"People want to marry a virgin, just like they want a virgin toothbrush or stick of gum."
by Lisa Fogarty
My goodness, is it difficult to be a young girl coming to terms with her sexuality. If you have sex, you're a slut. If you don't have sex, you're a prude and the guy you like will just dump you for someone who puts out, a girl who is, if you recall, a slut -- which you don't want to be, or you may want to sort of be, but only in the right circumstance. Luckily, young women can always turn to their elders for advice and rely on the compassion and logic of wise folks like their teachers and mentors.
Unless you live in a certain school district in Texas, where tweens are being taught in sex ed classes that they are kind of like wads of chewing gum or dirty toothbrushes if they do the deed. Now that should make young people feel better about themselves!
Worksheets from the sex education curriculum being used in the Canyon Independent School District were leaked online recently. The overall message teachers are expected to relay to both their female and male fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students is jarring.
Now, let me first say that I'm familiar with curricula that promotes abstinence over sexual activity, and I'm all for it when the information is provided in a sensitive, empowering manner. But these worksheets suggest that teachers tell children things like, "People want to marry a virgin, just like they want a virgin toothbrush or stick of gum." Another worksheet says that having sex can be "physically, emotionally, and financially harmful" and that young people should treat their bodies like "locks, fences, and stop signs."
Do they honestly feel they are teaching children to view their bodies with respect? Or is it more important to them to promote in tweens an irrational fear of their bodies, sexual desires, and sex in general?
Without having access to every worksheet used in the district, it's impossible to say whether a more logical approach to sex is used at some point -- you know, one that gives the lowdown on STDs and pregnancy. But I'm pretty sure we can assume teaching about contraception is low on their priority list and that to do so would be to promote sex -- a no no.
Instead, this curriculum uses shame to guilt tweens into keeping their legs crossed until marriage. It promotes the kind of bullying we see occur between teens all the time -- and what makes it repulsive is that it is coming from adults who are their role models and should know better. There are ways to teach abstinence that don't make young people -- particularly girls, who we know will bear the brunt of this -- feel as unworthy as chewed-up gum beneath someone's shoe if they choose to express their sexuality with a partner who hasn't put a ring on it. Messages like these don't cut it.
What are your thoughts on this school district's sex ed curriculum?