Friday, May 05, 2006

follow up of last post

no idea how to put images on comments so here is the image I wanted to show... And I would love a real explanation about why the more exposed to sex you are the less you care about it...well the chart speaks for itself



yes, yes jillybean, I will write the joie de vivre post, I promise

16 Comments:

At May 05, 2006, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I guess that's the difference from living on the other side of the pond.

 
At May 06, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

Come on Thomas...one year difference is not alot.
BTW, I had sex for the first time at 17 1/2 not because I was exposed to alot of sex or nudity growing up. My parents were pretty strict about that. But, because my parents talked to me and explained these things to me. My parents told me it was my decision and I had to be responsible. They told me about the risks of pregnacy and STD's.
I think French young adults are on average more mature than American young adults due to exposure to culture not nudity or sex. And, the high numbers for teenage pregnacy in the States are also due to this...oh, and don't get me started on birth control in the States. It is silly that most insurance companies don't cover it or if they do it is still expensive. The first time I bought birth control in France I couldn't believe it was only around 60 cents for I think two months...in America it was 20 bucks for one month with insurance that I paid almost 250 bucks a month for.

I think girls in America are very insecure and try to hard to be popular...another cultural difference which may affect these figures. French girls don't want to be popular and don't care as much what people think about them...French girls seem pretty secure and less needy than American girls.

 
At May 06, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

I just have to know...Kim, when you travel to France are you going topless at the beach or wearing your bikini top??? And, Thomas does it bother you if Kim doesn't wear a top?

I think showing the nipples is pretty sexual and I feel like for me that is for my husband's eyes only. He is French and would not be very happy for other men to see my breasts without a top even if it were a bikini top.
Again, I am not a puritan and even breastfeed in public which I have yet to see a French woman do. So, it is ok to walk around the beach topless but not feed your baby with your breasts in public...go figure.

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Pardon My French said...

Thomas, I actually agree with some of the things you say in principal, but I think somehow we've gotten off track. And I disagree that the statistics prove that the more you're exposed to sex, the less you care about it. Boobs on TV does not equal a lower pregnancy rate. Not at all! As pumpkin said, it's access to birth control and sexual education that makes a difference in the rates. It's not a measure of perception (and after having taught teens in both country, well, similar boy/girl flirtation/issues/lame jokes seem to come up in class -- there's a different attitude to education, though, and that's yet another topic). Just my opinion, though.

It's not fair to say that French teens aren't as interested in sex, but I think it is right on to say that they have access to birth control and accurate information whereas US teens do not. And that's a shame and does prove your point that puritanism does have a negative effect.

However, this does not mean that sexualized media images in France are necessarily healthy for children. Maybe in France there is less of a thrilling taboo reaction after seeing someone's boob, but after a certain age it's probably just as sexual...only not as taboo. Does that make sense? And it wouldn't hurt anyone to have realistic images of people, sexualized or not, out there for young men and women to see instead of bodies that have been airbrushed or altered by plastic surgery. That's a separate issue, though!

As for what children see, I think bodies are fine but I'm not sure yet how I'll feel when my kids see the highly sexualized images that are normal here. My only concern is that they aren't so realistic, as I said, so I am somewhat worried they'll have unreasonable expectations of what goes on before they're ready. I don't want to hide it from them and pretend it doesn't exist, but I don't necessarily want to have people draw them the wrong picture, either. Know what I mean?

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Pardon My French said...

One last thing -- I'm not saying the issue of sexualized images is limited to France. It's just that I do sometimes get surprised when I see certain things aired during shows for children. When I went to see Ice Age II here there was a commercial (not a preview, a commercial) that raised my eyebrows a teeny bit. I'd just never seen it before. I said something to my husband, and he said pretty much the same things as you did -- a reaction against American puritanism and how we go the other extreme. I agree with him, but it doesn't actually answer the question of whether the sexiness is really appropriate or not.

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

One year difference is not a lot, are you serious when you say that? on an Average figure? It is a lot... If you consider teenage and sexual development it is HUGE. You know what we were talking when I was 12-13 in school? what team we would be in for the next recess soccer game... You know what little american kids are talking about? ask KIM (my jaw was dropping when I heard them)

Girls want to be as popular in france as in USA. the real question is why is sex a mean to become popular in US but not France. (I will repeat, dont start acting as I said everything was ok). My point was, making something complete taboo about a natural thing of life, makes people uneducated about it. and just like the kid who goes to college far away from home, suddenly feels free and gets tyotally drunk for the first time in his life, they want to experiment that thing that flows in their blood but everyone had told them is BAD....desire. and they make huge mistake.

My mom and aunties were topless... my exs..some were topless some not, and other guys would equally look at them. About kim, if she feels confortable being topless, why would I care? I have been exposed to breasts my whole life, I dont see them as a sexual object, unless when in a sexual context.

About breastfeeding in public, well as I should mention in a post...there is not just one France.. I dont know about your part. but overall it seems that on the south of Garonne river we are more laid back.

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

Pardon my french... and how come young americans dont have access to this kind of info?

I dont know for other French, but my mom taugh my about condoms before I even cared about girls. I learnt how to wistle at girls about the same age. Our biology teacher when I was 14 took one hour during human reproduction class to tell us about preliminaries, sexual desire and everything that comes to sssexxx. Does that make me a pervert??? Kim can you please compare me and the average american guy you met.

My post is not just about diplaying sex in public or tv... it is that religious hypocrisis that is pissing me off over here. That because some stuck-up adults make a WHOLE big issue about something that they want it or no is part of life. In a way it is a bit like beauty...it is a lot in the eye of the beholder. When a guy gets shocked because he sees a woman dressed sexy (I am not talking about little girls here), I do think it is because he has pervert thoughts.

I am not trying to convinced you, and you will not convinced me either. i think a reasonable exposure to nudity AND sex is definitely not gonna kill anyone...

Oh I have a funny example. American pie:Unrated version (it is rated R in USA) is full of explicit sex. We watched this with pickle and cheese.. Pickled laughed the whole movie, he is 13, that is normal. Little Cheese who is 6 didnt get it, got bored after few minutes and went to play lego. If we had told him, nooo you cant watch it, hide your eyes...chances are he would have stayed the whole time and really focus on it. If you think that it is going to make Pickle and Cheese perverts, then shoot me....

Do anyone get my point or do I have to continue explaining it

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

I can definately compare thomas to the average american guy, but that would be way too long of a post and then everyone who did not have a french lover would become soooo jealous and all the french boys would be having american girls batting their eyelashes at them even more :) hehe

great debate, and I would totally go topless, now, but while in germany when I was 18, before seeing the perspective a bit differently, my cousing who was german, and 2 years older went topless, and I was soooo shocked and thought everyone was looking at her....I just was shocked as you can't imagine, but to her it was natural, it was me with the problem....now after being older and er somewhat wiser, I would change my attitude about that, and yes go topless...although it would have been smarter to go topless when i was 18 instead of 34...my girls were much perkier then ;) kidding!! hahahahahah

c'est la vie, kim

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger bcinfrance said...

This is all very interesting and I can see it has raised a lot of discussion.

One thing that has always struck me in France is how easily parents accept young people in the 18-25 range living together. Sometimes they even live together with one or the other set of parents, and not just in "hippie-style" families!

Yet the downside of this is I think a lot of young French people get into very serious, marriage style relationships early on -- since there isn't "dating" as such, sometimes I wonder if they are getting enough experiences before settling down, because many of these live-in arrangments do lead to marriage.

It would be interesting to hear what you as a French person think of this question, Thomas.

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

Well, I am not sure... all i know is that marriage is not just a simple commitment iloveyouyouloveme ...it has serious legal implications... I have always considered it is a more acceptable solution to live together without being married and see how things work, rather than jump into a wedding.. it is easier to part if it doesnt work...

A friend of mine in USA is going to get married soon, and to me the surprising thing is she doesnt even know how it is to live on a daily basis with her fiancé.. You know, all these little details that you can see only when living for awhile with someone and can be extremelly annoying and end up in huge fights. I suggested she should move in with him and see first how things work for a year or two. If it is meant to work, marrying now or later, hey what is the big deal. But if for some reason it is not gonna work, a divorce is generally harder and more painful than a simple breakup ..and well it appears not to be an acceptable solution in her community, so she is getting married and I am wishing her good luck

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger James said...

All I have to say is...How could someone marry another without having lived with the other person yet? Does that make ANY sense!!? If that is not "acceptable in her community," I would like to know which Quaker farm does she live on in Penssylvania? That is so old-fashioned and strange to me. Where is it again that you two live?? I know you travel to Montreal frequently, lucky you two...but my goodness.....it is not acceptable in her community?? WTF does that mean??

 
At May 06, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

Oh James this girl lives in the southern states, she goes to the same CHURCH as BUSH (that says alot, no??) It is not okay in their community to live together before marriage, its probably not okay for them to have sex together either, but that one somehow they are ignoring..haha

I agree, after my first marriage, never living together and not knowing eachother for very long..and that was a disaster, THAT you should try and live with the person to see if it can work, cause believe you me, its a whole hell of a lot cheaper than a freaken divorce!!!!

Btw, I am in NY and Thomas is in Montreal, we commute every other weekend for now.

 
At May 06, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

I think everyone has their own interpretation and comfort level for what is ok and what is not ok...I laughed when you talked about American Pie because I was going to let my oldest daughter watch the first one and just close her eyes or leave the room if it got too hot but my French hubby got angry and sent her to bed! It did make her more curious where as before I think she would have been bored. I am pretty laid back but like everyone I have my limits of what I am comfortable with and what I think is ok. My husband tells me not to walk around the house without a top on because the children shouldn't see me like that...I just ask him if it is better that the girls see airbrushed women with no clothes on all over the streets on billboards? He is actually more puritan than I am ;) So, I just have to laugh at it all.

Just because I think it is not appropriate for women to go around topless doesn't mean my kids are going to grow up and have sex or get pregnate at an early age.

I still don't see the tie with the study and exposure to sex and I still don't think one year is such a big deal...maybe another study would have even different results??? I am more worried about the high level of teen pregnacy (which is not a small thing) in the States. And, that is due to a Puritan way of thinking as pardon my french pointed out.

Even if I am not happy with all the cultural differences in regard to sex, I am still raising my children in France for a reason. I love France and I think in the big picture it is better to deal with my issues in regard to sex and my being an American rather than raise my kids with guns and violence. I was tired of seeing on the news where this or that person was killed. I know murders and violence happen in France too but not in such high numbers. So, I can deal with hot and sexy France just fine. It is my childrens culture (they are French) and even if I don't like it I am living in France and it is I that must accept it. ;) I just wish it wasn't during cartoon time.

 
At May 07, 2006, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I totally get what you are saying Thomas. There are differences but I guess you have to live and experience it to really see those differences. I saw it in Switzerland, such things are no big deal. Teens shrug and go on with things. The US is so different. That's enough, I don't want to go on with everything you've already said...

 
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