Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thoughts and Things: Breastfeeding, Facebook, Obscenity and Idiocy | Articles, Commentary and Website Reviews

Obscenity - what idiocy. Read the following link for a very funny detail of American life: Thoughts and Things: Breastfeeding, Facebook, Obscenity and Idiocy | Articles, Commentary and Website Reviews

My own musings:

The Strange Case of A Different Morality

For us, sin essentially is what our religion teaches us to be sin. However, no matter how religious we are (and what religion we adhere to), we have developed a sense of right and wrong from what the society we live in, thinks.

Life in Germany, where I was born and where I grew up, may be much closer to life in the United States than life in Kasakhstan is to the United States. However, one things really startles me: People in the United States are more open to violence than they are to sex.

The most striking evidence of this is zapping through TV on mid-afternoon. You won't see naked women or naked men on TV here in the United States, no couple cuddling in bed, but you will see lots of car chasing, gun fire and on-screen deaths. Like it was much more natural to fire a gun, or die from it than to have, well, a body.

But it goes beyond that. When American actors shoot sex scenes, they often wear body suits that look like skin, so that TV viewers may think they are naked whereas they are not, and girls are curled up in bed, often holding the blanket up to their chin. I never had a girl who did this. But perhaps I will soon have my first American girl-friend and she will do exactly the same. Which I somehow doubt.

Small sidenote: When mermaids are portrayed, they of course have something covering their breasts. Whyever. In none of the old books was a mermaid ever portrayed like this. There really seems to be deeply hidden fear of breasts in American society.

But the American angst of sex is not only limited to TV screens. When using internet message boards sometimes word filters are set. They filter the word sex, but not the words gun-violence. Which is a strange perspective from which to look at the world, isn't it? Or why would someone want to abolish sex, but not gun-violence?

When I ask colleagues and friends, they always reply it's about religion. But why is it? As far as I know, the pilgrims were essentially religious minorities that wanted to flee persecution. And yes, they had rather Victorian ideas of puritanism. But that's a couple of years ago, and Europe doesn't really keep up the Victorian ideas of Christianity anymore - so why does the United States? It can't just be about religion. Because we in Europe also have strong religious ideals and go to Church, and yet we don't think that nudity is rooted in hell.

Some even say "it's catholic", when asked about the American angst of sex. Well, it can't. Because I'm catholic. I grew up in a small, very catholic village. We went to church every Sunday. But noone would ever have thought that sex is something evil. Yes, there were more than a couple of people in my village that were convinced that sex should only be happening in a marriage. But noone opposed the TV program because of that, and some (albeit very few) of those who believed sex to be a marriage special, were nudists and at least were not freightened by nudity.

When you look down in history, Christianity didn't block nudity at all times. Back in Roman times, the early times of Christianity, Christianity did indeed oppose some practices used in orgies (although not all) - mainly related to the intercourse practices of old men with pre-teen boys. But it was rather late in the evolvement of Christianity that nudity was considered something bad, for about 300, 400 years. However, in the United States from 1950/60 on, sex remained more of a dark art, whereas Europe learned to re-accept it as part of life.

So, why is it that the United States learned to accept weapons more as a part of life than nudity?

Also, it's very funny to talk to Americans about that. Some parents actually believe that it damages their children somehow to see a naked breast (or, as they told me, some parents take highly care not to be seen naked by their children). The fact that generations of children in Europe grew up with naked girls on TV and naked parents in the bathroom and that many of those children grew up quite normally (some now working as renowned scientists in the US) and without having had any "brain damage", is of no interest to them.

On the other hand, the dating habits in the United States are much, much more based on sex than they are in Europe. Where I'm from, it is not unusual to date a girl for, let's say, four, five or even six months before sleeping with her. That's not always the case, of course, but when it happens, it happens. And if you really like someone, where's the harm in getting to know her better, before going to bed? Here in the United States nearly everyone told me that it would be considered strange if you go out more than three or four times with a girl without "getting her laid".

And this makes the Strange Case of A Different Morality even stranger: Although in Europe sex isn't over-emphasized nor understated, people seem to handle it quite normally. They treat it as part of their relationship. In the United States, however, where they try to cross sex out of the public eye, people tend to focus on sex a lot more when thinking about the other gender (or when seeing a naked breast).

Well, I can't really say why it's different in America. But I hope I won't get used to it so fast.

If you want to read more about this, I suggest browsing the following blogs: