When the cable network VH1 planned a news special called "The New Virginity," an abstinence backer might have felt optimistic that teenagers and young adults were going to get a refreshing jolt of publicity about the option of premarital celibacy. That is, unless you looked at the network's promotional fine print.
Words have meanings. So when VH1 promised to explore the "roots of our current obsession with chastity" as it's advocated by popular teenage celebrities, you knew the fix was in. They suggest these stars just cannot be sincere. Instead, playing to "virgin mania" is just a marketing scheme: "Virginity doesn't stop celebs from looking and acting provocatively -- playing both sides with impressive marketing results."
Now, I suppose it's possible that some parents and agents of teen stars are in fact conducting crass marketing exercises on the side. But those really aren't the ones who bother today's sexual libertines. It's the sincere virginity campaigners that truly drive them crazy -- so nutty that channels like VH1 are out there warning the public that every purity pledger is a fraud, or weeks away from becoming a fraud.
Virginity "appeals to parents who feel that their kids should only buy books, TV shows, movies, or CDs from stars who have good morals," said jaded New York dating columnist Julia Allison. Speaking of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, Jared Shapiro from Life & Style magazine added, "There was several hundreds of millions of dollars in sales waiting to be sold to children all across America and all you had to say was 'virgin.'"
Aw, come on. Not everyone is as callous as the guardians of today's pop culture. Parents whose children adore the pop stars on the Disney Channel are not hit over the head with "virginity" lobbying in Disney-produced TV shows, movies and CDs. These products are simply made safe for pre-teen children, with the subtle assumption that perhaps the whole teen sex vs. virginity debate is best left to the rest of the entertainment universe. And somehow, there's something ... wrong ... with that?