Metaphorical Awards Show

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It would seem that the best a Christian can hope to learn about sexuality from Hollywood is what not to do. Paying attention to the metaphors Hollywood uses, it turns out that their message is more conflicted than it appears. Hollywood’s version of sexuality is less liberated than confused, less permissive than tragic.

Hollywood loves their awards shows. If I were ever asked to come up with the awards categories for a television awards show, these are the categories I would create:

And the award for best metaphor for virginity goes to… Kyle XY!

Kyle XY Title The third season of Kyle XY, ABC Family’s prematurely canceled superpowered teen drama, picked up exactly where the second season left off. Kyle and his scooby gang were at prom in the second season’s finale, and the third season premiered with the after prom party. In the finale, Kyle’s dad gave Kyle’s younger brother, fifteen-year-old Josh, a condom. At the after prom party, he and his girlfriend, Andy (who—in what is seemingly an attempt to shake the label that is in the name of the network, ABC Family, that it airs on—has two lesbian mothers), discuss whether they want to go all the way:

Andy: Let me guess. You’re thinking, “Are we really going to be that couple that went to prom and played video games all night?”
Josh: Maybe…a little.
Andy: So you really did want to?
Josh: Do you?
Andy: There are so many arguments against.
Josh: I know, the cliché of it all.
Andy: There’s that, and the what-happens-after.
Josh: I…I just want to get to the during.
Andy: Seriously, say you have this amazing pair of jeans. You love them, they feel great, and they hug your ass. And then you cut them off to make shorts. You can’t ever get them back.
Josh: So we’re the comfortable, ass-hugging jeans, but what if we’re not great as shorts?
Andy: Exactly, and I would hate myself if I gave up a great pair of jeans for some sucky, raggedy cut-offs.
Josh [obviously not getting the permanence of cutting the jeans]: I think the jeans are worth cutting so we can try them on as shorts at least once.
Andy: Josh, it will happen when it’s right—not because it’s prom night or because we’re supposed to. But when everything comes together in the moment, we’ll feel it. We’ll just know.

Cutting jeans to make shorts is a great metaphor for the permanence of giving up one’s virginity. I could imagine a youth pastor using a similar metaphor.

And the award for the best euphemism for losing your virginity goes to… 90210 for the phrase “going to Palm Springs!”

90210 Title When the school’s AC breaks down, classes are canceled for the day (“Love Me or Leave Me,” season 1, episode 13, televised January 13, 2009). Annie, who revealed she was a virgin during a girl’s slumber party in an earlier episode (“Secrets and Lies,” season 1, episode 9, televised November 4, 2008), secured keys to her rich grandmother’s vacation house in Palm Springs. She and her boyfriend, Ethan, plan a getaway…alone…and “we’re going to Palm Springs” quickly becomes code for “we’re going to have sex for the first time.”

The former series airs on ABC Family, and the latter caused a minor stir by portraying oral sex within the first five minutes of the pilot. Guess in which series the teens actually end up engaging in premarital sex. Contrary to what you would probably expect, Josh and Andy on ABC Family’s Kyle XY are the couple who decide to “try on the shorts.”

Ethan’s not a virgin (he was the recipient of the aforementioned oral sex), but although Annie said she was ready to go to Palm Springs, he realized he would be taking something from her that could never be given back. He explained she was different than the other girls because he really cared about her and didn’t want to hurt her. He was afraid if they had sex and then it didn’t work out between them that it would hurt her, so he wanted to wait until they were sure.

When Annie’s parents discover where she sneaked off to, they frantically rush to the vacation house. They are relieved to see through the window that their daughter is asleep in the bed—alone—and that Ethan is sleeping on the couch. Rather than disturb them, they have hot marital sex in their minivan.

In his column in WORLD magazine, Marvin Olasky, the editor-in-chief, stated that the pro-abortion media must be ever vigilant if they are going to convince us that they really believe what they preach about abortion (“Abortion heresy,” January 17, 2009). He cites a recent article in the New York Times in which Times journalist Alex Kuczynski recounted her fifteen failed pregnancies.

At one point, while describing a pregnancy that didn’t make it past ten weeks, Kuczynski refers to her “small dead baby” but quickly regained her vigilance and added that it was no more than a “coagulation of cells.” Finally the journalist and her husband decide to hire a surrogate mother. She describes how it was weird having her baby come out of another woman’s body and then reminisces, “My husband came out and sat next to me. He took my hand. ‘You gave birth to our baby,’ he told me. ‘The doctors went in and took our baby out of you 10 months ago.’” He was referring to when the doctor removed her eggs. Wait a minute! A pro-abortion journalist writing for a pro-abortion publication just let a paragraph slip in calling an egg—an unfertilized egg at that—a baby. Tongue firmly in cheek, Olasky advises the New York Times to fire the editor who let that paragraph slip by.

Juno Poster The screenwriter of Juno, Diablo Cody, says she’s pro-choice and doesn’t think there is anything pro-life about Juno. After letting Juno, Knocked Up, and Waitress slip through (and all in the same year nonetheless), Hollywood needs to be more vigilant if they really want us to believe they are committed to the abortion cause.

Likewise, the media needs to be much more vigilant if they expect us to buy they believe the permissive sexual ethics they preach. Both Kyle XY and 90210 recognize there is something sacred about sex. Unfortunately, the teens are left adrift without any objective standard to guide their sexual behavior. They’ll “just know” when the time is right. Once they finally give up their virginity, they will forever ask, “Was that really the right time?” This is especially tragic because it is possible to know when the time is right. The Bible provides an objective standard: the time is right once you’re married. You then can enjoy hot, passionate marital sex.

Matthew D. Miller is editor of Popsickle. He lives in Oklahoma City and enjoys reading, writing, and programming.
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