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From the Pages of Z Magazine, September, 1997
Pol Pot And Kissinger
From Welfare to Profit Shares
Market Democracy in a Neoliberal â€¦
Disney, Southern Baptists, & Children's â€¦
Henry A. Giroux
A Tale of Fear and â€¦
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The Church of Chastity Belts
mostly gals) should refrain from having sex until they are in a monogamous marriage when, presumably, sex will not cause STPs, pregnancy, and heartache. We saw vivid slides of the ravages of herpes, chlamydia, human papilloma virus, all prepared by an Austin, Texas group called Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MISH). We learned the shocking statistic that less than 7 percent of men and 20 percent of women ages 18 to 59 in this country were virgins on their wedding night! That's a lot of social evil.
We also attended a rally of the Pure Love Alliance, a non-profit group of 700 virgins and "renewed virgins" promoting chastity before marriage (signs read: "Condoms Don't Protect the Heart"; "Sex Can Wait"; "Virgin: Teach Your Kid It's Not a Dirty Word."). Said one gal rally speaker: "Abstinence is not a restriction. It makes you free--free from STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and heartbreak.
The impetus for this abstinence movement has come from right wing Christians (God love em, and he does) and the recent welfare law passed by Congress, who, by the way, are experts on sexual abstinence and monogamous marriages. Part of this law includes $250 million funding for abstinence-only education in all 50 states. The statute says things like: "A mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity." The money cannot be used for programs that encourage factual discussion of contraception, abortion, homosexuality, or the use of condoms as a means of avoiding STPs.
I can't tell you how inspiring this was. Naturally, we took our preteen and teen daughters along to the rally. (We didn't take our teen sons, because, let's face it, they're going to have sex. I mean boys will be boys. We also didn't take our husbands because, well, you know how men our. It's their natures.)
We also like the Sacred Chaste movements emphasis on positive approaches to abstinence. The Washington, DC school systems have a "Best Friends" mentoring system that's been in effect for a decade now. Pregnancy rates for young women are dramatically lower. "Best Friends" starts with fifth and sixth grade girls, offering them a positive sense of their life's responsibilities, reinforced by relationships with adults (they don't seem to have a program for boys, probably because they also realize that boys will be having sex--we're not sure who with, but the less said the more funding we get).
Also at the rally we learned that the average age of marriage is now 27 for men and 25 for women, so this movement really has its work cut out for it. That's why we gals decided to help the Sacred Chaste movement out by forming The Church of the Sacred Chastity Belt. Rallies and educationals are fine but sometimes you just have to get more militant. At the Church of the Sacred Chastity Belt we use the same fear tactics as the Sacred Chaste movement, but we also use the tried and true Billy Graham technique of getting young gals so moved by the Abstinence message that they come forward to the altar. Then we whisk them downstairs and clamp that chastity belt in place after taking a $50 "donation."
We are also blocking the entrances to Women's "Clinics" all over the country, and when gals try to get in or out, we snap those belts in place. And we are currently lobbying for legislation that would require chastity belts for all girls from puberty to marriage (we don't see the point of chastity belts for boys, because, let's face it, boys are going to have sex, no matter what). If our legislation passes, that belt will stay on until the wedding night, there'll be none of this having sex once you get engaged. What was good for the Victorians is good for the 21st century. There were no social evils back in the good old 1880s.
But there's another reason we decided to start The Church of the Sacred Chastity Belt. There's another movement afoot. I don't know if you've heard about it: it's called Virtual Simplicity. According to the Boston Phoenix of May 30, it's a new American faith which the Phoenix calls "The Church of Thrift." It's about middle class people, who can't afford stuff, getting rid of what little they have as a political statement so they won't feel bad about not being able to afford stuff. I'm sure you'll agree that sexual abstinence is good for the country, but economic abstinence is not. It's anti-American, anti-democracy. Democracy means shopping incessantly. It means choosing between Pepsi and Coke (possibly Mountain Dew); Nike and Reebok (possibly New Balance); McDonalds and Burger King (possibly Wendy's).
It occurred to us that these Just Say No movements might be the cause of all this un-American activity by the middle class (by the way, not buying stuff if you're working class, or living below the poverty level, means you're poor; not buying stuff when your middle or upper class means you're subversive or making a statement worthy of notice in a counterculture paper like the Phoenix, whose survival depends on selling stuff to the middle class.)
What if Sacred Chaste carried over. Saying no to sex, drugs, and rock and roll is a good thing, but saying no to toys at Christmas is not good at all. It's anti-Jesus, therefore anti-democracy.
Fortunately, we gals happened to read about a British study of buying habits (Boston Globe, "Sex and the Forgetful Shopper"). The results of this study have led research psychologists to conclude that sex and shopping are inexorably linked! What a relief.
Yes, researchers found that women with disappointing sex lives get a buzz from shopping. There is a sense of it being an illicit thrill, forbidden fruit (especially if you can't afford it and must run up the credit card). When they shop, women linger, men get it over with. Women are turned off by having to take men along when they shop because it's like taking your husband along on a date with a lover.
At Hotel Satire, we thought, Why not put these two together--Sacred Chaste meets the Shopping Buzz. In fact, we almost got the feeling that the Sacred Chaste movement was created because gals have been having sex willy nilly, causing a consumption crisis and threatening corporate profits, oops, I mean democracy as we know it.
Spurred on by the British research, the Church of the Sacred Chastity Belt doesn't just focus on not focusing on sex. We have a positive spin to our campaigns, by offering shopping as a substitute for sex. We've had hundreds of "Just Say Charge It" rallies at shopping centers and malls across the country. First we scare gals about the dangers of STPs, pregnancy, and emotional heartbreak. Then we work the crowd into a frenzy, so to speak, by presenting visually enhanced products for sale right there and then. We always offer some products that are "illicit."
For instance, there are two items that have been recently banned, and they caused a real stir, if you catch my meaning. There both computer games. "Carmageddon" was taken off the shelves at Wal-Mart, the other was taken off the Internet. The purpose of Carmageddon was to mow down as many pedestrians as possible with your choice of rip-snorting machine. Pedestrians were depicted as the scum of the earth, borderline "sociopaths, i.e., Nazis, rednecks, black pimps, OJ clones, punk rockers, nerdy Wall Street types, and nympho leather queens.
The other game was based on the massacre of 16 children and their teacher in Scotland. It invited players to shoot at children; those who hit all targets with the fewest bullets were awarded fictional accolades. We cant believe these games were censored. Pre-marital sex is immoral and disgusting and evil, but selling stuff for profit is a sacred thing.
The Church of Sacred Chastity Belts will be coming to your town mall soon. Come on down. Bring your daughters. Dont bother with your sons, because, lets face it, theyre gonna have sex. Enough said. And dont bring your husbands, because, well, you know how men are about you know what.