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)
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?
After all, it’s not like incubators people women should possibly be aware of all their options. Not if a qualified professional licensed practitioner person with personal religious beliefs disagrees with one of those options, anyway.
That seems to be the basis of a legal challenge to new Medical Council guidelines which would force Good Christian Soldiers to Mercilessly Slaughter the Unborn – I’m sorry, they would
Well fuck. That’s terrible. I mean, forcing medical professionals to make a statement of fact about the existence of a medical procedure? I am aghast. Such an imposition! Such an inconvenience! It’s like those bastards at the Medical Council think these people trained to offer medical advice!
Deborah puts it with less snark:
[The subtext of this challenge] says that they will make moral decisions for their patients, because women can’t be trusted to make those moral decisions themselves.
Now wait. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, I mean, I’m not a doctor, obviously, I’m just a currently vacant uterus woman. Maybe this “abortion” thing is some kind of drastic procedure, involving expense and trauma and danger?
Well, maybe if you’re the person getting it, especially if you’re not blessed to live in a major metropolitan centre of NZ or if you find the prospect of having to justify your reproductive choices to not one but two consultants who, if you’re lucky, will interpret “mental health” widely and help you circumvent decades-old patriarchal bullshit.
Having to sit there and admit to a person in your medical care that yes, there is an option legally available which you personally would not choose? Cry me a fucking river.
And I’m speaking here as someone who went to a Catholic fucking high school. A high school where we were taught about contraception … and abortion.
And sure, our teacher stood at the front of the class and said “girls, I do not agree with abortion and the Church teaches that it’s wrong, and please don’t have sex and please don’t have abortions”, and sure other classes in my year got shown The Silent Scream (and were apparently so traumatized we didn’t get to see it), and sure the STD talk was accompanied with a “horrible infections you will get if your immune system is suppressed by AIDS” slideshow. So we’re not talking objective information here.
But we still knew what our options were. And when a few girls in my class were pregnant in the year following seventh form, and chose to have their babies, you know what? I know that they were able to choose to have their babies.
And they didn’t need some fucking self-righteous morality-pushing douche abusing the privilege of being a medical professional treating them like they couldn’t be trusted with autonomy over their own bodies.
H/T: The Hand Mirror
On the lighter side of things, Scott at Imperator Fish very nicely demonstrates why Jonathan “Concert FM is Radio Pyongyang with a harpsichord” Coleman’s suggestion that NatRad look at commercial sponsorship is a bad, bad, bad, bad thing.
Ministers reading picture books to schoolteachers.
Ministers blaming horrific youth unemployment on ‘some of them are only looking for paper runs‘.
Ministers deciding that league tables may be useless for schools but are perfect for hospitals.
And Ministers declaring that anyone challenging one of our last true monopolies is a Red under the bed out to destroy our freedoms.
If someone wants to wake me when we get to 2011, I’ll be inside a big bottle of gin.