Lena Chen, NOT a Student of Virginity

lena_chen.jpgIn this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, there is an article “Students of Virginity,” which discusses that “In the Ivy League, abstinence is a) philosophical, b) research-based, c) an outgrowth of feminism, d) sexy and fun, e) all of the above.” For most of the article, the reporter profiles Harvard student Janie Fredell and her involvement in a relatively new student group on campus — “a band of celibates, men and women, calling themselves True Love Revolution.” However, what caught my eye in the article that made me want to blog about this on 8Asians was the anti-Janie Fredell, Chinese-American Lena Chen:

PERHAPS NO ONE at Harvard represents the hookup culture better than Lena Chen, a student sex blogger, and few True Love Revolution events have drawn as much attention as Fredell’s debate with her last fall. Chen and Fredell described the event to me later, when I met them separately for lunch. Chen was a small Asian woman in a miniskirt and stilettos… Chen’s viewpoint, as she explained it to me, was not complicated. “For me, being a strong woman means not being ashamed that I like to have sex,” she said. And “to say that I have to care about every person I have sex with is an unreasonable expectation. It feels good! It feels good!…Chen knew, as she told me later, that “the culture reacts differently when women make the same decisions men do.” Her own decisions were public knowledge, because she revealed them on her blog. Chen’s perspective on society, and Fredell’s, was borne out in the aftermath, as people wrote in to Ivygate (“Ivy League news, gossip, sex, sports, students, campus life and more “), calling Lena Chen a “slut,” a “whore,” a “total whore,” a “whore whore slut.” And then someone by the screen name of Sex v. Marriage wrote in to say that “most guys out there would rather end up with a girl like Janie.”

To say the least, I was very curious to hear such frank words from Chen and was interested to learn more about her from her blog, and discovered that she was born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles,. a first generation Chinese-American. For some reason, I was not terribly surprised that Chen was born in San Francisco and raised in California.

Of course, given my fairly conservative Taiwanese-American upbringing (as well as historically Puritanical, The Scarlet Letter Massachusetts upbringing) I wondered, “What the hell do Chen’s parents think of her?” But I also do recognize the usual double-standard for men and women regarding sex.

In almost every social aspect, I’d say that native Californians (and West Coasters), are pretty liberal relative to the East Coast and the rest of the nation. That aside, how much of your parents’ “traditional” values have influenced your thoughts regarding pre-marital sex?

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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