Talkin’ ‘Bout My [Judgmental] Generation

If what Jessica Grose writes in her recent article is true, my generation probably doesn’t listen to the The Who.   Sometimes called the Millennial Generation or Generation Y,  the generation of which I am a part is composed of people born in the mid-1970s to the early 2000s.

In her article, Grose describes the change in attitude towards sexual promiscuity from the baby boomer generation to the millennials.  The millennials are much less accepting of it than the boomers were.  They think it is so despicable that the old double standard of “promiscuous women are sluts, but promiscuous men are awesome” is fading away: millennials consider it just as unappealing for men to be promiscuous as it is for women.

Grose says that this change may be explained as the millennials reaction to what they see as the boomers’ immoral ways, or as the result of growing up in a “post-AIDS world,” where the dangers of promiscuity are frequently discussed in public fora.

It’s a good thing for that double standard, symptomatic of the “woman as property” line of thinking, to disappear, but is it a good thing for it to disappear as a result of an increase in behavior-disapproval, as opposed to a thought-out realization that it’s a ridiculous double standard?  I would argue that it is not.

I think its conceivable that disapproval of sexual promiscuity can influence thinking and opinion in regards to abortion and sexual offenders.  The more disapproving a person is of sexual promiscuity, the more likely it is that that person will not want abortions to be legal.  The disapproving person will not want promiscuous people to have such an “easy” way out of dealing with the consequences of their irresponsible actions (what a way to think of a baby!).

This attitude of the millennials is also dangerous in terms of the way it may shape public opinion or policy towards sexual offenders.  Already they are made out to be evil villains, incapable of reform.  A disapproval of sexual promiscuity among peers may lead to an even greater disapproval when it comes to sexual offenders.  Disclaimer:  In no way am I saying we should allow sexual offenders to continue to offend.  I’m saying that by continuing to vilify them, we’re not solving the problem.  The more a person feels like a social exile, the less likely that person is going to seek help.  Even if a sexual offender does attempt to get help, it is unlikely that a society who watches hours of Nancy Grace will welcome that attempt, thereby perpetuating the problem.

I feel compelled to make another disclaimer:  I am not promoting promiscuity, but simply highlighting the dangers that might accompany unexamined moral disapproval of it.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Talkin’ ‘Bout My [Judgmental] Generation

  1. bobhelfst

    Well informed and well argued. If this trend is a rejection of our parents’ values (or perceived lack thereof), how do we go about separating the personal perceptions from public opinion?

    Also, good of you to note the “Nancy Grace Problem.”

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