A Call for Contraceptive Education
On January 19th, AL.com reported on a recent poll conducted by the Huffington Post in collaboration with YouGov, and online research firm and consulting company, in which 66% of the 1,000 American adults polled thought that teenagers should be taught about birth control in school. Only 15% of respondents thought that teenagers should receive abstinence only sex ed, and a mere 7% thought that sex education shouldn’t be taught in schools at all. Support for contraceptive education was bi-partisan, with 59% of Republican respondents indicating that they thought teenagers should be taught about methods of birth control.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, and as pointed out in the AL.com article, as of January 1, 2015, the state of Alabama does not require sex ed, but when sex ed is taught information on contraception is mandated but abstinence is “stressed.” Alabama also allows parents to opt their children out of sex or HIV education, which reflects the HuffPo/YouGov poll feedback from 57% of respondents who thought that parents should have the “final say over what kind of sex education is taught in schools.
You can see a write-up of the poll results, and participate in an in-article survey on the subject at HuffPo.
Canadian Teens for Consent
In early January, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne praised the work of two 13-year-old 8th grade students in Toronto, as reported by the CBC. Lia Valente and Tessa Hill started a Change.org petition called “We Give Consent,” calling for the topic of consent to be included in the province of Ontario’s revamped sex ed curriculum, which is scheduled to premiere in the fall. The Change.org petition follows Premier Wynne’s announcement that the Ministry of Education would include the topic of consent in the new curriculum, and Valente and Hill mean it as a statement of support for that move. They teens wrote:
“As young people going to school in Ontario we often see how much sexism and harassment takes place. We hear stories from our friends about cat-calling and slut shaming in the hallways and in the classroom. We also notice the lack of awareness about safe sex and consent. There are different sources in our society that make and perpetuate rape and sexual violence, but one of them is our lack of sex education…. The curriculum needs to teach what clear, enthusiastic, and affirmative consent is and what it looks and sounds like. We want health education that teaches our peers ‘Yes means Yes’. That shares with our peers that affirmative consent is an enthusiastic ‘Yes Please!’ between two people…. We need curriculum that speaks to our lives and helps to make us safer.” Emphasis is theirs.
Swedish Sex Ed is Awesome.
Last Monday, MTV reported on a segment from the Swedish children’s show “Bacillakutuen,” which was aimed at teaching children about their bodies through animated penis and vulvas dancing to the song “Snoppen oh snippan.” UPI posted translations of the some of the lyrics as “Here comes the penis at full pace,” and “The vagina is cool, you better believe it, even on an old lady. It just sits there so elegantly.”
Reflecting the type of influences that would probably never let this video fly on American public television, when the segment went viral on YouTube in early January the site classified it as “adult rated.” Users were made to verify that they were 18 years of age or older in order to watch the animated figures that look vaguely like dancing penises and vulvas until Sweden’s SVT public television official requested the restrictions be lifted.
Carl Williott of MTV wrote, “So now, instead of having the difficult ‘private parts’ talk, American parents have the much easier option of learning Swedish, teaching their kids Swedish and then showing them this video.”