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How should young women dress?
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: How should young women dress? Reply with quote

Some Catholic schools in Toronto have banned the kilt, citing immodesty. Well, there's an entire sub-genre in porn, isn't there, of women dressing like Catholic school girls, so what did they expect?

I'm of two minds on this. I certainly wince when I see prepubescent girls dressed in what could only be termed as adult clothing, and while I'm all in favour of women being able to express their sexuality, there's certainly an element of exploitation and objectification as well. And when it's kids?

I'm also not nuts about religionist-types throwing their hands up in horror about the way young women dress. To protect their purity. Kind of icky all round.

(I'm also having a chuckle at how slacks are considered so much more modest. Guess these folks haven't studied history!)

Quote:
Hemlines have been hiked so high in Catholic schools across Greater Toronto that some schools have dropped uniform kilts altogether.

"It's not in keeping with what is represented by Catholic schools in terms of modesty and morality," said Bruce Campbell of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, where just six of 25 high schools still allow kilts to be worn.

The board began phasing them out several years ago after some girls refused to obey rules to keep hemlines near their knees. Principals and teachers also balked at playing fashion police.

... Kilts made the news again this week, after the mother of a student at Mississauga's Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School asked Dufferin-Peel trustees to overturn the principal's decision to kill the kilt this September.

... Campbell said some female students regularly hiked their kilts much higher than board rules, which allow for 15 centimetres above the middle of the kneecap.

"The kilts were being inappropriately worn at all grade levels," he said. "A disproportionate amount of time was being spent addressing the issue with students."

... Gary Serra, national sales manager at Toronto-based school uniform supplier R.J. McCarthy, said schools across the country are increasingly eschewing kilts in favour of trousers, so much so that the kilt is now one of its worst sellers.

"It's an issue of modesty," he said. "Pants are more in line with the Catholic traditions and values specific to those schools."


Toronto Star.
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Timebandit
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My daughters are 12 and 8 years old.

It's a difficult balancing act. Fortunately, my 12 year old is more inclined to dress like the circus has come to town - bright colours and odd combinations - rather than too sexy for her years. You have to let them explore their identities, but at the same time, you don't want them to send a message they don't fully understand they're sending. You want them to be free to dress as they like and to believe that no-one deserves to be treated like a sex object, but the realities of how others react is something you may want to protect them from.

There's no way to deal with this that is completely non-judgemental. Parents are between a rock and a hard place.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm of the mind that no one should be telling girls what they can and can't wear. They should be allowed to wear whatever they like. However, we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization so that they can make informed choices about what they want to wear to school.
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JPG
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OTOH, it is a uniform to begin with. By attending the school, every student is being told what to wear.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JPG wrote:
OTOH, it is a uniform to begin with. By attending the school, every student is being told what to wear.

I don't agree that that is a good thing either. I've argued against school uniforms in the past.
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Simon Vallée
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
I'm of the mind that no one should be telling girls what they can and can't wear. They should be allowed to wear whatever they like. However, we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization so that they can make informed choices about what they want to wear to school.


Not that I particularly disagree with that point of view, but reading it, I realize it sounds a lot like "They should wear whatever they want to wear... but they should want to wear what I want them to wear."
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon Vallée wrote:
TS. wrote:
I'm of the mind that no one should be telling girls what they can and can't wear. They should be allowed to wear whatever they like. However, we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization so that they can make informed choices about what they want to wear to school.


Not that I particularly disagree with that point of view, but reading it, I realize it sounds a lot like "They should wear whatever they want to wear... but they should want to wear what I want them to wear."


I see what you mean. By whose standard do we say that one girl has been "prematurely sexualized", and is therefore probably making an uninformed choice, but another girl has been sexualized at just the right time and is therefore probably making an informed choice?
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TS.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon Vallée wrote:
TS. wrote:
I'm of the mind that no one should be telling girls what they can and can't wear. They should be allowed to wear whatever they like. However, we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization so that they can make informed choices about what they want to wear to school.


Not that I particularly disagree with that point of view, but reading it, I realize it sounds a lot like "They should wear whatever they want to wear... but they should want to wear what I want them to wear."

Yeah, and? We all have opinions about what is appropriate. The difference is that my position doesn't actually force anything on anyone.
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Cartman
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not that I particularly disagree with that point of view, but reading it, I realize it sounds a lot like "They should wear whatever they want to wear... but they should want to wear what I want them to wear."

I don't have a problem with making informed choices myself. That is what I got from TS's post.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cartman wrote:
Quote:
Not that I particularly disagree with that point of view, but reading it, I realize it sounds a lot like "They should wear whatever they want to wear... but they should want to wear what I want them to wear."

I don't have a problem with making informed choices myself. That is what I got from TS's post.


But then TS's post seemed to imply that there was a certain age, or at least a certain stage of life, at which one becomes more capabale of making an informed choice.

Quote:
However, we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization


So what then is the criteria for "early sexualization"?
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Senor Magoo
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I'm sure that as a young guy I'd have totally bristled at the idea of having to wear a uniform, I can also see the merits in ensuring that students whose parents aren't loaded aren't always stigmatized for lacking the latest fashion accessories. That isn't to suggest that a kilt has any advantage in that regard.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can also see the merits in ensuring that students whose parents aren't loaded aren't always stigmatized for lacking the latest fashion accessories.


In Korea, ironically, it was Chun Doo Hwan, arguably the worst of the military dictators, who banned school uniforms in the 1980s, only to reintroduce them a short while later. A discussion from another board...

Quote:
It makes you realize how time has passed... My own memory tells me that
when the Beloved Leader Chun Doo Hwan abolished school uniforms, it was
just the time when "designer jeans" were a fashion fad (and extremely
expensive). Giving students total freedom as to what they wore led at
once to a heated competition to wear the most expensive clothes
available. Poor students felt dreadfully humiliated and there was a lot
of parent-resistance. The reintroduction of more modern kinds of
uniform (English-style blazers etc) was a wise step, I reckon.


Quote:
picked up on this discussion a little late, but for the record...
According to the 1982 and 1983 Yonhap Annuals (English language
yearbooks), which reinforce my own recollections, Chun Doo Hwan decreed on
January 4, 1982, that school uniforms would no longer be mandatory beginning
with the 1983 school year (i.e., from March 2, 1983). On January 5, Chun
also lifted South Korea's decades-old midnight-to-4 a.m. curfew, except for
certain security-sensitive areas.
As I recall, for a while there were no uniforms at all. Then, as
juvenile delinquency became an increasingly serious problem, some folks
apparently came to realize that perhaps uniforms per se were not the
problem, but rather the specter of those Japanese lookalike uniforms that
had been so offensive. Gradually schools (and students) took it upon
themselves to reintroduce uniforms with liberalized designs.


The second quote seems to attribute the banning to anti-Japanese sentiment, though I personally have been told by Koreans who were alive at the time that the point was to boost the domestic clothing industry.

Suffice to observe that the uniforms are back in full force now.

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F.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I personally have been told by Koreans who were alive at the time that the point was to boost the domestic clothing industry.


Not to mention that any dictoator worth his salt would be adept at throwing facile little freedoms at people in order to project the illusion of legitimacy.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

F. wrote:
Quote:
I personally have been told by Koreans who were alive at the time that the point was to boost the domestic clothing industry.


Not to mention that any dictoator worth his salt would be adept at throwing facile little freedoms at people in order to project the illusion of legitimacy.


Quite true. It's also interesting that during the 10 years of liberal rule, when the country was led by a former dissident and a former human-rights lawyer successively, the idea of re-abolishing school uniforms was never, as far as I know, raised in any serious way.
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fork
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
. . . we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization . . .

Quite the burden to put on girls when adults have failed so miserably in fighting early sexualization. How would you even do this?
I'd also say that such an education is incompatible with Catholic teaching on female sexuality, madonna and whore being different sides of the same coin.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'd also say that such an education is incompatible with Catholic teaching on female sexuality, madonna and whore being different sides of the same coin.


As I recall from religion class in an Alberta Catholic school in the 1980s, those issues were not framed in that way much at all. It was all very heavy into the "you should treat your partners with mutual respect, human beings are a reflection of God's love, so they should not be exploited through pornography, etc etc"(and no, they did not say that exploitation was okay if the woman acted like a "whore"). We were also shown an NFB film about contraception, complete with anatomically correct animation showing in quite explicit detail how various forms of contraception work. Oh, and condoms, diaphragms and various other forms of contraception were passed around one day in Christian Marriage class, under the rationale that anyone choosing to use them should know what they look like and how they work. (Of course, it was empasized that they should be used within the context of marriage, but any half-alert, sexually active teenager could figure out that they could be used outside of marriage as well. The whole thing had kind of a "wink and nod" quality about it.)

And one of the few times that I recall homosexuality coming up in discussion was when the teacher and I argued vociferously against the bigoted opinions of almost every other student in the class. This same teacher also once waxed enthusiatic to me about a Germaine Greer book she had been reading.

When I did a monologue about gay-bashing from Fortune And Men's Eyes for the drama class' lunchtime theatre presentation, the drama teacher gave an intro about how everyone likes to make fun of gays, but no one makes any effort to actually know them or understand what's going on in their lives. The year after I graduated, the social studies teacher brought a gay couple of her acquaintance in to talk with the class about their relationship(Not sure what all the details of that were, since, as I say, I had graduated by then.)

And no. I'm not saying Ratzinger or(in those says) JP II are good progressive guys. Just that, at least in Edmonton circa 1986, the reactionay authorites in the church didn't have the type of influence over Catholic schools that is sometimes assumed to be universal. These schools were publically funded, so the curriculum was made by school board employees, not by the church directly(though I'm sure there was some clerical input somewhere along the line).

Of course, I don't know what things are like in Ontario, or if they're still the same in Alberta as they were in the 1980s.
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TS.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fork wrote:
TS. wrote:
. . . we need to find a way to more effectively educate girls to fight early sexualization . . .

Quite the burden to put on girls when adults have failed so miserably in fighting early sexualization. How would you even do this?
I'd also say that such an education is incompatible with Catholic teaching on female sexuality, madonna and whore being different sides of the same coin.

You are quite right that it is a big burden to put on girls. I don't mean to say that adults don't also bear responsibility. As for how, I don't know. That is why I said we need to find a way.

As for being incompatible with Catholic teachings, that is part of my problem with Catholic schools.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You are quite right that it is a big burden to put on girls. I don't mean to say that adults don't also bear responsibility. As for how, I don't know. That is why I said we need to find a way.


Well, I have to say, I WOULD be curious to hear from the people who a) oppose dress codes, but b) think there should be some sort of education program in place to help girls make "informed" decisions about what to wear. Specifically, I'd like to know exactly what would be taught in that program, beyond that "you should make informed choices", which strikes me as a bit of a truism along the lines of "you should drive safely", while not stating what the appropriate driving speed should be or what type of tires to get in winter.

If you're having trouble with the "how" of it all, I think a constructive place to start would be to ask yourself what the root of the problem is. Do girls dress in certain ways simply because they like that style? Or because the clothing companies tell them it's a good way to dress? Or...

Also, what sort of things should a person be thinking about when they make the choices? If I was eating at Burger King every day under the impression that it's good for my heart, you'd probably say I need to read a bit more about the effects of cholesterol on the human body. What would be a similar recommendation for someone making unwise decisions about her wardrobe?
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Senor Magoo
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit of general consumer awareness might not be amiss. And perhaps a "history of fashion and art" might give young girls a bit of a backgrounder to understanding why fashion is so much more concerned with them than with boys.

But I mostly agree with you. I think that adults are generally being somewhat cruel when we tell young people to do things that we ourselves find challenging, and then give them absolutely no help with it.

"Dress for yourself, not for others!"

Do most adults do this and know how to do this??
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TS.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The education that I would want to see would not be so much about what particular items of clothing should be worn, but rather about the history of sexualization of women and girls, and how to be aware of that. Ensure that everyone knows the history and can therefore make an informed decision of what to wear.
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fork
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

voice of the damned wrote:
And no. I'm not saying Ratzinger or(in those says) JP II are good progressive guys. Just that, at least in Edmonton circa 1986, the reactionay authorites in the church didn't have the type of influence over Catholic schools that is sometimes assumed to be universal. These schools were publically funded, so the curriculum was made by school board employees, not by the church directly(though I'm sure there was some clerical input somewhere along the line).

Of course, I don't know what things are like in Ontario, or if they're still the same in Alberta as they were in the 1980s.

Have a look at participation rates in HPV vaccinations. This is Calgary area:
Quote:
Only 38 per cent of Grade 5 Catholic schoolgirls in Calgary received at least one dose of a vaccine against cervical cancer last fall — compared to 75 per cent of their peers in the city's public schools, new statistics suggest. . .
The Calgary Catholic School District was one of at least 10 boards in Alberta that decided last fall not to allow the HPV vaccine in separate schools, saying the shots send the wrong message about premarital sex . . .
But the chairwoman of the Calgary Catholic schools said Monday she believes many parents chose not to have their daughters vaccinated after hearing Calgary Bishop Fred Henry's concerns about the shots.

"We left it up to parents," said Marge Belcourt. "A good number are paying attention to what the bishop is saying."

Here's something for Ontario, but there's no comparison between public and Catholic schools like in the Calgary link.

Quote:
Of broader concern is the fact that, even though H-SCDSB was the only school board to disallow an on-site vaccination program, various authorities have given moral direction against the vaccine in the name of Catholic beliefs. Foremost among these is the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB), who in a letter to the province’s Catholic educators affirmed the right of parents to decide whether to vaccinate their daughters, but also made non-scientific linkages between the vaccination program and sexual sin and warned parents about what the OCCB deemed to be insufficient scientific knowledge about the vaccine.3 Thirty-two percent (or 674 970 students) of all Ontario’s primary and secondary school students attend publicly funded Catholic schools,4 and Ontario has so far seen an overall provincial participation rate in the vaccination program of less than 50% (and, in some regions, of only 28%5).
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
The education that I would want to see would not be so much about what particular items of clothing should be worn, but rather about the history of sexualization of women and girls, and how to be aware of that. Ensure that everyone knows the history and can therefore make an informed decision of what to wear.

If you taught them about the Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women, an informed decision would be to hike up their skirts to minimize harassment.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Have a look at participation rates in HPV vaccinations. This is Calgary area:


Right. And I wasn't suggesting that our Catholic Schools in the 1980s were giving us contraceptives to take home either(they didn't), nor that they would be participating in the HPV vaccine either(I'd imagine ECS is one of the ten Alberta school boards not participating, but I don't know for sure).

My comments were in reply specifically to your remark that Catholic Schools would be unable to teach anything against early sexualization, because they are too imbued with the madonna/whore complex. My point was that I don't recall issues on sexuality being framed that way at all when discussed in class, beyond being taught, at least officially, that sex was for marriage.

And, whatever one thinks about that doctrine, is it always synonymous with a madonna/whore worldview? I don't recall ever being taught that it was wrong for women to have sex outside of marriage, but alright for men to do so if the woman they were having extramarital sex with was "morally impure"(which seems to me to be the basic hallmark of the madonna/whore worldview).

I believed that extramarital sex was morally wrong until I was well into my teens, having been taught such by my mother and, to a lesser extent, the school system(sexuality from any viewpoint was never a big topic at church). And I'm pretty sure I NEVER framed it in terms of a double standard for men and women. I was as shocked when a male friend in Grade 6 told me that he had "screwed a girl once" as I would have been if a girl told me about doing something similar(I'm sure my friend was BSing me, for what it's worth).

Granted, I might have had a different outlook had I been raised by a Catholic father and a non-Catholic mother, rather than the other way around. Because I have met quite a few Catholic guys, at least from my mother's generation, who do subscribe to the double-standard.

I should also say that I don't know what Catholic schools are like now, or even what they were like elsewhere in the 80s. I'd guess things would be a lot stricter at private schools, at least, which are entirely privately funded and where you're actually being taught by nuns and priests.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TS. wrote:
The education that I would want to see would not be so much about what particular items of clothing should be worn, but rather about the history of sexualization of women and girls, and how to be aware of that. Ensure that everyone knows the history and can therefore make an informed decision of what to wear.


Kids will always wear the opposite of what we think is "an informed decision". Laughing

Whatever we wear, wherever we go ...

I don't care what girls are wearing.

Girls of 10-12 experiment with makeup, 'sexy' clothes and postures, spontaneous singing and dancing like the videos, and it continues through teenagdom and even adulthood. Laughing

If what girls are wearing is EVER an issue, EVER an EXCUSE Hold it. for bad behaviour, then we have made no progress at all.

However the belly-baring style has receded for now. I'll leave it to the schools to deal with the short skirts. I would think short skirt no underwear would become a chair hygiene issue.
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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we're talking about over-sexualized girls' clothing, to what extent do the media, pop culture and clothing manufacturers bear responsibility? Since they define what is considered the "edgy" and "non-conforming" style that everyone wants to look like?

I miss grunge. I liked me my plaid.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw some buffalo check plaid in a store the other day. The cut was fussy, though. If it had been a plain sort of shirt, I'd have bought one.

granny, my 12 year old has expressed interest in makeup, but we've set out some clear lines as to what's appropriate. There are girls her age at school who wear full makeup on a daily basis, and she knows that it's just not appropriate. We haven't had to lay down the law or anything, just spent some time discussing it.

I suppose it helps that she's more interested in Yoyo Ma than Britney Spears. And that she's more interested in pattern and texture in her clothing than how revealing her they are.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu wrote:
If we're talking about over-sexualized girls' clothing, to what extent do the media, pop culture and clothing manufacturers bear responsibility? Since they define what is considered the "edgy" and "non-conforming" style that everyone wants to look like?

I miss grunge. I liked me my plaid.


Pop culture, certainly. I think it's the videos. I also think it's all quite normal.

Those who see "sex" or "sexualized" in pre-pubescent girls playing pop star dressup/makeup need to give their heads a shake, imo.

It isn't about sex to the kids, just fashion and rebellion.

Making it about sex is an adult obsession, often by men who shouldn't be ascribing their own motives to children, and who should keep their thoughts to themselves and their eyes elsewhere. Just because a young girl shows skin doesn't mean men can LEER at them suggestively.

That's just being a creep.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if we want to head into the really creepy, I'd cite toddler beauty contests. Given how much publicity they seem to get, there is a significant segment of society who has no problem with five year olds vamping for the judges.

For me, I'm stuck between my libertarian approach to people having a positive attitude towards sex and sexuality, and my desire for young women to be free of negative social pressure that objectifies them as sex objects.

Younger feminists are fighting for the former, which I applaud. And although it's hard to pin down, I have the sense that the patriarchy has no problem promulgating the objectification. But distinguishing between the two can sometimes be a real challenge.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Younger feminists are fighting for the former, which I applaud. And although it's hard to pin down, I have the sense that the patriarchy has no problem promulgating the objectification. But distinguishing between the two can sometimes be a real challenge.


Which "branch" of the patriarchy do you view as promulgating this objectification? I would imagine that most parents, including fathers, are no happier about "premature sexualization" through fashion than you are. And going by the article in the OP, the Catholic Church doesn't seem too thrilled about it either.

As for the fashion industry, I suspect that if asexual, loose-fitting Mao uniforms became the next big trend among teen girls, they'd have no problem with the new look, as long as they could find a way to create enough variations on the design to keep the purchases going.
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Cartman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Which "branch" of the patriarchy do you view as promulgating this objectification?

The same one that requires women to work for 2/3rds of what they are worth. I am sure the Catholic Church is all concerned about that problem too. Rolling Eyes

But do tell, and please be as precise as possible, which "branch" did you have in mind VOTD?
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granny
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sexualization and objectification are in the eyes of the beholders.

Young girls are nowhere as deeply sexualized and objectified than in cultures where they are forced to wear burqas, for example, in case some poor uncontrollable male should happen upon them.

I'm much more in favour of castrating the perps Wink than altering the dress of the unwilling victims of such inappropriate sexualization and objectification. Any man who sees children and teens as sexual objects needs 'therapy'.

FFS ... Babies shouldn't gurgle and flirt so suggestively?
All girls and women should wear burqas?
Where's the line?

And whose line is it? IMO it's the beholders who need a kick in the ****.

And when the girls suddenly start wearing sacks or Mao uniforms as fashion dictates, then where's the theory of premature 'sexualization?

Still in the eye of the beholder, where it always is.

As much as I despise 'toddler tiaras', the children are play acting. They are not 'sexualized' - no one is offering them for sexual favours, or if they are it's a crime.

And no one should be viewing them as 'sexual' because that certainly is not the child's motivation.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cartman wrote:
Quote:
Which "branch" of the patriarchy do you view as promulgating this objectification?

The same one that requires women to work for 2/3rds of what they are worth. I am sure the Catholic Church is all concerned about that problem too. Rolling Eyes

But do tell, and please be as precise as possible, which "branch" did you have in mind VOTD?


Well, I guess my terminoology could have been a little less awkward. Reading it over again, perhaps the better word would have been "elements". Let me try to clarify what I was getting at.

Suppose we agree that the Catholic Church, hardcore pornographers, and the Ayatollahs in Iran are all "elements" of the patricarchy. Okay, now consider the question: Which elements of the particarchy want to deny women access to contrceptives? The hardcore pornographers? Not likely, since I doubt those guys want their female workers to get pregnant for nine months(the market for pregnancy fetish videos being a somewhat limited one), and in any case most of them are unlikely to care about any ideological issue not directly connected to their own bottom line(If there has been widespread support among hardcore pornographers for restricting contraceptive sales, I have yet to hear about it).

The Ayatollahs? It would appear that they are not much opposed to contraception at all...

Quote:
Iran has been exalted as a model for developing countries, especially in the Muslim world, for drastically reducing the total fertility rate from 7 to less than 3 through government provision of free contraceptives (condoms, pills, and sterilization) and 80% of family planning costs, the extension of mobile clinics to provide family planning and health services to four fifths of the rural population, the preaching of small families as a social responsibility by religious leaders, religious edicts (fatwas) encouraging the use of all types of contraception, the doubling of literacy rates to 85% today, and the involvement of men. “Iran is the only country in the world that requires both men and women to take a class on modern contraception before receiving a marriage license. And it is the only country in the region with a government-sanctioned condom factory. In the past four years, some 220,000 Iranian men have had a vasectomy. While vasectomies still account for only 3 percent of contraception, compared with female sterilization at 28 percent, men nonetheless are assuming more responsibility for family planning.”(http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update4ss.htm) This is a dramatic change from the encouragement of more babies as “soldiers for Islam” during the early days of the Islamic revolution of the 1980s. After the Iran-Iraq war was over, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - the Shiite Muslim spiritual leader who led the revolution - began to permit debate on the subject of birth control when faced with the realities of overpopulation and grim economic prospects.


And note that this is not the same thing as saying that the Ayatollahs are feminist, since their reasons for supporting contraception are probably not the same reasons that a feminist would have. Just that, insofar as the patriarchy is trying to restrict access to contraception, the guilty "element" in this situation is not the Ayatollahs.

Which leaves us with just one option out of the three I listed, the Catholic Church, which I think we'd all agree is the main force behind opposition to contraception(I'm taken to understand that many Muslims are opposed to population control, but that's a separate issue).

As for my original question, we can probably guess that the Hutterites in Alberta, patriarchal though they may be, are not all that enthusiastic about their daughters walking around dressed like Britney Spears(at least judging by the way that they DO require their daughters to dress). The publishers of Barely Legal magazine, on the other hand, are probably not much bothered by it at all.

So yes, I do think that it's legitimate to discuss "elements" of the patriarchy, which are going to vary from culture to culture, and even within the same culture, since few cultures are a monolith and patriarchy is likely to represent itself in different, and even sometimes opposing, ways within the various strands. I don't think patriarchy is quite comparable to, say, the US military, which we can all agree is a very specific set of individuals operating from very specific places(ie. the White House and the Pentagon directly below it). So that when we say "The US military bombed such and such a nation today", we can probably assume that the orders to do this came directly from the White House or the Pentagon, and that all members of the US military are going to support this action, or at least not overtly oppose it, if they want to remain members in good standing. I don't think that you have the same degree of specific "locatability" with regards to something like patriarchy. Which is not to say that patriarchy as a concept should be jettisoned.

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Tehanu
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The patriarchy is hardly just the overt examples of oppressive religious types though, and I think it's a bit unfortunate when they are held up as the main culprits. They're obvious, but things are a helluva lot more pervasive than that.

When in doubt, follow the money. Follow the personal benefits.

Money:
- A lot of mass entertainment, the majority of the ad industry, and most of the straight porn industry is based on the sexual objectification of women. Billions and billions of dollars.
- Pretty much the entire fashion and women's clothing industry is based on selling insecurity and encouraging women to buy as many clothes as possible. Billions of dollars.
- Encouraging people to gender their kids in terms of toys and clothing? Billions of dollars.
- Employers benefit from the sexual objectification of women, and in that I'm including the concept that women's primary role is to be homemakers and baby producers. Because it's a really cool catch-22 when you set it up that women have to work (and surprise, many of us actually want to) but then make us feel guilty for "abandoning" our kids, so we'll swallow getting paid seventy cents on the dollar and being treated like shit while feeling all grateful to actually have a McJob. Savings? Billions of dollars.

- Etc.

Follow the personal benefits:
- Men benefit from women being sexually objectified. When she's basically a collection of body parts, she's not demanding equal rights, equal pay, and that you do the dishes.
- Straight men and the pressure to have a physically attractive spouse/girlfriend ... how many people go ga-ga over how smart someone's girlfriend is? How accomplished? How strong? No, it's about how sexy she is.
- Fathers and their daughters? Sure, I expect most fathers want the best for their daughters. Many probably think that the best is that she grow up to be a beautiful princess who is able to lure an affluent prince charming and live a life of ease, based on her physical appearance and her ability to be charming. Don't tell me that little girls are not taught and encouraged to flirt at a ridiculously young age. Including by their fathers. Creepy? For sure, and let's not forget that some of those fathers and male relatives sexually abuse those very same girls. Call it the extreme end of the spectrum.
- Etc.

I could go on.

ETA: I'll add that I agree with granny, mandating young women's "modest" dress up to and including a burka is ALSO clearly and blatantly sexually objectifying them. And that is something that plenty of these religions are quite happy to do.
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Cartman
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we please be precise for a change? Rather than simply identify social groups like Catholics or Muslims who maintain patriarchy, maybe we should find "the guy". You know, the patient zero-like guy who started it all. "The guy" who informs all of us males to show up for the annual patriarchy consciousness-raising and fundraising group (5pm at McMahon stadium on October 5th BTW. It was rescheduled because Brutus didn't want to do the chick secretary administrative stuff anymore and it is damn hard to find a male to do this job for this meeting obviously. Brutus can be such a fucking cunt, slut, bitch, whore, promiscuous bad...guy.......man whore *high-five*).

Anyways, groups tend to contain individuals who vary greatly in their beliefs. Hell, I recently heard of a teenage, lesbian, Nazi, porno-loving, libertarian, Catholic! He's crazy. Such variation clearly, obviously, definitively, and without a doubt, so don't even mutha-fucking try, proves that we cannot make generalizations about groups, societies, cultures, or nations. Ergo, we need to find "the guy". Without "the guy", we act like a bunch of radical man-hating feminists people on crack alleging bs like sexism, racism, classism, dogism, and grasshopperism.

If we cannot find "the guy" who organizes our super-secret, female-bashing club, well then, I am just going to pronounce patriarchy dead. He also needs to indicate, in video format, that he organizes our group. YouTube would be nice as we need solid evidence. A confession on Twitter is acceptable if a little brief. Without them, I will argue that differential wages, crime rates, and sexual objectification of girls are merely whimsical, random phenomena. You know, random like how men and women get pooped on by birds and get struck by lightning at vastly different rates. Everyone knows that women are 1/3rd less likely than men to experience bird poopies and lightning strikes. Just like they earn 1/3rd less in terms of wages. Random.

I gotta run, put my hair in braids, and press my Catholic school girl uniform for tomorrow's lecture. It might sound like an odd choice, but as a professor, I really want to be totally desexualized. Every time I wear it with a teeny bit of blue eyeliner (I prefer black), students cannot help but note how sincere and entirely unsexual I come across because this is what Catholicism preaches. No wonder they all come to my lectures and listen so carefully.
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Diane Demorney
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cartman wrote:
I gotta run, put my hair in braids, and press my Catholic school girl uniform for tomorrow's lecture. It might sound like an odd choice, but as a professor, I really want to be totally desexualized. Every time I wear it with a teeny bit of blue eyeliner (I prefer black), students cannot help but note how sincere and entirely unsexual I come across because this is what Catholicism preaches. No wonder they all come to my lectures and listen so carefully.

WOW! Nice rant, Cartman...

btw, now I'm TOTALLY looking forward to breakfast with you on Wednesday... ROTFL
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F.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pssst, Diane: don't order the chilli!
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If we cannot find "the guy" who organizes our super-secret, female-bashing club, well then, I am just going to pronounce patriarchy dead. He also needs to indicate, in video format, that he organizes our group.


Well, if this sarcasm is directed at me(and I can't really see anyone else on this thread who would be the plausible target), I was not arguing that patriarchy is dead because it does not consistently function as a single, uniform unit directed by a small group of people. Tehanu had said that patriarchy promulgates the objectification of young women. Now, if you are going to engage in education or activism on some particular issue in which the patriarchy plays a prominent role, then I do think it is helpful to know which part of the patriarchy is most involved, and how exactly it works its effects in that situation.

Which is why I asked Tehanu for clarifiation, which she provided in her last post. I mostly agree with what she wrote, though I am still a bit doubtful that the fashion industry has an interest in the manufactue of the type of pre-teen clothing that we are discussing here, since, as I said earlier, they could probably make as much money money by producing variations on any style that becomes popular. But of course they could be responding to demands originating from other parts of the patriarchy.
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ronb
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...as for the fashion industry, what ever they can manufacture with the least amount of fabric and assembly is invariably the style they'll be most interested in promoting. Hence the mini-skirt.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...as for the fashion industry, what ever they can manufacture with the least amount of fabric and assembly is invariably the style they'll be most interested in promoting. Hence the mini-skirt.


Well, I hadn't really thought of it as being a straightforward issue of saving money by using less fabric, though I suppose there could be something to that.

But then, if you look at lingerie for example, some of that stuff must cost a bit more to produce than would just regular run of the mill bras and panties.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

voice of the damned wrote:

My comments were in reply specifically to your remark that Catholic Schools would be unable to teach anything against early sexualization, because they are too imbued with the madonna/whore complex. My point was that I don't recall issues on sexuality being framed that way at all when discussed in class, beyond being taught, at least officially, that sex was for marriage.

And, whatever one thinks about that doctrine, is it always synonymous with a madonna/whore worldview?

In a word, yes.
Why is framing and explicit teaching important, rather than the message behind the framing and the extent to which that message is absorbed? My experience was similar to yours in that "sexuality from any viewpoint was never a big topic at church"; for me, it wasn't a big topic at school either. And yet, the Catholic position on homosexuality was quite successfully entrenched in the minds of your classmates:
Quote:
And one of the few times that I recall homosexuality coming up in discussion was when the teacher and I argued vociferously against the bigoted opinions of almost every other student in the class.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who here would quarrel with this statement:
Quote:
. . .there is an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of citizens in a democratic State.

Taken at face value, it sounds pretty good. But the words are at odds with the core message being sold, biological determinism (and yes, I know I'm mixing two different texts of John Paul's along with one of Benedict's, but their conviction about the proper role of women never wavers):
The "New" Feminism?
Quote:
In his apostolic letter, John Paul makes claims about the nature of women that were in fact used in the last century to argue for what most of us would consider to be unjust political, economic, and social subjugation, including denying women the right to vote. While the pope does not endorse such subjugation himself, he also fails to explain why the premises of his argument do not compel him to do so. . . .

The easiest way to see the problem is to compare Mulieris dignitatem with the article “Woman” from the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia (available online at www.newadvent.org). The similarities are striking-and troubling. On the positive side, both documents emphasize the equal dignity of women and men. Both underscore the importance of Christianity in bringing new insight and commitment to the transcendent value of women’s lives. Both present the Virgin Mary as the ideal woman. Both emphasize the importance of maternal virtues for all women, not merely physical mothers. Both strongly defend a divinely ordained difference and complementarity between men and women.

(my bold)
Jesus, Gender, and the New Covenant
Quote:
As usual the message about women is their complimentary ability to serve others through motherhood, teaching, and healing. As usual the justification given for this genius 'for serving others', is the original complementarity between man and woman as described in Genesis. . .

Add in all that goo about "feminine genius" and the "dignity of women"* and you have textbook benevolent sexism:
Quote:
Ambivalent sexism is an ideology composed of both a "hostile" and "benevolent" prejudice toward women. Hostile sexism is an antagonistic attitude toward women, who are often viewed as trying to control men through feminist ideology or sexual seduction. Benevolent sexism is a chivalrous attitude toward women that feels favorable but is actually sexist because it casts women as weak creatures in need of men's protection.

Benevolent Sexism Items:
"Women should be cherished and protected by men."
"Many women have a quality of purity that few men possess."
"A good woman ought to be set on a pedestal by her man." . . .

Hostile sexism and benevolent sexism are mutually supportive ideologies. In a 19-nation study published in the May, 2000, issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, responses from more than 15,000 people who completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory showed that countries high in hostile sexism were invariably high in benevolent sexism. Hostile sexism and benevolent sexism are also significantly correlated at the individual level (meaning that a high score on one scale tends to be associated with a high score on the other), though this correlation is not large. . .

Benevolent sexism may seem harmless, noble, or even "romantic," but its effects can be devastating. Benevolent sexism, like hostile sexism, is an ideology that supports gender inequality, and in some ways benevolent sexism can be even more insidious.

Benevolent justifications for discrimination (e.g., "Women should forego a career because they excel at childcare") are more likely to be accepted than hostile justifications (e.g., "Women should forego a career because they lack ability"). Whereas women are more likely than men to reject hostile sexism, they often endorse benevolent sexism -- especially in countries high in hostile sexism, where male protection is most appealing. Ironically, it may be that high levels of hostile sexism among men lead to high levels of benevolent sexism among women.

*I'm going to pause here for an aside, because wading through this pope stuff made my lip curl whenever I came across the "dignity" of women:
Quote:
Notice the reference to "dignity". . . ? It seems to be a wingnut codeword for women who know their place, or at least that is the way the Pope and the Muslim imams use the term "women's dignity." Women lose their dignity if they act in an uppity manner or if they try to excel in something we all know women can't excel in.

There, I feel better. Resume.
As an indication of how well the underlying message is being absorbed/learned (link):
Quote:
For both men and women (a) level of educational attainment negatively correlated with hostile and benevolent sexist attitudes, and (b) Catholic religiosity uniquely predicted more benevolent, but not more hostile, sexist attitudes. Although correlational, these data are consistent with the notion that active participation in the Catholic Church may reinforce benevolently sexist ideologies that legitimate gender inequality, whereas education may be effective in diminishing sexist beliefs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I agree with Tehanu when she includes in the sexual objectification of women, " the concept that women's primary role is to be homemakers and baby producers." And that's what I was thinking of when I referred to different sides of the same coin. Catholic objections to the sexualization of girls are presented as if they are binary opposites, the "good" girls dressing modestly on one side, the "bad" girls with their slutty outfits on the other. But they're on the same side, engaging in the objectification of women. That's why I don't think Catholic schools have anything to offer in the way of solutions to the problem of early sexualization; they can't see the root of the problem (objectification) as it's the foundation of their own belief structure.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And yet, the Catholic position on homosexuality was quite successfully entrenched in the minds of your classmates:

Quote:
And one of the few times that I recall homosexuality coming up in discussion was when the teacher and I argued vociferously against the bigoted opinions of almost every other student in the class.


Well, I can't speak for all the other students in the class(since we hadn't all attended the same junior high schools), but I'd wager that there is as much a possibility that they acquired their views on homosexuality from the wider society, rather than directly from the Catholic school system. I'm not saying that they DIDN'T get their views directly from the schools, just that, in those days, you could hear anti-homosexual opinions voiced by pretty much anyone you met on the street, Catholic, protestant, or otherwise. My father was probably less anti-homosexual than my mom, but even he told me as a kid that homosexuals were "stupid people you should stay away from." And he was certainly not Catholic(or even very religious), much less a product of a Catholic education.


Quote:
Add in all that goo about "feminine genius" and the "dignity of women"*


Yes, I know exactly what you mean by "benevolent sexism", and that this has, and is, the ideology promoted by the Catholic Church. And I gotta say, I don't even recall issues in high-school religion class being put in THOSE terms. If we were taught, in any way shape or form, that women were instrinsically different from men in regards to how they should behave, it's escaped my memory. And I probably WOULD remember it, since I do have explicit memories of such an ideology being promulgated in a sex-ed book my parents gave me, which had been written by a Lutheran pastor. (Not meaning to slag Lutherans per se, just an example of where I did encounter the ideology.)

Quote:
Catholic objections to the sexualization of girls are presented as if they are binary opposites, the "good" girls dressing modestly on one side, the "bad" girls with their slutty outfits on the other. But they're on the same side, engaging in the objectification of women.


Have you ever seen the film Killing Us Softly? I've seen it about three times, including once in that same religion class(and another time as a live slide-show presentation by the narrator herself). It's basically a straight-ahead feminist critique of sexist advertising. And quite frankly it's difficult to see how someone actively trying to promote "benevolent sexism" would include that in the curriculum, since as that is one of the ideological assumptions that the film criticizes. Now, I'm not saying that the film in any way reflects Catholic teaching on gender theory, just that, within the real-world context of what was going on in an actual Catholic school(though perhaps not all) in 1980s Alberta(as opposed to what the Pope might have wanted to be going on), it was apparently quite possible to show such a film to the students. And yes, we were meant to take the film's point straight-up.

To a large degree, I think the religion programs in the Catholic Schools I attended were functioning basically as slightly spititualized versions of the Career And Life Management Programs they had(have?) in public schools. My Grade 5 religion class consisted mostly of the teacher, a middle-aged guy, relating "life-lesson" stories from his days growing up on the farm. If there was any serious theology being propounded, progressive, reactionary, or otherwise, in these stories it's escaped my memory. (We read the bible and stuff as well, but the farm stories were a big part of the class. Usually a bible lesson would segue into a farm story one way or another).

Quote:
My comments were in reply specifically to your remark that Catholic Schools would be unable to teach anything against early sexualization, because they are too imbued with the madonna/whore complex. My point was that I don't recall issues on sexuality being framed that way at all when discussed in class, beyond being taught, at least officially, that sex was for marriage.

And, whatever one thinks about that doctrine, is it always synonymous with a madonna/whore worldview?


In a word, yes.


So, just to clarify, it's your contention that, if someone believes that sex should only occur within the context of marriage, he or she is subscribing to a Madonna/whore philosophy?
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And just to make it clear one more time, I'm not saying that my high school was like what all Catholic high schools were like, then or now. Many of them, possibly even most, may indeed be incapable of teaching classes such as have been proposed on this thread. I guess I just wouldn't rule out the possibility that SOME of them could, based on my own experience.

Oh, and in case you haven't seen it, here is a link to Killing Us Softly.

(Watching it now, I think it's actually the second sequel to the original film, made some time in the last few years, though the ideas behind it are likely the same as in the other two.)
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Raos
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mostly just reading and following the thread, thought I'd contribute where I actually could.

voice of the damned wrote:
To a large degree, I think the religion programs in the Catholic Schools I attended were functioning basically as slightly spititualized versions of the Career And Life Management Programs they had(have?) in public schools.


They have it in all schools in Alberta, actually. The class is even literally called Career and Life Management (or CALM, more colloquially), and is a required course to graduate from high school in Alberta.
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voice of the damned
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raos wrote:
Mostly just reading and following the thread, thought I'd contribute where I actually could.

voice of the damned wrote:
To a large degree, I think the religion programs in the Catholic Schools I attended were functioning basically as slightly spititualized versions of the Career And Life Management Programs they had(have?) in public schools.


They have it in all schools in Alberta, actually. The class is even literally called Career and Life Management (or CALM, more colloquially), and is a required course to graduate from high school in Alberta.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking of. We never got them at my high school in the 80s. I THINK they might have started a few years after I graduated, but I'm not sure.

I'd be curious to know what sort of things they covered.
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Raos
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a few years since I took it, so my memory might be a bit unreliable and the curriculum may have changed, but I remember it being mostly things like resume writing, interview conduct, budgeting, meal planning, goal setting, self esteem, sex ed. It was really a mishmash of a lot of things, I think I also remember having a speaker come in and talk about gambling addiction. It was really just a 'general life skills' sort of thing.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voice of the damned wrote:

Well, I can't speak for all the other students in the class(since we hadn't all attended the same junior high schools), but I'd wager that there is as much a possibility that they acquired their views on homosexuality from the wider society, rather than directly from the Catholic school system. I'm not saying that they DIDN'T get their views directly from the schools, just that, in those days, you could hear anti-homosexual opinions voiced by pretty much anyone you met on the street, Catholic, protestant, or otherwise.

If Catholicism was an innocent bystander in the development of Western social mores, I'd make that distinction between culture and religion. But they're not, so I won't. That Catholics can now sit back and reap the benefits of having played a part in laying the groundwork for a society steeped in sexism and homophobia in no way diminishes their culpability in my view. So they can now speak generally about chastity and purity and a society that judges women more harshly than men for having unapproved (hetero) sex will do the rest. In other words, I don't feel compelled to trace sexist or homophobic commentary to the lips of a Catholic teacher to establish that "Catholic teaching" is sexist and homophobic.

What I do have to show, and I think I have in the HPV vaccine and benevolent sexism examples, is that Catholic schools are churning out students that are more sexist and homophobic than what would be seen in the general population. I'm not so much concerned with how they're doing it , than that they are doing it. And that is why I asked about the importance of framing and explicit teaching, as a lesson can be taught in much more subtle and indirect ways. However many examples of progressive teaching by Catholics you can come up with, I think the evidence shows it's no match for the dominant and pervasive conservative voice.

My two examples dealt with sexism, so here's something on homophobia:
Quote:
. . . Students from Catholic schools were much more likely than students from non-Catholic schools...

•to feel their school was not supportive of LGBTQ people,

•that teachers were ineffective in addressing homophobic
harassment,

•that they could talk to at least one adult in their school.

I also came across this paper from a lesbian teacher in the Catholic school system, which, among other things, sheds some light on the relationship between teachers and administrators and the influence of church authorities.

To remove any lingering doubt, when I said, "Catholic teaching on female sexuality", I meant Woman: Uterus and Repository for Sexual Responsibility. When Catholic teaching reaches the tipping point of being only as sexist as the rest of society, then I will consider amending my definition.

Quote:
Have you ever seen the film Killing Us Softly? . . . It's basically a straight-ahead feminist critique of sexist advertising. And quite frankly it's difficult to see how someone actively trying to promote "benevolent sexism" would include that in the curriculum, since as that is one of the ideological assumptions that the film criticizes.

Thanks for the link - I had never seen it. I would think that a feature of benevolent sexism would be a lack of insight that one is sexist, that they would genuinely believe they were being respectful to women. For one thing, if they understood their attitudes were sexist and yet continued to believe as they do, I don't think their sexism would be very benevolent. And that was my point. They wouldn't pick up on the parallels between what they think and what's being presented in Killing Us Softly, that they are also engaged in objectifying women, just in a slightly different way.

Quote:
Quote:
And, whatever one thinks about that doctrine, is it always synonymous with a madonna/whore worldview?


In a word, yes.

So, just to clarify, it's your contention that, if someone believes that sex should only occur within the context of marriage, he or she is subscribing to a Madonna/whore philosophy?

I think I might have misunderstood that the first time, and may possibly still be, as I can't figure out how it fits in the context of what we're talking about. But I'll still, tentatively, answer yes. Excluding the ethically inconsistent for whom any combination of beliefs is possible, a person who truly believes that sex should only occur within the context of marriage is a person who would agree to never have sex, just on the pope's say-so. Who would even reject this. And I can't picture a scenario where someone with that level of commitment to papal directives wouldn't subscribe to all the rest of it, and turn out to be a Cafeteria Catholic.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If Catholicism was an innocent bystander in the development of Western social mores, I'd make that distinction between culture and religion. But they're not, so I won't. That Catholics can now sit back and reap the benefits of having played a part in laying the groundwork for a society steeped in sexism and homophobia in no way diminishes their culpability in my view. So they can now speak generally about chastity and purity and a society that judges women more harshly than men for having unapproved (hetero) sex will do the rest. In other words, I don't feel compelled to trace sexist or homophobic commentary to the lips of a Catholic teacher to establish that "Catholic teaching" is sexist and homophobic.


Well yes, but I wasn't saying that Catholicism(or indeed Christianity in general) was not responsible for homophobia in society. My point was that the students in my school were just as likely to have gotten their homophobia(Christian-derived though it may have been) from the wider society, not from the schools directly. Let's allow that the filtered-down teaching of Natural Law theory contained subtle encouragment of heteronormativity. Nevertheless, given that I can, off the top of my head, think of about a dozen examples of homophobia that I encountered watching nightly sitcoms and Royal Canadian Air Farce, whereas I can recall exactly one instance of homosexuality being mentioned in my classes(the debate where the teacher and I argued against the homophobic students), I can't imagine that the education which I received made that much of a difference in promulgating homophobia(and yes, I am talking strictly about about personal experience here).

Quote:
I would think that a feature of benevolent sexism would be a lack of insight that one is sexist, that they would genuinely believe they were being respectful to women. For one thing, if they understood their attitudes were sexist and yet continued to believe as they do, I don't think their sexism would be very benevolent. And that was my point. They wouldn't pick up on the parallels between what they think and what's being presented in Killing Us Softly, that they are also engaged in objectifying women, just in a slightly different way.


Okay. But I read your original commentary as suggesting that something like Killing Us Softly could never be shown in a Catholic school, because the authorities would take one look at it and say "Hey, that's against our teachings". (I don't think this is an unreasonable interpretation of what you wrote). Now, you seem to be saying that they could offer critiques of sexism, without realizing that it contradicts church teaching. I think this is a somewhat more nuanced position that what you were originally enunciating.

And let me ask you this:

Remember the family planning program in Iran that I mentioned earlier? Obviously, that's being conducted under the auspices of a pretty patriarchal regime, with the force of law at its disposal. However, imagine that you are a public-health nurse working at a family planning clinic somewhere in Iran, educating the women on the use of contraception and whatnot. Would you say that it would be impossible for you to do anything whatsoever to help in the education and empowerment of those women, because of the ultimate ideological framework within which you are working? Because I can easily imagine a public-health nurse in Iran doing just that, albeit probably with having to cut a few ideological corners and keep the authorities from paying too close attention to what she was doing.

Quote:
I think I might have misunderstood that the first time, and may possibly still be, as I can't figure out how it fits in the context of what we're talking about.


Oh, I had asked you that because you had said that the Catholic schools promulgate a Madonna/whore view of women, but the only thing that came anywhere remotely close to that in my education was being taught that sex before marriage was wrong. So I wondered if you thought that those two things were synonymous.

And I guess by Madonna/whore, I was implicity including the double-standard, whereas a woman gets condemned for extramarital sex, but a man does not(or even gets lauded as a "stud"). Like I said, as a kid, I thought extramarital sex was just plain wrong, end of story, and it didn't really matter to me whether we were talking about men who do it or women.

And I should clarify that I wasn't simply referring to Catholics when I asked if belief in the wrongness of extramarital sex was synonymous with a Madonna/whore view. Since, as far as I am aware, there are other religions, both Christian and non-Christian, which are opposed to extramarital sex(though admittedly not too many atheists).

One more thing...

Quote:
that Catholic schools are churning out students that are more sexist and homophobic than what would be seen in the general population.


As far as I know, this may very well be true, but do you have any stats on it? Because the ones you porvided in your post don't quite address the issue of student sexism and homophobia...

Quote:
. . Students from Catholic schools were much more likely than students from non-Catholic schools...

•to feel their school was not supportive of LGBTQ people,

•that teachers were ineffective in addressing homophobic
harassment,

•that they could talk to at least one adult in their school.


Here, the students are saying that the schools themselves don't support LGBTQ people, not that they(the students) dislike homosexuals.

The Pew Study in the USA does back you up somewhat, in that it reports 58% of Catholics answer "yes" to the question "Should homosexuality be accepted by society", which puts Catholics near the top for Christian groups(even ahead of "mainline protestants", which is separate from evangelicals), but still quite far behind Jews(79%) and "unaffiliated"(71%). Something to keep in mind when reading these numbers is that, in my experience, Catholics tend to identify as "Catholic" even after they have left the church and stopped following its teachings(I personally do not identify as Catholic).
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pew Study
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, one more thing, Fork. From the paper by the lesbian teacher...

Quote:
Even in the face of powerful opponents like the Catholic Church, “[s]ocial justice can be learned [and] can be taught” (Collins, 1998, p.6). One way to begin social justice education in Catholic schools is by training pre-service teachers about LGBTQ issues so that they may be more open to student queries about sexuality in their own classrooms. Some may say that sexuality is not a topic for the classroom. These people are likely confusing sexuality with sexual activity. Sexuality is present in the classroom in the wedding or commitment rings that teachers or students may wear, in talk about boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, and partners, in discussions of pregnancy and family, in talk of holiday plans and in other tacit ways (Khayatt, 2000). If classroom discussions of sexuality can be inclusive of minority sexualities, it would be an important step towards reducing homophobia and ensuring a safe environment for all students.



If what you have argued about the in-the-field practices of Catholic schools is universally true, what would be the point of implementing this scholar's above recommendation? Since these specifcally trained pre-service teachers would, going by your argument, be incapable of doing anything progressive within the context of a Catholic school.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voice of the damned wrote:
I think this is a somewhat more nuanced position that what you were originally enunciating.

I haven't wavered, but while we're on the subject of interpreting each other's posts, I think you're trying to take me to task for not qualifying "Catholic teaching" with the usual "but not all Catholics are like this" disclaimer. I steadfastly refuse to include teaching that is against Catholic doctrine in my definition of "Catholic teaching" and will not pause to give these "good" Catholics a cookie. If anything, I think they need to acknowledge that their efforts have had no substantive impact (link again, for convenience, to Kaveny's article) and that a consequence, however unintended, of their support is to give legitimacy to extremist anti-woman, anti-gay views: Hey, the Catholic Church isn't so bad because I'm a decent person and I'm Catholic. Look over here at the Catholic doing humanitarian work or over here at the Catholics supporting the ordination of women priests. But not at the excommunication of those helping a nine-year-old impregnated by her step-father procure an abortion. That last one is "Catholic teaching on female sexuality", the second one isn't, and you're going to have to pry that cookie from my cold, dead hands with a crowbar.

Regarding the Pew survey, I think it just strengthens my position that we can link Catholic homophobia largely to Catholic teaching and not society in general. An Australian study reached a similar conclusion about Catholics, but:
Quote:
But perhaps also they recognised the subtlety of answers that can be given to the proposition: “I believe that homosexuality is immoral”.

As I understand the Catholic position from John’s blog, the mere fact of same-sex attraction is not itself immoral under Church teachings. Indeed, if you accept the view that people do not choose to be homosexual, describing it as ‘immoral’ makes no sense. It is acting on homosexual feelings, not having them, that runs into trouble with Catholic doctrine. Perhaps the Baptists, who are most likely to believe that homosexuality is immoral, think that homosexual feelings are chosen (some of the more fundamentalist faiths seem to think that homosexual feelings are within personal control, with their crackpot ‘cures’ ).

If we look at other polling on this subject, this distinction between the feelings and the act seems to be there. For example, in a 2001 Morgan survey 36% of people thought that homosexuality was immoral. But in the 1999-2000 International Social Science Survey 57% thought the sexual relations between adults of the same sex was always or almost always wrong. If the question had been about sexual acts rather than sexual feelings the Catholic response may have been different.

The Pew question is similarly imprecise. A Catholic could think that they are accepting of homosexuality because they love the sinner, hate the sin. But what I take away from that survey is that if people were mostly picking up their homophobia from society, then you wouldn't see Evangelicals at 26% and Catholics at 58% because they are influenced by the same society. The differences point to religious teaching, with each religion teaching its own version of (mostly anti-) homosexuality.
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