Into the Enemy’s Den

31 05 2010

Cherished readers, I was doing my usual daily blogroll this  morning, perusing the articles and links the denizens of the Internet saw fit to render up today, when I found myself upon this site. Yes, the legendary Focus on the Family, home of gay anti-gay activists and weirdly incestuous advice columns. Yet as much as I have heard about the horrors of FotF, I have yet to see them for myself. Join me, dear readers, as we plunge deep into this festering pile of bullshit. It’ll be fun.

On the opening page, we already meet with “What?” Not offensive “What?”, just confusing “What?”. One of the blurbs concerning a story about Prince of Persia reads : “This swashbuckling adventure includes a dash of romance and comedy, but it’s all set in a world of dark magic.” What? Why the “but”? The ‘dark magic’ is a selling point! At least to this fantasy geek, reared on fairy tales, Tamora Pierce, and Garth Nix. It probably has something to do with the whole Christian thing (though what is the Old Testament God except magical? The plagues of Egypt, Daniel in the lion’s den… but I digress.) Moving on.

So, being that it’s Focus on the Family, I look under the ‘parenting’ tab, and right away, something seems very, very off:

Blue Internet menu; under 'Parenting Topics' the options Effective Biblical Discipline, Protecting Your Family, Spiritual Growth for Kids, Sexuality (circled in red with a question mark), Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers, School-Age Children, Teens, Your Child's Emotions, Adoptive Families, Parenting Challenges, Parenting Roles, Single Parenting, Building Relationships, Parenting Community, and Parenting Resources

What the…? Why…? Do I want to know? Most of these things at least have SOME relationship to parenting, even if they sound vaguely threatening (“Effective Biblical Discipline,” I’m looking at you). Adoptive Families, Teens, Protecting Your Family- all standard operating procedure. But Sexuality? What the fuck? What does that have to do with parenting? Wouldn’t that be under “marriage,” being that, oh, you know, (most) married people have sex? I humbly submit that if your parenting requires sexuality, UR DOIN IT RONG.

Though perhaps I misinterpret. This is probably about the child’s sexuality- still a little bit freaky, but okay. Children, sometimes very young children, are sexual beings, and I’m sure parents often need help dealing with those issues. Are there really so many “my-three-year-old-daughter-is-masturbating” and “the-neighborhood-kids-are-playing-doctor” and “how-do-we-tell-little-timmy-about-the-stork” articles that you need a whole separate category?

Oh, no. Ooooooh no. I think I get it. I don’t want to get it. I don’t want to click through and have all my worst fears confirmed. I really just want to close the window, put down the laptop, and go admire the clematis. The weather is so beautiful outside, maybe I should dig my rollerblades out of the shed and…

Too late.

There are five little brown boxes about halfway down the page. The last one cracks me up: “When Children View Pornography.” It… it takes it so seriously! *gasp* Phew. Okay, okay, this is a legit problem and I am NOT going to refight the Porn Wars of the 80s here, so moving on and ignoring their undoubtedly pearl-clutching and sanctimonious advice. Okay, okay, I did click through a little bit- like you could resist a link titled “Advice for Parents of Teen Porn Addicts,” which sounds like the teens are in the porn rather than watching it. I was rewarded with this gem of a quote: “I was surprised that the first four callers identified themselves as sex addicts- three of which were female.” Oh my GOD, teenagers have sexual desire! Teenage GIRLS have sexual desire! Fetch the fainting couch, Martha!

Anyway, the next two boxes concern The Talk- pretty standard fare, even if their advice is probably painfully holier-than-thou- and one called “Prevent the Sexualization of Your Daughter.” Leaving aside the fact the sentence construction kind of turns her into an object, this title just makes me sad. I know most people who click through to this have their hearts in the right place and really do want to protect their daughters, but it’s fruitless. I’m sorry. I genuinely am. I’m so sorry. I know you would do anything to take care of your daughter, but she is already sexualized. Will always be. She was destined for sexualization the minute she came out of your womb with two X chromosomes into our rape culture. It is inescapable: she is female, and therefore sexualized. There is nothing you can do to prevent your daughter’s sexualization short of killing her or turning her into a boy. Though considering the dead-hot-girl complex our culture seems to have, and all the shit trans men have to deal with, even that might not save her. (PS: The answer to abolishing women as the sex class isn’t fundamentalist Christianity. It’s feminism. Case you were interested.)

The remaining two boxes are titled “Healthy Childhood Sexual Development” (the and “Teaching Children Healthy Sexuality.” The first one made me lol again, only because there is a “Prevention” tab underneath it. Prevent healthy childhood sexual development! But the second one creeps me the fuck out. Since when do parents teach their kids sexuality? Sexuality is an innate characteristic that each of us must figure out for ourselves. My parents damn sure didn’t teach me how to be queer- or lesbian, or straight, for that matter. They taught me how to cook, do laundry, tell funny jokes, and mow the lawn.

“For example, family is where young males can be mentored into responsible men who know how to safeguard sexuality and young females can be fashioned to cherish fidelity.” Oh, God, I’m regretting this already. Gender binary. Get out your Gay Bingo cards! Also: they bash dating. Really, dude, it’s okay if you’ve had bad experiences, I totally understand, but don’t feel obligated to take it out on everybody else. They also say we need to “intentionally equip our children with intimate homes” which sounds half dirty (“you have such an… intimate home”) and half nerdy (“I intentionally equip Zyclon with a Level 5 Crystal Trident!”)

…And now the website has cut me off. It insists it is “temporarily unavailable.” I suspect they have discovered my secret liberalness and are deliberately hiding!  COWARDS! Fix the 404 and STAND AND BE MOCKED!






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