Question 25 of the 2013 New Zealand Census asks:
Spot the problem.
In response to queries on the topic, the very-helpful 2013 Census Twitter account @2013Census has said:
We just ask that people mark the response that shows how they are living their lives
Which is nice, but (a) sex and gender aren’t the same thing and (b) “male” and “female” and “are you” seem pretty inflexible.
A Facebook campaign has kicked off (well, was kicked off in 2011 when the Census was meant to be on) calling on people to tick both boxes for “gender” in order to confound the results. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work, per @2013Census:
If the question about sex isn’t answered, or there are multiple repsonses, a response is imputed based on other answers
I’ve now asked what happens if you currently “live your life” as a man, but have given birth to babies – and thus would tick male but not skip question 25? Which ticky-box does the “imputation” favour? The response is:
If they’re completing their forms online they won’t be able to. If on paper it will come up with an error when the form is processed
At which point I presume they start “imputing” things again.
Here’s the clincher: despite the good key message about “how you live your life”, the fact is that the 2011 Census Content Report, when outlining why the sex question (and yep, they say “sex”, not “gender”) was not changed from 2006, says:
Sex refers to the distinction between males and females based on the biological differences in sexual characteristics.
Which pretty much seems to boil down to “penis male, vagina female”. Hence the whole “only females can have given birth” assumption.
As 3News (but not Patrick Gower, alas) has recently covered, collecting data in this way is pretty limiting. It means we just don’t have an overall national picture of sex and gender diversity among New Zealanders as a whole. Think about this: all the trans women who tick “female” but have birthed “0” children pull the fertility measurement down, while all the trans men who tick “male” but have had, say, triplets, aren’t included.
You instantly head to the comment box to say “but there aren’t that many trans men who’ve had triplets, QoT, so it doesn’t really hurt the data” but how the fuck would you KNOW?
While other government departments might collect this kind of information in their own ways, the issues are pretty obvious: when Health collects information it’s only collecting it from people who are ill or injured; when Corrections does it it’s only collecting it from people who get into the criminal justice system.
Census needs to do a better job of collecting meaningful data about New Zealanders. Unfortunately, double-ticking the sex box (yep, that sounds good and dirty) is only going to take up computer time.
Dr Miriam Grossman, who thinks all comprehensive sex ed should strongly emphasise that performing fellatio even once gives you a 120% chance of dying of throat cancer, has made a shocking discovery which will rock the foundations of the evil, slutty pro-sex-ed movement to the core.
their sexual history.
Holy fucking shit.
Well, this sure screws us, doesn’t it? All the time we pro-sex-ed people have put into our solitary key message – “just ask people about their sexual past and believe everything they say” – well, that was a waste. Because people lie.
Oh my god.
If only we’d thought to make multiple points, like:
- it’s a great idea to discuss your partner’s sexual history and ask if they’ve had a recent STI check
- even if they say they’re STI-free, using barrier methods like condoms can greatly reduce your chances of contracting an STI
And if only we’d thought to make comprehensive information about STIs available on some kind of common knowledge-sharing platform, like a website!
We are undone. Cancel the sexual health talks, burn the informative posters, sell the domain names. If we can’t even figure out that people lie and that we need to advice people on how they can keep themselves safe in a world where people lie … well, what good are we?
Here we go again: Colin Craig’s insisting that homosexuality is a choice. Previously, when asked in clear, simple terms, he stated unequivocally that he, himself, could “choose” to be gay.
Now, in a more muddled fashion, he’s testified before a Select Committee that
[Homosexuality is] a choice influenced by a number of things including genetics.
Yes, we are discriminating between relationships.
Why interesting? Because of a long-standing meme used by anti-gay rights activists to pretend that they’re not gigantic bigots: the pretend division between being gay and acting gay.
You’ve heard the line before: “we hate the sin, not the sinner.”
But let’s consider the logical focus of that statement, and Craig’s above: it’s on the sex. The couple-hood. The relationship. These people don’t care about one-guy-who-personally-and-in-his-own-time-likes-other-guys – no no no, it’s all about two-guys-doing-things-together.
Colin Craig’s real problem, the reason he thinks he himself could totally choose to be gay, is because he’s part of a conservative movement which is completely fixated on the cock.
But what about the lesbians???? you may cry, plaintively. Well, let’s put Colin Craig’s comment into context (with bonus alliteration!):
We are saying that marriage between a man and a woman is recognised. We are saying that a relationship between a man and a man, for example, goes down the path of a civil union
Was it really a more efficient use of breath to say “between a man and a man, for example” than to say “between two men or two women”? Not really. Now, if it were someone else talking, you might argue that they’re trying to break down biological essentialism, cis-normativity and the gender binary and when they say “for example” it’s because there are literally a dozen other sex/gender configurations of relationship that they could theoretically include.
Colin Craig … probably isn’t trying to break down biological essentialism, cis-normativity and the gender binary.
So why go straight to man-on-man matrimony? Why is that the “example” he lists out of the two (to him) possible options?
Because Colin Craig is fixated on the cock.
Colin Craig’s statement – once again, that he himself could totally “choose” to be gay – depends on this fixation. Because if you think of homosexual men as being normal human beings, who feel and love and are attracted to each other and go out on dates and play footsie under the table and cuddle and buy each other flowers or craft beer or power tools or just have super-hot one-night stands … well then you’d find the idea of “choosing” to be oriented towards liking other guys ridiculous.
On the other hand, if you think of homosexual men purely in terms of being people-with-cocks who do naughty things with other people-with-cocks … then sure, you could honestly labour under the illusion that homosexuality is a “choice”. Because you could totally suck another guy’s cock if you really had to. It wouldn’t be enjoyable, it wouldn’t be passionate, it wouldn’t be erotic to you, but you literally have the physical capacity to open your mouth and place it over a cock.
That’s what “being homosexual” means to Colin Craig. Cock.
The reason this just makes me laugh, though? Is that this attitude comes from the people who want to dictate what love is. Who want to have dibs on “love” and “specialness” and “caring” and “committed”. Yet they so lack empathy for their fellow human beings that they sincerely believe the only thing that “makes” a person say “I’m gay” is that they occasionally, for no actual reason, want to get nasty with someone who has the same junk as them.
It makes you wonder, the same way you have to wonder when religious fundamentalists start saying things like “if we don’t have prayer in schools, everyone will turn into a serial killer.” Is that really all that’s stopping you? God (though please note how carefully our homegrown fundies avoid mentioning Him in their arguments) sitting up there saying “DON’T SUCK COCK” is the only reason you’re not hanging out in gay bars wearing a t-shirt saying “Do me”?
This is the point where some people would make the usual jokes about “what is Craig hiding” and “how long before he gets caught foot-tapping in a public loo”. But I don’t assume Colin Craig is secretly gay. I assume he’s just so fucking soulless that he really doesn’t understand human emotion. He’s just going through the motions of what he’s been told is “normal”. And seeing that “normal” being changed by the evolution of society? Fucking terrifies him.
On the other hand, he could just be a hateful troll whose continuing “credibility” in the eyes of our media establishment is one of the reasons people have stopped buying newspapers.
In the words of Atheist Pinko Sluts Monthly, where do I sign up?
Annex Your Uterus Life is at it again, now badgering poor Tony Ryall in an effort to stop Family Planning from getting their satanic hands on your precious, sanctified taxpayer dollars.
Their primary reason, as always, is that Family Planning commits the iniquitous crime of helping pregnant people who don’t want to be pregnant stop being pregnant.
But then there’s sex education. The winning quote:
The NZFPA is part of the sex education lobby that is systematically undermining traditional morality and is aggressively promoting an ideology of lustful sexual licence while pretending to be concerned only with the health and safety of young people.
Remember, if Family Planning really cared about the “health and safety of young people” they would be ignoring all reason, research and reality, and telling them “don’t have sex, it’s bad! If you ever have sex except in the ways Ken Orr has approved of, you DIE!!!!”
Because that approach has historically ensured there is no sex out of wedlock, no unplanned pregnancies, and no abortion, EVER.
But Right to
Burn You At The Stake Life has done their homework this time. They’ve uncovered Family Planning’s real agenda: forcing women into same-sex sexual relationships which degrade them.
It’s all encoded in a secret Family Planning document, entitled Keeping it safe, which expert symbologists will instantly recognise as an archaic slogan of the Illuminati used on documentation which is of the highest importance to the plans of our lizard-people overlords.
Ken Orr has valiantly risked his own sanity, nay his own life, to read this vile, blasphemous tome of eldritch cunnilinguistic lore, and he warns the Minister of Health thusly:
The guide is amoral, and promotes unnatural and degrading sexual practices that denigrate the dignity of women.
Now I, as a rampant slut, may read the dread words of Family Planning at a whim, and I can confirm Ken Orr’s statements. Keeping it safe contains noisome statements of utter perversion such as:
Talking about sex can be embarrassing for many women, but it’s essential in checking out what is safe and comfortable, physically and emotionally.
Be clear about what you want, and how far you want to go with any activity and value yourself enough to stick to that. The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. Check out what your sexual partner wants. Be aware of her body language. Include checking if she is comfortable as part of your sex talk – a whispered “Is this ok?” or “Do you want to go further?” – can be very sexy. Stop if she says it’s not ok.
There are some things you can do to make your sex safer and to ensure that you care for your own and your partner’s health and well being.
Woe betide the dignity of women whose innocent eyes should pass over such wretched text!
Oh, fine. They do also talk about fisting. Slow, gentle, consensual fisting.
… Seriously, though. Don’t you feel so sorry for the poor admin person in Tony Ryall’s office who has to open this crap? “Any mail today?” “No, sir, just another screed from Ken Orr.” “Any laughs in it?” “Oh, culture of death, something about lesbians. I filed it in the circular bin.” “You’re doing fine work. Take an early break if you need to.”
Related reading: AlisonM at The Hand Mirror
Leading today’s “most full-of-shit” headlines:
but I’m sure I can’t blame Voxy for that. The opening:
Family First NZ has sent a DVD presentation entitled “You’re Teaching My Child What? Sex Education: A Psychiatrist Calls Foul” to every school principal and every Board of Trustees in New Zealand, highlighting the dangers of Family Planning and Rainbow Youth’s sex education programmes, resources and websites which fail to tell the full facts and which compromise the concerns and wishes of parents, and the safety of young people.
After that it’s basically a copy-paste of their arguments from the last round of this particular lie-cycle, which may leave you wondering exactly what the “agenda” of these malicious “sex ed groups” is. The closest thing you can find in the actual text is:
The current approach … says the moral absolute is – use condoms.
Which is obviously a terrible, terrible message (actually true, insofar as it ignores non-condom-relevant sexy fun times.)
But it’s not much of an agenda.
Here’s my theory: the usual catch-cry in United States antichoice propaganda is “Planned Parenthood profits off killing babies”. But in NZ we have that most terrible of things, free healthcare. Which means on the few occasions Family First etc, whose rhetoric and arguments are basically copy-pasted from US antichoice orgs, have tried to play the “evil doctors want to make your daughters pregnant so they can make money” card, it’s entirely failed to create any real drama.
But fundies aren’t particularly creative, so they’ve stuck with the SCARY HIDDEN AGENDA tagline and then failed to realise they don’t mention what said scary hidden agenda is.
Of course, there’s plenty of implication left: the word “agenda” when connected with groups like Rainbow Youth (who do a fucking good job combating the kind of hate-speech which Family First et al propagate under the guise of “values” … and then act all shocked when we have rampant STIs and youth suicide) obviously connotes the Gay Agenda, by which evil homosexuals try to Turn Our Kids Gay with subversive messages about “listening to your feelings” and “not hating yourself”.
Judging by the current approach’s results – which is a good place to start – sex education has been an utter failure.
You’ve got to love how a one-man band like Family First, which is apparently dedicated to not letting your kids know about penises and vaginas and clitorises, claims that our current rates of STIs and teen pregnancy is entirely the fault of the system they continually undermine. A system which isn’t a mandatory part of our school curriculums, and which is implemented on a school-by-school basis.
If Family First had a smidgen of intellectual honesty (ha) they’d compare the rates of STIs and pregnancies in schools which allow and promote Family Planning and Rainbow Youth and furthermore place importance on teaching kids about sex and feelings and consent, with those schools where kids’ exposure to naughty naughty sex is limited to a lecture about how AIDS will kill you and a screening of The Silent Scream.
I’m pretty sure it would be illuminating. Which is why they don’t do it.
On the back of Dr Miriam Grossman‘s appearance at their little conference, Family Fist are – of course – now calling for total defunding of sexuality education courses run by Family Planning and Rainbow Youth, those known sowers of smut and depravity and concepts like “consent”.
Family First also claims that groups like Family Planning “ran for cover” when “challenged” to a “debate” by Grossman. Yeah, and I probably would too, because you know what? It’s really difficult to keep a straight face when “debating” someone who just lies in order to score points and whose entire “argument” is based on a complete refusal to treat teenagers like they’re autonomous individuals with dignity and choice. And who apparently has never met any teenagers.
(I’m sure that Dr Grossman and Bob McCoskrie would argue they know plenty of teens who are angelic and saintly and virginal. Yeah, because you two totally set yourselves up as people who teens will be open with. Just like how I don’t mention the word “feminism” in front of some of my work colleagues …)
Anyway, Family Fist’s press release devolves, as they generally do, into another rehashing of The Terrible Sinfulness of NZ Society, including terrible websites which just try to sow confusion about sex.
By “sow confusion” we of course mean “present the notion that there isn’t One Godly Way of doing things”.
Let’s take a tour!
Currently down for maintenance – hence one assumes the dark, conspiratorial “SEE SEE THEY TOOK DOWN ONE OF THEIR WEBSITES!!!!” claim in the release (yet not the one with the R18 how-to on buttsex?) – but it sits under the Rainbow Youth site, which contains confusing statements like:
If you feel pressured or feel that you can’t trust someone, listen to your instincts. Take control and make a choice to wait or not tell them how you feel. If you feel unsafe, get out of that situation, and get help.
NO! DON’T LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS! Instincts are Satan’s way of telling you to ignore the righteous path, which involves (a) endangering yourself and (b) lying to yourself and everyone else about your inner feelings. He’s all about love, y’know?
And how’s this for full information?
Being gay or homosexual is being attracted to and loving someone of the same sex as you. It’s not always this black and white: you might like both boys and girls, or not be sure right now about who you’re attracted to.
NO. FULL INFORMATION = being gay is wrong, and your urges are bad, and if you just do what religious fundamentalists insist then everything will be fine. See the difference? It’s fucking disgusting, isn’t it, the way Rainbow Youth presents life as not being a black-and-white moral battle between the forces of Princess Don’t Leia and Darth Sodomy?
Now here’s a site I had not encountered before, and would agree is probably not for the kiddies. Hence, you know, the way they clearly label content as R18.
Also, one of their frontpage images is going straight to the pool room:
Anyway, rutting balloon bunnies aside, Get It On is also clearly not about full information. It’s just about glamorizing sex! It makes sex sound harmless and awesome (which … it should be, under ideal circumstances)! Just look at THIS little piece of pro-sex anti-moral propaganda:
Second, it’s not an intelligent question because there is no way you can ever be sure that what some random online hook-up tells you is the truth. Maybe a guy does think he is HIV negative and says “yeah I’m clean”. Maybe he had a test done three months ago, but how much sex has he had since then? And with who? And how often without condoms?
It’s a concern because HIV is often passed on by guys who don’t know they have it yet. So they might say “Yeah I’m clean” but be genuinely mistaken.
NO NO NO. We can’t just be writing thoughtful articles about practising safe sex and thinking carefully about who/how you fuck! The only way to never get an STD is to completely abstain from sex for your entire life unless you are hetero and planning to have babies (before that window closes!), in which case you just save yourself for marriage and voila, problem solved.
And look, they have “STI Info” right there in the banner. How disgusting, giving people clear, informed medical information and still saying sex is OK. Remember, you can tell what “full information” about sex is: information which makes you not have sex. No, it’s not biased, it’s science, shut up.
Now here’s the site which should put the shits up conservative parents, because it is targeted at teens. And it clearly has no interest in telling them they can talk to “responsible adults”, to quote Dr Grossman. You can tell by the way their “Helpful contacts” page is entirely made up of the personal cellphones of girls called Madison and Kaytee. And what about this?
Understanding our bodies and those of our partners helps us to keep healthy.
NO. NO NO NO. Keeping healthy is all about having full medical information! Which is different from “understanding our bodies” because that implies that our bodies are something good and positive, and they’re not, OK?
And also cis girls can never learn about cis boys’ bodies because, as Family Fist’s press release points out, giving kids pamphlets that use the word “cock” is obviously wrong.
And here’s what they’re telling kids about sex!
Remember that having sex will not necessarily:
- Make you more mature.
- Give you better status with your friends.
- Make your relationship stronger or closer.
- Give you an orgasm or immense pleasure – or be terrible either.
- Look like it did on TV or at the movies.
How dare they imply that sex … um … isn’t the answer to all life’s problems? Wait, no, LOOK! They said right at the end of the 4th bullet point that sex might not be terrible! Witness how they corrupt and enslave our children!!!
Boy, I’m sure glad Dr Miriam Grossman encouraged parents to check out these sites on Close Up. I think we can all see how they’re actively hiding negative information from people, telling them “the moral absolute is – use condoms”, and (OK, this one is actually accurate) not treating sex like it’s bubonic plague.
How are our kids meant to know what’s right while these websites are telling them that they have a right to think for themselves?
Finally, a return to an old favourite, and if nothing convinces you that Family Fist and everyone they approve of are really just scary, body-shaming control freaks:
One concerned father took his 12-year-old son out of a sex education class at his all-boy school after he came home upset about what had happened during one of the lessons. It included a question-and-answer session that focused on, “I have learned that my girlfriend has a thing called a clitoris. I really want to play with it. Is that okay?” The answer was: “Yes, if you ask her and she’s okay with it.”
PEOPLE DON’T GET TO CHOOSE IF THEY’RE OKAY WITH HAVING THEIR OWN CLITORIS TOUCHED, OK? How dare people be teaching 12-year-olds that certain biological bits exist and typically have certain responses and that the person possessing said bits can exercise control over said response?
Oh, and this old canard?
A poll of parents in 2010 found that three out of four parents of young children want the abstinence message taught in sex education – with 69% of kiwis overall supporting the ‘wait’ message
Is bullshit according to their own site (if you can apply Basic Critical Thinking skills) which spells out the actual question as:
Do you think schools, as part of their sex education programme, should be required to encourage pupils, to abstain from sex until they are old enough to handle the possible consequences of pregnancy?
Do you know what “as part of” means? Because Bob McCoskrie doesn’t, apparently. When 69% (never fails to make me chuckle, that) of people say “Yes, I would like chocolate cake as part of my wedding menu” they do not actually think that this means “THE ONLY FOOD AT MY WEDDING WILL BE CHOCOLATE CAKE”.
But that’s Bob for you. Twisting the facts (and getting a certain NACT-shill-owned marketing “research” company to pre-twist the questions) to suit his moral agenda.
Remember, this dude also thinks that 11-year-old pregnant people should be forced to carry their rapists’ babies. You really think he’s got your teen’s best interests at heart here?
(Updated 18/6/13 to re-acquire adorable sexing-balloon-bunny images)
In my last post I talked about Dr Miriam Grossman and how her objections to sexuality education were passed off as being about “full information” (clearly the fundy meme for 2012). The other thing that struck me was her insistence on making the conversation not about morals or ethics or even in any way religious. From an article in the Herald:
I’m not talking about morality, I’m a physician
Yes. And you’re also of orthodox Jewish faith, and you’ve also been brought here to speak by Family First, who talk about morality a lot.
And … hang on … the FAQ on Family Fist’s website is “Adapted from “The Natural Family – A Manifesto” – World Congress of Families”. And the World Congress of Families is a “project” of The Howard Centre for Family, Religion and Society, and their site is just chocka with religious writings – writings which are, interestingly, somewhat open to non-Judeo-Christian religious teachings, but only if they’re sufficiently patriarchal and anti-sex, of course. (Please note in the linked article that it’s assumed the divorce rate in highly religious couples is lower than average. Yes, when you’re convinced your choice is between an eternity in Hell or 20 more years with this bastard, I can’t think how that could happen.)
Point is, your fundamentalist faith of choice is there, and it’s the basis of Grossman’s/Family First’s/etc teachings (or, alternatively, their Unbiased Medical Research just happens to correlate with 3,000-year-old dogma) but gosh are they cagey about waving the God flag when they’re telling us what to do.
Let’s face it, the early 21st century is actually a bit of a shit time for fundy conservatives. When the Pope gets out in his Popemobile and says “homosexuality is bad, mmkay” a large chunk of the Western world goes “lol, shut up, you don’t really have a clue, do you?”. Yes, there are also significant areas where religious moral rectitude holds sway – and endangers people’s lives – but there’s not the society-wide “hush, Man of God is talking” reaction that maybe the various churches or Maxim Insitute-esque lecturers on morality used to get in the Dark Ages, or the 50s.
So coming out and saying what they really think – “Our particular deity says any sex outside the hetero married cock-vag style is a no-no” doesn’t get a lot of traction outside their own, already-converted audience.
Hence, the medical information thing. Doesn’t it sound lovely and neutral? “Hey now, we just want accurate, unbiased medical information to be taught to our kids.” It’s so safe! And unpreachy! Maybe they just have everyone’s best interests at heart!
And then we remember that the kind of people who say this are coming from a point of view which says that even acknowledging that sometimes Boys Like Other Boys and Girls Like Other Girls is “teaching morality”. They think that saying “sometimes [basically, all the time] some people have sex before they tie the knot in a god-approved ceremony” is ideological. Not, you know, basic social fact.
On the other hand, skewing the information given to teens so that it’s all about “you only want to shag because of your hormones and they make you dumb” and “who cares if the nerve endings like a tickle, God WAIT NO WE MEANT SCIENCE designed your ass for only one purpose” is just giving them “full information” (TM).
The forces of evil, aka “the moral majority” are very good at a couple of things: incrementalism (oh, we just want parental notification laws, and we only want to make sure you’re sure about having sex, and we’re merely protecting sex workers by forcing them off the streets) and subverting progressive language (full information! Medical issue! I just don’t want my kids preached to!).
They are liars. They don’t care if your kid gets HPV and dies of cervical cancer, or gets another kid pregnant and has to drop out of varsity to support their new “family”. Every time their actions cause you harm they sincerely see that as proving that they were right all along. It’s fucking sociopathic. Don’t buy it.
So, as previously posted, Dr Miriam Grossman visited our shores, at the invitation of Family Fist. If you missed her on Close Up, the video is now up on their site, and it’s totally worth it just for Mark Sainsbury’s rather matter-of-fact “but don’t adults have oral sex too?” line of follow-up questions. 5 points to House Glorious Moustache.
Anyway, here’s my thoughts on the matter, based on my notes from the original screening because I don’t want to end up yelling at my monitor. Again.
Dr Grossman’s basic claimed thesis is that sex education isn’t actually giving kids full, in her words life-saving information (bingo!) about the medical dangers of dirty, dirty sex. This is, on the surface, an objectively bad thing, since proponents of sex ed also talk about being concerned that kids need to be informed.
The fact that her only example of this is that none of our Family Planning / sex ed websites mention that oral sex causes throat cancer leads one neatly into her very thinly-veiled actual thesis:
Sex ed isn’t oriented toward scaring kids away from having sex.
For all the talk of sex being “a medical issue” and that we should “tell the truth” about sex, what it boils down to – and the related reading in my previous post contains more examples of this – is that “full information” means lying to kids by saying things like (direct quote from Close Up):
To be sexually active during the teen years, with multiple partners, is high risk – you’re going to get an infection.
My Twitter and Facebook feeds were hilariously flooded that night with people declaring they were obviously freaks of nature, given how they’d been sexually active teens with multiple partners and managed not to get any infections. Clearly, our sexuality education is a miserable failure, what with it enabling their safe sexual activity instead of scaring them into abstinence as God intended.
(Meanwhile, Dr Katie Fitzpatrick talked about teaching young people to have critical thinking skills, looking at a range of information … the sex-encouraging teen-pimping Satanist.)
Grossman also criticised Family Planning pamphlets telling young people that sex was their choice, apparently assuming that the only sex-related pressure teens come under is from *adopt martyred pose* People Who Just Want Them To Wait For Their Own Good. In Grossman’s world, of course, there’s no pressure on teens to have sex before they’re ready, which maybe we might want to mitigate by telling them they have a right to autonomy and to say no and that their consent is an important thing which should be recognised. Nah, they just need to be protected by the evil forces of sex-encouragement.
The logical conclusion to this, of course, is that “full information” from Grossman’s perspective is information which causes teens to not have sex. Which seems … I don’t know, a little presumptive? What if teens read about the scary throat-cancer dangers of oral sex* and still decide “actually, I’m ready to have sex”?
I’d guess we’d be in for some weasel-word-filled equivalent of “if they still want to have sex it’s because they’re stupid/not really informed/sinful and thus deserve to get STIs due to not being taught about condoms.”
Here’s the thing. When you don’t tell kids about sex and contraception, you put them at risk. When you make sex a no-no topic, you protect sexual predators. When you try to make sex a big scary monster in a world where sex is constantly portrayed as fun, loving, exciting, the ultimate display of their commitment, they’re going to do what teens have done since the dawn of adolescence: write you off as another stupid adult who’s just telling them what to do because you get off on your bullshit adult authori-taaaaa.
And then when their boyfriend pressures them into something they’re not comfortable with (probably after reading Cosmo) and their girlfriend gets pregnant and kicked out of home and their partner cheats on them and gives them that infection which Dr Grossman is so concerned about … it’s going to be a fuckload harder on them having no adult they can trust to help them.
But hey, it’s not about the kids, is it? It’s about Moral Authorities getting to wag their fingers and impose their prescribed way of life through fear, manipulation, lies, and treating those who don’t measure up like shit to bring the others into line.
I defer the last word to Jackie Edmond of Family Planning, quoted in the Herald:
“We don’t aspire to talking about the ideal of one sexual relationship. We are pragmatic – and we are dealing with young people.”
*A risk which just coincidentally disproportionately affects hetero girls and gay boys but allows jocks to get head to their heart’s content, and is actually linked to HPV, which (a) WE HAVE A VACCINE FOR NOW and (b) LESS PREVALENT WHEN PEOPLE HAVE SAFE SEX
Dr Miriam Grossman was on our televisions tonight. She’s been brought to New Zealand by Family Fist, who just love her anti-sexuality-education ways.
This is a topic I feel particularly strongly about, so I’m going to go away and work on a bigger, more in-depth post, but I’m going to let you cogitate on her final words on tonight’s Close Up:
“The sexual urge is healthy and wonderful. It’s when teens act on that urge that it’s not healthy.”
Unpacking that convoluted bit of sex-shaming should keep you busy, but if you want some more background on Dr Grossman:
From Bruce Llama: Grossman and sex
Feministing: Miriam Grossman is teaching my child what? and discovers a fucking hilarious “sex ed” website based largely on her work (new favourite phrase: YOUR FERTILITY IS A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY THAT WILL CLOSE)
GayNZ: Who is Miriam Grossman?
LudditeJourno has fought the good fight once more against the forces of misogyny:
Two women fought off separate attacks from an unidentified man in central Whanganui. Police suspect the attacks were related, as both involved women being targeted from behind, while they were out running.
“It’s clear we have a predator trying to target female joggers,” said Detective Inspector Plod. “We’d like to praise the strength and ingenuity of the two women who successfully stopped potential sexual attacks.”
If only it were so. Our police force’s actual advice is:
“Police are warning the public, females in particular, to take particular care when walking or jogging in the broader CBD area, and encourage they do not head out alone for such activities.
“This approach should continue until positive results are achieved in locating the offender or offenders for these attacks.”
Because, you know, there’s only one or two sexual predators targeting women in the whole of Whanganui. And once the police catch them, sexual assault will be a thing of the past! Hurrah!
Shit like this is why, despite a lot of the issues around its ignoring of intersectionality and the different ways sexuality-policing affects different classes of women,* I’ll be going to Wellington SlutWalk 2.0. It’s not just about the wider societal bullshit. It’s about the fact that in 2012 we still have a police culture which tells women to stay in the kitchen if they know what’s good for them.
*But, I’m going to say again right from the outset, I have zero time for the critiques which are basically “lol how can u reclaim the word slut when u r dressed like sluts, slut”, which (unsurprisingly?) is the main type of criticism noted on the Wikipedia page for SlutWalk – which has one para on the issues raised by some women of colour but conflates it with the usual simplistic “but you can never reclaim bad words!!!!!” critique.