I was chatting recently with some female friends about a Savage Love column, “Vibrators for Teens“, in which Dan Savage went off on a glorious rant about a teen girls’ right to love her vibrator:
Taylor Momsen—one of the stars of Gossip Girl—recently “divulged” to Disorder Magazine that her “best friend is her vibrator.” Fox News wrote up the “scandal,” of course, but got quotes only from anti-sex nutters: batshit Catholic reactionary Bill Donohue, conservative radio yakker Michael Medved, an elderly grandmother who runs a parenting organization, and some douchebag from the National Center For Biblical Parenting* who predicted that Momsen’s actions “will result in failure in her life.”
There are no quotes—in the interest of fairness and balance—from anyone who doesn’t see vibrators as battery-operated tools of the devil. No one is allowed to point out that sex toys are common, completely mainstream, and safe for use by young women. A vibrator is a low-risk alternative to intercourse with, say, Chace Crawford. (No risk of pregnancy, disease, or Axe body spray.) And no one is allowed to point out that the age of consent in New York is 17. Momsen may not be old enough to walk into a sex shop—which I find ridiculous—but anyone old enough to have a dick in her twat is old enough to have a vibrator in her nightstand.
Obviously there’s nothing wrong or shameful about having a vibrator, although talking about it can cause a concern troll stampede. I suspect conservative Christian wingnuts out there think this is a sign of “failure” in Momsen’s life because they’re so invested in the old canard that real woman can only be truly fulfilled by King Penis—something that the Patriarchy has always desperately needed to be true, but which, sadly for them, is not.
My friends were a little unnerved by the thought of a teenager talking so openly about vibrators, but I disagree. I’ve written about how I personally find vibrators to be overmarketed and kind of meh, but if a young woman wants to be out-and-proud about self-love, well, good for her. I also suspect Taylor Momsen mostly threw out that line about her vibe-fondness as a way to seem sexxxy! and edgy! and hey, y’all, I’m a GROWN WOMAN! Which seems silly, but boundary-pushing is how we self-define and it’s age-appropriate when you’re 17. And I’d much rather she wax rhapsodic about a vibrator that than, say, star in her own home-made porno—now a fairly routine coming-of-age stunt for young celebs and wannabes.
What do you think, ladies? Is there something anxious-making about a teenager talking about her vibrator? Is it something we should encourage? Discourage? Just remain tastefully neutral?
* Frankly, even the concept of “Biblical Parenting” is ridiculous, because if you’ve ever actually read the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, it’s practically a handbook of Epic Parenting FAIL.