Since the early years of society, virginity has been put on a pedestal. Now, a distorted version of virginity still remains—one in which a woman’s value is equivalent with her sexuality.
In modern culture, women are judged almost exclusively on whether they appear to have had sex or not. This is evident in the multitudes of media that portray women in only two categories: virgin or slut, both with seemingly negative connotations. Often, there is no in-between in the media.
Let’s use the example of Sandra Fluke. Fluke is a contraceptive activist and gave a speech to the Democrats in the house of Representatives in February of this year urging them to support mandated insurance coverage of contraceptives, mainly meaning birth control.
Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh heard about this and called her a “slut” and “prostitute” simply for using birth control and speaking out about it’s importance to the health of women. Fluke is a powerful and educated woman (she is currently attending law school at Georgetown University), and had she not spoken out about something having to do with sex, she would have never been called these horrible names.
And this example doesn’t even come from media portrayals; this is a real-life example. So ladies learn your lesson, if you talk about anything to do with sex or your potential sexual behavior you’re going to be called a slut or possibly even worse names. What does that make us for writing this column?
On the other side, men’s virginity plays a smaller role in the grand scheme of things. While most religious groups cherish both genders’ purity, men’s worth isn’t equated with their sexuality. However, men’s sexuality does seem to impact their popularity.
In the media, men are portrayed as “normal” if they’ve had sex before they’re 20, leading to depictions of young men looking to get laid in high school because they want to be “cool.” Images of male virgins without negative connotations are few and far between. The far more prominent depiction of male virginity is encompassed in a dorky loser á la “40-Year-Old Virgin.” Or for those of you, “One Tree Hill” fans, the character of Chase who was part of the group called Clean Teens in high school, and even once the show skips ahead four years the character is still made fun of for his chastity. What kind of message is this sending to men?
There ae so many stereotypes out there, but this is by far one of the most disturbing. It’s 2012, people! Learn to judge others based on their character. Just because a woman may have had sex a few times doesn’t make her a harlot or a product of the devil. And just because a man might be saving himself doesn’t make him a pansy or any less of a man.