When I was 11, I came home after hanging out in the neighborhood to ask my mother an important question. I had overheard some slightly older girls whispering about French kissing. I was naturally very curious about it, and couldn’t wait to verify the definition with my mother. I was almost sure it must be what you always saw Pepe Le Pew doing to Penelope, the poor, striped cat he was forever chasing around and mistaking for a female skunk. Remember how he would mutter “Oh Cherie,” as he rapidly kissed his way from her terrified had to her trembling shoulder? That must be what French kissing was; I just needed to verify it with my mother before showing off my knowledge.
“Mom,” I asked as she stood at the kitchen sink prepping dinner, “What’s French kissing?” She turned to look at me with the most shocked and horrified expression, and then shrieked, “IT IS UPPER PERSUASION FOR A LOWER INVASION, AND THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW!”
I ran to my room feeling more confused than ever. “What is persuasion? What is a lower invasion?” I wondered. Whatever they are, they must be very wrong and awful. There were a few things I knew for sure, though. I wouldn’t ask my mother anything about kissing EVER again, and Pepe Le Pew was a really bad skunk. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew what he was doing to Penelope was wrong. (I guess today it would be called sexual harassment, but that’s another post.) That incident was pretty much the extent of my sex education for a loooong time. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same for many of today’s girls.
On The View Friday, the co-hosts interviewed Sharlene Azam, author of the new book, Oral Sex Is The New Goodnight Kiss. During the interview, Azam discussed the many interviews she’s conducted with Canadian teens and their parents which revealed many young girls are not only having oral sex with multiple partners in a single night, but they are casually selling sexual favors in exchange for homework, cash and designer duds. According to Azam, girls will wear specific lipstick shades to identify “how talented” they are when it comes to “job” performance. Azam reports that more and more girls from what we would consider to be “good” homes are being recruited into prostitution rings. (She reports learning one 11-year-old girl sold her virginity to a 40-year-old man for $1,000.) She says many more girls they we would ever suspect – in our own neighborhoods - are involved. The girls seem to think $20 for 5 minutes work is great pay. She notes that seeing girls suddenly showing up with lots of new clothes and handbags is often a tip-off that they’re engaged in such behavior. She discusses all this in further detail in her new book (which comes with a DVD of Azam's documentary, see the link below) which you can get a peek at on her website.
I know I hear these types of stories far too often lately. I think we have to ask ourselves some important questions. Why are girls (and boys! Let’s not forget they’re participating!) engaging in this behavior at younger and younger ages? With such frequency and with so many different people? How are girls getting the message that they’re second class citizens, who should service males to in an effort to gain male attention or monetary compensation? That being a sex object defines their worth? When and how did boys get the message that this is what girls do and it’s OK? When did having a committed, meaningful, mature (ADULT) relationship get detached from sex? It’s beyond time we ask these questions and let our young girls and boys know that they are worthy of better. Can’t we reach a happy medium between “IT’S UPPER PERSUASION FOR A LOWER INVASION AND THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW,” and Oral Sex Is The New Goodnight Kiss?
(This post serves as Monday's Memorial Day post, since it's a holiday weekend. New post scheduled for Tuesday.)