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Double Standards...

We hear a lot about them. We're intimately familiar with them. We know the double standards that men and women are held to. We know the double standards that exist for straight people and for anyone who strays from the sexual 'norm'. Double standards are ever-present and difficult to ignore.

There has been a lot of talk about last week's episode of Glee, and I just want to give my vested two cents on the subject while my mind's in the right space to do so.

I've seen it said in many blog posts and news stories in the past week that 'The First Time' was controversial.

What's so controversial about it?

Let's face it: teens have sex. Not all teens, of course, but many teenagers choose to have sex in high school. This is, by the way, nothing new. My parents have stories from their days in high school, and teenagers then weren't much different from how they are today.

My opinion on the subject is pretty much identical to Burt Hummel's from last season. When sex is used as a way to connect with someone; when trust and honesty are present between a couple, I see nothing controversial in having sex. I think this idea needs to be promoted extensively with teenagers. Yes, teenagers should absolutely be informed on matters of safety, but just as importantly they should be prepared for the emotional aspects of sex as well, and I believe Glee is doing its part to promote that. Last week two of the leading couples on the show decided, through open communication and an established system of trust, to take their relationship to the next level. I genuinely don't see anything wrong with that.

But I've noticed that many media outlets have called the episode and the events within it extremely controversial, and I just don't understand how people can be so blind to reality, and to the double standards they're promoting here. It doesn't look good on them at all, since this just so happens to be the episode with the gay couple losing their virginity to each other.

And since I'm certain someone will say that it's the teen sex issue, and not the gay issue, let me just take a moment to smash that fallacy.

In the last two seasons of Glee, we have seen many examples of teen sex. In season one Quinn and Finn were close to having sex in the infamous hot tub. Quinn and Puck had sex which resulted in pregnancy. Brittany and Santana talked regularly of sleeping with many guys in the school, and Brittany suggested they'd had sex with each other. It was heavily implied that April Rhodes had slept with Puck and several other guys on the football team. Puck has sex with, like, all of the married women in Lima, apparently. Santana and Finn had sex, and Rachel and Jesse came pretty close to it. In season two Santana and Brittany confirmed for the audience that they had indeed had sex. Artie and Brittany had sex.

That's a lot of teen sex!

And look, I get that Glee all on its own is called subversive and controversial for its portrayal of many subjects. This show tries to portray these issues in ways that are realistic and honest.

So I find it highly ironic that with the sudden inclusion of the show's gay couple, that's when people start to question if the show is too controversial, even heralding 'The First Time' as the most controversial episode.

But what about the episode where they implied that adults were having sex with underage teens? Or what about the episode where teens had unprotected sex that resulted in a teen pregnancy seasonal arc? Oh, but you have two committed, loving, open couples deciding to further their relationships and explore the intimacy of sex (and one of those couples is composed of two boys), and that's the most controversial thing this show's done?

Well, I call double standard. I'm also questioning their sanity, because, frankly, what's the right age and time to have sex? Should these couples have waited until they were legal adults in college to have sex? With people they weren't in love with? Should they have waited until that magical age which suddenly makes you responsible enough to handle everything that sex entails? Oh, right, there is no magical age. Sex is deeply personal and subjective and does not fall into a category of right or wrong, or perfectly-timed or ill-timed. Like most experiences, sex is something people explore and discover through a series of fumbling experiments and wonderful, awesome, weird, awkward, funny, beautiful, overwhelming discoveries and surprises.

Sex is a mystery.

So here's my question: Why is sex so controversial? Is it perhaps because sex is so mysterious that we can't define it or dumb it down or hide it away or easily explain it, and that scares us? After all, how do we talk to teenagers about sex if it's a complete mystery to us? He do we define and explain to them something which can't be defined or explained?

And maybe it is controversial, so then... maybe we need to talk about it? At length? Maybe we need to relax the entire taboo surrounding the subject of sex so that we can be open and honest about it and share our experiences, the good and the bad, so that teens can be well-informed before they start having sex?

Just a thought.


Nov. 23rd, 2011 09:40 am (UTC)
Yes. This.

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