Sexist sex education is a reality, apparently, at least according to a new study, which takes into account upwards of 50 other studies that looked into how adolescents across the globe view the methods in which they are being taught about sex, according to Time magazine, by way of an online publication called BMJ Open.
The studies were done from the years 1990 to 2015 in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Iran, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, and they revealed that across time and space, preteens and teenagers from all different cultures share the same basic outlook when it comes to sex ed, and that is that they’re not fond of it.
What’s the problem then? How did scientists come to find the problem of sexist sex education?
Time reports that the experts who conducted the studies were able to conclude that there were two problems that explained the reasons behind the apparent universal dislike among young folk of sex education.
One problem is that sex ed is being taught with the same approach as every other subject, when it should probably be taught using a different approach. Pandora Pound, a writer who participated in the research, said, “They don’t take into account that sex is a potentially embarrassing and anxiety provoking topic. The result can be awkward, painful and unsatisfactory for all involved.”
The other issue contributing to sexist sex education is that teachers don’t seem to understand that some of their students have already participated in sexual activity, and of those who haven’t, some may wish to. This naivete when it comes to students’ potential sex life, experts claim, means that teachers are teaching with a heterosexual bias, and they’re providing students with information that is “out of touch with reality” and “irrelevant.” As a teacher, if you don’t believe your students are engaging in sexual acts, why get into discussions about the best kinds of birth control or where to go if someone finds themselves in sex-related predicaments such as pregnancy?
What this all adds up to, according to Pound, is that schools should hire someone besides a regular math or science teacher to teach sex ed.
“‘[It] needs to be delivered by experts who are sex positive, who enjoy their work and who are in a position to maintain clear boundaries with students,’ Pound says. ‘We need to get the delivery right — otherwise young people will disengage.'”
Sex and gender expert Diane Halpern agrees that sexist sex education is a reality after looking over the findings of the study, according to Newsmax. She, like Pound, says that teachers are presenting sex-related information too empirically and that doing so turns students off as far as them wanting to know more and deadens their willingness to engage in intelligent discussion.
Halpern also finds fault in that sexual education lesson plans are too gender-role specific while being absent of a big reason human beings have sex in the first place, which is for the pleasure of it.
Salon, a left-wing news outlet, questioned whether gender-segregated classrooms play a prominent role in sexist sex education, in an article they published in 2011 by Ida Hartmann called “Does single-sex education breed sexism?” Hartmann writes that to at least one group of scientists, it absolutely does.
Apparently, at least at the time the Salon article was published, single-sex classrooms were becoming more and more widespread in the U.S., and the reasoning behind this, Hartmann claims, is deeply flawed.
“It reinforces gender stereotypes, legitimizes institutional sexism, and evidence of its supposed academic achievements is weak, cherry-picked or misconstrued.”
On a separate note, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are very big deals, so for one to say this kind of education is a vital part of school curriculum is an understatement. Sex is, after all, what makes the world go round, and since some parents are not comfortable talking to their children about the birds and the bees, it’s important to make sure they’re getting everything they need from their teachers about this highly sensitive subject.
Is sexist sex education enough of a problem that it needs to be remedied in order for the world’s adolescents to receive proper instruction on all things sex? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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