Nitpickers alert: sexual health education division

Allison Pearson is outraged that her 12 year old daughter knows all about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, because this will apparently ruin the youthful romantic yearnings that all teenage girls should have by right, yet paradoxically this very lack of romantic claptrap filling her brain about boys, replaced as it is by clinical diagrams of pregnancy and disease, will also actively propel her daughter to seek out under-age flings. Well, not her daughter so much because that’s unthinkable, but certainly Other People’s Daughters.

Are you following? No, not me much either. I have spoken about my own history of being the daughter of a sexual health educator. The more I learnt the more determined I was to wait until I was ready and found someone I liked strongly enough, and so I was actually 18 before I became fully sexually active. Of course, other people with the same information may well have decided to become active earlier, but at least they knew the risks (and perhaps they just met someone wonderful earlier too).

My favourite bit is where she huffs about the very existence of sexual health services at school for the under 16s, because obviously paedophilia is occurring if they need sexual health services, and we put 25 year olds in prison for having sex with 13 year olds and where are all the bastards that should be being marched off to jail? The idea that teens having sex with each other is not paedophilia (and such liaisons are exempted from statutory rape laws) doesn’t seem to have crossed her tiny brane.

Go. Read. Pick out your favourite clangers in this woefully inept column.

Categories: culture wars, education, health, law & order, media, relationships

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19 replies

  1. Arrgh! “Nice Girls Don’t” *bangs head*. Because what we really need is to instill girls with yet more shame for their bodies, their feelings and to equate sexual intimacy with immorality. The very best thing that could happen would be for sex education to begin much earlier, and yes that means in preschool.

  2. Wow. It’s hard to know where to start picking apart the incredible number of contradictions in that article… So, a child is meant to have the confidence to say no to sex, but not to actually know anything about it, or about which actual part of sexual exploration can put you at risk of pregnancy or communicable disease? Oh, and it is meant to be a time of discovering sexuality, just not involving having sex before 16 because that’s peadophilia. HUH?
    Hopefully most people reading will be just as confused at the point of the article as I am and therefore won’t pay it much attention.

  3. No kidding su. If that’s Pearson’s response to “you can ask me anything about sex”, then it’s bloody lucky that her daughter is getting educated at school.

  4. Yeah, what su said. That thing was horrible and irrational enough, but when she actually said “Nice Girls Don’t,” I was still totally thrown for a loop. I mean . . . just wow.
    Caras last blog post..Librarians: Warping Your Children’s Minds with Factual Information About Sex

  5. I was intrigued by her assertion that five-year-olds assume the stork delivered their baby brother.
    Most five year olds I know (and I know quite a few) say that baby brothers arrive “after Mummy gets fat and goes to the hospital!”

  6. “Only yesterday, we learned that nearly 1,000 secondary schools are providing ‘sexual health services’, including morning-after pills, for pupils as young as 11, whether their parents like it or not. I am all for freely available, guilt-free contraception at the right age – and I support abortion as an option of last resort.”
    So before “the right age” she’d rather they didn’t get morning-after pills and just got pregnant? WTF?

  7. She also doesn’t question how many of the 12yr olds who needed an abortion needed one because of abuse rather than because they engaged in underage sex.
    If her daughter’s school is teaching her about sex (and I think they should be), then she needs to be teaching her daughter about how it’s wonderful with the right person and showing her that it’s not all about the mechanics of sex, pregnancy, contraception and STIs. Tell her about the specialness of being in love, choosing to be with that person and being special together. That’s what teenage soppiness should be about. Being well armed with information is more likely to make her wait for someone special, moreso than ‘Good girls don’t’ – what about the boys? Don’t we want sex to be special for them too?

  8. Oh hell no Mindy, boys need to learn that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t wanna get some more notches on the belt! Wait for someone special? What are you, a girl? Contraception? Women’s work!
    God I hope parents like this are becoming fewer and further between. Preferably before my kid stops working out how to get a toy train and a race car to get it together and starts wondering about people.

  9. But what she fails to admit is that Nice Girls Did, and they were subject to all the repercussions of that (e.g. abortions in the days when it was dangerous to have them, early marriages, too many children, being shipped off to charity homes to give birth away from friends and family etc).

    We had mothercraft when I was at school during the Joh years. Let me tell you more than a few girls left school due to teenage pregnancies. I could thump these folk who think the old days were so golden.

  10. Most five year olds I know (and I know quite a few) say that baby brothers arrive “after Mummy gets fat and goes to the hospital!”

    The other day, my five year old asked me if we went to the hospital at his birth so that he could “get his gills taken out”.

  11. Reflecting on my own school-based sex ed, at a state primary school and a catholic high school (the former was good and entirely appropriate for the age group, the latter was shoddy) what was missing wasn’t “nice girls don’t”. We got plenty of that. We also got “because God says”, “if you do you’ll get pregnant and it’ll ruin your life” and “everyone else will think less of you”. Having rejected God, and the opinions of people I didn’t much care for, all that was left was pregnancy & STDs. I knew the biology of those, but not how to navigate them socially. No one spoke matter of factly about going to the doctor for the pill, or how to talk to your prospective partner about condomns, or even how you might feel when you were “ready” and had found someone you liked. It was assumed you’d know when you were ready and would get married and then do it. This wasn’t the middle ages, it was the 90s.
    Some time later I overheard some girls from my old school talking on the bus about how the pill was bad because it would make you fat, so I doubt their body image or sex education classes are much improved.

  12. If she thinks the “Nice Girls don’t” method was infallible then she is viewing the past with some very rose coloured glasses, as well as being prepared to perpetuate the double standard. I could go on but there is steam coming out of my ears.
    Rayedishs last blog post..And the award for political scandal of the week goes to…

  13. The other day, my five year old asked me if we went to the hospital at his birth so that he could “get his gills taken out”.

    Oh that is so cute! Obviously someone is paying at least some attention to the theory of evolution 🙂

  14. ‘Undoubtedly, this should be a lovely period of romantic and sexual awakening for my daughter.’
    After a sentence like this, I can only imagine that her ‘sex education’ for her child would go something like this: ‘There comes a time in every young lady’s life where she wants to find a special young man to water her special, private lady garden… BUT SHE SHOULDN’T BECAUSE IT IS WRONG OMG.’ (Cue confused 12 year old.)
    Oh noes! Giving children information! Whatever shall we do? She could always move to America and enrol her daughter in a school with an awesome abstinence-only sex ‘education’ program. It’s Not Too Late!

  15. Laurie:

    Oh that is so cute! Obviously someone is paying at least some attention to the theory of evolution 🙂

    We talked about branchial arches ages ago – months, maybe a year – but it clearly stuck in his head!

  16. That article has stuck in my head and I can’t help but wonder why somebody would wish their 12 year old daughter lived in a time when people were getting pregnant out of sheer ignorance.

  17. My mother was a midwife. By the time I was twelve, I’d already read her midwifery textbooks cover to cover, and I knew all about the risks involved in *being* pregnant, not to mention the ones which come from giving birth. I’d also started my own research through books from the library to find out about contraceptive measures. I was lucky, in a way, because I was in school (I think it was early high school, around 1984 – 1985) when AIDS started to get publicity, and when HIV was starting to become something to take precautions against. So I benefited from a wide range of public sexual health information which came flooding out despite the best efforts of the wowsers.
    I also gained one heck of a lot of information from the “correcting the disinformation” type of programs. I can still remember one program which showed the amount of saliva you’d need to exchange to get HIV compared against the amount of saliva you’d need to exchange in order to get Hepatitis B (effectively a bucket compared against a beaker). The more information I got about the risks of sex, the more I decided to just take things slowly, and wait for someone I cared about, and who cared about me.
    What I could have done with as a kid would have been classes about how to talk to the opposite sex without imploding from embarrassment, how to deal with rejection, how to find self-esteem when you don’t fit into the social norms, and how to learn to like yourself for who you are. As far as I’m aware, those still aren’t on anyone’s curriculum.
    Meg Thorntons last blog post..Solstice results


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