Hard to believe, but it’s happened: I agree with the religious right on something. This 8th grader in Fayetteville, Arkansas was banned from wearing a T-shirt that says “Virginity Rocks” on the front and “I’m loving my Husband and I haven’t even Married Him,” on the back. While this shirt is an offense to good taste, common sense, and even the concept of marriage, she should be allowed to wear it. It’s not hurting anyone and she should be allowed to express herself. But the idea that kids should not be allowed to express themselves within reason seems to be the sole reason for the principal banning the shirt:
She said she was pulled out of class and given a gym shirt to change into because the message on her shirt “opens up too many doors for conversations” about sexual activity — or lack thereof….
Fayetteville School District Superintendent Paul Hewitt said, whatever the message, the school was simply adhering to its rules about writing on clothing.
“If a student wore a shirt that said ‘Sex Rocks’ or ‘Smoke More Pot,’ they would also have been asked to remove it for the same reason; it would no doubt be disruptive,” he wrote in an email to CNN. “Even positive messages can be disruptive and our schools must be fair and consistent in dealing with all our students.”
I mean, it’s not a positive message, as much as the mom strokingly tells herself otherwise on Facebook. On the contrary, the obsession with virginity causes people to get distorted ideas about sex and relationships. In this particular case, it’s being used to send the message that women are actually property and that you “love” your husband by making sure the vagina he purchased with a wedding ring comes in it original packaging, like you’re a DVD player instead of a fucking person.
But none of that matters. They should allow the “Sex Rocks” T-shirt, too, though literally I don’t think anyone is a dork enough to wear that while simultaneously agreeing with the basic idea of the shirt. If the fear is that kids will have, god forbid, conversations about sex and sexuality, then I hate to break it to you, but they already are doing that. (I cannot be the only adult who remembers what being an 8th grader was like.) If they actually get into debates about whether or not it’s okay to have premarital sex, I think that’s probably a good thing overall. I mean, the anti-sex kids will probably lose and get their feelings hurt, but in the long run, it’s for the best. Nearly all the kids crowing about virginity in the 8th grade end up having sex at roughly the same ages as their peers, and usually without getting married. If they talk to some kids who are less ashamed about it, they might actually learn something about it before they inevitably do it, and might be more likely to use condoms. I mean, it would be ideal if they could get that kind of shame-reducing, sex-positive discourse from, you know, fucking adults, but this entire situation makes that seems sadly unlikely.
Basically, conversation is good. It’s good to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Once in awhile, you learn something. And anyway, if you don’t like the shirt, rest assured that, in a few years, she’s probably going to be cringing in shame that she ever wore the damn thing. This is a problem that time and hormones will fix on their own.
Most right wing stories about how they’re so oppressed are complete and utter bullshit, so the fact that this actually happened, you’d think, would be enough for them to be happy and avoid lying like utter assholes for once. But nooooooooo, Todd Starnes, the absolute king at pushing fake stories about supposed oppression of right wingers, decided to inject his own form of ripe bullshit into it anyway.
“Here’s my take on it, I thought it was interesting, [the student’s mom] said what’s really interesting is that any child in that junior high school can go to the counselor’s office and ask for and receive free condoms and yet her daughter cannot wear her pro-abstinence t-shirt in the public school,” Starnes said. “Here’s what I think the issue is Tony Perkins, I believe that maybe they were concerned this pro-abstinence t-shirt might cut into this school’s condom profits.”
Yes, the principal of some Arkansas junior high is secretly on the take from Trojan. That must be it! Conservatives, stand up to the man! Throw off the latex of oppression! Stick it to those greedy condom companies by getting the clap. That’ll show ’em!
(Notice the only time corporate profits are ever considered a bad thing by conservatives is if there was possibly some fucking going on. Poison the oceans, destroy the atmosphere, sure. But allowing people to enjoy sex more safely? Capitalist pigs.)
The thing is, the principal explained his reasons. They are reasons that, if Starnes wasn’t so wed to his help-help-we’re-being-oppressed nonsense, he’d probably agree with: He knows that if the girl wears her shirt, people are going to ask her questions and debate with her about it. The principal wants to prevent this debate from happening. Starnes, if he’s all gung-ho about abstinence, should as well, because the arguments for abstinence until marriage really wither when put to the debate test. But no, it must be the condom company profits. That has to be it, because anything less than the nuttiest, most paranoid explanation is just The Man fucking with your mind.