Portrait of a contemporary young woman
Regarding the entry
on the disappearance of 20 year old Morgan Harrington, who was walking alone, at night, dressed in a miniskirt, outside a concert arena near the Virginia Tech campus, and on the general subject of today’s young females who keep putting themselves in situations where they get raped or killed, a reader sends the following about her 21 year old stepdaughter. This is posted with her permission. :
The reader writes:
Because of the sensitive nature of what I’m writing (and please forgive the rather coarse language), I would prefer you not publish it—I share it to give the perspective of an adult woman who was once not entirely unlike these young women (trusting, wanting to be found attractive; however, I was not interested in sexually “liberated” behavior). My parents were conservative in their values, and wonderful people, but completely clueless about countering the liberal attitudes surrounding me. My mother was alarmed at my idiocy (my ideas more than my behavior, which was “prudish”), but my father didn’t really recognize my foolishness because I didn’t look “alarming”—even during a time when I didn’t have a great relationship with him (a problem of my own making), I didn’t look or behave like a tramp. I look back now and see how much trouble I could have gotten into, and think my mother’s ceaseless prayers were the only thing that prevented it—it certainly wasn’t my good ideas or decisions.
Nevertheless, times have gotten far worse. My peers and I were fresh-faced girls, who looked either athletic or “preppy”—we looked wholesome. Although I thought some were sexually active, it was not something we discussed because there was a belief that it was “slutty” behavior (and actually *talking* about it was certainly slutty). We went to school dances and “danced” in that self-conscious “don’t look at your partner and *certainly* don’t move around too much” way that was common until perhaps the mid-1980s. No one believed that the appropriate clothing accessory for a school dance was a pole. No adult had reason to want to turn the fire hose on us. Yet I also remember as a high school senior chastising a group of 9th grade girls for mocking one girl’s virginity—I was shocked and horrified. Overt sluttishness was on its way.
Now, all these years later, I read on your website so many accounts of foolish and stubbornly naive young women and think of our own 21-year-old daughter (my stepdaughter). No matter what we tell her, she dismisses every possible danger as the imagination of people who are hopelessly out-of-touch. Her two decades of life have given her infinite wisdom, whereas those of us who have lived twice as long and experienced life’s harsh realities apparently have nothing of note to say. It would be easy to say this is a product of the public school system and its liberal indoctrination, but she attended a private school her K-12 years. Even in this relatively conservative environment, children were encouraged to “think for themselves” and “challenge” received wisdom in the guise of “critical thinking.” Worse, her father and I constantly struggled against her mother, who is mentally disturbed and encouraged her to defy authority—all authority—and set the example for her by repeatedly defying our court-ordered custody (so much time had passed by the last custody enforcement hearing that the judge acknowledged his ruling was really a formality—our daughter was almost 18 and custody was now meaningless). By the time she reached adulthood, our daughter had become a sexually promiscuous know-it-all who makes the kinds of decisions these young women make.
Our story highlights the problems of a liberal society. Divorce, no matter the reason, is always harmful to children. Lazy, enabling/facilitating parents are also harmful to them. Only an intact family in which both parents are committed to instilling traditional values and willing to use the firm hand needed to protect their children will save those children from liberalism. Liberalism demands the whole sacrifice—physical and spiritual—of children on its altars, and the nature of liberalism is so pernicious that eventually those children will run headlong, arms widespread, to their own destruction.
I apologize that this is rather disjointed and clumsy. I do not know if what I have told you will add to your “mosaic of understanding” (to risk sounding like a Women’s Studies professor), but this is my hope.
Thanks for this. I won’t post without your ok.
Among your concerns about your stepdaughter, are you concerned that she is putting herself in situations where she could get raped or killed? Assuming the answer is yes (since that is my topic that you are responding to), then do you show her news stories (the kind I highlight at VFR) about such young women?
Thank you. I do not mind if you publish any of what I say in this regard if it is useful to you, but would ask you use me anonymously in reference to this topic.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 30, 2009 11:02 AM | Send
Yes, our daughter puts herself in all sorts of dangerous situations, and frankly, my prayer is that she does not wind up on a slab somewhere (after awhile, prayers get pretty basic). As she is 21 and no longer under any parent’s roof, and in fact lives in a neighboring state, we shudder to think of those situations we don’t know. Of those we do, her most recent stunt (a word that doesn’t quite capture the dangerous idiocy) was to climb into the second floor of an abandoned building with other females “to eat some fast food” they had bought. We know alcohol, and probably drugs, must have been involved—nice girls don’t just happen to know the whereabouts of abandoned buildings. She managed to fall on her way out and required stitches to a serious gash to her chin, which didn’t knock any of sense into her. She lives in an apartment with two other young women who are terribly concerned about, and fed up with, her behavior (we get a good bit of information from them). Her behavior includes staying out all night, bringing strangers from a bar home “to talk,” and quite probably, bedding down with any male who shows interest. Interestingly, she is not interested in ethnic minorities, although given her complete lack of standards in all areas, I find it difficult to believe this is a standard, but rather some unearned notion of superiority.
Both her father and I have done everything we can think of to show her how dangerous the world is. We live in an upscale area, but it is not immune to the criminal element (and is to some extent targeted for burglaries, despite security guards cruising the area). I have explained that I will not walk our rather large dog in the dark because it is foolish. Meaningless. Last year a woman was raped in her home a few blocks away. Meaningless. A roving thug looking to burglarize stabbed a prominent elderly man to death on his front lawn in broad daylight. Meaningless. I’ve shown her story after story about women who were raped and/or murdered in their own homes. Nothing. Pointing out the horrible fates of those who have placed themselves in dangerous situations doesn’t cause a flicker of recognition that perhaps this is a bad idea. It is baffling that someone who has shown some intellectual capacity can be so utterly divorced from reality and incapable of connecting any dots. After some of her shenanigans, my husband and I have considered encouraging her to have a CT scan to see if she even has a brain (dark humor is about all we can muster about her). She seems to have thoroughly embraced the “invincibility fable” that nothing could possibly happen to her, particularly as she is “so good” at recognizing “a bad person” (anyone wanting to rape my daughter needs to put on a polo shirt and casually wave a handful of bills around—she’ll ignore everything else).
I don’t wish to sound hard—I love her, and I worry about her. But I also believe in looking unflinchingly at what is in front of us, and the young woman before us is the incarnation of liberalism’s ideals. You will probably not be terribly surprised to hear that she thinks she is “conservative.” Words fail.