Peer through a leafy curtain deep in the Amazon and you might just catch a glimpse of an elusive specimen: “the virgin.”Though rare, this foreign species manages to survive in some of the world’s most hostile ecosystems, constantly threatened by its natural enemy, the media. The media preys upon virgins for profit and mere entertainment – to dismiss them as soon as they conform.
Seen through the field glasses of Hollywood’s “Very Good Girls,” or MTV’s “Virgin Territory,” the virgin differs from “the human.” Humans “come-of-age” and “find themselves.” Virgins resist the examples of oversexed celebrities and an instant gratification culture – enhancing their mysterious allure, and making them just plain weird.
Here are the 10 ways media treat virgins as a foreign species:
1. Virgins Never Grow-Up
“Very Good Girls” stars Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as best friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before heading off to college. Opening in theaters July 25, the film bills itself (with some help from the media) as a “coming-of-age” story. As the trailer revealed: “When we lose our innocence, we have to find ourselves” – sounds like a story that every adult can relate to (right?).
“It’s a part of life,” Fanning said in an interview after stripping for her first sex scene. Boyd Holbrook, who played her partner, emphasized, “What this film’s about is going into life, this first sexual experience.”
The media provided back-up. “It’s this coming-of-age story of two young girls” that’s “dealing with those things that are universal, that we all deal with: friendship, family, death, love, heartbreak,” HuffPost Live Host Alyona Minkovski gushed during an interview with the writer and director, Naomi Foner.
Similarly, Wall Street Journal Live Anchor Tanya Rivero praised the “beautiful film.” “You explore that time in a young woman’s life, between girlhood and becoming a woman,” she told Foner. “As a woman, I identified so closely with the characters and that period in life.”
Even Foner described her characters as, “serious, interesting, committed girls who are trying to make some decisions about how they become women.” Women will flock to see the film, she added, because they “don’t often see themselves with any reality on screen.”
Missing is any acknowledgement that girls may become women without the sex act, or that it just might be a good idea wait until marriage.
2. Virgins Occupy a Different Habitat
“Whether they’re trying to lose their V-cards, or keep them safely tucked in their pockets for as long as possible, being pure,” according to the network, “is really starting to grate on them.”
As MTV’s Executive Vice President of Series Development and Head of West Coast Unscripted Lauren Dolgen explained, “MTV has a legacy of documenting the lives of young adults and openly talking about sex with thought-provoking programming such as ‘True Life,’ ‘16 and Pregnant’ and ‘Teen Mom.’” Because of a partnership with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, she continued, “MTV will continue this tradition by elevating the discussion of responsible sexual health to include the topic of virginity in a way that our audience might find surprising.”
But how exactly surprising?
Fox News’ Dr. Keith Ablow criticized how the show, “turns a personal life event into profit” while Variety’s Brian Lowry warned in his review that, “some networks will pimp kids out — under cover of sex education — to score ratings.”
Even Slate’s TV critic, Willa Paskin, argued that the show “tries to get into psychological explanations for all of this unwanted virginity, because like the participants’ friends, MTV thinks it’s weird.” She explained, “Watching these three fret about their sexual status, I was reminded of the stress of being a pubescent girl who gets her period late: Until it arrives, you are embarrassed that you don’t have it.”
Case in point: 23-year-old Lisa saves herself until marriage in the first episode, and disappears as soon the wedding night is over. New York Times’ Jon Caramanica wondered “So it’s tough to know if that means that, in the eyes of the show, she accomplished the goal, or that she’s no longer interesting. Is it a high-five or a judgment?”
3. They Morph …
The transition from virgin to human fascinates media chroniclers, so they dwell on how celebrities, America’s most famed, lose virginity – and point out the ones who don’t, including:
- The Huffington Post: “Celebrities Reveal What Age They Were When They Lost Their Virginity”
- News.com: “Celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Russell Brand reveal how they lost their virginity”
- Perez Hilton: “18 Celebrities Reveal The Awkward and SeXXXy Ways They Lost Their Virginity!”
- Pop Crush: “How Old Were These Celebrities When They Lost Their Virginity?”
- VH1: “Stars Reveal How They Lost Their V-Cards”
- Buzzfeed: “11 Honest Quotes From Celebrities On Losing Their Virginity ‘Late’”
- Cosmo: “V Card Confessions”
As if that wasn’t enough, the media want to hit celebrity replay: In “Losing Your Virginity,” John Stamos (“Full House”) interviewed celebrities about their “first time.” While he wants to avoid graphic content in his Yahoo! webseries, Stamos confessed, “We’re going to do re-enactments (of celebrity first sexual experiences) with puppets, Barbies, animation.”
Stamos explained, “Everybody wants to say, ‘Hey, I’m just like you.’ So losing your virginity — how much more can you relate to somebody?”
4. … Into Incredibly Happy Butterflies
And the stars love the recognition. According to Girls’ Lena Dunham, losing virginity is as simple as voting: “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You wanna do it with a great guy. It should be with a guy with beautiful–someone who really cares and understands women. A guy who cares whether you get health insurance, specifically whether you get birth control.”
“My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before, I was a girl, now I was a woman.’ I went to the polling station. I pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama!” she continued.
Speaking from “experience,” Dunham previously noted her loss of virginity in college. She patted herself on the back over it, saying “I commended myself for making a healthy, albeit hasty, partner choice. I really couldn’t wait to tell my mom.”
Other stars expressed similar sentiments. “The first time I had sex I raced home and was like, ‘Mum, I just had sex!’” Chris Evans remembered. Actress Brooke Shields admitted that because of “the public and all this pressure,” “I think I would have had sex a lot earlier!”
Others took the topic less seriously. Sean “Diddy” Combs confessed, “I was on top of a girl who was nine or 10,” but “it didn’t happen — so everybody doesn’t have to bug out.” Not until “When I was 13, and I felt I was a porno star because I’d been watching porn for so long. In the Bronx you could get a hotel for an hour. I always had $20 or $30 to take a chick to a hotel. I’m proud to say I love sex.”
5. Virgins Can Use Their Status as a Bargaining Chip
Media latched on to 23-year-old Nigerian pop star Adokiye after she offered her virginity to Islamist group Boko Haram in exchange for the more than 200 girls kidnapped in April. To introduce the story, NBC prompted, “Haven’t heard of Adokiye? Well, soon you will have” – if not as a rising star, then “because she’s a virgin.” Time, New York Post, New York Daily News, Daily Mail andInternational Business Times also noted the story.
A similar occurrence happened when 27-year-old med school student Hanna Kern, or “Elizabeth Raine,” attempted to auction off her virginity earlier this year. The Huffington Post dedicated four stories to her name and other media outlets followed the trend including Daily Mail, New York Daily News, MStars, International Business Times, E!, Mediaite and Radar. She called off the auction after a bid for over $800,000.
6. Virgins Make for Good Comedy
In an interview, Beers explained his and Harawitz’s inspiration for such a tale: “We were thinking about how we failed the first time we had sex, and when the concept came about out of nowhere, I just thought it was so fun.”
Enough fun, even, for a drinking game. Beers continued, “There are no movies where you see the young lead have eight orgasms over the course of the movie. It’d be a great drinking game though — shots for every orgasm!” With that logic, even the trailer would provide a drunken stupor.
7. Virgins May be the Product of Human Rights Violation
When Canadian teenager Emily Dawson fought tooth and nail against an abstinence class taught at her public high school, the media recognized her bravery. Dawson’s name appeared everywhere, in outlets including Jezebel, Salon, Cosmo, CBC News, New York Daily News, ThinkProgress, Huffington Post Canada, The National Post, and CBC News.
Providing more detail, The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti wrote “Abstinence sex education doesn’t work. It teaches lies to ill-informed virgins” to explain, “Dawson and her mother were right to report her religious sex-ed class as a human rights violation – because that’s exactly what it is.” “Teens – whether you like the idea of them having sex or not – deserve access to information that can keep them healthy and safe,” she continued. “Anything else is criminal.”
Salon’s Jenny Kutner agreed, “In addition to being considered inaccurate and ineffective, abstinence-only sex education might also be considered a violation of basic human rights.”
8. Virgins Pledging their Beliefs Hurt Others
Both Salon and New York Magazine highlighted a recent study on virginity pledges, claiming they “don’t work” and added as an afterthought “Unless you’re super religious” (which no one is, right?). New York Daily News, Daily Mail, Bustle and Mic.com also stressed the findings.
The study found “when religious commitment is high, adherence to the pledge is greater,” while “for pledge signers with low religious commitment, there are unintended negative consequences with regard to increased participation in risky sexual behaviors.”
“Surprise! Morality-based abstinence education only works for people with those beliefs (and it harms everyone else),” Salon’s Jenny Kutner translated.
9. Virgins Will Only Become Rarer
A new study published in March from the University of Illinois about the loss of virginity found that “Men reported more pleasure and anxiety than women, and women reported more guilt than men. Anxiety decreased over the three decades for men; pleasure increased and guilt decreased for women.”
But not until the end of July did the media latch onto the news, translating the findings into headlines like “Losing Your Virginity Is Better Than Ever” (TIME Magazine), and “Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago” (Salon) or even “Losing Your Virginity Is Way Less Awkward Than it Used to Be, Says Study” (Bustle).
10. Virgins are Embarrassing
Media went on the prowl when conservative commentator and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder wrote about his wedding night – after saving himself for marriage. “If you’re wondering whether all of the mocking, the ridicule, the incredible difficulty of saving yourself for your spouse is worth it, let me tell you without a doubt that it is,” he wrote in his post-marriage piece.
Along with others, Jezebel “barfed” at the piece.
Using a slightly different tactic, the media recently ignored CBS host and “Inside Edition” correspondent Megan Alexander as she explained her logic in remaining a virgin until marriage. Besides Inside Edition, only conservative media appeared to report the story: Fox 411, LifeSiteNews, LifeNews, Christian Post, The Blaze, CBN.
Alexander explained to Fox 411: “Sex is everywhere, it sells. It’s on magazine covers, it’s in television shows, it’s in movies and I think its pretty unusual when someone speaks out about waiting for marriage in the entertainment industry.”
“I decided to speak out,” she explained, “because I feel like young people today, specifically teenagers and millennials in their 20s and 30s, there’s so much pressure to just get involved [physically] and to think that that’s normal.” She continued, “I wanted people to know, hey there’s another option. This is the option that I chose and it can work for you too.”
Appearing on the cover of “Whoa Women” for her piece entitled “Marriage Still Matters,” Alexander admitted that “I am reminded every day in my industry how unpopular this decision is,” and warned, “don’t look to Hollywood for advice on marriage.”
After noting her interviews with those in the entertainment business, she continued, “I am often discouraged by Hollywood’s portrayal of love. Movies and television make it seem that people should participate in sex as easily and as often as brushing your teeth.”
She concluded: “My advice for the next generation is this: Be bold; dare to be different; and be proud of who you are and what you have to offer.”
LifeNews Note: Katie Yoder writes for Newsbusters, where this originally appeared
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Shortly after my arrival to Nashville, I took a job working third shift at the Nashville International Airport. Good old BNA. It was a rain, sleet or snow job I started in one of the worst winters in the city. Keep in mind this is NIGHT TIME. As in, NO SUN! Also keep in mind that I’m from Louisiana. Southern boy! It was brutal. But, I needed a job. The red eye flights arriving in the early mornings served as a source of encouragement. I’d say to myself, “I’m gonna fly like that one day. A lot!”
I was always one of those people who was curious about the business behind an operation. So, I naturally inquired about how certain things worked. I simultaneously began to realize the less favorable position I had due to the color of my skin. But, I was determined to walk in excellence regardless. Being on time, helping with other people’s responsibilities when I was finished with my own and doing the little things no one else wanted to do. After all, they knew I was an aspiring Christian artist, so having a bad a attitude would misrepresent everything I professed. I managed to make a few genuine friends on the job and I was honored to represent African Americans in the many “why do black people…?” conversations. It was a trip.
The department was responsible for an inventory report which was printed out at the end of the night. This simply served to let management know the what profits were for the day. I noticed my supervisor, once a distant man, beginning to warm up to me. I figured he was noticing my desire to do more. I’ll never forget the day when he asked, “Mike, you wanna run the inventory report tonight?” I was dumfounded, but I was like, “sure!” This was my ticket out of the freezing cold and hopefully a move up in the ranks. So, for the next month or so I helped him run the inventory reports. It was awesome. He’d literally leave the office for a smoke break or two while I did the paperwork.
After six months a few dynamics changed. People were distant and the conversation circles broke up when I approached them. Something wasn’t right. Turns out, there were a few thousand dollars which showed up missing. I couldn’t understand who would do something like that. It was such a tight knit core of people. Some of whom had been working there for over 10 years. Good-ol’-boy types. At the some time my DJ gigs and session work around town started to pick up (shouts to Fogg Station & Rocketown). I was finally able to get my own place, bed and space. The couch thing just wasn’t feeling fresh anymore. One of my co-workers, Eric BlaBla, knew I had a small studio at the apartment and he asked to come and check it out. I’m like, “cool man, come through!” During his visit we kicked it and had small talk. I showed him a few beats while we devoured a few slices of pizza. Then he was on his way.
The climate on the job began to get really weird. No one was talking and joking around during coffee breaks. I felt like an outcast. Plus, I was slowly taken off of inventory reports. I received a call from a DEA agent requesting to visit my apartment. He said it was protocol when money came up missing. I agreed and let him have full access when he came over. I literally stepped out of his way and let him do his thing. I didn’t like this job environment anymore and wanted to leave really bad. But, I knew that leaving would elevate the appearance of guilt. So, I continued to work third shift and do sessions in the day time.
Another co-worker, Ron BlaBla (not related to Eric) started working full-time for another company during the day time. Lockheed Martin developed a data entry arm which processed misdirected mail. He wasn’t like the rest of those guys. He was a true fella to the core. In passing he mentioned that Lockheed was hiring. Thankfully he said it in front of a few other co-workers because I was getting really antsy for an honorable exit strategy. THE NEXT DAY I met Ron at Lockheed. He introduced me to the HR rep. I filled out an application, eventually got the job and began training. I had a full time day job, part-time at the airport and doing sessions. Yeah, I was on my hustle.
The theft slowly became a thing of past. I finally let go of the night job once things calmed down. Plus, I felt myself being spread too thin. I actually fell asleep in my car one night after I clocked out. My boss knew I was done.
A year later I returned to Nashville after a brief visit back home in Lafayette (Go Saints). After picking up my car from the airport parking, I went through the terminal to pay for the parking services. One of my old co-workers was at the exit booth collecting money. He recognized me and we began to make small talk. I started to ask him who was still around. One of the names on my list was my old boss. When I mentioned him he said, “You didn’t hear what happened?” I said, “Ummm, no!” “Man, that guy is serving time in a federal prison for theft.”
My jaw dropped!
He began to fill me in, but I don’t remember much of it. In that moment, all I could do is recall the events. It was like a well written movie. I must have driven around the exterior road of the airport 5 times in silence. I stopped by the old DEA office, which was located on the premises. The investigating officer remembered me and the events. He said, “Yeah, that’s what happened Mike. But, I want you to know that I knew it was never you. I just had to follow protocol.” After some small talk he shook my hand as if to say no hard feelings.
Later that day I called Eric (the guy who came over to check out the studio). He was no longer with the company, but he said he was aware of what happened. He said, “Mike, remember that time I came over to your apartment? Well, they wanted me to come over an take a look around to see if anything looked fishy. That’s why it took me so long to come out of the restroom (The restroom was attached to the bedroom). He was snooping around. He said, “Mike, I knew it wasn’t you and I told them that I refuse to be a part anything that makes you look guilty. I wasn’t sure who stole the money, but I knew it wasn’t you.” I’m like, WOW! I hung up with Eric and sat on the couch in awe at how naive I was. Man, that DEA agent could have planted something. Eric could’ve planted something. Plus, I purchased a mattress during that time from my sessions money. How suspicious was that? Sheesh!
That season changed my walk forever. A new allegiance to the Lord developed in ways I’ve never known. He saved me from prison. But my heart was arrested. The realization of all this caused me to become His prisoner and I accepted the sentence with gladness. I was also reminded of the story of Joseph (which happens to be my middle name). Go check it out! It’s a real soap opera.
The top of the 2nd verse of the song Broken starts with a line:
“You told me this, if I should ever find myself thrown under the bus /
that you would be my defense and bless me with the wisdom to discern who I should trust.” /
That season at the airport contributed to that line.
Once we’re a prisoner of Christ, it means that we are now meant for use in His service and NOTHING can interfere with that. We become His property and it’s a good place to be. I hope this serves as a source of encouragement to all my fellow believers. No matter what situation you’re in, know that God desires to have your back. There are some people who are smarter and wittier than you’ll ever be. But, if you continue to walk in righteousness & integrity He will fight your battles in the blind spots of your life. I’m a living witness.
Lastly, be open to where he’ll place you to accomplish his macro-agenda. He’s in the business of establishing His Kingdom on earth. This also involves cultural, social and racial diversity within the body. After all, we’re going to be together for a very long time – ETERNITY! So it’s in our best interest to start practicing now.