It’s 2015 and You Can’t Hide from Sex
In my weekend scroll of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – basking in the trifecta of Social Media interaction when I am either too bored to talk to the humans around me, or I am alone and just needing some validation that I’m not the only person who ate breakfast that day – I ran across a story on the Conservative Tribune website. Before I go on I must iterate my disdain for websites that stand to preach about the “days of old” and how the prude America of the 1950s was the mecca of America’s success.
The story opens with a sappy lede:
“American middle schools should be a safe place – somewhere children can focus on learning and not be exposed to the raw world.” I have to agree with schools and how they should be a safe place, but I’m pretty sure the point of public schools is to open your children’s eyes up to the real world, otherwise you’d place them in the sheltered private school system where they will learn how to hide a cocaine addiction at a young age, and that rape is only rape if you get caught and don’t have a good lawyer.
I digress. A father in Kernersville, Travis Vanhoy, was apparently appalled at the idea that his 12-year-old daughter checked out a book from her school library by E. Lockhart, nee Emily Jenkins, titled “Real Live Boyfriends.” This book is one of four in a series about a fictional character named Ruby Oliver who writes about her high school experience. Having never read any of these books, I can’t speak to the quality of the content. However, Emily Jenkins is the recipient of multiple Boston Globe/Horn Honors, as well as the Charlotte Zolotow Honor, so I don’t think she’s necessarily a slouch when it comes to the ol’ pen and ink.
The referenced sections of the book that Mr. Vanhoy has a problem with are within the context of a girl being touched by a boy, and liking it. FOR SHAME! A senior female in high school experiencing the physical touch of a boy is just downright wrong, especially when it’s in a book that girls around that age can relate to.
Whoa! I think I got a little ahead of myself there. It isn’t wrong. It’s actually quite normal, but when you take a look at the reproductive health and safety education outlined in North Carolina House Bill 29, it makes sense why these conservative nut jobs think learning anything about sex before your 30 th birthday is a sin.
The first part of section 115C-81.30 in HB 29 says to “Teach that abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard for all school-age children.” How and why is this the “expected standard?” Further down the text in HB 29 states that distribution and availability of contraceptives is not prohibited on behalf of the schools.
So, it’s required that we teach kids about sex, tell them it’s not OK for them to partake in it out of wedlock, and we don’t provide them condoms just in case one or two of those kids doesn’t fall in line.
Ridiculous. The “16 and Pregnant” show on MTV is disgusting, but the truth is often the hardest pill to swallow (which is all it would’ve taken for these girls to not get pregnant – a little Plan B.) Since 2009, the television show has followed high school girls through their pregnancies and births, making way for special episodes about each girl and the path they followed post-birth. One girl made a sextape. One girl went to jail. One couple gave their child up for adoption. One girl’s boyfriend died. This show has so much influence it was reported that the names of one mother/ child duo saw an increase in use by new parents. MTV, you still got it, even if music, the one thing your name says you are all about, is not there.
With the access teens and pre-teens have to technology nowadays, sorry parents, but they are getting sex one way or another. If there is one thing I remember from growing up, it’s that my mother told me not to touch the hot stove. I, of course, touched the hot stove, probably more than once. I don’t think I’m alone in this rebellious endeavor.
We tell kids about sex, but not to have it. Warn them of the risks of sex, but don’t provide the safe ways for them to partake. Then when a high school student shows up to class with a bun in the oven, we can shame her, pat ourselves on the back for warning her, then move onto the next class of students we hope to fill with our unrealistic expectations of sexual abstinence.
There isn’t a lot of information I took from grade school, mostly things like Pythagoras’ Theorem (which I’ve never applied to anything closely resembling my career path) and there are a lot of things I had to let go of upon leaving school. My sex education came in th e form of putting a condom on a banana, or the leg of a teddy bear (you know, in case a yeti ever asked me how to get the reservoir tip of a Trojan to the right place) and that’s pretty much it. I learned that having sex means you will have a baby and the only way to avoid having a baby, or getting mega herpes, super AIDs, or HPV, is to just not have sex.
That makes total sense. Tell a bunch of kids experiencing puberty and a rush of hormones and new sensations not to explore these very real things happening to their bodies.
Go ahead, tell them. I’ll wait. I’ll wait over here in the pregnancy ward telling these expecting mothers to chill out and that these emotions and hormones are just a phase and they shouldn’t pay any mind to them. We’ll see who falls in line first. !