This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 25 July 2013.
The state of California has seen teen pregnancy rates drop to a 20-year low, across all ethnicities.
You would, to the surprise of no one who understands what being a teenager is like, be wrong. From a linked article:
Public health experts say state laws are responsible for the decline because they require public schools that offer sex education classes to provide scientifically reliable instructions on how contraceptives work along with information about abstinence.
What’s that? Scientifically reliable information together with “information about abstinence”, which might involve supporting teens’ individual choices and instilling the idea that they can resist social pressure to have sex if they’re not ready? How the fuck could that possibly be effective?
Especially when compared to the amazing results delivered by the “abstinence-only education, scaremongering, and general judgyness” approach.
Over the past decade, teen pregnancy rates have consistently been higher in Southern states that don’t provide students with adequate sexual health instruction. Since abstinence-only courses often present misleading information about contraception, a full 60 percent of young adults underestimate birth control’s effectiveness and are more likely to skip it because they don’t believe it will make a difference. And teens in rural areas still struggle to access contraception, partly because there are fewer health clinics in less populous places and partly because a societal stigma surrounding teen sexuality still pervades conservative communities.
California has also come up with innovative concepts like “getting bilingual moderators when dealing with bilingual teens”. And check out this fucking sexy graphic from the CDC about how to design “teen-friendly” health visits.
The facts are plain and simple. Giving young people actual full information – not “you’re going to get cancer every time you give head” information – and the power or esteem or respect to make their own decisions works. It doesn’t mean there’ll never be any teen pregnancy, it doesn’t mean we’ll eradicate STDs, it doesn’t mean teenagers will stop being emotional hormonal creatures struggling to find their identity and place in society.
But it does mean they’re far better equipped to deal with that than lying to them.
If you’re of a conspiratorial mind, you might ask why lying abstinence-pushers are so insistent on a strategy which empirically does not work. You might think about modern capitalism’s need for a less-empowered class of worker drones, and its use of racism and patriarchy to keep certain groups of people in line when it comes to doing the shitty underpaid jobs which and making the babies which are necessary for the elite’s continued lives of luxury.
Of course it’s possible that they’re honestly such self-absorbed, hateful douchecanoes that they’ll happily throw teenagers under the bus if they don’t conform to said douchecanoes’ personal beliefs about How Things Should Be.
But moral, upstanding compassionate folks? They are not.
This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 23 May 2013.
God, we’re a terrible society to be a teenager in. Scary, dramatic adolescent shit is going down, you’re trying to discover who you are and what you want to be in life, and at a time when you could seriously just use a little bit of understanding and hands-off-yet-supportive guidance from the adults in your life …
Things which are apparently news now:
- Teenagers have sex
- Teenagers don’t tell their parents they’re having sex
- Teenagers, especially teenage boys, aren’t really hyper-focused on the legality of their actions
Things which are apparently the problem:
- The teenage brain is so underdeveloped that they’re literally incapable of understanding where babies come from. And walk into poles a lot.
- Binge drinking culture, which affects only young people and is not a reflection of their parents’ generation’s behaviour and attitudes at all
- Teenagers watch TV and go on The Twitters and that’s how they figure out that they have fun nerve endings in their genitals (seriously, go re-read paragraph 8)
Things which are totally not the problem:
- Adults throughout history treating teenagers like they’re fucking idiots/criminals who must be monitored and tracked at all times
- Adults throughout history panic-mongering about young people having sex
- Our media constantly panic-mongering about SEX!!!!!!!!!! yet ignoring the wider social context even when that context is described in their coverage
- Young adults being denied decent information on sex and relationships because ew, sex is icky
Things which you would think are the solution but clearly aren’t because ew, sex is icky:
- Comprehensive sex and sexuality education which emphasises consent and gives teens the power to resist peer pressure
- Not treating sex like it’s the bubonic plague – because maybe teens would feel like they had more of a support base if our answer to them having sex wasn’t LOCKDOWN! CURFEW! CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!
[Trigger warning: youth suicide]
In another of his copy-paste jobs (because he just won’t learn) Bob McCoskrie quotes the following:
Much to the dismay of ardent feminists, many states already have on the books so-called parental involvement laws, decrees which require a girl to notify a parent, guardian, or other approved adult or family member before she can obtain an abortion.
A new study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Colorado, Denver, gives further evidence in support of such laws. States that have parental notification laws, they find, also see a drop in the suicide rate of girls ages 15 through 17.
What’s wrong with this “analysis”?
If your first guess was “anyone who uses the phrase “ardent feminist” isn’t exactly unbiased”, you get a foetus-shaped cookie covered in blood-sprinkles.
Now, here’s a link to the actual article, because Bob’s penis doesn’t deserve pageviews. What jumps out at you from that? Is it this bit at the end?
This article has been republished with permission from The Family in America, a publication of The Howard Center. The Howard Center is a MercatorNet partner site.
Have another foetus-shaped cookie with a red-licorice umbilical.
But who is “The Howard Center”? If the URL of “profam.org” doesn’t give enough of a hint, here’s what they say about themselves:
Introducing The World Congress of Families
We affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society.
The “Natural” Family and Society
The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The natural family is defined by marriage, procreation and, in some cultures, adoption. Free, secure and stable families that welcome children are necessary for healthy society. The society that abandons the natural family as the norm is destined for chaos and suffering.
Oh! They’re extremist Christians! Who would have thought?
And the actual study they’re citing? Why, that’s here. It’s okay, Bob, we already knew that the concept of linking to primary sources so people can make up their own minds is alien to you.
I am no stats nerd, and I welcome any who are to provide their own commentary on the math. But here’s the thing:
Poisson estimates indicate that the adoption of a parental involvement law is associated with an 11%–21% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide. … we conclude that these estimates likely reflect a causal relationship, but note that its magnitude appears to be modest: for an average-sized state, an 11% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide translates into 0.79 fewer suicides per year, while a 21% decrease translates into 1.50 fewer suicides per year; ordinary least squares estimates confirm that only a small portion of the within-state variation in suicides among U.S. minors can be attributed to parental involvement laws.
Sure, the fundies have a good point when they say that every teen suicide prevented is a good thing (presuming it’s prevented because the teen in question chooses not to, and not because they’re locked in a basement by controlling parents). But we’re still talking about one less suicide a year. Not exactly a slam-dunk of a finding, that.
And without wanting to disparage the entire science of statistics, it still bugs me to see these kind of numbers with no context. We just don’t know why there’s a causal connection – though the study has a suggestion:
This pattern of results suggests that the adoption of a parental involvement law results in an immediate reduction in suicides, but that after the first year its impact wanes. This may be because the enactment of the laws typically comes amidst press coverage alerting minors and their parents to the new law, but dissipates as public attention to the law diminishes
Right, so for a blip in time, teenagers are more leery of sex, or feel more able to insist on contraception, because the idea of having to tell their parents they’re knocked up is front of mind. After that … yeah, nah. Doesn’t seem like much of a compelling case for the religious lobby’s assertion that
it seems reasonable to suggest that if parental notification laws do indeed act as a deterrent upon risky sexual behaviors, such laws save many more girls from severe psychological distress, even if that distress does not end ultimately in the ending of life.
Um, just a thought: maybe wait until you’ve got an actual study linking parental notification laws with “risky” sexual behaviours before you start jumping to conclusions.
Levine … found that the adoption of a parental involvement law was associated with a 15%–20% reduction in the abortion rate of 15- through 17-year-olds, and a 4%–9% reduction in their pregnancy rate.
Which means that one seemingly incontrovertible effect of parental notification laws is more teenagers having babies. Choice.
So there we go. Bob McCoskrie is still stealing other people’s content with paltry attribution and no value-add commentary, and can’t even be honest enough to present the real findings of the study or acknowledge his sources are religiously biased.
Bonus fail, from the article McCoskrie thieved:
“Under the law,” reports the Chicago Tribune, “a parent or a guardian would have to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion was performed on a minor except in cases of a medical emergency, sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse.”
Um, Chicago Tribune? If a minor’s pregnant, it’s a case of sexual abuse. That’s the point of having a legal definition of “minor”, douchebags.
In the interests of even-handedness, here’s a disclaimer: I’m prochoice as all fuck. You might have gathered.
So, the world kept turning while I was away recovering spoons. But thanks to the power of bookmarking, I kept track of a few things I knew I’d want to comment on when I came back.
First up: the Into the River ~~~~~scandal~~~~. Craig at Public Address had a great post about it, which led me to Emma Neale’s great post about it, and Edgar Wolf’s great post about it, and I don’t intend to repeat any of the points they made.
What I want to talk about is the notion, put forward in comments on Emma’s post, that some teenagers need to be protected/sheltered/etc from content which is “raw”, or challenging, or unnerving. I want to be as reasonable and understanding as Emma, who responds really well to those comments, who agrees that parents are in a good position to judge what their kids are prepared for … but teenage!QoT has other plans.
No, the book isn’t going to be perfect for everyone. No book is perfect for everyone. Some books contain themes or scenes or stories which just aren’t going to work for every reader, things which some readers want or need to avoid.
On the other hand, though, being a teenager is pretty fucking unnerving in of itself. It’s a time of grappling with who you are and how life works and what’s right or wrong and why your brain is full of weasels. In a way, teens may be desperately craving things which are “raw” – because it’s not being delivered through their parents’ perspective – and unnerving – because they know there’s a huge world out there and they want to understand it.
I was a geek of a pre-teen/teenager, and I devoured the works of Tamora Pierce. There’s plenty of scenes in her books which made me squirmy. Not full-blown sex scenes, just sexual scenes. Sometimes uncomfortable sexual scenes. Uncomfortable because the protagonist is grappling with her emotions, or being told to ignore them, or not knowing if she’s doing the right thing or if it’s going to be worth the fallout afterwards, worried about pregnancy, worried that being a sexual being will change the way the other men in her life treat her.
Yeah, it was raw, and it was unsettling, and it was a lot to process, but fuck, I’m glad I got to work through all that vicariously rather than enter teenagehood completely unprepared for the idea that emotional decisions aren’t always black-and-white and sex can be complicated but doesn’t have to be.
Of course, there’s the other side of things: the side of things where teenagers aren’t toddlers. They can get out of the house and go to libraries, and if there’s one thing pretty universal to them, it’s the desire to do things which look fun and are forbidden. Teenage!QoT just wants to know this, parents: do you want to be the parent your teen knows they can’t talk to about the messed-up shit going on in their heads?
Well, another lethal blow to my ego: no one in the mainstream media reads my blog.
That’s the only reason I can think for them breathlessly covering a “report” from Family First – who, let’s all remember, were de-registered as a charity, in part because all their “research” is baseless propaganda – which dishonestly covers much the same ground I did nearly a year ago.
That is, the dark, seedy underbelly of New Zealand’s sex ed websites.
If only I’d published my post as a “critical review” under the banner of some vocal, extremist Christians, then the mainstream media might have
taken me seriously published my opinions as though they were fact.
Anyway, you should totally go check out my original post, if only because there are balloon animals fucking each other in it.
Our problem in New Zealand is not that the resources produced by great organisations like Family Planning and Rainbow Youth are wrong. It is that we know what works but have failed to ensure that every school uses a sexuality education approach consistent with these criteria.
And one of the obstacles in our way is extreme conservatives trying to force a ludicrous Mad-Men-if-you’ve-never-actually-watched-Mad-Men style of morality on us.
… for being part of this initiative to talk to communities and young folk about depression and suicide.
It’s been one of my major insta-rage issues since I was a teenager: the constant rhetoric around youth suicide and how we just shouldn’t talk about it because then the stupid teenagers will just copy-cat suicide.
Newsflash: Kiwi youth are managing to kill themselves just fine without the “encouragement” of people talking about it as a serious issue.
It will never stop baffling me how people will honestly argue that the solution to youth depression and suicide is to make those suffering from depression feel more alone and more ashamed and more like a complete failure – because hey, everyone else is getting along just fine! They must be fine! Because they never talk about feeling like crap for no reason at all! So I must be a giant failure!!!
It’s fucking heartless.
(Ironically, this post was written after a few glasses of high-price bubbly)
If I’m going to keep getting into arguments about this on The Standard, I figured I might as well lay out my thinking here on the drinking age question. An earlier post on the topic is here.
Here’s the martyred cries I keep hearing:
“But we have a terrible drinking culture and we have to protect kids from it!”
These are “kids” who can vote, drive, fuck, get married, and join our military to die overseas. And yet even when we’re acknowledging that the drinking culture in this country is a problem created by an older generation who also like to binge drink and drive drunk, somehow we feel justified in punishing young, yet grown, adults for our own cock-ups.
It’s patronising and shitty, and anyone who genuinely remembers being a teenager will figure out pretty quickly that it’s also counterproductive.
“But drinking causes harm in ways marriage and voting doesn’t!”
Right, because voting in a reactionary rightwing government which will strip our assets and throw beneficiaries on the streets is much better than a couple of people vomiting into the otherwise-pristine gutters of Courtenay Place.
“But alcopops are terrible!”
If you’re calling them “alcopops”, I immediately assume you’re over 30 and have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. It’s like drugs: when the media starts panicking about “Liquid Fantasy” you can bet any amount of money you like that no teen worth their salt is calling it that stupid name.
I literally had to sit relatives of mine down to convince them that “alcopops” are not, in fact, available in your local dairy. You can buy them at liquor stores or bars, places where you should already be showing ID to purchase alcohol.
“But older people buy the alcohol for younger people!”
Yes. Usually their parents. But clearly the problem here is booze-hungry youngsters.
“But you shouldn’t be able to buy alcohol when you’re still at school!”
Sucks to be a 21-year-old who’s still at school then. And really, really sucks that you might be 18, still at school, and able to FUCK, GET MARRIED, DRIVE AND JOIN THE MILITARY but not have a beer to celebrate any of these things.
“But kids don’t realise how alcoholic those alcopops are!”
Still with the “alcopops”. Seriously, it’s a stupid name. Stop it.
You know what happens if you drink a 6-pack of Vodka Cruisers? (Probably not, you’re still calling them “alcopops”.) You really need to pee after about an hour. And then you get a wacky sugar high which you may mistake for drunkenness, and then an hour after that you crash out and need to find a warm sofa.
And that’s assuming you had them all to yourself and weren’t splitting it three ways with Charlene and Rhonda.
You know how most teens drink themselves to death? Sculling straight vodka. Trying to drink a 40-oz of tequila in one night. Because, oh wait, no one has taught them how to drink responsibly. Probably because Mummy and Daddy were too busy going off and getting pissed themselves to actually deal with mind-altering drugs and their children’s impending adulthood.
Alternatively, they can’t access alcohol and it’s a total Forbidden Fruit so instead – because they’re teenagers and teenagers are not particularly clever when they’re looking to have fun and get blotto – they huff paint thinner and die.
“But it’s the kids waiting outside bottle stores getting strangers to buy their alcopops that are the problem!”
The problem still seems to be that some adults don’t take our laws seriously. Explain how this is the fault of a 14-year-old whose life is so shit they’ll do anything to forget it, including drink shitty red wine.
“But alcopops are so much stronger than other drinks!”
Another line frankly trotted out by those who have forgotten teenagehood. Protip: teenagers aren’t fucking bartenders. If they’re not drinking shitty red wine in big anxious gulps, they’re pooling their resources on a shitty bottle of gin and mixing it half-and-half with orange juice because they heard about that in a song once.
Or, you know, they’re sculling straight vodka. Much safer. It’s sterile, you know.
“But I saw a story where A&E doctors totally said the problem was worse!”
Yes, such stories are always completely reliable.
“But [insert media channel here] showed young people getting really drunk!”
If everyone who ever uttered this would like to provide proof of their ability to magically tell a drunk 21-year-old from a drunk 20-years-and-10-months-old, I’m sure the bouncing industry has jobs just waiting for them.
We have a problematic drinking culture in this country. It is shown whenever someone suggests lowering the drink driving limit and the rural sector suddenly explode because how dare we transgress against a man’s right to shear a hundred sheep, get off-his-face on Speights, and then drive home with a 50/50 risk of killing another human being.
It is shown when the main objection I recall to raising alcohol taxes is that the poor superannuitants Who Gave Their Lives For Our Country won’t be able to buy as much sherry.
It is shown when major cities have utter shitfights over who gets to host the Sevens, or the V8s. Which are both of course all about the sport.
Yet who gets to hold the can for this? The young people who haven’t even figured out their relationships with alcohol yet. The young people who are trusted to fuck, trusted to sign documents tying them to another person in eternity, trusted to hold a gun and fight for our country or alternatively the US’ imperialist interests of the day, trusted to drive a vehicle and yet are not trusted to have a glass of wine with friends after work.
We protect young people by displaying a better fucking attitude to alcohol ourselves. We show young people that drunkenness can be fun if you keep a handle on things and know how you’re getting home, but that it’s not a holy grail of funtimes and the only way to enjoy yourself ever.
Maybe we could even take a serious fucking look at our youth suicide rates and wonder if maybe we’ve made life so empty and shit for our young adults that it’s no fucking wonder some of them see getting plastered as the only way to feel happy and free.
But nah, you’re right. Far too much work. Let’s just throw young adults under the bus and act all surprised when the rates of hospitalisation and binge-drinking shift upwards with each well-intentioned effort to Save The Youngsters From Themselves.
So the next theatre of the war against pregnant people is going to be our terrible binge-drinking ways, apparently.
You can always spot these Issue Of The Day Which Is Actually Not An Issue stories by the way they go on and on and on about “evidence” yet produce none (see also: rainbow parties, gay marriage destroying society, obesity epidemic).
This story from Radio NZ is a wonderful illustration of this point:
The National Addiction Centre says there may be as many as 3000 children born in New Zealand each year with the syndrome.
Actual numbers of children identified with said syndrome? Sadly not provided.
Director Doug Sellman says evidence shows the situation is far worse in New Zealand than in other countries, due to the binge drinking culture here.
Actual statistics comparing us to other nations, especially other nations known for getting pissed up large? Sadly not provided.
Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills says there has been an explosion in the number of children with foetal alcohol syndrome.
Children’s Commissioner’s actual facts and figures about the number of children with FAS? Sadly not provided.
A Northland school principal says he sees about three children a year with foetal alcohol syndrome and their lives are ruined by it. …
Actual statistics for the Northland region? Sadly not provided. Roll size of the school in question and comparison to nationwide rates of FAS? Sadly not provided. Principal’s medical degree which qualifies him to diagnose FAS? Sadly not provided.
Identification of Northland as a poorer region more likely to have higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, and lower rates of preventative healthcare, to name just a few possible contributing factors? Sadly not provided.
Disclaimer that the “journalist” in question didn’t just shop around schools until a convenient horror story came along? Sadly not provided.
The actual point of the entire article?
Mr Newman says the mothers of foetal alcohol syndrome children are often very young, and it is heart-breaking to see the damage they have inflicted on their children by drinking while pregnant.
He says drinking in pregnancy is a form of child abuse and should be a criminal offence.
There we go. Let’s pass laws to control the irresponsible wimminz who are ruining precious babies’ lives.
Other things sadly not provided in this 478-word story?
- Any kind of analysis of the level of support young pregnant people get
- Any kind of addressing the fact that “yoof binge drinking” doesn’t just spring up out of nowhere and maybe when young people’s parents stop having shitfights over which city gets to host
an excuse for drinkingThe Sevens or another excuse for drinkingThe Sacred V8s, or when our Parliament doesn’t clutch its collective pearls at the notion of Denying The Elderly Their Sherry, They Fought For Our Freedoms, then we can point accusing fingers at those teenagers who just magically decided getting off their face was funny
- Any discussion of what constitutes “binge” or “excessive” drinking, and what level of drinking is actually connected with FAS. I mean, it’s not like this shit isn’t on Wikipedia, for a start.
Before anyone wants to jump in and say “YOU JUST HATE BABIES AND THINK WOMEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING THEY WANT”, here’s the thing: when people have dependency problems, prohibition has historically achieved fuck all. When people are, say, poor, pregnant, unemployed and living in fucking Northland, they may have a hell of a lot more crap on their plate to worry about than being perfect incubators. When the prospect of being pregnant (and probably unable to access abortion services because it makes influential old dudes cry) is actually a really fucking terrible one, some people may well hit the bottle hard.
Hating on pregnant people, banning The Demon Drink, sure, all that is going to make smug wankers feel totally awesome. It isn’t going to fix the problem, it isn’t going to improve the lives of the people affected by this problem, but that’s never really the point, is it?
ETA: But wait, there’s more! What’s wrong with this statement?
He told Radio New Zealand on Friday that the source of the problem was that women were drinking during pregnancy.
He said 40 percent of pregnancies were unplanned.
Gee, maybe some comprehensive sex education, better access and information about contraception, and generally giving people the ability and autonomy to plan their own reproduction could help with that! Wait, no, BAN DRINKING. Next up: seafood, oranges, good cheese.
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)
Clearly the media meme of the month is “won’t someone think of the children, and the imaginary innocence we ascribe to them in order to justify our lack of openness about basic anatomy because it’s ~icky~?”
First up there’s a lovely example of modern journalism at work, where Elizabeth Binning decides to take the story of a young woman who was given good, comprehensive sex education with an emphasis on consent and full information about alternatives to cock-in-vag intercourse, who was then “taken advantage of” by an older man while drunk …
and turn it into SEX EDUCATION WILL KNOCK UP YOUR CHILDREN!!!!!!!
Students may wish to pay special attention to the interesting line Elizabeth Binning wants to draw between some mythical, pure “sex education” and the Disgusting Filth That Is Indoctrinating Our Children, particularly with the use of this quote:
When my mother signed the consent, she thought it was signing her way to her child knowing about reproduction and the actual human anatomy side of reproduction, not the methods on how it’s done.
Forgive me if this is a little TMI, but in my household, “actual human anatomy” and “how [sex is] done” are pretty much intertwined.
This is the panic: that we’re no longer presenting Innocent Children with sterile, confusing, infantilizing and denn da man puts his peeeenis into da wumman’s va-jay-jay and denn da babby comes out* “education”. We’re actually acknowledging that they have bodies and that doing certain things with their bodies feels good and that there’s a fuckload more to it that some disembodied cock in vag in a vacuum = babies.
Fuck me, so to speak, it’s almost like we’re acknowledging that puberty is a thing where, in general, hormones do shit and incite emotions and things get a bit confusing, and maybe we can help kids through that by being simply honest about the reality of sex.
[And just to restate the obvious, that bland, safe “sex education” that we’re apparently missing? Doesn’t do sweet fuck all for trans kids, kids dealing with same-sex or bisexual attraction, etc etc.]
Elizabeth Binning was clearly in the “middle-class outrage stories” seat this week because yesterday the story was all about the tragedy of a father discovering his son had been taught about … the clitoris. Why, the class went so far as to insinuate that playing with a person’s clitoris can be a fun thing for both parties! [Though as LadyNews points out, it’s not *all* good.]
The high point of that one is lumping together “learning that oral sex may not always lead to intercourse” (gasp, faint), “learning that anal sex is an option” (when we all know the anus only has nerves because God wants us to be reminded of our disgusting biology every type we poop) with this particular horror:
Students also lay on the floor together with their eyes shut imagining the world was predominantly gay.
Followed immediately by the sentence:
The father said his son was too young to be given such graphic sex education and had come home upset.
Yep, that’s graphic all right. Challenging society’s rampant heteronormativity by getting the kids to visualise, probably for all of a minute, a world where the hets aren’t in charge. Truly, that’s some scary stuff right there.
Cue the entirely-coincidental Kiwi Party press release:
“Do you want your 14 year old daughter or grand-daughter to be taught in our schools how to apply “yucky and sticky condoms to a black plastic penis?” asks outraged grandmother Simonne Dyer deputy leader of the Kiwi Party after reading the lead story in this morning’s Herald.
One merely raises a sardonic eyebrow at the specificity of the black “plastic penis” (normal people call them “dildos”). And I’ve got to say, I share some of this outrage. The boys can bloody well learn how to put on condoms too.
You can guess how it goes from there, permissive society, parents’ rights, yadda yadda.
But these are simply the facts:
Teenagers are going to fuck.
Teenagers who fuck have every right to be aware of their options to protect themselves from sexually transmitted disease
including and unplanned pregnancy.
Teenagers who manage to get to the fucking stage without already having absorbed ideas about their bodies being disgusting and their pleasurable feelings being evil? Deserve a pat on the fucking back along with their comprehensive sex education.
And when teenagers like the young woman in the first story are taught about the importance of consent, and then are “taken advantage of” by older men who presumably didn’t get that memo in high school, I don’t think it’s her attitude I’m going to have a fucking go at.
Oh, and “grubby dad”? Your son thinks girls are “yuck”? I can’t imagine where he picked up that attitude.**
*Simmer down, quiltbaggers, only heterosexual cisgender people have intercourse.
**QoT has no fucking time for the notion that boys and girls are naturally repellent to each other during puberty.
Homework: consider the links between the idea that we should never discuss icky sex with our children, and the continual refrain of “save families from filthy prostitution” from the same wankstains. Sex: to fundies, just acknowledging it happens a lot (or at all) makes you a big fat sinner.