Some commentary on a MacLean’s article

The article is “Let them hook up. It’ll be educational.”, by Emma Teitel, dated March 4th 2013 (last accessed for this post on March 11, 2013) in MacLean’s.

The subtitle to the article is “Emma Teitel on the educational side of casual sex.” Which really does sum up her article.

Here are my thoughts on the article:

After reading Emma Teitel’s article “Let them hook up. It’ll be educational.”, I disagree with many of Miss Teitel’s statements and most of her logic.

Teitel writes as though indoctrination is the only alternative to uninformed freedom of choice. Because for a university professor or anyone else to discuss lifestyle choices or the consequences of said choices with young adults making those choices is indoctrination.

This is a false choice as there are lots of ways to discuss ideas or concepts without it being indoctrination. Otherwise, most advice columnists and philosophy professors would be out of a job.

For a professor to discuss their sex life or their students’ sex lives in class is definitely inappropriate and offensive. Giving students the assignment “go on a date” is something that carries a lot of risks. But I don’t think it is any way inappropriate, offensive or risky for a professor to say in class “On a side note, the choices you make when you’re outside of class — and that according to recent research quite a few of you will probably be making this weekend — are choices that can carry some pretty unpleasant consequences. I’m not your nanny or your babysitter, but as one human being talking to other human beings, I would encourage each of you to think for yourself, and particularly to think for yourself about the consequences of how you treat others and how you allow others to treat you.”

I am not saying this out of purely theoretical reasoning, but as someone who has had this type of discussion with adolescents and young adults who are confused about the choices presented to them and who view many of the things they witness and experience as being very painful. I tell them I don’t know if anything I have to say will even be useful to them and why are they asking me anyway? The response I get is almost invariably a sad “I don’t mind. Nobody else talks to me about this type of stuff.”

Why is that?

People of many ages ages sitting around discussing the things that almost all people experience and worry about from time to time — such as love and romance — used to be a very common thing.

How are young adults getting to young adulthood without these discussions occurring anymore?

Did Freitas’ research focus on college students, or did she look at young adults not attending college too? Did she find any social, ethnic or other groups where a hookup culture had not developed among young adults? If so, was she able to identify why that hadn’t happened? When she suggests college professors discuss these issues in their classes, is it because college is what she’s most familiar with as a professor herself, or did she look into other discussion forums — especially other forums that typically include more than one generation — and found them to be no longer functional?

These are all questions I think would be very interesting, and which do not seem to interest Teitel at all.

It’s a very human response to say to someone who looks to be putting themselves in unnecessary danger “Hey, be careful! Do you know what happened to the last person who did that? If not, can I take a bit of your time to warn you, and maybe to even suggest some alternatives??”

But according to Teitel, it’s better to knowingly withhold discussion and let the person hurt themselves or others, because “These are lessons learned through experience, not indoctrination. . . . When you’re 19, freedom of choice is usually a bad idea, but unfortunately, it’s still preferable to the alternative.”

I’m glad the older generations I talked to while growing up took a different view of the world.

I’m still working up the courage to send it to them as a letter to the editor. Silly, I know, but sometimes hitting that Send button is nerve-wracking for me.

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