Miriam Grossman is teaching my child what?!, Part 1

Oh dear. Miriam Grossman – of Unprotected fame (the book that tells young women having sex will make them diseased drop outs) – has a yet another book out: You’re Teaching My Child What?: A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Ed and How They Harm Your Child
I found out about Grossman’s latest through this column at Townhall that – in the great tradition of unhinged moral panic – suggests that comprehensive sex education wants “to strip our little girls of their natural inclination toward modesty and replace it with an attitude of sexual dominance.” Who, me? *bats eyelashes*
Columnist Rebecca Hagelin says that our daughters are “under siege” by those who would teach them about sex and suggest that there is more to life than marriage and babies. You know – feminists.

Make no mistake: this attack on our daughters is also an attack on the nuclear family unit itself. It is an insidiously evil brand of radical feminism that now pervades education and entertainment. If you can warp an entire generation of women into believing that sex is merely a tool to be used for advancement, then you destroy all notions of fidelity, and commitment for both genders. By default, our sons adopt the view that they do not need to be loyal or true in marriage either.
…We are at a crossroads in our nation and the pawn being used by those who seek to check-mate the family – the sacred and basic building block of all civil societies – is a little girl. She will be used and abused and then cast aside as the next little girls are born and brainwashed with ever increasing dangerous messages.
There are steps you must take now to protect and equip your daughter with her own moral authority over those who would abuse her femininity.

What crazy ass sex ed classes has Hagelin been sitting in on?! It’s amazing to me how these folks take something as simple as telling the truth about sex and contraception and turn it into a femininity-abusing (what that means) evil indoctrination hell bent on destroying families.
But that’s exactly what folks like Grossman would like American parents to think. Let’s take a look at what Grossman’s past work has asserted so that we can all freak about about….
What Miriam Grossman wants to teach your child!!!:
When girls have sex, it is often at bars or because they’re drunk. Also, they’re depressed.
The more you have sex, the sadder you become: “As the number of casual sex partners in the past year increased, so did signs of depression in college women.” (Cough, bullshit, cough)
Even fictional characters can get herpes: “It’s easy to forget, but the characters on Grey’s Anatomy and Sex in the City are not real. In real life, Meredith and Carrie would have warts or herpes. They’d likely be on Prozac or Zoloft.”
After a one-night-stand, girls are swooning, and guys don’t give a shit: “You might think of him all day, but he can’t remember your name.”
You can say really creepy things about sex, so long as its written in cursive.
Stay tuned for Part 2 when I take you inside Grossman’s new anti-sex screed. (But through the front, cause the back is just an exit.)

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60 Comments

  1. alixana
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    The phrase “natural inclination towards modesty” makes me projectile vomit.
    Sounds like this whole book is a straw-woman argument. ‘Cause, you know, us feminists are really running around encouraging women to use sex as a tool for advancement…say what now? We’re not? Oh. Well then, it’s all feminism’s fault that men cheat on their wives. That’s not a result of the patriarchy at all…wait, what? It is? I’m running out of reasons for this book to exist.

  2. Jacob
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Re: the depression/promiscuity “statistic” – I don’t necessarily doubt that sex and depression have a positive correlation, but shouldn’t it be pretty obvious that she’s got the causality backwards? I know when I get depressed, endorphins and oxytocin are a cheap, readily available, and pretty reliable pick-me-up.

  3. allieb87
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Well shit. I saw this on a display at my local Barnes and Noble the other day. I thought the name sounded familiar… *sigh*
    Like we really needed another book to send people into a panic over sex ed? And did she time travel to the fifties for inspiration or just plagiarize the whole thing from a pamphlet on Victorian sexuality?
    My sex ed SUCKED. I grew up in Oklahoma so it’s a given that there was no talk of the evil contraceptives. It was mostly about periods and deodorant. But the fucked up thing was that the registered nurse who was brought in to give “the talk” was so uncomfortable talking about periods that she even got that wrong. I remember that she ridiculed one girl for asking how to use a tampon. She said that those were only for when you were married… WTF? Take notes Miriam Grossman. Tampons are “stripping our little girls of their natural inclination toward modesty”.
    I think I need a Xanax now…

  4. SociologicalMe
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Yikes. The commenters have totally bought into the straw-woman argument. Check it out:
    “No Sex Objects!
    Didn’t the feminists once decry seeing women merely as sex objects?
    Why aren’t they screaming in outrage against a culture that, more than any time in the past, to be sex objects. A culture that teaches girls that they should not only be objects of sexual lust — and to be sure to dress as alluringly as possible at all times — but that they should act as unpaid wh*res for any man who asks for a “hookup”?
    Come on, feminists, is a generation of girls lying on their backs in the road in an open invitation to be taken by all comers really what you had in mind when you demanded equality?”
    *headdesk*

  5. Tracey T
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    “There are steps you must take now to protect and equip your daughter with her own moral authority over those who would abuse her femininity”
    And by her own moral authority we do mean whatever we say of course. Because goodness knows if a girl reaches the decision to have pre-marital and/or casual sex then she didn’t really do so of her own accord and has no morals whatsoever.
    It annoys me to know end when they say things like this because it really means “agree with us or you have no values whatsoever and the only right decision is the one we agree with.”

  6. Kim C.
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Aw, and I had expected the cursive to have little hearts for the i’s.

  7. alixana
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I can’t even bring myself to look at the comments on the article.
    What is this Townhall website, can Jessica get in her own article as a rebuttal?

  8. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I just love how it’s all about girls, girls, girls who have to be “protected.” What about BOYS?

  9. Comrade Kevin
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know where to begin with how twisted this entire line of logic is. This argument takes a perversion and complete distortion of conventional feminist theory and then tries to marry it to a conservative belief that maintaining conventional gender roles are the only way to prevent the moral chaos that has ensured as a result of womens’ rights.
    What I want to know is how sexual education, which is one of the most empowering concepts ever devised, in my opinion, somehow “strips women of their natural inclination towards modesty”. Maybe they’re not supremely repressed and utterly clueless about their own sexuality, which I guess means “modesty” in this context. But contrary to what Grossman argues, I simply don’t think sexual education turns women into bossy, demanding harpies. The idea of female sexual dominance is a complete myth, particularly since the female chauvinist pigs around us believe that openly objectifying themselves as sexual beings connotes power when it really is just a new way to objectify themselves.
    For every legitimate argument Feminism advances, it seems like there are three people who completely distort said argument for their own devices.

  10. Comrade Kevin
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know where to begin with how twisted this entire line of logic is. This argument takes a perversion and complete distortion of conventional feminist theory and then tries to marry it to a conservative belief that maintaining conventional gender roles are the only way to prevent the moral chaos that has ensured as a result of womens’ rights.
    What I want to know is how sexual education, which is one of the most empowering concepts ever devised, in my opinion, somehow “strips women of their natural inclination towards modesty”. Maybe they’re not supremely repressed and utterly clueless about their own sexuality, which I guess means “modesty” in this context. But contrary to what Grossman argues, I simply don’t think sexual education turns women into bossy, demanding harpies. The idea of female sexual dominance is a complete myth, particularly since the female chauvinist pigs around us believe that openly objectifying themselves as sexual beings connotes power when it really is just a new way to objectify themselves.
    For every legitimate argument Feminism advances, it seems like there are three people who completely distort said argument for their own devices.

  11. Mindy
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Was it just me, or does teaching young woman that women have sex because they’re depressed makes them think they might use sex to deal with depression?

  12. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I just love how it’s all about girls, girls, girls who have to be “protected.” What about BOYS?

  13. llevinso
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh my. Jessica I just started reading your book, The Purity Myth, (which I LOVE!) and all this is sounding just SO FAMILIAR!
    Ugh, and the whole one night stand quote: “You might think of him all day, but he can’t remember your name.” Puke. I guess that one night stand I had in college, that I actually gave no more than a second thought about, then two weeks later he called me saying he’d been thinking about me a lot and wanted to go out, and then we ended up dating for a year and a half…yeah I guess that didn’t actually happen.

  14. aleks
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    TH is a pretty conservative site. It’s not considered as insane or grammatically inept as Free Republic, but I doubt they’ll be hosting anything by a Feministing blogger.

  15. aleks
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    We remember their names now. There’s an iPhone app for it.

  16. hellotwin
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    That was my first thought, too, that it could go either way. First thing they teach you in stats class – correlation does NOT equal causation. So depression and number of sexual partners may be linked, but odds are there is an underlying variable that is being overlooked in order to scare people.

  17. uberhausfrau
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    i have to think she never had/met young girl children who spontaneously struck the “skirt up” pose.

  18. bluebears
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    The premise reminds me of Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit. Anyone remember that one? Same basic idea. They are just recycling their panics at this point.

  19. allieb87
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I linked this to a friend and they replied:
    “Is it fair to assume that Dr. Grossman has never had a colonoscopy?”
    lol.

  20. llevinso
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Does her book contain any actual MEDICAL knowledge and facts? You know, what one would aspect from a doctor? Or is it all this sex-shaming, purity-pushing bullshit?

  21. allieb87
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    To quote Kenneth Parcell from 30 Rock:
    “I think she’s a doctor sort of like Dr. Pepper is…”

  22. Av0gadro
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    In my parenting class we covered protecting our kids from sexual abuse last night. The first thing the book says is to teach kids the real names for their genitals and normalize them so they don’t seem shameful to talk about. A guy in the class was horrified. I mean really appalled at the idea of toddlers knowing how to say penis. I mean sure, it’s little embarrassing when my son proudly tells the girl next door that she has a vagina, but would it be less embarrassing if he called it a hoo-ha?
    The thing is, for this guy, I think it would be. He seemed genuinely scared of the words themselves – like teaching his son to call it a penis would lead to a life of moral degeneracy.

  23. Nerdypants
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    “to strip our little girls of their natural inclination toward modesty”
    Well, someone has obviously never met a little girl. When my sister and I were little, we would sit shirtless in the front yard shucking corn. In full view of the road. Natural modesty my ass.

  24. erinelizabeth
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    My mom told me just the other day about when I was in elementary school and about to start sex ed, a neighborhood parent came to the door with a petition to against it. Her argument was, “They’re going to teach our children words like penis and vagina!!” The daughter of a physician who had always used clinical language, my mom politely demurred to sign. Now she wishes her response would have been, “What words would you like them to be using? Cunt? Dick?”

  25. FrumiousB
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    sex is merely a tool to be used for advancement
    I’m pretty sure it was my mother’s generation that was taught that, not mine. Some women still do sleep their way to the top, but it’s not usually a requirement anymore in most fields.

  26. llevinso
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I dunno. Might want to take another look “down there,” (I can’t use the real terms because that would be dirty) you’re probably really a boy. I bet that would be Miriam Grossman’s analysis. She’s a doctor you know!

  27. Kim C.
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    The answer is that they don’t want them to be using ANY words, because having a vocabulary that includes words for genitals means that, horror of horrors, they might actually know that these things EXIST, and worse-! that they can be USED, and then they might…they might…

  28. Tracey T
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Precisely what I thought too. Apparently quite a few people seek out sex, wether w/a regular partner or one night stand, when feeling depressed.
    But, don’t you know it’s still the fault of feminism? Afterall, feminism makes women depressed and sexual active. Therefore, depressed women wanting sex is feminism’s fault..duh.

  29. Ian
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    What sex ed class is she sitting in? I’m still in highschool and went to the female sex ed class. (I’m FTM) They just talked about shaving legs, washing your face/skincare, periods and birth. Then I had a co ed health class, which was just health. (Like food and such) They threw around the “Abstinence” to describe all behaviors. (Funny side story, my friends announced to the class they practice abstinence daily by not using creamy salad dressings.)

  30. Thomas
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    So, so right on. I wrote a piece called “Wipe Your Shame-Cave, Honey” a while ago about teaching my kids proper names. That’s the baby-steps of healthy sex ed.

  31. hellotwin
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    You had sex ed in elementary school?? Wow.

  32. beth
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget about the possible 3rd factor. Just because X and Y have a positive or negative correlation doesn’t necessarily mean anything. There could be a multitude of other factors causing either an increase in sexual partners or an increase in depression, so they may not even be linked at all if they happen to occur during the same time period.

  33. Shy Mox
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I can’t express how much this makes me angry. I think I need to go have casual sex to blow off steam.

  34. Therese
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    These conservatives are, in the words of Lewis Black, “stone cold fuck nuts!”

  35. llevinso
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Be careful. That will just make you depressed!

  36. Chris
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    “to strip our little girls of their natural inclination toward modesty and replace it with an attitude of sexual dominance.”
    OH NOS, NOT THAT.

  37. Marj
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, I had sex-ed starting in grade 5. But I’m Canadian–we’re weird like that.
    We also got taught about contraception and STDs. Yuppers, that made me want to go right out and get laid, that did.

  38. llevinso
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m from Chicago and I had comprehensive sex ed starting in 5th grade as well.

  39. SaraLaffs
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Sex is good for boys, duh. Not sure who they’re supposed to be having sex with, since sex is so very harmful for females…

  40. englishteacher
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m from Michigan – and a conservative part, too!
    In 5th grade we separated into boys and girls, and I learned about periods/menstruation and how to use pads and tampons. We also covered the fact that we were growing breasts and hair in “strange places.” Our school guidance counselor explained to us that sex was private, between two people who loved each other. Seven years later, my friends and I would see this same woman do the orgasm monologue at Vagina Monologues our senior year…
    In middle school, I remember hearing sex mentioned as something “special” between people who love each other. Then in high school, part of our health class included STIs (kicked off with a “Slideshow of Horrors” on Halloween), childbirth, and contraceptives. My county has the highest teen birth rate in the state, so I’m not sure how many high schools in the area have comprehensive sex ed. But I’m glad mine did!

  41. SaraLaffs
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    If memory serves, it was my “natural inclination toward modesty” that kept me from kicking my rapist in the tender parts and screaming bloody murder (that sure worked out well), while it’s my “attitude of sexual dominance” that gives me the confidence to say “this is what I want, and this is what I don’t.”

  42. MiriamCT1
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Miriam Grossman, get the hell away from my little girl, you fucking creep.

  43. allieb87
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I think that every time I have casual/premarital sex (’cause let’s face it… they’re pretty much the same thing) from now on I’m going to scream, “This is for you Miriam Grossman!” at the top of my lungs when I orgasm.
    Do you think that will weird my partner’s out?

  44. MASHBengal
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    This writer’s ideas on sexuality really reminds me of my mom who blamed everything from my depression, anything in my body hurting and this one flu I got because I had sex. And please… no one tell me she put that much in…

  45. Megs
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I saw this book at work and just thought it was oh so special…endorsed by Dr. Laura…who has her PhD in Physiology…so I knew right away it was to be one of these very special books to tell us that despite studies and results, that suggest contrary actions be taken, we should make sure that our girls are protected from teh sex…and that they know that they should wait for teh sex…and the boys…well they just can’t help themselves the poor dears…(never mind that girls actually can enjoy teh sex shhhhhhh…and shame of all shames…girls can actually make grown, mature decisions to have teh sex because they want teh sex)

  46. allieb87
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    *partners not partner’s
    Sorry… I was a little drunk when I wrote this. I just spend so much time hanging out in bars having casual sex and being depressed that it’s hard to use apostrophes correctly.

  47. larana
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Jessica, I just recently read The Purity Myth. I loved it. Very well written. I look forward to your future work.

  48. Salad
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    the sacred and basic building block of all civil societies – is a little girl.

    Ok, what? It’s very bothersome that a female is considered a keystone in society only as a child. Grossman’s argument that sex always damages women banks heavily on the assumption that women are like children and incapable of self-determination or sexuality. Now, Grossman is casting child-like passivity as a chief feminine virtue, which we should all be ashamed of trying to erode with things like education. But really it’s no suprise that the little girl is put on a pedestal in Grossman’s idealized family. The mother is dirty– she had sex after all.

  49. Zailyn
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    If the “natural inclination towards modesty” can be “stripped away” simply by telling a girl what her body parts are called and how sex works, it’s certainly not particularly natural, now is it?

  50. nurgetts
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Englishteacher!
    Just wanted to reply to your comment! The sex education you had at your school sounds very similar to mine. I am from the UK…..only mentioning this in case anyone wants to compare.
    You wrote that your sex ed. was “comprehensive”.
    And I am not arguing with you here (just to clarify)…. more with a sexist system that considers what was taught to you (and to me) a good, all-round basic teach on young women’s sexuality.
    I wsa taught all the same stuff as you….periods, pads, sex between two people and std’s.
    While these are all very important – even at the time I was being taught this (I was 14, I think), I remeber feeling cheated.
    Where was the education on the sexual desires I felt? Where was the education on masturbation being as good for girls as boys? What do I do when I am with a boy (I am heterosexual) and I get those sexual feelings that make me want to go further?
    It seems to me that even progressive sex ed., still only teaches young women the tiresome ‘gatekeeper’ role in sex. That our bodies have periods and babies….but that we do not have the same sexual responses as boys.
    As I spent some years in education, like you (I assume from your username), I have been considering making these points to the LEA (Local Education Authority) and asking why this is so.
    We have to get away from this silly idea that women just do not enjoy and have sexual feelings. If we keep them in the gatekeeper role…and give them absolutely no understanding of their own sexual responses – they will grow up feeling ashamed. I know that that’s how I felt at the time.
    As I said – I am not contradicitng your comment…just making a point leading on from it. Sorry this is so long-winded!

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