Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Lie About American Prudishness

Posted by Teresa at 2:44 PM


I have heard this said several times and in various places (television and
in college) that Americans are prudish, especially compared to our European
friends. Are we more reserved than the Europeans? Perhaps. But by no means
are American prudes. The United States may have once been a puritanical
society but that is long gone.

Let me first just state the facts. Porn is a billion dollar industry in America.
I don't know if one can call a society that is so addicted to porn as prudish.
There are a few well known American celebrities who got their fame by making
sex tapes, for example, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. In a prudish society
they would treated like the plague but they are not. You can see them grace
(if you want to call it that) the covers of fashion magazines and they even have
their own television shows. Here is an interesting article on the pornification
of America.

Here is another fact that goes against the "Americans are prudes" argument:
40 percent of U.S. births are born out-of-wedlock. Having such a high number
of babies born out-of-wedlock doesn't sound like a symptom of a prudish society
in fact it suggests to me the opposite. Lots of people are having sex whether or
not they are married.

My third argument against the idea that Americans are prudes is simply a
subjective observation I've made. American media (movies, television, radio, etc.)
it is filled with suggestive material. It is hard to find a situational comedy that
doesn't have sexual innuendo and/or even stories about one-night hookups.
Movies are pretty explicit in sexual content especially the Wedding Crashers-
The Hangover- Step Brothers type films and they usually do well in the box office.
In a truly prudish society these movies would be met with scorn not laughter.

I have also heard it said that Americans are scared to talk about sex. Are we?
When we have a popular pastor in Dallas specifically talking about sex from
the pulpit, can we really say Americans have a fear about talking about sex?
If there is any place in this country were puritanical instincts exist that place
would likely be in the Church but I don't think that is the case.

Like I said earlier perhaps Americans are somewhat more reserved compared to
the French, Italians, and other European countries. But is that a bad thing? With
the percentage of French babies born to unmarried couples maybe Americans
shouldn't follow Europe's footsteps when it comes to this topic.
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