My first reaction to the recent news story regarding the “silver ring thing” (www.silverringthing.com) and whether the wearing of such a ring should be banned from schools, was: Yes, it bloody well should be banned. I suppose my main reasons for thinking this would be:
a) What does a *ring* have to do with being chaste? Surely, chastity is one of those decisions that you make and decide to keep – the presence of a piece of jewellery is not going to be a huge factor as to whether this is going to work.
b) Perhaps the ring is a symbol of how chaste you are and maybe, in times of real temptation, the sight of it will keep you strong. IME, there is not really much temptation at school. Or, more importantly, the opportunity to carry that temptation through. By all means, put it on when you get the school bus home, but frankly, if you need it at school, you have some deeper issues that ought to be confronted first.
c) Having (fairly recently, although it is receding into the distance) been a teenager at a mediocre state comp, I can safely assure you that allowing one sort of ring is going to be a slippery slope. Remembering accidents that were downright gory (although entertaining back then because we were sadistic), rings are just not a good idea.
d) I’m not religious and even if I was, I wouldn’t like the idea of chastity. By all means, young women and men should be encouraged to have sex with people they really like and there is nothing wrong with wanting it to be special. However, too often, chastity is used as an excuse to debase women and to discourage a comprehensive (and important) sexual education.
e) Not only am I not religious but (ashamedly I have to admit) religious motivation has me stumped. I just don’t get it. As I have been told in the past, I am spiritually impoverished. On the plus side, it makes things like this gloriously straight-forward.
I have to admit, I thought that this point of view would be shared by my nearest and dearest, so that we could pour scorn on the whole procedure together. However, it was not to be. He thought it should be allowed as a religious symbol (apparently that kind of thing is to some Christian Evangelists) and that, on the whole, schools shouldn’t be allowed to dictate about jewellery. He amended this point to allowing “one ring per pupil”.
We have hit an impasse – he becoming more libertarian and I, more stridently authoritarian (I can’t help it, it’s my aspirational lower-middle class background) as I embrace republicanism – of the political theory kind, not, god forbid, the American sort. He’s wrong, but I’m inclined to be nice about it…