Three words, eight letters focus |

focus |
Cerys Holstege
[email protected]
graphics by Jack Marquez
Three words, eight letters
Claire Johnson
[email protected]
Just as there are the cliched high school cliques
(the jocks, the drama kids, the Oracle kids),
Mountain View High School is filled with teenage
hormones--and subsequently cliched high school
The couples that celebrate
anything and everything over
Expect a lot of meaningless
posts about their two week anniversaries and that cute thing he
does with his nose and oh, I luv
u baby!!!1!!1” Also, that was the
first time they said “I love you.”
Couples who have been dating
for a bagillion years
These are the people who marry
their high school sweethearts.
They got together in middle
school and are still going strong.
Odds are they already know what
they want to name their kids.
Couples who enjoy each other’s
company--a little too much
Their friends frequently tell
them to get a room, and
everyone else is thinking it.
These couples are so into
each other that their PDA
makes everyone--except for
Couples who are constantly
These couples only like each other
when they’re not dating, which
leads to an endless, disfuctional,
and ultimately unhealthy cycle
that hurts everyone in the end.
Just friends. Really.
Best friends who everyone thinks
should go out, but they really are
just friends. They might be pressured into dating, but that just
makes it weird.
Love is a concept that people
of all ages struggle to define. In
attempt to ward Mountain View
High School couples from
becoming just another Taylor Swift
ballad, this article aims to
discuss sophisticated theories
between infatuation
and genuine love, so
that young adults may
develop a higher wisdom about love as a whole.
“Love is divine only and
difficult always,” Pulitzerprize winning author Toni Morrison said. “It is a learned application. You can only earn - by
practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it.”
Love is not easy, discriminatory, or natural. To know it we
must let go of whatever the media has taught us about it and look
within ourselves to first define it.
Philosopher Erich Fromm calls
love “the will to extend one’s self
for the purpose of nurturing one’s
own or another’s spiritual growth.
Love is an act of will -- namely,
both an intention and an action.”
In Plato’s The Symposium, Pausanias labels Fromm’s definition
of love as “Heavenly Love.” It is
a combination of agape (unconditional spiritual love), philia (friendship), and eros (romance). This
is considered genuine long-term
love, which many humans strive
for but don’t always understand.
Often we confuse Heavenly
Love with “cathexis,” a term
coined by psychiatrist Scott Peck
to describe common love. Cathexis
is feeling the chemistry that people
often misinterpret as love at first
sight. It is the feeling of being connected to someone, but it lacks the
essential ingredients of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, or trust. bell hooks* distinguishes these apart:
of fostering emotional intimacy.”
To have love, we must emulate
love within ourselves. As such, we
should have a strong sense of who
we are, what we seek in relationships, and what our
“ B e
t h e
teacher Esther Wu said.
“Let go of love when
the cost outweighs the benefit. If it makes you a better,
stronger version of yourself to
work out the conflict, then stay.”
Healthy relationships can help
you discover your identity, although it is imperative not to let
your partner define you. A loving
companion is excited to grow and
change along with you throughout every stage of your life.
Through trials and experiences,
one day each of us may be able to
fully understand love, and it will be
worth all the joy and heartbreak.
Don’t be afraid of love, but know
how to foster and nurture it. There
is no perfect relationship. Love
is a capability everyone has, but
how we tap into that depends on
how we come to love ourselves.
No one can value you more than
you value yourself. Happiness and
love first spark from within ourselves, how we share them with
others is based off our own accord.
Unfortunately, when people mistake
passion for love or when we
are not emotionally
prepared to act upon
love, we get
“We can only move from perfect passion to perfect love when
the illusions pass and we are able
to use the energy generated by
spiritual bonding to heighten selfdiscovery,” hooks wrote in her
book entitled All About Love. “Perfect love is a personal revolution:
takes your ideas, your desires, and
your actions and welds them together in one experience and one
living reality which is a new you.”
Unfortunately, when people
mistake passion for love or when
we are not emotionally prepared
to act upon love, we get hurt.
reveal a desire to find a partner rather than to know love.
“Young people aren’t completely comfortable with themselves
yet, and they don’t know how to
communicate that,” MVHS teacher
William Blair said. “They tend to
jump into romantic intimacy instead
*Gloria Jean Watkins uses the nom
de plume of “bell hooks,” which
Go to for
the complete article
What they teach you in health, and wh
As a young adult at Mountain View High School, I know that my body is changing, and that it’s natural to have u
at the same time I’m not at the point where looking at pictures of vaginas doesn’t make me squirm for a good two
informative sexual health facts. (Facts are from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
A sexually active teen girl who does not
use contraception has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
If you decide to
become sexually active, be responsible.
Two in
wish t
to hav
If you didn’t plan
ahead but end up
in a sticky situation, the morningafter pill is effective for five days
after sex, according to Planned
Planned Parenthood is located at 225 San Antonio Rd in Mountain View and is a great resource for anyone looking for birth
control. There is an act called Family PACT which ensures
that everyone in California has access to birth control, and it
will be provided for free if you have something preventing you
from paying for birth control. For many teenagers this means
that they wouldn’t want their parents to know, so they can get
birth control for free with a short medical exam. Walk-ins are
accepted, so you don’t have an excuse to be irresponsible.
Not sure if you’re ready to ha
had waited, it seems like we c
high school guys are often v
obvious alternative to sex, the
to a study by Northwestern U
aroused by all types of porn.
masturbating women tend to
physical and emotional stress
fessor of psychiatry at Case W
| focus
Sex poll undresses assumptions
Michelle Rubinstein
[email protected]
The Oracle asked a random
sampling of 375 Mountain View
High School students about their
perceptions of and feelings toward sexual activity. While the
results proved somewhat predictable, its implications remain
suggestive of potential action.
1) Humans are biologically inclined to respond to sexual urges,
so the fact that approximately half
of polled students attribute sex
to hormones is neither surprising nor concerning. Meanwhile,
the percentage of students that
chose “pressure” as the primary
reason for sexual activity among
teens is high and therefore problematic. A highly possible source
of this pressure is the fact that
about half of students rely on
friends for information about sex,
as indicated by the third question.
2) We must remember that the ages
at which students believe sex is acceptable do not necessarily correlate with the ages at which students
are sexually active. According to
our poll, approximately 60 percent
of students feel that sex as a minor
is acceptable. However, according to a 2011 national survey by
the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, just 43 percent of
teenage girls and 42 percent of teenage boys (up to 19 years old) have
had sex at least once. Presumably,
Who would you most likely talk to if you had a
question about sex?
Abstinence only?
Please, girl.
Cerys Holstege
[email protected]
Don’t have sex. Or you will get
pregnant. And die.
familiar Mean
Girls mantra
isn’t far off
from what
many states
require be
sex education classes.
Abstinence-only sex-ed programs
family member
that either prohibit contraceptive information or limit its mention to brief
statements about the ineffectiveness
of birth control are still prevalent in
I would research online
our country, but they are neither realistic nor effective at preventing teen
the 18 and 19-year-old subjects in- by Googling the commonly asked
cluded in this number drive up the question, “Is it safe to have sex on
While it is true that abstinence is
percentage of sexually active teens. your period?” We chose the top
the only one hundred percent effecEvidently, our beliefs about sexual hit (from and
tive way to prevent unwanted pregengagement, likely influenced read the first sentence: “Having sex
nancy, its inherent flaw is that it only
by pressure, are not necessar- on your period is absolutely safe.”
works when people are completely
ily related to our actual behavior. It wasn’t until the end of the third
sexually inactive, which is usually
3) About 50 percent of MVHS paragraph that the author made it not the case with teenagers.
students would most likely ask clear that pregnancy is still a posAccording to the U.S. Department
their friends about sex before con- sibility when a woman has sex of Health, on average young people
sulting any other sources. We can during her menstruation. The most have sex around the age of 17 with
therefore assume that those friends likely website to be chosen by a about fifty percent of teenagers havmost likely gain their knowledge student refers to “safe sex” as sex ing sex before their 19th birthday.
from their friends. The next most that is not harmful rather than sex Most, however, do not marry until
chosen answer to this question that does not lead to pregnancy. In their mid to late twenties. In the interwas the Internet. We decided to reality, sex is never a hundred per- vening period, a young adult taught
take the matter into our own hands cent “safe” in regards to pregnancy. abstinence-only sex-ed in school is
left unprepared for the adult decisions they face that require maturity
and responsibility.
When it comes to prohibiting
Under 15
In love
or limiting information about con15
traception, the results are obvious.
States that teach abstinence-only sexTo feel
ed in public school have higher rates
grown up
of teen pregnancy: New Mexico and
Arkansas have the highest rate, at
56/1000 teens ages 15-19 per year.
States with the seven highest teen
Of these 375 subjects, 12 were considered outliers for the entire poll, based on lack of seriousness. Additionally, some sub- pregnancy rates don’t require schools
jects were considered outliers for specific questions if they provided more than one response. While we understand that mul- to teach about contraception. These
tiple answers could apply, the poll asked specifically for the primary reasons or most likely possibilities, so these responses
were excluded from the results.
hat you really need to know
Abby Cunniff
[email protected]
urges. The trite phrases used and reused by my teachers over the years have not really given me much insight, but
o minutes. So without getting too scientific, I want to enlighten the MVHS population with some spicy but equally
n three teenagers
they had waited
ve sex.
One in two sexually active young people will get
an STD by the age of 25.
ave sex? Seeing as most teenagers wished they
could learn a lesson from their mistakes. While
very comfortable discussing masturbation, an
e same cannot be said for most girls. According
University, women, unlike men, are generally
. Masturbation is scary for a lot of women, but
o have higher self-esteem and significantly less
s, Kathleen Segraves, Ph. D., an associate proWestern Reserve University, said.
It’s important to clearly communicate
your limits, expectations, definition of sex,
and to be sure you understand theirs.
The Mountain
Parenthood has
literally fourteen
types of birth
control, so c’mon
GYT (get yourself tested) and
use protection.
All types of sexual activity usually go through
phases of desire, excitement, plateau, orgasm,
and resolution. But Planned Parenthood says
that people “do not need to complete the cycle
to be sexually fulfilled.” Basically, don’t be
upset plainly because you didn’t orgasm. Let
your body feel the way it does, and you might
feel perfectly fine after missing the climax (assuming you don’t have blue balls).
rates are compared to states like
Vermont, which requires the sex-ed
curriculum to cover contraception,
where the rate is 18/1000 teens.
This is compounded by limited access in these states to clinics where
they can gain comprehensive information about birth control and other
topics not necessarily covered by
their school sex-ed. Arkansas, the
state with the highest teen pregnancy
rate, has only three Planned Parenthoods in all, and New Mexico six. In
contrast, Vermont has 19 and California has 134.
Advocacy groups for abstinenceonly sex-ed perpetuate this ignorance
by promoting misconceptions about
comprehensive sex-ed. Abstinence
Works, an organization run by the
National Abstinence Education
Foundation, claims that comprehensive sex-ed classes teach lessons that
advocate “showering together as a no
risk activity” and suggest that “teens
wear shades or disguises when shopping for condoms so adults and parents won’t recognize them.” However, these are not lessons included
in the curriculum of any sex-ed program.
Abstinence-only sex-ed doesn’t
only keep the youth ignorant; it also
does not increase the likelihood of
teens remaining abstinent. A study
conducted in 2008 by U.S. researchers even suggested that a comprehensive sex-ed course slightly reduced
the likelihood of teens having sex.
Sex does require maturity and
responsibility, and abstinence is the
safest and most effective approach.
However, it is important for us to educate students so that when they are
faced with this decision, they are prepared. Depriving our youth of vital
information has consequences that
will continue to be felt until we stop
promoting ignorance. Teens need to
be educated and aware of the risks of
sex so they have the tools necessary
to make the mature decisions they
will need to make.