Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic (April 2006)
This quote was written by the author, Ms. Flanagan, in response to letters sent to the editor about her article on teen sexuality that was recently published in the Atlantic. I remember reading the article and finding it very interesting.
I am including the quote in my blog and adding emphasis because I would like to express my agreement that our society is letting down today's young women by not teaching them how to achieve their dreams, goals and desires. I wonder how many of us in the company of tomorrow's adults (i.e., parents, educational providers, family members, etc.) even know exactly what their dreams and desires are. And if not, I wonder do we care to find out?
I would suspect that today's youth are full of dreams. I would also guess that the age-old goal of finding true love and receiving it might make their list of desires for the future. I could be wrong, and a formal survey might is definitely in order to establish this assumption as fact, but for the sake of limited time and resources, let's agree that many teens are interested in relationships and sex. I am around many parents and know that as a whole parents are very interested in helping their children succeed in school and at their extra-curricular activities. Many of us are also saving and sacrificing for their financial futures. But are we helping to guide today's youth toward achieving goals in their personal lives, for e.g.,in the areas of love and self-respect?
Today, young women are at a turning point in history. For the first time, we have reproductive and sexual freedom coupled with experience. In the sexual revolution of the 60's we had freedom, but not the experience. Today, we have a generation who has experimented with that freedom, making the young women of today knowledgeable about what sexual freedom does, and doesn't, give to a woman who chooses to use it indiscriminately.
But do today's young women really know? I would say that they know about sex, contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases. However, I wonder whether they have a view on changing societal norms and relationships between the sexes throughout history? What about love? Only perhaps if they are reading literature from different genres and time periods and/or are being educated in these subjects.
This is where I think our culture needs to step in and add to the knowledge of our young women and men so that the can have the power that comes with adequate knowledge. Freedom without knowledge is not power. It will only be when the kids today are equipped with how to achieve their goals can we say they are truly emanipated.