So, Like, What’s Up With "Gossip Girl"?

Okay, so I totally hesitate to write this post because I fear it is a sign that I’ve turned into everything I hated as a teenager, meaning, a totally out of it adult who is trying desperately to understand what the kids are into these days and then, once she thinks she understands it, shakes her head in dismay and says something like, “Back in my day blah blah blah.”

But could some teenage girl tell me what the Hell is up with “Gossip Girl”?

I mean, I know “Gossip Girl” is a book series for teenage girls, and it follows a clique of mostly wealthy Manhattan teens as they have explicit sex all over the place, including a dressing room at Bergdorf’s. And now it’s a television show (back with new episodes tonight on CW). And the television show is running Internet ads with OMFG superimposed over a still image of some teen couple in the throes of hawt hawt sex.

Dude, what is up with this? Granted, I grew up in the first days of the HIV/AIDS freakout, so maybe that’s why I’m so confused. My teen sex info came from watching super scary Afterschool Specials like “In The Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story” all about girls contracting HIV the first time they took their tops off. When I was in tenth grade, it was getting to the point that I was afraid to leave the house without covering my entire body in latex. And I was a virgin.

So yeah, perhaps my cultural references are a little off. But “Gossip Girl” still gives me the heebie jeebies.

Why? The thing is, I have no problem with teenage girls thinking about, wanting, and even having sex. That’s what teenage girls do, and we’ve ignored that fact for far too long. But what I do have a problem with is that we are creating a legion of teenage girls whose minds are being saturated with totally gross images of Girls Gone Wild and The Girls Next Door and who are being taught to believe that first sex and sex with teenage boys is full of ecstasy and crazy ass pleasure and free of all consequence. And in the same breath we’re avoiding any kind of real, frank sex education that involves real, frank discussions about birth control, STDs, and masturbation. (FYI teen girls: The best teen sex you will ever have will be with yourself. I promise you.)

Bottom line: Because of shows and books like “Gossip Girl,” teenage girls are being fed lies about what sex is like and they are not being empowered to take control of their own bodies and they are not being empowered to make smart choices.

Teen ladies, if you’re listening, take it from one who knows. Odds are, if you have first teen sex, it will happen on someone’s couch / in the backseat of a car / in a Motel 6. It will not be good and, given the stamina of most teen boys, it will last approximately 1 to 2 minutes. You will not be thinking OMFG this feels so good. You will be thinking OMFG this F hurts. You’ll be freaking out that your parents will walk in, that his parents will walk in, that you’ll get pregnant, that you’ll get crabs, or that you’ll get your heart broken (and some or all of these things may, in fact, occur). And when it’s all over, you’ll look in the mirror and, in the words of Miss Peggy Lee, you’ll ask yourself, “Is that all there is?” OMFG indeed.

So yeah, I’m totally that old lady now, but this 31-year-old old lady is glad she grew up with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield from Sweet Valley, Spike and Snake from DeGrassi Junior High, and that Shannen Doherty chick from 90210. I mean, even Brenda Walsh wouldn’t have done it in a Bergdorf’s dressing room, for God’s sake. – Jennifer Mathieu