“Gasp, I am so offended by what he said I simply cannot even!”, says the whore, with legs wide open, twenty dollar bill clenched in hand.

We live in a society that attempts to be simultaneously both the madonna and the whore.

Our society is a grand spectacle, a postmodern Las Vegas that permeates our daily existence, from screen to screen, image to image. We have strive and nearly achieved every horizontal liberation imaginable. From celebration of sexual prowess, from sexual vulgarity on parade and in music videos, from the ‘pick up’ culture to the celebration of body positivity in every possible dimension. What is displayed in daily television would have never been imagined decades ago. Pop music lyrics are chock full of exaggerated confidence in ones sexuality and vanity. These divas are held to be a paragon of ‘feminist values’, from Beyonce to Britney Spears. We defend the right for women to wear provocative clothing. We defend the right for women to be just as sexually promiscuous and sleep about as men. This is our ‘achievement’.

Let me be forthright, I am not a pearl clutching conservative. I have danced in clubs, enjoyed the sexual liberation, played around with gender and sexual orientation, and absolutely enjoy the present day sultry cinema.

Though what is baffling, what is somewhat paradoxical, is this strange postmodern attempt to be both puritanical and whorish. Society both celebrates the fullest of sexual liberation and promiscuity, total horizontal liberation, while at the same time clutches its pearls in horror at the least sound of what is deemed ‘sexist’ or ‘vulgar’. Whether it be the supposed ‘rape culture’ or the evils of ‘patriarchy’ or the sin that is ‘slut shaming’. Society has become puritanical in accordance to its own secular sins which it has constructed. As a leftover empty shell of Christianity, secular humanism and its consumerist whims has deemed sexual liberation to be a massive achievement and yet still behaves puritanically if one dares transgress against their ‘secular sins’. In its achievement, women have glorified themselves as objectified pieces ‘in the name of feminism’. What may be superficially empowering for the woman in this will very well be attraction of the most base and crass as well. And yet, despite constructing this spectacle, of carnality run amuck, of sexuality and sex treated flippantly..they preach condemnation if a man make a disgusting sexual remark toward a woman. They are a whore one moment, basking in their brothel-like spectacle, and then suddenly a puritanical Sunday School teacher absolutely in horror that a man may behave boorishly or that a woman be treated less than an equal.

Ah, but the magic word that they interject, as if it magically balances society, that C word, the word ‘consent’. As if a society can be as boorish and crass in its sexual exploits and expressions, and not expect the negative underside of that to respond in kind. Let me be clear, there is no excuse or justification for sexual abuse or rape. The victim never has it coming to them. No absolutely does mean no. The abuser is the guilty party and has no escape clause from his agency. But what I am attempting to stress here is we have constructed a circus of sexual flaunting, of treating sexual relations as if it is mere fast food, of praising the vain and sexual egos of divas, as if they are paragons of excellence, the embodiment of woman. We construct this circus, this spectacle, this ‘liberation to the utmost’, tossing out the traditions and chivalry of yesterday, replacing them with what? With half-ass Macgyver rigged ‘make it up as we go along’ dynamic. We cannot hinge it all on this one word, this one contractual word ‘consent’. That is not sufficient. We have constructed a Playboy-esque media, then we clutch our pearl in puritanical rage when we dare see the nasty base and animal underside? Whether it be a man making a sexist pig remark about a woman or actual actions that take place. From music to pop star idols to consumer products, we have created a Playboy-esque environment, a strip club climate,  an ideological apparatus that should not surprise us when it renders an aggressive assault or disrespectful gesture. How can we glorify the objectification of women in the name of ’empowerment’ and then act shocked when men treat women as such an object? We cannot construct a playboy environment and not expect the perverse to play. We also cannot pretend the mere contractual concept of ‘consent’ to be our magical word that harmonizes the discord.

What has happened to moderation and prudence? I do not mean prudence in a puritan sense, rather in having severe caution in our actions and decision making. And of moderation, we have glorified and taken horizontal liberation to the utmost max, and lost our way in the noise along the way. We have forgotten any vertical qualities, that of content and depth, of the spiritual and meaningful, of the rooted and transcendent. We have thrown that all away for the sake of carnal liberation. Mind you, I am no Christian, no devout Buddhist monk, and am not an Orthodox individual, but I can acknowledge when the excessive begins to corrupt and turn on itself. I can acknowledge that moderation is required. I dare not commit a middle ground fallacy. There is always flux and the pendulum always swings from one extreme to another. Nonetheless that does not acquit us from the apparatus we have designed. That does not release us from our responsibility. We have opened the Pandora’s Box with glee, and yet we seem incapable or too incompetent to moderate what has been released. When will we reign in on this excessive horizontal parade, or will we continue to celebrate it as if it is the paragon of secular liberation? When will we ever reflect upon ourselves rather than be so quick and giddy to condemn the horndog fool?

We cannot be both the whore and the puritanical churchgoer. We cannot paradoxically be both, as we do now, which is a never ending stream of conflict and dissonance. Synthesis must be found. We cannot be both the supreme libertine throwing off the shackles of tradition while simultaneously being a secular and zealous inquisitor out to condemn a witch to death. This is the chaotic dissonance that defines postmodernism. The living paradox that is the puritanical whore.

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