On the subtlety of thongs

By Eileen M. Ciesla
web posted April 1999

"It was just a small, subtle, flirtatious gesture."

With that, Monica Lewinsky unwittingly revealed that shame, dignity, sexual morality and self-respect barely cling to meaning at the close of this century. That she should describe her gestures as subtle is not completely inaccurate. To a generation raised in the aftermath of the sexual revolution, such behavior is tame. Certainly, Monica's methods of flirtation are familiar. Undoubtedly they were learned in the countless music videos, teenage dramas, and movies that reflect a 'liberated and less prude' social climate. A climate that promotes sexual experimentation as an adolescent rite of passage. She is the result of a social revolution that penalizes the woman who chooses to behave with grace, discretion and dignity, rather than peddle her anatomical wares for 'love'.

Thus, in an era of sexual promiscuity, moral relativism and juvenile exhibitionism, Monica is only average. Average in her desires, her needs and in her narcissistic pursuit of self-gratification. The only moment that caused her to feel shame was talk about the incriminating semen-stained dress, an object 'she found funny' and packed into a closet, absentmindedly.

A confused, immature, albeit delusional girl raised in an age that equates the flash of a thong with the batting of eyelids. Monica considered her actions coquettish. Her 'raising the stakes' of the 'dance' by pre-sexual revolution standards might be considered whorish. Bill Clinton's guileless encouragement could be called lecherous and perverted. Today, (by both parties' accounts) it barely passes for sex.

Sex is another word that joins the list of the maligned. The latest Clinton scandal has proven that linguistic rot has firmly taken root. The Clinton Administration might well be remembered for its legitimization of sexual double-speak. Bill Clinton's testimony and his defender's logic were a painful, sickening attempt to deconstruct the sex act to its most narrow understanding.

Deliberately and arrogantly, Clinton and his outspoken defenders stripped human sexuality to a brief and clinical exchange of bodily fluids. Clinton's deposition was an exercise in linguistic precision. Apparently, in Clinton's mind, the word 'is' is riddle with nuance. And yet 'sex' can only be used to describe the ultimate, unmistakable act of copulation.

Barely convincing. And it is also very telling that feminists should have accepted it.

Why the confused defense of an offender, by the extreme members of a movement who generally consider anything beyond a 'nonconsensual' handshake to be rape? The answer is found in a closer look at the word 'feminism'. To be a feminist, it would seem, one would first need to be a female chauvinist. That is, a feminist is one who zealously takes up the cause of women before all others. But feminism's agenda from its inception has been clear. Its aim is to support only a segment of women: those who blindly court the Democratic Party. Feminism in pursuing its blind allegiances to the Liberal Party, has betrayed itself as a mindless interest group, unable to engage in any form of objectivity where women are considered.

That feminism should be thus exposed is no great revelation. There is a far greater meaning to these events. If 'sex' and 'subtlety' are thus defined, no place is left for eroticism. The nuances of human sexuality and the ideal of romantic love which evolved as the human race grew into its maturity, are rendered meaningless if we are to believe that fellatio, phone sex and simulated sex with a cigar are nothing more than vague gestures. In this way human sexuality has been drained of its complexity by those 'free-minded' uninhibited spawn of the counter-culture, who claimed to be its liberators. The ideals of the much-mythified Sixties are quite present in the ever-mutating language of ambiguity: its most destructive and subtle creation.

Eileen Ciesla is an economist and a writer and has recently begun her own on-line women's magazine, Femme Soul.

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