Remember Virginia Ironside? The British advice guru who believes that mothers should be able to smother their “suffering” babies with pillows? Well, she’s back, with a recent piece on Mail Online, touting her youthful service as a veritable Moses on the front lines of the sexual revolution, “clearing our way through the sexual undergrowth” toward the promised land of consequence-free sexual freedom for future generations.
Because when it came to sex, we were, of course, the trailblazers for a completely new attitude, and blazing trails is always horribly uncomfortable. We were the ones with the hacksaws and dust masks, clearing our way through the sexual undergrowth, getting
covered with scratches and gashes and slipping into invisible swamps. It’s the people who follow afterwards who have the easier time, sauntering along the trodden path, picking roses along the way. Young people today.
The question is, what exactly was it that Ironside and her comrades so recklessly discarded with those dust masks and hacksaws? And at what cost? Because I don’t see Ironside’s ideological progeny as she apparently does, skipping along some rose-lined path after being delivered from a thorny swamp of repression and forced ignorance. Statistics prove that instead of roses, Ironside and her bed-hopping comrades bequeathed a legacy of exploding illegitimacy, abortion, sexually transmitted infections, divorce, sexual abuse, suicide, and crime
And yet, Ironside touts herself as Joan of Ark, Sophie Scholl, and the Tiananmen Tank Man all rolled into one, bed-hopping like a slutty rabbit throughout the sixties in a sacrificial quest to “blaze a trail” for future generations – at least those who were fortunate enough to have survived the womb and not be smothered with a pillow.
To be honest, I mainly remember the 60s as an endless round of miserable promiscuity, a time when often it seemed easier and, believe it or not, more polite, to sleep with a man than to chuck him out of your flat. I recall a complete stranger once slipping into bed beside me when I was staying in an all-male household in Oxford, and feeling so baffled about what the right thing was to do that I let him have sex with me; I remember being got drunk by a grossly fat tabloid newspaper journalist and taken back to a flat belonging to a friend of his to which he had a key, being subjected to what would now be described as rape, and still thinking it was my fault for accepting so much wine.
If it was such a noble sacrifice, why do I feel like I need a shower and a course of penicillin? Nevertheless, Ironside insists that such degradation was the price she had to pay in order to emancipate our daughters and grand-daughters from the oppressive misery of societal priggishness.
It’s difficult to understand sex in the 60s without understanding what life was like before the 60s. In the 50s, sex was completely taboo. At Woman magazine, where I worked a decade later, the journalists weren’t ever allowed to use the word ‘bottom’ – not even in ‘bottom of the garden’ or ‘bottom of the saucepan’.
Really? Bottom? As in bottom of the barrel? I’d like to see this for myself. Surely there must be some artifacts from this Neanderthal era in some feminist museum somewhere… books and magazines with “bottom” and who knows how many other words blacked out by prim, marker-wielding, librarians at some cold, forbidding Ministry of Prudery. (Incidentally, a quick Kindle search reveals that the notoriously wanton and wild 19th Century Brits had no such inhibitions. Jane Austen used the word “bottom” with licentious abandon, as did Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and even our profligate forefathers on this side of the pond.)
Nevertheless, Ironside must keep reminding us — and possibly herself — that but for her and her comrades, we would all still be slogging through a dull, colorless mire of terminal stodginess – free of the ruinous burden of illegitimacy, STDs, and abortion that we bear today, but stodgy nonetheless.
The problem is that indoctrinating an entire generation of future parents into mating indiscriminately like irresponsible rabbits, is tantamount to pulling the plug on the incubator of a free and healthy society – the nuclear family. We are not rabbits. We are not wired, emotionally, physically, and sociologically for promiscuous behavior. Nevertheless, Ironside and her know-it-all cohorts donned those “dustmasks” and “hacksaws” and recklessly hacked to pieces the sexual mores that have protected and nurtured children and families for centuries — and then pretended not to notice the mighty whooshing noise that followed as disease, depression, abortion, child abuse, divorce, delinquency, and dependence swept into the void.
Ann Coulter recently wrote:
“[Liberals’] approach is to rip out society’s foundations without asking if they serve any purpose. Why do we have immigration laws? What’s with these borders? Why do we have the institution of marriage, anyway? What do we need standardized tests for? Hey, I like Keith Richards — why not make heroin legal? Let’s take a sledgehammer to all these load-bearing walls and just see what happens!”
It was with Coulter’s symbolic sledgehammers that Ironside and her fellow feminist foot-soldiers bed-hopped their way through the sixties — aided by their propaganda arms in the government schools and Hollywood – until, as she brags, they succeeded in releasing millions of tender young girls from the oppressive bonds of innocence, modesty, and disease-free genitalia.
Nowadays, thanks to the sexual revolution, the man reading the paper in Mommy’s bed on Sunday morning probably isn’t Daddy, but the latest in a succession of “uncles,” some of whom aren’t very nice. And you know the boy down the street from health class, where you put condoms on fake penises together and performed a version of the Hokey-Pokey called the “Vagina Dance” – that is after you have each received your very own “safe sex” kit containing condoms, fruit-flavored lubricant, candy, bubble gum, and a magic decoder ring. (Just kidding about the bubble gum and decoder ring.)
Nowadays, thanks to the sexual revolution, the drugstore is no longer a place to have a Coke with your girlfriend and pick out a new shade of nail polish; but a stop-off after Planned Parenthood because your condyloma have flared up, or to refill your Valtrex early because you had to share it with your mother.
And yet Ironside sets herself up as a hero to those now subsisting in the wreckage of the sexual revolution that she so romanticizes – the great emancipator who delivered us all from a world where eighth graders were ignorant of herpes or genital warts because eighth graders didn’t get herpes or genital warts.
Those were the days.