My no, no square: ACLU takes on Mississippi Abstinence Summit

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is going up against the Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services for an Abstinence Summit that was held using government funding. Amplified has a video about the summit, from Huffington Post:

God and Abstinence from Stuart Productions on Vimeo.

The ACLU is arguing that the use of tax dollar funds is a misappropriation, and violates separation between church and state.
My favorite quote from the event?

“Stop, don’t touch me there — this is my no, no square,” said one cheer by the Grenada High School cheerleaders. It wasn’t about school spirit.

h/t to Amanda Marcotte

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31 Comments

  1. Lynne C.
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Are they teaching boys to be abstinent too? Or do they get to sew their wild oats?

  2. Lynne C.
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    *Sow,
    sorry, haven’t had my coffee yet.

  3. VT Idealist
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    My no, no square? Seriously? Good lord, it reminds of from Reno 911 that ran incessantly on Comedy Central. One of the officers is giving a talk to grade school kids about sexual abuse. She then sings a little song:
    Jump down turn around don’t you touch my bunghole,
    jump down turn around don’t you touch my boobs,
    jump down turn around don’t you touch my fanny,
    jump down turn around don’t you touch my cooch,
    oh lordy don’t you touch my fun bags,
    oh lordy don’t you touch my vaaaggg,
    jump down turn around don’t you touch my wiener,
    jump down turn around don’t you touch my hole
    jump down turn around don’t you touch my scrotum
    jump down turn around dooonn’t plaaayyy with my baaaalllls

  4. VT Idealist
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    It always begs the question, if young women are supposed to be chaste and young men are supposed to sow their wild oats, just who are these young men having sex with?

  5. FrumiousB
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Each other?

  6. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Well, there’s going to be one or two girls with reputations that are the BAD GIRLS. Because what fun is abstinence if you can’t lord your purity over those slutwagons tramping it up all over town?

  7. VT Idealist
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    This just begs the question that if young women are supposed to be chaste and young men are supposed to be out there sowing their wild oats, than who are those young men supposed to be having sex with?

  8. nev
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    heck, yes! I was a high school cheerleader, and the whole cheer went like this (add hand motions as you wish)
    STOP! Don’t touch me there! (Wag finger “no”)
    This is my no-no square! (Point to each shoulder and each hip)
    R-A-P-E
    Get the hell away from me! (Use “stop” hand motion)
    Yes, it’s ridiculous, but it sticks in your head – it’s always a reminder to me that whenever I’m in a situation where I may feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to say no – a message that many of my teen girlfriends needed.
    Sorry, a bit off-topic here, but wanted to share the cheer ;-)

  9. theminutepast
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I just moved to Mississippi and they are just oblivious to the separation of church of state. It’s a state law that “In God We Trust” must be posted in every classroom.

  10. smurfinder
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    See, but what I don’t understand about these kind of messages is this: My ‘no-no’ space is different for different people. My partner can pretty much touch me anywhere (though perhaps not always), whereas someone I don’t know can only touch my hand, in a handshake. This kind of chant doesn’t teach women/girls/boys/whoever that you’re in control of who gets to touch you, it teaches you that there are two types of touching. Friendly, non-threatening, touching and scary, to-be-limited sexual touching. And that is just not true. For instance: putting an arm around someone can be very threatening, and touching someone’s knee can be very intimate. Neither of these types of these types of bodily contact would fall under potential ‘no-no spaces’.
    I would prefer a type of education that teaches girls and boys about limits and thresholds and scales and how they are flexible. I would like them to be taught that there is a range of sexuality, not just a point of no return after which you are a slut (TM).
    Sorry for the rant. And of course, I am glad that the chant showed you that saying no is an option, so I mean no disrespect.

  11. nev
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    You’re right. I agree. Among the cheer’s faults are that it presents a dichotomy with regard to physical touch and that it quite possibly makes light of rape.
    as far as cheers go, though, I see this one with a better message… not quite sure why it would be problematic for a public school cheer team to use, although I’m willing to be persuaded.

  12. nev
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    whoops. that was supposed to be in reply to smurfinder.

  13. cattrack2
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    There was that guy who was arrested in South Carolina for having sex with a horse…for the 3rd time.

  14. cattrack2
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    From my experience they teach abstinence to both boys & girls. So its hard to argue that they teach different behavior. They expect both to act the same way.

  15. kisekileia
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s true in my experience, too. Abstinence teaching also often tries to get kids to think any sexual thought, feeling, or behaviour outside of marriage, including masturbation and looking at porn. That’s tough on both sexes: the guys, because such teaching often focuses on them, and the girls, because they feel like freaks if they have issues that are ‘supposed to’ be mainly male ‘problems’.

  16. kisekileia
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s true in my experience, too. Abstinence teaching also often tries to get kids to think any sexual thought, feeling, or behaviour outside of marriage, including masturbation and looking at porn, is sinful. That’s tough on both sexes: the guys, because such teaching often focuses on them, and the girls, because they feel like freaks if they have issues that are ‘supposed to’ be mainly male ‘problems’.

  17. Izzy
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    You’re exactly right, there’s a lot of ridiculousness going on in MS. There’s also some really fantastic activism going on too, though! You should absolutely think about getting involved with the closest NOW chapter to you. We’ve got four in MS and have actions planned year round to counter this kind of nonsense. Check us out at http://www.nowms.org. You can get the contact info for the chapter leader closest to you from the site.
    Hope to see you at an action, soon!!
    -izzy

  18. Kim C.
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Uh, square? Well, it seems that abstinence-only education has given some people some crazy ideas about their own anatomy…

  19. femme.
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    OMFG. The is insane. I can’t believe taxpayer dollars paid for that. That was like a church sermon! I am so pissed off after watching that video, haha, I can’t even make a coherent thought, except: this is unacceptable and thank you ACLU!

  20. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    It *was* a church sermon. Not just the language, but the body language was lifted straight out of a pulpit.

  21. Mighty Ponygirl
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Here’s the problem, though.
    While most curriculum do not specifically declare that only women should remain abstinent whereas men are allowed to hump anything and everything, the curriculum dovetails into pre-existing cultural tropes that finds women to be expendable, consumable resources. When you compare sex to chewing gum, sticky tape, lollipops, etc–you’re making the case that once you’re “used up” no one will want you anymore. This is not going to resonate with men like it is with women because there is no cultural backing to it: men who “score” with a lot of chicks are lauded in our media as studs and players, so the boys hearing this can dismiss what they’re hearing as not true to life, where women who sleep with a lot of men are treated in our culture as gross sluts, so when girls hear this it harmonizes with the message they’re already getting. Similarly, there is a not-so-subtle notion (particularly in the chewing-gum or lollipop exercises — where the reason people don’t want to swap is because someone else’s bodily fluids have infused the consumable product) that once a man cums in a woman, that his semen remains in her more or less forever, and that she becomes “his” by the receptacle nature of her genitalia. With men, who do not “receive” a woman’s fluids, there is no expectation that he can’t just wash his wang off and be minty fresh again. Finally, we all of us know that for women there is a physical “proof” of virginity (yeah, I know, horseback riding, gymnastics, yada yada), but for men there is no such physical proof, so a woman will have to rely on his good word that he is a virgin, whereas a man, gets to “feel for himself” when he pops her freshness seal, so to speak.
    All of these things add up to a different level of messaging that is delivered between the sexes.

  22. Tracey T
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, but it’s okay for the guy who’s not considered the “bottom” and if they say “no homo” afterwards.

  23. Tracey T
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Not to mention women seem to be the only ones assumed to be pressured into sex by their partner, whereas men supposedly will only feel pressured into sex by peer pressure. Not to mention same-sex issues are not really discussed. So you have girls being told they should not feel pressured into sex with the assumption being they do not want sex themselves and only want to have sex to satisfy predatory male partners. The whole dialogue is based on the assumption girls are not sexual and do not want to have sex for themselves. Grrrr, I get so sick of that assumption and it seems to be one that will not go away.

  24. A male
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Heterosexual men and women are having sex with each other of course. 49.8% of boys and 45.9% of girls grades 9-12 report having sexual experience (intercourse). That’s not a really significant difference. Young men and women are being sexually active.
    Society judges women more harshly about sex, but if you believe in the stereotype of “one or two BAD girls,” then you’re buying in as well. The ratio of sexually experienced boys to girls in high school is 100:92. Based on numbers of individuals (I don’t know frequency), boys are not “sowing their oats” vs. girls being abstinent.
    And according to government figures, more girls than boys are having sex by grade 12, 66.2% of girls vs. 62.5% of boys.
    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/pdf/24_PDF.pdf
    see table Sexually Experienced Teens:1 The Percentage of Students in Grades 9-12 Who Have Ever Had Sexual Intercourse, Selected Years, 1991-2007
    And yes, I’m aware of some of the dynamics like a significant proportion of young women having sex because they were coerced or raped, and the frequent age difference between sexually active girls and their male partners (e.g. college aged or grown up men with those 11th and 12th grade girls).
    But since we’re here and on the topic, as teens did you care about “mature,” “experienced,” “worldly,” “cool,” etc. men who could for example, drive or buy tobacco and alcohol, or had jobs, vs. “boys” you went to school with? There are many girls who prefer older guys as well, not just creepy guys.

  25. A male
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    No, with girls.

  26. A male
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    And according to the same table
    Sexually Experienced Teens:1 The Percentage of Students in Grades 9-12 Who Have Ever Had Sexual Intercourse, Selected Years, 1991-2007
    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/pdf/24_PDF.pdf
    you’ll notice in the reported odd years 1991-2007 that percentage of White, non-Hispanic girls reporting having experienced intercourse more often slightly exceeds the percentage of White, non-Hispanic boys reporting experience, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Only White, non-Hispanic girls exhibit this trend. Significantly fewer Black non Hispanic and Hispanic girls than boys report having sexual experience.

  27. A male
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Boys are having sex with girls, in almost equal numbers.

  28. A male
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    Yes, as a younger man I often wished that women approached me for relationships or sex, because I was an introvert, and allegedly had ADHD and Asperger’s. In fact, I did have a 12th grade girl who had a relationship with me in 9th grade (it was weird – sex was not on our minds; we once slept together at camp – holding hands). When I was a 12th grader, a 9th grade white girl latched onto me at art workshop one summer. We held hands, too. Then she moved away and became a UC professor. Bummer. Until the age of 23, all I did was talk, hug, hold hands or share beds with friends.

  29. cattrack2
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Sounds like you’re bringing a lot of baggage to the issue…The whole point of abstinence teaching is to counter balance the very cultural forces you list. You can’t very well blame abstinence messengers for a pop culture that pushes boys to act like James Bond, and girls to act like Paris Hilton.

  30. Mina
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    “But since we’re here and on the topic, as teens did you care about ‘mature,’ ‘experienced,’ ‘worldly,’ ‘cool,’ etc. men who could for example, drive or buy tobacco and alcohol, or had jobs, vs. ‘boys’ you went to school with…”
    I sure didn’t!

  31. insomniac
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    The “pop culture” of James Bond and Paris Hilton is a product of abstinence only philosophy, if not education, imho.

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