Monthly Archives: November 2009

Read the Experts feature

We’ve created a new feature on our blog – the “Read the Experts” section (see above). If you would like to read more about a specific topic, we’d be happy to post relevant studies and articles that are particularly edifying. Email us at trueloverevolution@gmail.com and we’ll post what you want! We want this to be useful for you!

Also, if you have a great article or info that TLR would be interested in knowing about and would like to see it featured on our blog, let us know!

Want to join the movement?

To sum up the last couple of months:

“The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.” – G.K. Chesterton in A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901

Want to join the movement? We dare you to take a stand.

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A crippled eros that can no longer take wing

The philosopher Allan Bloom, a long-time college teacher, attributed the “flat-souled” quality he noticed in his students, in part, to the maelstrom of cranked-up sexuality that surrounds them from childhood. He believed it coarsened them — affecting their intellectual ambitions and depriving them of ideals. “Our young people,” he wrote, “have a crippled eros that can no longer take wing. … Their defective eros cannot provide their souls with images of beauty.”

The following article is beautiful – there is much more to passion than insecurity, anxiety, and objectification… Our generation has lost the ability to recognize love in our haste to achieve gratification. An obsessive barrage of sex as a mechanical function effaces the glamor of life.

Revive the natural magic in this generation of the unnaturally disillusioned; this deserves a read:

Sexual Ballet Has Become A Slamdance
Star Tribune,
September 25, 1996
By Katherine Kersten

Most of us know the feeling. You’re in line at the supermarket with a towering cart of groceries, and your 10 and 12-year-old children. Though you try to distract them, their eyes inevitably stray to the rack by the cash register. There it is — the magazine gauntlet. There’s “Redbook” — “Sex Tips for Tonight: 23 Ways to Make Him Want You Bad in Bed” — and the smirking “Cosmo Girl,” one breast almost entirely exposed. What do you say to your children as, puzzled but intrigued, they stare wide-eyed at this display?

“Women’s” magazines have changed since the days when my mother used to arrange them carefully on her coffee table. The in-your-face sexuality they purvey makes many parents squirm. But could it be that their frank portrayal of “the facts of life” is somehow healthier — more natural — than the furtive, “back-of-the-schoolbus” whispers of our own childhood?

The sexual revolution that transformed women’s magazines promised that acting on our sexual impulses would bring an easy and comfortable enjoyment of our bodies, and a liberating release of energies long repressed. But the faces of the women who adorn these magazines tell a different story. Far from pleasure-filled, they are vacant (even bored), self-absorbed, and stamped with the emptiness of the proverbial “morning after.”

The truth is, this stuff isn’t erotic. It’s strained, joyless, passionless, and finally, numbing. Like the faces, the articles speak of disillusionment — a waning hope that “the perfect night” is just around the corner, that somehow, the electric thrill so often promised will be achieved at last. Rather than a healthy comfort with the body, they betray insecurity — “Sex: How Men Rate Your Appeal” — and anxiety — “How to Tell When He’s Cheating!” Because they view emptiness as merely a problem of technique, their hallmark is an obsessive preoccupation with sex at its most mechanical.

Why this fizzle in the promise of the sexual revolution? The “older generation” may have pushed a hypocritical double standard, but they were right about one thing. Sex is — and will always remain — one of life’s great mysteries, impossible to fully dissect, or to “misuse” without getting burned. Its complexity springs from the paradoxical fact that it links both what is highest and what is lowest in our nature.

Informed by love, sex can be sublime. As the subtle and beautiful dance of connection between men and women, it is the source and center of life. Poets have rhapsodized about the wonder at “the Other” that inspires it, and about its role in the human quest to transcend incompleteness, and grasp momentarily at eternity. As an act inspired by devotion, the fleshly union points beyond itself to a merging of souls — “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

But in the absence of love, the sexual urge is often little more than an itch we seek compulsively to scratch. Too easily, it can become an instrument for using others for our own selfish ends — cruel, degraded, even violent. As the women in the Japanese “pleasure” camps of World War II knew, far from pointing to the sacred, it can epitomize the profane.

As parents, we are responsible for guiding our children as they awaken to their powerful, emerging sexual sensibilities. Our job is to help them understand the role these yearnings play in their larger nature, and to reveal their potential to serve what is good and beautiful. But parents who try to do this today encounter obstacles at every turn. For from the moment our children can read or switch on the TV, they are surrounded by images of sex as recreation — the thrill-seeking pursuit of bodily pleasure for its own sake. Under siege by constant low-level titillation, they are encouraged to gawk, snicker and leer at members of the opposite sex.

Concern about this assault is, in part, behind some parents’ eager interest in bringing sex education into the classroom at an ever earlier age. They favor feverish preemptive strikes — we’ve got to get to kids with “the facts” before Calvin Klein does. But grasping at this easy antidote, they rarely question its fundamental assumption — that a barrage of clinical information is the best antidote to the surfeit of stimulation in which our children are drowning.

Like the magazines — though in a very different way — sex ed programs are often curiously flat, and obsessively preoccupied with the mechanical aspects of sex. In many cases, they derail the last vestige of children’s natural modesty, and their sense of wonder at the mysteries the opposite sex represents. Graduates of such programs can be forgiven if they lack any hint of the sublime possibilities of a loving union. The “divine” passion of the great lovers — Dante and Beatrice, Abelard and Heloise, Romeo and Juliet — must seem bewildering to them.

Indeed, it is precisely the passionless of our young people that has excited comment in recent years. The philosopher Allan Bloom, a long-time college teacher, attributed the “flat-souled” quality he noticed in his students, in part, to the maelstrom of cranked-up sexuality that surrounds them from childhood. He believed it coarsened them — affecting their intellectual ambitions and depriving them of ideals. “Our young people,” he wrote, “have a crippled eros that can no longer take wing. … Their defective eros cannot provide their souls with images of beauty.”

A new book — “Generation X Goes to College” — echoes Bloom’s critique. Author Peter Sacks, a journalist-turned-professor, notes that many of his students seem devoid of passion in any aspect of their lives. They are “jaded, unachieving, highly demanding yet lacking any respect for standards or intelligence.” At 18, they have “been there, done that.”

For many of our children, the sexual ballet has become a slamdance. As they age, the passage to a mature grasp of the profound mysteries of sex is increasingly difficult to make. A child who has spent his formative years plugged into high-volume, heavy-metal rock is unlikely ever to thrill to the nuances of a Mozart symphony. Sexual understanding is similar. If it is to grow, there must be room in a young person’s soul for a crescendo. For many of our children — deafened by the din of pervasive sensuality — the real thrill may be gone, before it has even had a chance to arrive.

— Katherine Kersten is chairman of Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis and a commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

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Failures of Radical Feminism Event

True Love Revolution hosted Christina Hoff Sommers last night. Check out the Crimson’s take:

Christina Hoff Sommers, an American author known for her controversial writings on feminism in modern culture, called for a “new version of feminism” last night, igniting a vocal debate among audience members.

The former Clark University philosophy professor argued that the modern feminist theory—espoused by many liberal college campuses—fails to acknowledge innate behavior differences in men and women during the discussion hosted by True Love Revolution, the student advocacy group for premarital abstinence.

Today’s feminist movement, Sommers said, is dominated by a “hardcore wing of egalitarian tradition” that overemphasizes statistical equality and ignores a positive image of women as nurturing caretakers and mothers.

“Women want their rights, but they don’t want to be exactly like men,” Sommers said, adding that their brains are not “interchangeable” and that men and women have different preferences and propensities.

For example, Sommers observed that working women, even when presented with other options, still tend towards “caring professions,” such as nursing.

And Sommers argues that such femininity should be presented in a more positive light.

Sommers said that feminist thought, especially at many universities, focuses too heavily on bashing males and victimizing women, triggering a backlash among students.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Lauren D. Fortner, a Romance Languages and Literatures graduate student. “It’s not what’s going on—there are plenty of classes that talk about motherhood in a very interesting and laudatory way.”

Campus sex blogger Lena Chen ’09-’10 voiced similar objections, saying that Sommers had oversimplified current feminist theory. True Love Revolution co-president Rachel L. Wagley ’10 said she was not surprised Sommers’ speech sparked this debate.

“Tonight’s talk stressed the idea that both sides have to be represented,” Wagley said.

 

 

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Healthcare Bill Pushes Abstinence Education

For those following the abstinence education saga, the Senate Health Care Bill contains Abstinence Education Reauthorization.

Washington, DC (November 18, 2009)-  Abstinence education funding is partially restored within the Senate Health Care Bill, a result of the Reid reconciliation of versions offered by the Senate HELP and Finance committees. The Reid bill also includes state block grant funding for so-called “comprehensive” sex education, which primarily focuses on risk reduction, while abstinence education focuses on risk avoidance. Earlier this fall, an abstinence amendment passed with bipartisan support in the Finance committee. Offered by Sen. Hatch (R-UT), the amendment would continue the Title V state funding for abstinence education through 2014. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)  added the provision on page 618 of the 2,074 page health care proposal.  “Inserting language to restore funding for abstinence education could not have come at a more critical time. The recent CDC statistics detailing epidemic levels of STDs calls for a strong primary prevention message – a strategy only found within abstinence education” noted Valerie Huber, Executive Director of NAEA. “We are pleased that Senator Reid inserted this provision within his health care bill because the sexual health of America’s teens depend upon the kinds of skills that are a part of a typical abstinence education program.” Huber said,

“It is encouraging to know that the program originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton is back on track for continued funding. However, while we applaud Senator Reid’s support for  abstinence education within his proposal, we acknowledge that this is only an intermediate victory. Much work remains before Congress finishes its work on health care. Today’s news is a welcome sign at this critical stage, but we will continue our efforts until youth are again assured continued abstinence education in their schools.”

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True Love Convenes at Princeton

TLR spent the weekend at Princeton University at the Sexuality, Integrity, and the University conference sponsored by the Love and Fidelity Network and Princeton’s Anscombe Society. About 200 college students came from around the nation to hear great scholars like Leon & Amy Kass, Robert P. George (a great defender of traditional marriage), Mark Regnerus, Pamela Paul (author of “Pornified“), and many others talk about everything from traditional marriage to families to the problems of porn in our culture, to even courtship (who knows – maybe that’s a taboo word now, but shout out to the Kass’ book Wing to Wing and Oar to Oar). The videos of their brilliant presentations will soon be online.

At the Saturday night banquet:

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TLR Hosts Failures of Modern Feminism Event

COME TO TRUE LOVE REVOLUTION’S EVENT THIS WEEK!

Feminism = epic fail?

Has radical feminism failed women? Is traditional feminism extinct?

Do women have to be Carrie Bradshaws to be empowered and 1950’s housewives to be conservative?

Ever wonder about the lost history of true feminism?

Come discuss the Failures of Modern Feminism with Christina Hoff Sommers and the True Love Revolution
with special sponsorship from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute
on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19 from 8-9 PM
in EMERSON 101

***Sommers is a proponent of traditional, conservative feminism. Before joining the American Enterprise Institute, she was a professor of moral philosophy at Clark University. She has written for various American news publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New England Journal of Medicine. She is also the author of Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys.***

“Classical, not radical, feminism offers a tried-and-true roadmap to equality and freedom. It is time to reclaim true feminism, restore its lost history, and make the movement attractive again for American women and for women everywhere who have yet to taste the liberty Western women have won.” – Sommers

For more information on Christina Hoff Sommers visit: http://www.cblpi.org/programs/bio.cfm?ID=14&Type=Speaker

Check out TLR’s blog: http://trueloverevolution.wordpress.com/

Questions? Email trueloverevolution@gmail.com.

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ABC Covers Harvard’s Hookup Debate

ABC News covered Harvard’s Hook-up Debate today. Check it out.

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Newsweek promotes TLR

Newsweek publishes an article about TLR this week. Check it out.

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NYT Praises Fatherhood

Families are increasingly mother-driven, and dads take the backseat,. The NYT (Nov. 3) compiles a series of studies stressing the need for father involvement in the lives of children – and denouncing the lack of social affirmation of fatherhood. Experts also find that marital happiness benefits kids’ lives.

Fathers Gain Respect From Experts (and Mothers)

November 3, 2009
By LAURIE TARKAN

It used to irk Melissa Calapini when her 3-year-old daughter, Haley, hung around her father while he fixed his cars. Ms. Calapini thought there were more enriching things the little girl could be doing with her time.

But since the couple attended a parenting course — to save their relationship, which had become overwhelmed by arguments about rearing their children — Ms. Calapini has had a change of heart. Now she encourages the father-daughter car talk.

“Daddy’s bonding time with his girls is working on cars,” said Ms. Calapini, of Olivehurst, Calif. “He has his own way of communicating with them, and that’s O.K.”

As much as mothers want their partners to be involved with their children, experts say they often unintentionally discourage men from doing so. Because mothering is their realm, some women micromanage fathers and expect them to do things their way, said Marsha Kline Pruett, a professor at the Smith College School for Social Work at Smith College and a co-author of the new book “Partnership Parenting,” with her husband, the child psychiatrist Dr. Kyle Pruett (Da Capo Press).

Yet a mother’s support of the father turns out to be a critical factor in his involvement with their children, experts say — even when a couple is divorced.

“In the last 20 years, everyone’s been talking about how important it is for fathers to be involved,” said Sara S. McLanahan, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton. “But now the idea is that the better the couple gets along, the better it is for the child.”

Her research, part of a project based at Princeton and called the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, found that when couples scored high on positive relationship traits like willingness to compromise, expressing affection or love for their partner, encouraging or helping partners to do things that were important to them, and having an absence of insults and criticism, the father was significantly more likely to be engaged with his children.

Uninvolved fathers have long been accused of lacking motivation. But research shows that many societal obstacles conspire against them. Even as more fathers are changing diapers, dropping the children off at school and coaching soccer, they are often pushed aside in ways large and small.

“The walls in family resource centers are pink, there are women’s magazines in the waiting room, the mother’s name is on the files, and the home visitor asks for the mother if the father answers the door,” said Philip A. Cowan, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who along with his wife, Carolyn Pape Cowan, has conducted decades of research on families. “It’s like fathers are not there.”

In recent years, several fathers’ rights organizations have offered father-only parenting programs and groups, and studies have shown that these help men become more responsive and engaged with their children.

But a new randomized, controlled study conducted by the Pruetts and the Cowans found that the families did even better if mothers were brought into the picture.

In the study, low-income couples were randomly placed into a father-mother group, a father-only group and a control group of couples. The controls were given one information session; the other two groups met for 16 weeks at family resource centers in California, discussing various parental issues.

In both of those groups, the researchers found, the fathers not only spent more time with their children than the controls did but were also more active in the daily tasks of child-rearing. They became more emotionally involved with their children, and the children were much less aggressive, hyperactive, depressed or socially withdrawn than children of fathers in the control group.

But notably, the families in the couples group did best. They had less parental stress and more marital happiness than the other parents studied, suggesting that the critical difference was not greater involvement by the fathers in child-rearing but greater emotional support between couples.

“The study emphasizes the importance of couples’ figuring parenting out together and accepting the different ways of parenting,” Dr. Kline Pruett said.

Fathers tend to do things differently, Dr. Kyle Pruett said, but not in ways that are worse for the children. Fathers do not mother, they father.

Dr. Kyle Pruett added: “Dads tend to discipline differently, use humor more and use play differently. Fathers want to show kids what’s going on outside their mother’s arms, to get their kids ready for the outside world.” To that end, he said, they tend to encourage risk-taking and problem-solving.

The study was financed by the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention, which is looking for ways to involve fathers more at the state’s many family resource centers. Experts say improving the way fathers are treated in many settings, public and private, is an important public health goal.

For example, they say, pictures of families on the walls of clinics and public agencies should have fathers in them. All correspondence should be addressed to both mother and father. Staff members should be welcoming to men. Steps like these promote early and lasting involvement by fathers.

“We want people to think about how positive father engagement in this co-parenting model would work in their foster care agency, local health clinic, pediatric office, adoption agency or school,” Dr. Kyle Pruett said. “That’s where an awful lot of the barriers are.”

At home, the experts recommend that couples keep talking about parenting issues and do their best to appreciate each other’s strengths. A recurring argument among couples is that each partner thinks he or she knows what is right; a mother may accuse the father of allowing too much television, while a father may tell a mother she isn’t strict enough with discipline.

“Instead, they should be saying, ‘How can each of us be the kind of parent that we are?’ ” Dr. Philip Cowan said. “I don’t think it’s abuse for a dad to sit with that little kid watching TV.”

These experts agree that parents should not focus solely on the children.

“Parents work all day, and feel as if they need to give every other minute to the kids,” Dr. Cowan said, “but if they don’t take care of the relationship between them, they’re not taking care of the whole story.”

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