Friday, September 14, 2012

Teen Dating, Arranged Marriage, and Hating on Women's Bodies

Two best things I've read this week:  

An Anti-Teen-Dating Diatribe

Syrian-born, U.S.-raised author, poet and scholar Mohja Kahf, on the double standard applied to "teen dating" and "arranged marriage" in the West.
Teen dating supplanted family-based courtship in the U.S. fifties. Sure there was dating before, but only for adults. Whole industries spawned to support teen dating, and now the entire culture seems to assume it is a universal human right.
Cotillion pressure begins early in Aunty Mohja’s Southern hometown. Mothers gussy up eleven-year-old daughters in strapless gowns to be pawed awkwardly by boys at a school dance where lights are low and paper decorations evoke adult notions of “romance.” Fathers grin and push seventeen-year-old sons out the door with car keys and hotel reservations for this bizarre ritual called “prom.”  Oho, Aunty Mohja went to American high school and knows all about prom night.
This, but delicate sensibilities are shocked, shocked, at traditions of teen marriage among some sectors of Muslims. Aunty Mohja is not saying early marriage is best. But compare the two customs, both acknowledging teen sexuality. For Muslim parents to provide a nubile woman with a reliable life partner, with whom she can build a home as well as satisfy her sexual desires—someone who bears witnessed responsibility if she conceives a child, in a union nurtured by surrounding family—this is oppressive, while parents providing ill-prepared teens with the means for furtive groping amid all sorts of conflicting messages about what they are to do in this badly set-up ritual, that’s benign?
This is a must-read

Tennis: Serena Williams and Taylor Townsend - Race, Weight, USTA, and US Open

Cliff Potter on why the #1 junior tennis player in the world almost didn't get to play in the U.S. Open.  Funny, I watched a lot of the Open and heard nothing about that.  Why?  Could it be because Patrick McEnroe, who made that horrendous decision, is part of the broadcast team?  Can you say "conflict of interest?
Serena Williams has a body that is bodacious in all respects. Totally dissimilar to most bodies on tour, men and women.
Williams' physique is shared with Taylor Townsend, a 16 year old African-American and the number 1 seed in the girl's juniors in singles. Taylor lost on Friday in the junior girl's US Open singles tournament, but won the US Open girls doubles title.
Like most of us, you would have thought nothing of Taylor Townsend's weight or race.
But you are not the USTA and Patrick McEnroe, at least as to weight.
Read about what happened to Taylor, her response and how Serena Williams stood up for her and made the federation back down.

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