My first exposure to twisted sexuality was at a baseball game when I was about three. Skilled at making scenes, I stood up, pointed at a billboard in the distance, and loudly demanded, “WHAT’S A HOOTER?” The crowd around us went silent and awaited my father’s answer. He paused and, then, explained that a hooter was an owl. The crowd was endeared to us and laughed.
And so my journey began.
At a very young age, I wanted to understand why a girl in my kindergarten class didn’t have a father, why so many only saw their fathers on weekends, why movies were rated R and why nobody in the third grade really could explain what sex was, but everyone wanted to know. As I grew, I connected much of the unbalanced and confused culture I saw around me to our misconceptions of sexuality—our misconceptions of what it means to be a woman or a man—of what it means to be a human being.
I am Elizabeth Hanna. I am twenty-one years old, about to graduate from the University of Georgia in December and getting married in May to the best person I know. I have wonderful parents, a wonderful family, and the coolest three-legged dog named Wolfgang. I love to write, I love music and art, I love animals and nature, and I love Christmas. I can’t wait to grow up and grow old with my new husband, to start a family, and to explore this beautiful world with him.
I look forward to writing for New Feminism and I look forward to learning from the other women on this site. I am young, I am idealistic, and perhaps sometimes a bit too eager. But I hope to share some of my understanding and experience as a young woman in today’s culture, that in turn we may work together to address our uniquely feminine needs, and the needs of the world around us. And I hope to learn more about what it means to be a human being as I grow up and into the lovely castle of womanhood.
I grew up in what one would call the post-sexual revolution age. But I would say I grew up in the second sexual revolution. The rebellion of the first remained largely within its own culture subset. Outside of rock and roll and beyond the university campuses, there still existed a greater majority that held their ground and condemned the whole phenomenon.
In this second sexual revolution, the children of the first have grown up and raised children of their own. My peers and I grew up in a world where the majority and even the authority rarely had substantial and sincere standards of what was to be done with this enormous elephant standing in the room of life. The first sexual revolution prompted us to question our cultural norms regarding gender and sexuality (the questioning being a healthy enterprise in and of itself.) But we now merely have new norms—norms that are very hard to resist, and very hard to stand up against—and norms that are most clearly destructive. The new standard indeed, is that there is no standard. Your sexuality, your gender, is whatever you want it to be, whatever you feel like, whenever you want.
So many of my peers grew up to throw away what they held dear, acting as they were taught by music videos and their parents’ implications, and wondering what in the world to do with their deep aching and longing for true companionship, true identity, and true love. Too many children were never taught the value of self-discipline and sacrifice with regard to their sexuality. And if they were, they were never really taught why such restraint was worth it.
And the worst part of it all, the part that distinguishes us most from generations past, is that before, parents and grandparents, preachers and teachers—they still stood for an uncompromisable morality, and they held the younger people accountable. But now, too many of my peers are afraid to go against our cultural norms because even their own parents would laugh at them. This cycle needs to be addressed and it needs to be reversed. We need to clearly establish for the next generations what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a man, and it what it means to be a human being. Because people want to know.
We need another revolution.