Category Archives: love

True Love Revolution officially renamed The Harvard College Anscombe Society

True Love Revolution is officially renamed The Harvard College Anscombe Society. We have renamed ourselves after Elizabeth Anscombe, a Cambridge professor and celebrated British philosopher of the 20th century. In her work, Anscombe defended many principles shared by our organization, including chastity and the importance of marriage and the family. Inspired by her intellectually rigorous support for our group’s beliefs and by her witness to those values as a wife and mother, we have renamed our organization in her honor. Our mission remains unchanged, but we think that this new name will be very important in continuing to build our club and further its mission on campus.

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“Then there is the True Love Revolution, a Harvard group formed in 2006 ‘to give students a moral and political option in issues relating to sex and marriage.’ Its members believe that liberationist attitudes toward sex, sexuality, and relationships damage students’ health and well-being.'”  -Professor Ruth Wisse

In “Welcome To Freshman Disorientation,” published in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse, discusses how “student opinion at elite schools has lately been growing more varied.” She presents the mission of  True Love Revolution and mentions groups at Harvard like Harvard Right to Life and the Harvard Republican Club, suggesting that “conservatives in particular have become more outspoken.”  To read the complete article, click here. 

True Love Revolution Recognized in Wall Street Journal

Harvard Marriages – Finding Love & Commitment Early

Jane Seo of The Harvard Crimson published a beautiful piece this week on the marriages of three undergraduates.

All three couples are religious (Jewish, Mormon, Protestant) and their profiles shed light on a life few fellow undergrads can imagine. In fact, according to the 2004 census, only  7 percent of American college students are married. At Harvard, only 27 undergrads are married, as the Registrar reports to Seo. Despite their decision to opt-out of the main stream, the students all have very beautiful things to say about their decision to marry young. Loren McGinnis ’11, one of the featured students, says that he and his wife “believe that…marriage is an eternal commitment.”

McGinnis also goes on to contextualize his marriage, adding that Mormons are more likely to marry young, hypothesizing that the “early marriage age could be attributed to the high value that Mormons place on family and marriage.” The article goes on to say,

“I can go to Harvard and get as many prefixes as I want,” McGinnis says, “but the most important title I’d have in my life is fatherhood.”

McGinnis also says that marriage is a practical response to Mormonism’s rules against premarital sex—the result is that Mormons tend to have a shorter “courtship process,” he says.

Nadler, an Orthodox Jew, says that some who share his religious beliefs also tend to marry young. According to the US Census Bureau, the median age of a first marriage in the United States was 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women in 2010. Nadler says that based on his experience, he thinks many Orthodox Jews marry earlier in their 20s.

Many of Nadler’s friends were already married when he married, Nadler says. As a result, Nadler, who hopes to attend law school or graduate school in philosophy, says he was “very familiar and comfortable with having this traditional responsibility.”

While all three have learned how to navigate married undergraduate life, Harvard certainly doesn’t make things easy, as Harvard’s housing policy forces married students to live off-campus. The university does not offer married student housing, unlike many other schools.

Seo concludes her well-written piece with asking the students about the social challenges of marriage in college:

They also says people at Harvard have welcomed their decision to marry young. Although some people were surprised, Nadler says, “most of our friends were accepting and excited for us.”

“At Harvard, people find it cool that I’m married,” Westphal says. “But in high school some people were judgmental.” But he would respond, “It’s my life, it’s none of your business.”

The primary challenge McGinnis says he has faced while married has been the stress associated with raising a child. This month, McGinnis’ daughter will turn 2. In raising her, McGinnis says he and his wife sacrificed friendships and countless nights of sleep.

But both parents agreed that having a daughter changed their lives for the better.

“Just watching her run around brings joy to my heart,” McGinnis says.

Associate Prof Mark Regnerus at University of Texas-Austin would commend the three undergrads for figuring out young marriage. In his widely read 2009 article in the Washington Post, “Say Yes. What Are You Waiting For?”, Regnerus speaks to many of the themes that define the Harvard dating scene,

In my research on young adults’ romantic relationships, many women report feeling peer pressure to avoid giving serious thought to marriage until they’re at least in their late 20s. If you’re seeking a mate in college, you’re considered a pariah, someone after her “MRS degree.” Actively considering marriage when you’re 20 or 21 seems so sappy, so unsexy, so anachronistic. Those who do fear to admit it — it’s that scandalous.

How did we get here? The fault lies less with indecisive young people than it does with us, their parents. Our own ideas about marriage changed as we climbed toward career success. Many of us got our MBAs, JDs, MDs and PhDs. Now we advise our children to complete their education before even contemplating marriage, to launch their careers and become financially independent. We caution that depending on another person is weak and fragile. We don’t want them to rush into a relationship. We won’t help you with college tuition anymore, we threaten. Don’t repeat our mistakes, we warn.

Sara, a 19-year-old college student from Dallas, equated thinking about marrying her boyfriend with staging a rebellion. Her parents “want my full attention on grades and school because they want me to get a good job,” she told me. Understandable. But our children now sense that marrying young may be not simply foolish but also wrong and socially harmful. And yet today, as ever, marriage wisely entered into remains good for the economy and the community, good for one’s personal well-being, good for wealth creation and, yes, good for the environment, too. We are sending mixed messages.

This is not just an economic problem. It’s also a biological and emotional one. I realize that it’s not cool to say that, but my job is to map trends, not to affirm them. Marriage will be there for men when they’re ready. And most do get there. Eventually. But according to social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs, women’s “market value” declines steadily as they age, while men’s tends to rise in step with their growing resources (that is, money and maturation). Countless studies — and endless anecdotes — reinforce their conclusion. Meanwhile, women’s fertility is more or less fixed, yet they largely suppress it during their 20s — their most fertile years — only to have to beg, pray, borrow and pay to reclaim it in their 30s and 40s. Although male fertility lives on, it doesn’t hold out forever, either: Studies emerging from Europe and Australia note that a couple’s chances of conceiving fall off notably when men pass the age of 40, and that several developmental disorders are slightly more common in children of older fathers.

We can’t continue to view marriage as a transition of loss. While an undergraduate marriage isn’t for everyone, these three students illustrate that marriage, in the long run, is a transition of gain. Ultimately, there will never be a moment in our lives when marriage fits perfectly; marriage can’t fit to us, we must fit to marriage.

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Chivalry and Dependency in Twilight

The media debate on Twilight rages on – does it promote abstinence? Is it a positive or negative depiction of relationships?

This video features Jason Evert speaking on why Twilight is so popular with girls. He argues that Twilight’s main character Edward Cullen is attractive to girls who yearn to be protected and to meet a man who “yearns for the good of his beloved”. Cullen takes leadership and initiative in the relationship, creating a fan base of girls who cannot find examples of strong “manly” leadership in modern culture.

The problem lies in the obsession that ensues and in heroine Bella Swan’s loss of her identity in her attraction to Cullen (…and the issue that Cullen is a monster). Watch Evert talk about Twilight’s redeeming qualities of chivalry and strength and leadership and deeper problems of emotional dependency.

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Why New Moon is good (or at least not terrible) for girls – and boys

Q: Why did the Twilight series second movie “New Moon” gross $140.7 million over its opening weekend, more than any other movie with a fall release date in history?

A: Abstinence, and its concentration on “matters of the heart and spirit,” says the director, before adding, “and I think that’s lovely.”

Teenagers are jaded by the flesh-filled movies, shows, and magazines marketed to their generation, and New Moon’s riotous success indicates that teenage girls want something more.

Sure, Werewolf character Jacob rips off his shirt in an especially lauded scene, revealing his ripped bod. But I think  girls in the audience swoon not only out of deep infatuation for his abs but for his chivalry – he takes off his shirt to blot away the dripping blood from main character Bella’s injured head. Pre-teen romance-seekers can only fantasize about their male peers jumping to their aid and displaying deep, romantic concern for their lives.

While fan site chat rooms host girls who wish they could have a blood-sucking vampire or werewolf of their own, their underlying reasons are stellar. They wanted to be loved, they wanted to be treated right, they want boys who are brave, and they don’t want to be reduced to their bodies. I think ultimately the Twilight series is good for girls. And for boys.

Girls will place a greater value on the heart, chivalry, and meaningful love, and hopefully, they will hold themselves to higher standards.

Boys are going to have to up their game to get a twilight fan. Sexual gratification and a ride to school ain’t going to do the relationship trick anymore. In a funny twist (after all, the Twilight heroes are monsters), perhaps the Twilight series will force lusty boys to be  courageous, respectful, and noble men.

As Elizabeth Morowitz, Communications Professor at the University of Missouri and author of “Bitten By Twilight,” puts it:

“A lot of people ask ‘what’s so appealing about the Twilight and why is it popular now?’ and we think it’s because of the relationships and the messages about love in Twilight. In a more conservative environment we’ve had this push for abstinence education, so we now have a media message that’s more congruent with that. So perhaps some teens relate to it in that way,” Morowitz told CNN’s Katie Walmsley.

“New Moon” Director Chris Weitz says that sexual abstinence is central to the film’s appeal.

“It’s not that they can’t have sex, they choose not to and I think there’s so much popular culture that’s saying to young people: ‘you’ll be cool if you have sex’ or ‘it’s important to be sexy’ whereas this series really concentrates on matters of the heart and spirit and I think that’s lovely,” Weitz told CNN.

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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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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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Something More

Rachel Wagley in the Harvard Crimson discussing the sexualization of the college student, lack of commitment, and abstinence.

Something More

Published On Monday, November 02, 2009  10:18 PM
By RACHEL L. WAGLEY

Our school plays porn to students. To my knowledge, it’s pseudo-porn and only in “English 154: Literature and Sexuality” during shopping period, but it’s alluring enough to induce 481 Harvard undergraduates into enrolling in the class, despite liberals, conservatives, and faculty alike decrying sexual objectification. Our school delights in humanism—reason! Intellect! Achievement! But when it comes to sex, the pursuit of physical pleasure—as long as you’ve got a condom—transcends reason. Self-control is prudish, unenlightened restraint—down with the patriarchy! Away with gender roles! My body is my play toy.

We have descended into a paradox. Sex gives us meaning—but is a meaningless end in itself. Our very identities are sexualized. As illustrated by “Harvard FML,” our newest and most embarrassing confessional outlet, hookups are messy, and college romance is messier. One cyber-girl moans, “All the guys I like always stop talking to me after we hook up. I feel like a classic ‘wham bam, thank you ma’am.’” If we are perplexed with organic chemistry and philosophy, then we are bewildered by sex, lust, love, and the specter of marriage.

We wildly seek answers. By trial, by error, by reading, by debating, by daydreaming, by flirting, by midnight talks lounging on roommate’s beds, by dining -hall conversations leaving us wondering where all the good men or women have gone: Is there truth? Will it set us free?

It is in this whirlwind that True Love Revolution connects the fragments of our culture. The nature of the 21st-century academic relegates us to later marriages. We are destined to fall in and out of love—or something—again and again before we seal the deal. This open time window encourages sexual activity—with or without commitment. “Gossip Girl” features high-school students losing both their virginity and dignity, Cosmopolitan flouts sex tips, movies mock men who wait for marriage, and intellectuals call casual sex empowering. It’s difficult to describe the plot of a contemporary TV show without relating who slept with whom. If cultures speak, then our culture screams: “It’s normal, OK?”

But if casual sex is normal, why do culture and academia need to remind us? Better yet, why do some radical feminists save their virginity? Why do at least 42 percent of Harvard students not have sex? Some declare that we just can’t get any sex, but if a larger percentage of the student body wanted the hookup culture, odds would be pretty good that more students could find it.

Without declaring war, True Love Revolution draws a conclusion. Culture reduces us to the sexual, but being human promises so much more. The sexualization of people and relationships hinders our development as human beings. When we embrace the sexual culture that stretches its logic to render us servile, we find ourselves unfulfilled. Abstinence resists cultural messages about human worth. Unlike casual sex, abstinence is empowering because, instead of making sex and uncontrolled lust an end, it makes people the end.

English 154 grapples with this same idea. “Sexuality” has gradually displaced “soul,” “mind,” and “character” as the most essential and salient ingredient in modern subjectivity, as the “truth of the self,” reads the course description. Temporary physical pleasure now outwits the soul, reason, and virtue. Gone are the days when we place value on condemning its consequences, though many conspicuously refuse to participate.

The vast majority of college students seek marriage one day, but our perspectives on relationships do not always reflect this. It is as if commitment is a character trait developed instantly at the altar—once the ring is on the finger. But those of us addicted to endorphins, prone to procrastination, or disposed to overspending recognize that traits cannot apparate; they must be habituated. By trial and error, society found that cohabitation and increased number of sexual partners lead to higher divorce rates.

In this commitment-less environment, social connections wither away, as evidenced in Professor Robert Putnam’s sobering book, “Bowling Alone.” On our fast-paced campus, a dating-culture return may be distant, but a return to commitment habituated through abstinence to a future partner will both galvanize the dating scene and make people more deeply known—a longing so prevalent it is heartbreaking.

We are lackluster students—we believe what we learn. We willingly objectify ourselves, and our best foot forward is our sexuality, not our soul. When we embrace the sexualized college student role, we surrender our identities: The vibrant, beautiful, curious, winsome, self-controlled men and women that we are. Will we be slaves to sexuality, or seek out something more?

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“The Wifely Duty”

Not exactly relevant to the college student, but rather fascinating –

Undersexed: the state of American marriage due to “liberating” feminism?

Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic wrote an article several years ago about how modern society renders married couples undersexed. Hopefully Harvard students aren’t experiencing this, but it’s a provocative thesis. Excerpt:

…Yuppies, with that winsome arrogance that is all their own, proudly describe the nature and frequency of their premarital couplings with a specificity matched only by advanced seminars on animal husbandry. The reason abortion rights hold such a sanctified position in American political life is that they are a critical component of the yuppie program for maximum personal sexual pleasure. But let these inebriates of nooky enter marriage, a state in which ongoing sexuality often has as much to do with old-fashioned notions of obligation and commitment as it does with the immediate satisfaction of intense physical desire, and they grow as cool and limp as yesterday’s Cobb salad…

All of this makes me reflect that those repressed and much pitied 1950s wives—their sexless college years! their boorish husbands, who couldn’t locate the clitoris with a flashlight and a copy of Gray’s Anatomy!—were apparently getting a lot more action than many of today’s most liberated and sexually experienced married women. In the old days, of course, there was the wifely duty. A housewife understood that in addition to ironing her husband’s shirts and cooking the Sunday roast, she was—with some regularity—going to have relations with the man of the house. Perhaps, as some feminists would have us believe, these were grimly efficient interludes during which the poor humped-upon wife stared at the ceiling and silently composed the grocery list. Or perhaps not. Maybe, as Davis and her “new” findings suggest, once you get the canoe out in the water, everybody starts happily paddling. The notion that female sexuality was unleashed forty years ago, after lying dormant lo these uncountable millennia, is silly; more recent is the sexual shutdown that apparently takes place in many marriages soon after they have been legalized…

Although I have an amused tolerance for books like The Total Woman, I am not entirely incapable of good, old-fashioned feminist rage. The notion that even educated middle-class American women had to put out in order to get a damn refrigerator—even that they might “yearn” for one—just steams me. However, I would not advise against using sex for more subtle marital adjustments, of a type described in The Sex-Starved Marriage. Davis reminds women that one of the more effective ways to get a husband to be more considerate and helpful is to seduce him. She counsels a group of female clients who complain of angry, critical husbands to “pay more attention to their physical relationships with their husbands,” to “be sexier, more affectionate, attentive, responsive, and passionate.” Darned if the old bag of tricks doesn’t work like a charm—the ladies arrive at the next therapy session giggling and thrilled with their new powers. To many contemporary women, however, the notion that sex might have any function other than personal fulfillment (and the occasional bit of carefully scheduled baby making) is a violation of the very tenets of the sexual revolution that so deeply shaped their attitudes on such matters. Under these conditions, pity the poor married man hoping to get a bit of comfort from the wife at day’s end. He must somehow seduce a woman who is economically independent of him, bone tired, philosophically disinclined to have sex unless she is jolly well in the mood, numbingly familiar with his every sexual maneuver, and still doing a slow burn over his failure to wipe down the countertops and fold the dish towel after cooking the kids’ dinner. He can hardly be blamed for opting instead to check his e-mail, catch a few minutes of SportsCenter, and call it a night…

Keep reading.

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Lena Chen’s “The Abstinence Mystique” article

Lena Chen’s article is more civil than last week’s Crimson fail.

But she takes it upon herself to declare a “logical inconsistency” every other sentence. So what’s really inconsistent? My abbreviated response (I could really one-for-one her on calling out logical inconsistencies, but I refrain because one girl can only respond to Crimson editorials so many times each week):

Miss Lena Chen’s October 27th article in the Crimson is an interesting attempt at trying to understand True Love Revolution’s new platform. While I appreciate Miss Chen’s feminist expertise, much of her article misinterprets TLR and feminism and misconstrues my statements.

First of all, I find it ironic that Miss Chen brings up “Muslim countries” and other non-Western societies in effort to prove that TLR arises out of an exclusively Western, Judeo-Christian philosophy. Miss Chen contends that the Muslim practice of polygamy validates her claim that TLR’s arguments are based on Western, Judeo-Christian perspective, and thus inherently lacking. Ignoring the fact that most mosques discourage polygamous practices and that we’ll be hard-pressed to find a polygamous Muslim couple, Islam, Hinduism, and every major world religion explicitly condemn premarital sex, demand fidelity, and enforce gender roles (and does not recognize same-sex marriage for that matter). If anything, the “Western, Judeo-Christian” perspective is the weakest when it comes to promoting or enforcing abstinence, lasting marriages, gender roles, and sexual ethics.

“Female Chauvinist Pigs” by Ariel Levy is an excellent read, and hardly a conservative one (for that, I would recommend “Girls Gone Mild” by Wendy Shalit), but it does condemn the culture that makes rampant sexuality normal and thus harder not to choose. I wish the article cited the book itself, rather than a blog. True Love Revolution discourages rampant sexuality and points out consequences that are harmful regardless of whether girls or guys “choose” to participate. Even if someone chooses to live promiscuously, TLR argues that this is not the best choice. Other groups may contend that “empowerment” is making any choice. We do not regard premarital sex as increasing the real strength of an individual, thus not falling under the “empowerment” category.

True Love Revolution is notably not restricting anyone from making choices, but we are certainly saying that not all choices are beneficial. Most of Harvard’s student body would agree, as evidenced by The Independent’s spring sex survey that revealed a huge campus majority not partaking in the hook-up culture. While radical feminists love the word “choice,” equity feminists (or TLR feminists, if you refuse us any other title) and many other Harvard students appreciate that some choices are good and some are harmful, thus not appreciating all choices equally. However, encouraging people to make certain life decisions is not restriction.

While Miss Chen did not attend the RUS meeting she mentions*, any TLR dinner discussion, ask me about my view of feminist history or theory, or contact anyone from the organization, she did take advantage of google. Miss Chen is concerned that TLR conceals a political agenda and she googled my name to find incriminating evidence, so I find it remarkable that the only dirt she could dig up was a sentence stating my interest in social policy. On google, she discovered that I wrote about my Heritage Foundation internship, saying, “After heading up a few social policy initiatives that are often unpopular among the liberal Harvard community through the Harvard Republican Club, Salient, Campus Crusade, and True Love Revolution, I jumped at the chance to be surrounded by conservatives for a summer.” She also noted a blog post that gave information about an abstinence education hearing in Boston. Miss Chen writes that these two instances confirm that TLR is not transparent because I once wrote in an email that TLR does not seek to legally restrict sexual behavior. Informing interested group members about an abstinence education event cannot be equated with legally restricting sexual behavior. Arguments like these insult the intelligence of Crimson readers.

Miss Chen brings up fatherhood and parenting. I am pleased that she uses the term fatherhood in her article’s addendum. Fatherhood and motherhood imply that children need both a father and a mother. A culture saving sex for marriage solidifies the creation of cohesive, committed family units.

Fortunately, Miss Chen agrees that raunch culture has negative consequences for women. In the search for equality, women try to become like men, implying that the home – or women’s work – is less worthy than men’s work. But the pursuit to be on par with men means women surrender special characteristics unique to women in order to become exactly like men. Ariel Levy writes about a Great Britain website for women that counted down the number of days before Daniel Radcliffe became “legal.” Society might expect (though hardly endorse) this vulgar behavior from men, but once women adopt vulgarity in attempts to achieve equality, we must question if equality means erasing natural differences. Lowering sexual standards or considering it a punishment to maintain proper sexual ethics in society is the real demeaning aspect of feminism. Miss Chen cites the “right to live without being subject to gendered expectations,” as “feminism’s foundation.” A nonbiased historical approach reveals that feminism’s foundation had to do with women who wanted to achieve a greater quality of life for themselves and their families by gaining equal social, political, and economic status. This worthy pursuit had nothing to do with erasing gender roles.

Miss Chen is fond of calling everything TLR promotes a “logical inconsistency” but fails to identify one. Miss Chen commented on her own article, writing that she does not want to get married and asks if she therefore is supposed to never have sex? She writes that not everyone can be abstinent until marriage. Take note: we are not sexual animals and we are blessed with the capacity for self-control. Perhaps Miss Chen’s concerns warrant insightful questions, but they do not reveal any logical inconsistency.

As for recognizing the profit agenda behind porn, I just so happened to write three research papers for my sociological theory class last spring on that very topic. I would love to co-sponsor an event calling for the end of porn with any group on campus.

I appreciate Miss Chen’s inquiry into the motives and theory of True Love Revolution and encourage all future discussion to mirror her largely respectful and honest intellectual inquiry.

In True Love,
Rachel

*It has been brought to my attention that Miss Chen did attend the RUS meeting. My apologies; she did not introduce herself.

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