opvoeding.

"Included here are ideas for sex education that might truly help girls (and boys!) understand what sex is about, what is happening in their bodies, and how to make decisions about both."(300)

"The bottom line about girls and healthy sexuality is that this must be part of how we talk to girls about sex. Usually, we hand down to them the same useless, often harmful myths. We tell them that sex will get in the way of their happiness and growth. We tell them they must be in love. We tell them that good sex happens only when you are in love. None of those aphorisms is true — not one."(300-301)

"Another assumption we make as a culture is that to fulfill sexual feelings, people must have intercourse. This is absolutely untrue. Sex therapists use the term outercourse to describe the numerous acts that create sensual and sexual pleasure but do not include penetration. Think hand jobs. Think second and third base. Think phone sex. For teens who are experiencing that hormone rush but aren’t ready to expose themselves to possible pregnancies and STDs, outercourse is perfect."[mijn nadruk](301-302)

"It also makes sense to include masturbation in a sex-education curriculum as a healthy, satisfying way to fulfill sexual desire, especially since a greater proportion of girls between fourteen and seventeen years old report solo masturbation than any other sexual activity. Adolescents have sexual desire. More so, they are in the process of learning about their sexual desire. What better way for adolescents to learn than to explore on their own?"[mijn nadruk](303)

"If girls can believe that their bodies and minds exist for something other than boys’ gazes and preoccupation, they might have a chance. Maybe they will become interested in sports, art, theater, history, math, writing, singing, guitar—anything, really, other than boys."(305)

"Girls’ bodies are so commoditized that it is extremely difficult for a girl to understand her body as fine just the way it is. When girls look in the mirror, it is not really to see themselves but to assess themselves, and inevitably to decide that what they see is not good enough. Girls are continual victims of themselves. For being so self-conscious, their lack of awareness about this is disturbing."(306)[mijn nadruk]

"Of course, this is easier said than done. Remember the strength of those waves. They are powerful, withstanding. Feminism and human rights work have barely touched them. The waves have even grown bigger. They’ve taken on more ways—the Internet, the cell phone—to pound girls with their messages. It is so very necessary to be continually aware of that tidal-wave culture."(308-309)

(313) Part Three - Resources

Allerlei cursusmateriaal om te werken aan een betere seksuele instelling. Informatiebronnen.

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