Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Camosy on the hook-up culture

As the father of three daughters, our society's increasingly mainstream hook-up culture is a painful subject.  (Last week at the gym I had the misfortune of watching a new gem from MTV, a show featuring the promiscuity of "Jersey Shore" played out in the lives of 15 year-olds.  If I didn't need my shoes on the treadmill, I would have thrown them at the television.)  Charles Camosy uses Easter as an occasion to reflect on where we are.  An excerpt:

Much of Western culture has reacted to the sexual oppression of the past by celebrating human sexuality, and this was a necessary and welcome change. But when what we celebrate is mere sexual choice—without examining and critiquing the social structures which lie beneath—we ignore another kind of sexual oppression in which the vulnerable get deeply and seriously hurt. In particular because women are most often the victims of this consumerist-driven sexuality, it is noteworthy that more academics are not driving the resistance against the hook-up culture. This is particularly troublesome given that, in other contexts where vulnerable or minority populations are being hurt by physical and structural violence (especially when it is driven by consumerism), academics often stand up in large numbers to be counted as energetic opposition against concepts of “freedom” that are unaware of or unconcerned with social structures.

Whatever our politics (and whatever our gender), our culture’s sexual practices are desperately calling out for renewal–and as an Easter people all of us must do a better job answering that call.


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One can only celebrate human sexuality when we orient ourselves to The Truth of Love, Who Has Revealed to us that any act, including sexual act, that is not Life-affirming and Life-sustaining, is not an act of Love. To celebrate mere sexual choice, is to celebrate the sexual objectification of the human person, which according to Christ, is to engage in the sin of adultery.

Posted by: N.D. | Apr 9, 2012 12:34:47 PM

Can anyone enlighten me on what, specifically, the (alleged) "sexual repression of the past" is a reference to?

Posted by: Dan | Apr 9, 2012 1:01:56 PM

Sure, Dan. Read this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexism or, for a short introduction, Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

(Also, Camosy refers to "oppression", not "repression." Related, perhaps, but different.)

Posted by: william brennan | Apr 9, 2012 1:37:18 PM

No doubt, there are those who claim Christ was mistaken when He said in regards to Sexual Love, "Have you not heard that from The Beginning, God created them male and female, and for THIS reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh..." (for example, post below)

Posted by: N.D. | Apr 9, 2012 3:24:03 PM

I've never seen Jersey Shore and I certainly (especially as the mother of a teen-age daughter) agree it is important to combat the hook-up culture. But I'm sorry - I was completely put off by the opening line of Camosy's piece: "So Easter has finally come, replete with lots of talk about 'renewing the face of the earth.' I can think of no better place to start than with our hook-up culture."

Really? There is no more important aspect of the Easter message and our call to renew the face of the earth than commenting on the hook-up culture"?

Is it any wonder many people think the only thing the Catholic religion cares about is sex?

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Apr 9, 2012 5:49:34 PM

Susan: I think it's virtually impossible to rank areas of culture in terms of their need for renewal -- suffice to say, there's plenty of need to go around. And I agree with what I think you're saying -- that the Easter message is a lot bigger than any specific area of cultural failure.

At the same time, I have a hard time thinking of many areas where the messages conveyed to young people by our culture are more dramatically opposed to the Gospel than when it comes to sex. A quick glance at the magazines in the supermarket check-out line or five minutes watching basic cable are enough to show us that things have gone seriously off-track. We're just beginning to see the social consequences of a generation coming of age with 24/7 porn, and I'm afraid things are going to get worse before they get better. And especially in this context, it's not just about "sex" -- it's about self-esteem and living as we were created to live.

Posted by: rob vischer | Apr 9, 2012 10:52:45 PM