Saturday, June 18, 2011

Anna Broadway on "The Cult of the BLEEP," in Christianity Today!

A Vibrant Thingy
(Image from Christianity Today)

Remember the old joke that began with an abrupt outcry:
"Or gas 'em!"
Pause . . . as folks look at you in astonishment. Then:
"Or electrocute 'em! Or shoot 'em! Somethin's gotta be done 'bout criminals these days!"
That was sort of funny back in the days when sex had become just mentionable enough to warrant risking such a risqué joke, but that old joke's probably not funny anymore because open talk about sex is so common these days that Evangelical Christians can now hear entire sermons on what I'll refer to as "Bat Masterson." Even Christianity Today is grabbing hold of this thorny topic:
Cultural mores are changing, The [New York] Times reports; once available mainly in dimly-lit sex shops, vibrators for women are now being sold in national chain drugstores, a supposed sign of women’s empowerment: comfort with discussing and pursuing not just sex but that sometimes-elusive hallmark of "success," an orgasm. The Times credits this shift to many factors, but inevitably certain TV shows are said have played a role in the vibrator boom.

With the ranks of single Christian women unlikely to shrink anytime soon, it's doubtful we have entirely opted out of buying into this trend, since we navigate the same cultural milieu as women outside the church. Aren't we, too, struggling with some measure of sexual disappointment and frustration? Though many of us are likely too shy or conscience-stricken to purchase a vibrator, masturbation has been a topic of debate among evangelicals, with some concluding that it's an acceptable way to wait until marriage for sex (assuming sex requires a partner). How should Christian women respond to the vibrator trend and its broader message of sexual empowerment?
That's from Anna Broadway's recent Christianity Today article on "The Cult of the BLEEP"! Except that she doesn't bleep it out. And she makes the following observation about that device in the image above:
It's not a man, but it's meant to resemble one.
Right. Men look exactly like a wiener. Well, I suppose that Weiner, anyway, looks a lot like one now, given all his recent 'junk' mail, but Broadway doesn't touch that story with even a ten-foot pole. Aside from her observation on what a man putatively looks like, Broadway's article is not especially penetrating -- though the comments that follow certainly are! -- but the fact that such a piece can now appear in a national Christian magazine of conservative stance speaks fascinating volumes about how far American culture has shifted on sexuality since the 1950s.

I suppose that this is a good thing since there's more honesty and understanding among conservative Christians about sexuality these days than there used to be.

But I still can't quite feel comfortable sitting through sermons about Bat Masterson shooting off his six gun in our wild, wild West . . .

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At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh Jeff?




At 6:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Don't you mean "Never-bleeping-mind, JK"?

Jeffery Hodges

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