Lousy With Virginity

Everywhere teens turn, they hear versions of the same party line. I am reminded of the enormously successful movie Grease, which subtly helped to weaken what was left of traditional morality. It was released in 1978 but set in the 1950s as a fluffy, glitzy, relatively tame musical about teenage love. The film starred John Travolta as Danny Zuko, a big man on campus who made the girls swoon. Olivia Newton-John played a cute little blonde named Sandy who was a newcomer from Australia. Clearly, she didn't know the ropes. She was a "good girl" who usually dressed in white or pale yellow. Every other girl at Rydell High seemed to be having more fun than she was, and in fact, her new friends were concerned about Sandy's embarrassing innocence. They invited her to a sleepover to toughen her up.

Sandy's virginity was the focal point of the party. When one of the girls, Frenchy, offered to pierce Sandy's ears, another girl handed her a "virginity pin" to penetrate the lobe. Get it? The blood was symbolic of the loss of virtue. The girls introduced Sandy to wine and smoking, which sent her scurrying into the bathroom to throw up. While she was inside, the brashest member of the clique, Rizzo, said, "Little goody two shoes makes me wanna barf." Then she put on a blonde wig and began to sing, mockingly:

Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity.
Won't go to bed till I'm legally wed,
I can't, I'm Sandra Dee.

The lyrics went on to lampoon Sandy's good-girl image. The relationship between Sandy and Danny continued to go sour in the days that followed. He took her to a drive-in movie and gave her his school ring. "That means so much to me," she said. "It means you respect me." Then Zuko made his move. He tried to touch Sandy's breast and then pinned her down on the front seat of his car. Sandy screamed and struggled free, then stumbled from the car. The incident frustrated Zuko and caused a rift between them, after which they drifted apart. Sandy was very confused by what was happening.

Then a drag race was staged at the Los Angeles River, pitting Zuko against his rival. Sandy is seen sitting in the distance and thinking about what had gone wrong in their relationship. Suddenly, it hit her. She realized she was altogether "too good." That led her to sing Rizzo's sleepover song sadly,

Wholesome and pure, oh so scared and unsure,
A poor man's Sandra Dee.

The last words of the song are, "Good-bye to Sandra Dee."19 Remember that Sandy was said to be "lousy with virginity." That was the big problem.

Sandy knew exactly what she had to do. She asked Frenchy to oversee a makeover, and in the next scene a vampish-looking Sandy emerged wearing a leather jacket, skintight leather pants, and spike heels. She saw Zuko and said, "Tell me about it, Stud." They pranced through a dance number at an all-school carnival, at times moving their hips toward each other symbolically to the beat of the music. Then they got into a futuristic car and soared into the clouds while the students at Rydell High danced with glee.20

I have described this entertaining movie in detail, not because it is the worst movie that has ever been produced. It is actually rather tame and quite funny. I have singled out Grease because it subtly and convincingly destroys virginity as a virtue. It illustrates precisely the point Shalit and Liebau make in their books. Being "wholesome and pure, oh so scared and unsure" is how girls are told they will feel if they are too virtuous. To get over it, they need to act like men and be tough, brash, and sexually aggressive.

The movie is still having an impact on younger generations more than thirty years after its release. In fact, it played on cable television twice in my area last night. Girls today, like their predecessors, look to Sandy's character as a role model who teaches them why they also need to get rid of their lousy virginity. Today's girls are warned that they'll never get the attention of guys if they continue to look and act like Sandra Dee. Most of them are too young to have seen the perky actress in movies.

The choices for those kids are stark. They can either join the hookup culture or sit at home waiting for Prince Charming to ride in on his white horse. He will probably never come, anyway. That is the underlying message of Grease, and any dunderhead can understand it.

Frankly, I resent what the entertainment industry has done to the morals of vast numbers of kids. Just consider how many innocent and vulnerable girls are enticed by movies to rush into sexual experiences for which they are totally unprepared. Some conceive babies they can't care for. Some have abortions they will never forget. Some contract incurable sexually transmitted diseases that will plague them for the rest of their lives. Some are irreparably scarred by rejection and heartache. Some will experience troubled marriages that are destined to fail before they even begin. And all of them will face the spiritual consequences of violating God's moral law. Despite what some people believe, His standard of right and wrong has not been repealed.

19.Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" (1978).

20. Randal Kleiser, Grease (Paramount Pictures, 1978).

Book: Bringing Up Girls

By Dr. James Dobson

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