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The Soft Bigotry of Low (Sexual) Expectations

June 30th, 2011 | 2 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

The teenagers fucina controvento 20090501photo © 2009 Palliativo | more info (via: Wylio) From the department of bad ideas:

Patty Skudlarek strives to be a responsible parent. That's why she says she told her 18-year-old son that if he wants to have sex, not only is she okay with it, but she'd prefer that he do it in the family home.

"I'd rather he … do it here than somewhere else," Skudlarek told "Good Morning America." "With the kids having sex at home, it's a safer environment, because, you know, it's clean … and usually the place they keep the condoms are in their bedroom."

The facile justifications by some of the parents for the practice are painful to read, but inevitably the soft bigotry of low expectations makes an appearance:  "They're going to do it anyways, so might as well make it convenient."  They might be inclined that direction, but the concession to it as a principle makes what might--might--be plausible become inevitable.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sensible words come from those who would inevitably pay the burden for this sort of irresponsibility:  the young women who are being pressured into it.

"If your boyfriend knows or whoever knows that there is a perfectly open available house I think that takes away one of your big excuses," Kelly Lund, 17, said.

"Yeah," Grace McVey, 17, added. "Like, how do you say no? Like, a lot of times if they're saying, 'Let's do it. Let's do it.' Like, 'It's time,' whatever you blame it on your parents. You're like, 'No, I can't. My parents would kill me.' But if that whole thing is gone, like, what do you say?"

The abdication of responsibility to protect younger girls from those advances doesn't leave them defenseless, but it does place a burden of responsibility on them to find creative points of rejection even while communicating that resistance is, ultimately, futile.


Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.