Saturday, February 18, 2012

War, sex and babies.

One of my daughters tells me I am too inward looking and that I do not engage with the world in any meaningful way. I do not know what is going on beyond a four kilometre radius of my home, she says.

She may be right. I am, as they say, out of touch.

It is hard to put things together.

This is the closest I can get to an image for this post: Mealtime and four cats - the tabby male, the others female, momentarily in harmony.

Today I listened to the radio as I drove around that four kilometre radius of my home, dropping off one daughter here, and shopping there. Food for the table.

When I reached home, I pulled my car into the driveway but did not stop the engine until the programme was over.

A certain Dr Christopher Ryan was talking about sex, but not in the way I’m used to hearing people talk about sex on the radio, not in that nudge-nudge, wink-wink sort of way, or that other, worse still censorious way, where the likes of artists like Bill Henson get hauled over the coals for indecency.

In a nutshell, Ryan talked about the way in which there is a connection between the aggression that gives rise to war and the repression of our sexuality. He cited research that demonstrates a correlation between the length of time babies are held and nurtured along with the amount of latitude offered to adolescents in exploring their sexuality and peaceful societies.

He contrasts certain other societies - which Ryan fears are on the rise - where children are not held for long as infants, nor fed maximally, nor nurtured in warm loving environments and where adolescents are discouraged from expressing their sexuality, with a warrior mentality that leads to war.

Earlier on the radio I had heard a snippet of live footage from a journalist who walked through the streets of Kabul with an Afghani woman to experience first hand what life is like for women there. Apparently the streets are typically filled with men and boys. The number of women outdoors is negligible. Women do not dare to venture out for fear of being harassed and sure enough it happened before the journalist’s very eyes.

The woman he travelled with was grabbed by a man who pulled at her breasts and groped her body.
‘They think a woman on the streets, any woman, is a prostitute,’ she said ‘ and deserves to be treated so.’

Which brings me to my third muddled point. I’ve mentioned before Jennifer Wilson’s blog No Place for Sheep, in which she argues against a political lobbyist, Melinda Tankard Reist who is opposed to pornography and the sexualization of young girls, a laudable concern you might think, but this concern travels hand in hand with Tankard Reist’s religious background which she is apparently reluctant to discuss in public.

Jennifer Wilson’s beef is two fold. She believes that any one who is active as a lobbyist for public behaviour and morality should at least declare their orientation, whether from a religious background, a political background, whatever.

Further and perhaps more importantly, the reason for the brouhaha, Tankard Reist’s lawyers have issued a defamation threat to Wilson if she does not retract her statements. Wilson refuses to be silenced.

Politics and emotions and sex and babies and war all come together and my poor brain cannot tease out the threads in this battle over sexual repression or expression. Can yours?
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