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Why Can't I Get These Assignments

The conclusion of Caitlin Flanagan's long article on blowjobs is both wrong and also almost silly, but it's very long and mostly hilarious. I have a web subscription to the Atlantic and I can't figure out if this is free content or not. To pluck out a good excerpt at random:

Blowjob nation has also been blamed on "abstinence only" sex-education programs. In this line of thinking the evil Republicans have made such a fetish of the intact hymen that teenagers—parsing the term "sexual abstinence" with Jesuitical precision—have decided to substitute oral sex for intercourse, thereby preserving their technical virginity. I'm no fan of these programs. In light of advances in birth control and the economic advisability of delaying marriage until after the college years, sexual purity seems a goal best advanced by those religions that advocate it, not by our public schools. But even if "abstinence" is at stake, why would girls voluntarily turn to giving blowjobs? Whatever happened to the hand job? Whither the dry hump? Why do girls prefer the far more debasing, uncomfortable, and messy blowjob? And why are they apparently giving them out so indiscriminately? These are questions that none of the usual suspects can answer.

Wherever there's a girl gone wild, there's a gender-studies professor not far behind, eager to blame her actions on the patriarchy. One of these is NYU's Julian Carter, who says that oral sex among young teen girls is part of a complex power dynamic, one that is familiar to people who know how Carol Gilligan's influential book In a Different Voice has dominated feminist thinking. Says Carter: "It's precisely at this age of early adolescence that … girls' sense of self-worth changes dramatically … this is when they are finding out they have less power within a patriarchal system …" According to Carter's theory, the girls are apparently suffering from a severe form of Stockholm syndrome, and have reacted by performing oral sex on their wily captors.

The problem with this idea is that surely the patriarchy was far stronger and more oppressive in the 1950s. But you don't find Betty—or even Veronica—cravenly servicing Archie and Jughead.

Not even Veronica!

January 12, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

What's the research like for writing such an article?

Posted by: Al | Jan 12, 2006 3:57:59 PM

I guess that Caitlin will regret this column, some years from now, when parts of it are quoted back to her in some jokey context.

She probably missed all the sly references in the Jetson's if she thinks that about Betty and Veronica.

Posted by: Gotham Image | Jan 12, 2006 4:06:28 PM

We have an interesting conversation between Kristol and Bush posted on our blog. You may laugh, but this is one of the topics that doesn't come up.

Posted by: Gotham Image | Jan 12, 2006 4:09:51 PM

Has it occurred to anyone that girls like to do it?

Posted by: JR | Jan 12, 2006 4:31:03 PM

Some old geezer has to voide regrets about how things weren't like that in his day. Consider it done.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Jan 12, 2006 4:32:31 PM

Has it occurred to anyone that girls like to do it?

This could be a very interesting debate...

Posted by: latts | Jan 12, 2006 5:10:34 PM

Matt, please note the exemplary use of "whither" in the first paragraph you cite.

Despite which, I'd have loved to see this post titled "Wither Blowjobs?"

Posted by: live | Jan 12, 2006 5:15:54 PM

These posts are enough to make an old man (33) bitter. Where the $%@! were all these casual blowjobs when I was young and horny?

Kids these days. Man are they cool.

Posted by: realish | Jan 12, 2006 5:38:32 PM

I don't know, I mean I don't think I'm a wily captor of my girlfriend, nor is she of me.

Posted by: gary | Jan 12, 2006 5:41:25 PM

Well, Matt, you could try to pitch them.

Posted by: TJ | Jan 12, 2006 6:25:15 PM

Clearly, all the blame actually lies with the increasing social acceptance of homosexuals and bisexuality. As the Onion Article put it - why do all these gay guys keep sucking my cock? The Answer: 'Cause it's awesome to have a hard shaft in the throat. And since gay guys are happy to do it, and straight guys increasingly don't feel ashamed to tap that resource a little, women have no choice to start sucking or lose out to the competition.

P.S. This is a joke. Kinda. I really think it's 'cause women enjoy sucking the cock. And, to be honest, I don't understand why anyone doesn't.

Posted by: MDtoMN | Jan 12, 2006 9:09:01 PM

Veronica always struck me as the handjob type . . .

Posted by: Randy Paul | Jan 12, 2006 9:35:15 PM

Veronica likes it in the keister.

Posted by: Mr. Weatherbee | Jan 12, 2006 11:27:55 PM

You never saw Robin cravenly servicing Batman either, but was there any doubt that it happened? Was not the entire dynamic of the Archie comics his dilemma between Veronica's sexual availability (not actually depicted, it's true) and Betty's social status??

This is Jonah Goldberg's lucky day. He has finally been beaten in the contest for most amazingly stupid sentence of the year. And good old David Brooks moves to the safe territory of #3.

Posted by: Mark Schmitt | Jan 12, 2006 11:35:15 PM

Are these young women not getting as good as they give? Youth today ....

Posted by: dc | Jan 12, 2006 11:36:09 PM

They post some bestiality comment spam on Mark Schmitt's blog, and next thing you know, he's making jokes about gay blowjobs! Where is Tipper Gore to protect our the innocence of our pundits from the depravity of the internets?

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jan 12, 2006 11:49:08 PM

Someone please link to the Unintentially Gay Comic Book Covers page - I can't find it.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jan 13, 2006 12:49:31 AM

Not just Stockholm syndrome, but a severe form of it. See, I don't think it's a crazy opinion that fifteen-year-old girls shouldn't be doling out blowjobs like birthday cupcakes, but it's hard to tell where the editorial wittiness ends and the researcher's claims begin. I just hate journalists.

Posted by: spacetoast | Jan 13, 2006 12:59:30 AM

Is this the Unintentially Gay Comic Book Covers page you were refering to?

Posted by: Polybius | Jan 13, 2006 2:03:23 AM

Adults are historically always freaked out by dirty dancing.

-----

The content is not free, and I'm a newsstand purchaser of The Atlantic, so I haven't read the story, and don't know its conclusions.

But that said, the rise of the blowjob is pretty easily explained by two separate factors working in tandem.

First is the low transmissibility of AIDS via oral sex. Moving casual sex from intercourse to oral sex is quite rational behavior in the age of AIDS.

Second is the rise of widespread accessibility to pornography. The blowjob photographs really, really well. The simultaneous rise in accessibility to hardcore pornography and the rise in prominence of the blowjob is no coincidence.

Any other questions?

Posted by: Petey | Jan 13, 2006 2:25:02 AM

Why do girls prefer the far more debasing, uncomfortable, and messy blowjob?

Who says that the girls are only giving? Maybe they like the tongue better than the hand, and feel that they "only get what they give?"

Posted by: Glaivester | Jan 13, 2006 6:56:19 AM

A friend of mine came home for Christmas from Austin TX, where shes spending a year at university. She's English, and she alleged that all the girls do anal! And the reason she was told for this was because they were abstaining from "sex", the silver ring thing or some other notion of holding onto their virginity until marriage. I thought she was joking but now I'm not so sure...

Posted by: phat dave | Jan 13, 2006 8:40:21 AM

Jughead? I think he means Reggie.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis | Jan 13, 2006 9:04:00 AM

SCMT, Polybius: In fact that series proves that Flanagan is wrong about Veronica.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Jan 13, 2006 9:04:09 AM

Mark Schmitt: Was not the entire dynamic of the Archie comics his dilemma between Veronica's sexual availability (not actually depicted, it's true) and Betty's social status??

But Veronica rather than Betty was the super-rich one. If Betty has greater social status it's probably because of her lack of sexual availability -- that is, she's a nice girl.

(I think Betty is supposed to be the nice girl. But now that I remember, the last Archie I actually looked at was the final battle for love series, in which Betty makes some headway by showing up in a dress that's basically missing a skirt and doing something that's described as "Dirty Dancing," or some phrase that's close enough that you can tell what they mean. And there's this and this. So maybe I'm remembering this wrong and Betty is sexually available.)

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Jan 13, 2006 9:12:34 AM

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