The new social liberal theme: Sandra Fluke proves sex shaming is impossible in the face of relentless sex positivity.
Sex positivity? It’s sexual liberation on steroids: Not only is it OK for anyone and everyone to have sex whenever, wherever, however, but it’s positive, desirable. The only taboo is rape, which, according to the sex positivists, is now defined as “penetration, no matter how slight” that occurs “without the consent of the victim.” (Little is said about various forms of sexual deviancy — prostitution, sadomasochism, bestiality — but — if it’s all about subjective pleasure and very little about the objective end of procreation — it’s hard to see why these behaviors would be discouraged.)
To a sex positivist, “sl-t” is — you guessed it — a positive word. Want proof? Two examples:
- Sir Richard’s Condoms and the ad agency TDA_Boulder have begun a campaign called “Sl-ts Unite” that expressly aims “to take what was intended to be a hateful, derogatory word and change it into something positive through the power of the collective.” The campaign invites “sl-ts” everywhere to take the “sl-ts” oath and to adopt a Twitter avatar that features a sex-positive slogan. For the full menu of options, click here. Prepare to shake your heads in astonishment! (h/t The Daily Caller)
- The international phenomenon of Sl-tWalk, which I wrote about months ago, still goes strong. Slate’s Emily Bazelon writes in a piece that praises Sandra Fluke: “Reclaiming the word slut is also the aim of the SlutWalks, the protest movement that started last spring in Canada and spread to more than 70 cities worldwide. Taking angry inspiration from a Toronto police officer who said the best way for women to prevent being raped is to “avoid dressing like sluts,” the women joining in SlutWalks have marched in all manner of bras, bodices, and other scanty dress. They won both enthusiastic applause and ambivalence from the feminist blogosphere. SlutWalks, and the broader reclamation projection they and Fluke stand for, represent a cultural shift that puts women’s sexual agency front and center rather than modestly cloaking it.” Read the full piece.
I suppose I could go one of several ways in my reaction to this. My first impulse is to fight for traditional sexual morality — not out of prudishness, but out of a genuine desire to promote human flourishing. Evidence exists that married couples have the best sex anyway — and, if contraception fails in a loving marriage, the couple is probably going to accept the resultant child lovingly. Who doesn’t want every child to be conceived in love, brought happily into the world and properly cared for their entire lives? Do liberals want to argue against that? I guess they’d say the best way to get there is to ensure via contraception that kids just aren’t conceived unless the circumstances are right. Unfortunately for that argument, no completely foolproof contraception exists (except abstinence, but who wants to hear that?). The argument for traditional sexual morality takes time, though, and is probably more appropriate in one-on-one settings.
My second impulse is probably more relevant in the realm of public discourse. That impulse is to say this — the rise of sex positivity and the reclamation of the word “sl-t” — is actually the more logical response to Rush Limbaugh’s outburst than liberal outrage. It always seemed a bit odd to me that Fluke would be offended to be called a “sl-t.” Isn’t she a thoroughly modern, sexually liberated woman? Why is it so bad to be called that, then? I’d be offended to be called that because I think it’s wrong to have sex outside of marriage — but Sandra Fluke doesn’t think it’s wrong, so why is she offended? If it’s the word “prostitute” she found offensive, I want to know why she thinks prostitution is wrong.
My third impulse follows closely on the heels of the second and it’s to say what conservatives have said from Day One: We, too, stand for personal freedom and, from a political standpoint at least, we don’t care what anybody does in their own bedroom. But, if a gal asks us to pay for what goes down in her bedroom, you better believe we’ll pipe up about what is and is not OK to us.
Easy solution, Sandra Fluke: Stop asking others to pay for what you do in your private time and space!