Is There Still a Double Standard?

Not as much as there used to be, according to an American Sociological Association study of college students who were asked their opinions about peers who hook up “too much.”  They judged females and males about equally negatively.  So the “boys will be boys” excuse no longer holds sway with older teens and 20-somethings.

What about younger teens?  The responses my students in middle and high schools give when asked about the social standing of boys and girls who are known to be having sex (teens talk), appear at first to support the double standard.  For the most part, they agree that for a boy, at least in the eyes of the other guys, his social status goes up, while girls are called ugly names when they are known to have had sex.  What I help the guys see, however, is that while their “rep” as a player may get them high-fives from their buddies, the girls most definitely are disgusted by their behavior.

The ASA study shows that the hookup culture, while alive and thriving on college campuses, is being revealed as a negative trend, and at least by the time teens have observed or experienced “too much” promiscuity, they are left soured by the experience.  Let’s hope our sons and daughters are apt observers of their peers, and decide they don’t need to learn the hard way, but instead choose abstinence…and a good reputation.

Bridge the Gap

I’ve been thinking about goals a lot, lately.  I found out the other day that my 18 year old cousin, a very intelligent, hardworking kid, has decided to take a “gap year” before college. He’s going to South Africa to work with orphan baboons. Yup. You read that right. His choice is actually listed as one of the Top 10 Most Unusual Gap Year Programs. Go figure.

At W4YM, in an effort to encourage teens to take their focus off the pressures about sex, and that “everybody’s doing it” mentality, we try to encourage students to pursue goals they set for themselves – academically, relationally, or experientially. We know that helping them set and reach goals refocuses them, and encourages the discipline of delayed gratification, which may ultimately help them save sex for marriage.

Perhaps you parents, or some of you teachers out there, know of a teen who is a little lost in the “future goals” area. He’s not sure what kind of degree he wants, she’s not sure if she’s even ready for college right now. Maybe a gap year or a 2-year degree is what your teen needs.