Girls Gone Wild

Ken AshfordSex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Garance Franke-Ruta writes an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing that there oughta be a law preventing young women from the age of 18 to 21 from exposing themselves for video purposes.  She’s talking primarily about the "Girls Gone Wild" videos, where (I’m told) drunken college girls lift their bikini tops to give a cheap thrill to men who presumably get off watching that sort of thing on their DVDs.

Ruta’s argument in support of her proposal boils down to this: these young women will do something that they will regret for the rest of their lives, it will come back to haunt them, and so on.

I assume she means it when she makes this argument, but there is something about this proposal which strikes me as overly-paternalistic.  What is it about conservatives and women’s private parts? 

Look, young MEN between the ages of 18-21 do things that they may later regret in life — enlisting in the Army perhaps.  Should the government step in there and criminalize that behavior?

Should the government step in and protect these people from themselves?  And isn’t that the sort of big-government-instrusion that conservatives (supposedly) are against?

There are laws against child pornography, as there should be.  There are legal limitations on the exposure (no pun intended) of adult pronography, as there should be.  But there is also the First Amendment, which protects the freedom of expression.  If young adults screw up — well, they ARE adults, right?

Moreover, it seems to me we ought to be worrying more about other things which can hurt young adults, and stop being puritanical about sex.  Or, as one female blogger put it:

Being indentured for the rest of your life by student loans or foolish credit card decisions could just end up being a life-ruining thing, though. But we don’t seem to get nearly as upset about that.

But I wish Garance would rethink her whole approach. The problem isn’t that girls get drunk and flash for the camera. The problem is that we still raise kids to think there is something dirty about sex, and we never quite get over it.