Monday, November 3, 2008

News from the Fish Bowl


Even though Snuffles the Dragon and other otaku have been saying for years that there are no corelations between viewing habits and behavior, Lindsey Tanner with the Associated Press writes that a new study led by Anita Chandra has linked explicitly sexual television with higher pregnancy rates among women age 12 to 17.

Pregnancies were twice as common among those who said they watched such shows regularly, compared with teens who said they hardly ever saw them. There were more pregnancies among the oldest teens interviewed, but the rate of pregnancy remained consistent across all age groups among those who watched the racy programs. [more...]

Perhaps the most interesting (or at least irritating) sentence in the article is this one: "Shows that highlight only the positive aspects of sexual behavior without the risks can lead teens to have unprotected sex 'before they're ready to make responsible and informed decisions,' Chandra said." Is it just me, or does the AP get less unbiased every day? Perhaps while we're contemplating this study, we should ask why pregnancy isn't considered a positive aspect of sexual behavior. Perhaps we should also ask why in the world our seventeen-year-olds aren't ready to make responsible and informed decisions.

While we're on this subject, I remember that a few weeks ago, after a few beers, the Deej made a comment that I'm going to paraphrase here, partly because it's relevant, partly because it might be controversial, and partly because I want revenge for a private comment of mine that he posted earlier.

All this fretting over "teen pregnancy" makes us sound like morons. There's nothing in the world more natural and normal than a pregnant teenager, so instead of asking why they're getting pregnant, the answer to which is obvious to anyone with some basic biological knowledge, we should ask why we've made it so damn hard for them to marry, why we stigmatize them when they do marry, and why we expect and allow them to act like irresponsible children until they're in their twenties.

Think about this: The average marrying age in our society is now twenty-five for women and twenty-seven for men. That is about a decade after most people have completed puberty. On top of that, we have on the one hand a culture that worships irresponsible sexual behavior, and on the other hand, a pop Christianity that has thrown out all its real teachings about chastity in favor of "abstinence," a pseudo-doctrine that consists entirely of telling people to keep it in their pants until they're married because some celebrity or other says they should. We have no right to be surprised that young adults are fornicating and conceiving children as a result.

When St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the age at which people should be allowed to marry, he sets it at twelve for women and fourteen for men, and that was Canon Law until 1983 when it was upped to fourteen and sixteen. St. Thomas's reasons are simple: twelve and fourteen are the ages at which women and men are capable of having children of their own, and mentally developed enough to freely consent to marriage. And he's right: though they can be affected by such factors as weight, physical activity, and environmental toxins, the average age of menarche is around twelve and a half, and the average age of spermarche is around fourteen. That means many twelve-year-olds are capable of having children of their own.

Yet for some reason, I keep hearing Christians who think the solution to our broken families and out-of-wedlock conceptions is later marriage, so people can wait until they're "ready." Hogwash. Rather, we should stop treating young adults like children, we should throw out this artificial and ill-conceived concept of "teenager," we should teach a full-orbed concept of chastity, and we should encourage younger marriages. Contraception, divorce, the cultural worship of fornication, and the tendency to later marriage are all part of our society's slow suicide by means of wholesale attack on healthy sexuality. If we're going to combat this, we must combat it on all fronts, and not just one or two. Therefore, we must, among other things, bring our idea of marriagable age into tune with human biology. The Christian culture and the secular culture right now are agreed that sixteen-year-olds shouldn't get married, but remember, the secular culture has no difficulty at all with sixteen-year-olds fornicating, at least as long as they use contraception. If we oppose fornication, but also follow the secular culture in encouraging late marriage, and thereby unrealistically expect everyone to be celibate until almost thirty, our enemies will win this battle by default.

Crud, what have I been talking about? Don't you dare repeat any of that on the Internet.
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