Hello all, tonight I’m writing this in response to a video that has me quite frustrated about the current status of sex education in the U.S. the video I watched was a segment from the talk show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” about how sex education is being taught in schools across the country. The segment contained several clips of actual sex ed videos that are being shown to countless adolescents across the country. To be honest, some of the things said in these clips really pisses me off quite a bit.
The first clip that had me quite infuriated was a clip from an abstinence-only sex ed organization called “No Screwing Around” in which spokeswomen, Pam Stenzel says “Boys, if there’s a girl throwing herself at you, if she’s the one pressuring you for sex, if this is a girl that’s dressing in that manner that says, not only to you, but to the rest of the world, “take me now”, I have a little word of advice for you; run from this girl! Run! I did not say walk away slowly, I said run from her!”
Now when I first heard her say this, my first thought was, “Just what in the F***K do you mean “dress in that manner that says take me now?” are you literally saying that the way a girl dresses is an indication that she wants to have sex with anyone that’s willing? I couldn’t help the feeling that the message this women, Pam Stenzel, was basically conveying was that girls that just dress in a manner that suggests they’re sexual promiscuous, let alone even actually being sexually promiscuous, are something that all young men need to avoid like the plague.
I wish I could say that this was the only clip of a sex education video that felt blatantly sexist and misogynistic towards female sexuality, but sadly, it wasn’t. In fact, and I kid you not, there was even a clip in which a non-virgin woman was compared to a dirty pair of shoes. Seriously.
The clip begins with the women’s fiancé finding a pair of sneakers and asks “Michelle, what are these? To which she responds “my sneakers” Her fiancé then goes on to say “Michelle, what is this? It looks like the entire football team has been in these!” (as if to suggest that the girl he plans on marrying has had sex with an entire football team). Her response to this accusation? “Well. I made them all wear socks (condoms)” Her fiancé then delivers his final line after hearing the “heartbreaking” news that his fiancé has slept with the entire football team saying ”Michelle, socks don’t protect my heart” with her giving the closing line of “I wish I could go back in time, and make a commitment to be abstinent until marriage”
Now there’s a lot of things that I could say as to why I find such abstinence-only sex education that promotes such a negative view of sexuality, especially female sexuality so offense (which I may write about in later posts) but the three biggest things I feel compelled to mention the most is that abstinence-only sex education like this number one condones rape, number two teaches rape victims that they’re worthless, and number three teaches victims that it’s their fault if they get raped.
First of all I feel that abstinence only sex-education condones rape because it spends so much time teaching adolescents such a negative view of sexual relationships outside of marriage that it completely fails to teach them about what a healthy sexual relationship is. The reason this is a problem is because adolescents these days are typically much more influenced by what they see in the media, whether it’s through movies, TV shows, music, which unfortunately may promote sexual relationships with an extreme amount of violence in them as “healthy” or “normal.” This wouldn’t be such a problem if most adolescents in this country could receive an adequate sex education that taught them “rape is bad and unacceptable in any form of a sexual relationship” yet unfortunately we have a sex education that says “any kind of sexual relationship outside of marriage is bad and unacceptable” unfortunately not making any clear distinction between healthy sexual relationships and violent and abusive sexual relationships.
Second of all, since abstinence-only sex education makes no distinction between sexual violence and abuse such as rape and consensual sexual relationships, (since they teach adolescents that both are equally as bad) and also teach that anyone who has engaged in any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage, especially females, are essentially worthless, it also teaches that rape victims are essentially worthless. The episode even contained a clip of a testimony given by Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped and assaulted when she was fourteen referencing one of the degrading metaphors that a sex-ed teacher told her comparing those who have engaged in pre-marital sex to chewed up pieces of gum. Such a message can have a devastating impact on people’s self-esteem, and absolutely no one should be taught to have such negative view of themselves, especially not rape victims.
Lastly I feel that abstinence-only sex education that especially puts heavy emphasis on girls to stay abstinent by not “dressing” or “acting” in a manner that suggests they want to have sex in order to avoid guys who may want to have sex or pressure them into having sex with them, including guys that may want to rape them is telling young girls that it’s their fault if they get raped because of how they “acted” or “dressed.” No one who has ever been a victim of rape should be told it’s their fault because of how they were acting or what they were wearing, though I do believe that the large part of the blame falls on the sex education that told them spent so much time telling girls not to get raped instead of teaching guys not to rape. It’s absolutely ridiculous to me that we still have a sex education in this country that teaches people to responsible for that negative actions of others instead of teaching them to be responsible for their own actions.
Like I said there is a lot more that I could say about my frustration over the current state of sex education in this country, (which I will probably say later) but these are the three main things that I wanted to mention for now. I hope that such problems in our sex education system in this country will soon be resolved, but I feel that these problems won’t be resolved without a complete overhaul with the way we teach sex education in this country. Hopefully that change will come soon rather than later.