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Teach girls to say “no” – British MP

May 10th, 2011

Wowsers. Some people have totally lost their minds, particularly regarding the tidbit in the very last paragraph.

by Carolyn Moynihan

British secondary schools are required by law to teach the biological facts of human reproduction in science lessons, but students themselves often say the instruction given is too biological. The facts also speak for themselves: Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.

So when Conservative MP Nadine Dorries (pictured) introduced a private member’s bill last week calling for all schoolgirls aged 13 to 16 to be given lessons in how to say “no”, you would have expected a good response. After all, she was not asking for the biological bit to be replaced, just something in the way of character education to be added.

However, her bill just scraped through by 67 votes to 61. And those 128 votes represent only a fifth of membership of the House of Commons (650 seats). Further, it is by no means assured that the bill will receive enough support from the conservative coalition government. As for the Opposition:

But Labour’s Chris Bryant described Ms Dorries’ bill as “the daftest piece of legislation” he had seen, saying there was no evidence teaching abstinence would lead to fewer pregnancies or STDs.

“The single most important thing we can do for any young person is give them the self-confidence to be able to make good decisions for themselves,” he added.

But isn’t that precisely what the bill is aiming at? Would he know a “good decision” even if he fell over one?

Wouldn’t classes for girls be a good start?  This is something that has to be done in single sex settings. And Ms Dorries did mention boys in the House:

“The answer to ending our constant struggle with the incredibly high rate of teenage sexual activity and underage pregnancies lies in teaching our girls and boys about the option of abstinence, the ability to ‘just say no’ as part of their compulsory sex education,” she said.

“Peer pressure is a key contributor to early sexual activity in our country. Society is focused on sex.

“Teaching a child at the age of seven to apply a condom on a banana is almost saying, ‘Now go and try this for yourself’.

“Girls are taught to have safe sex, but not how to say no to a boyfriend who insists on sexual relations.”

A survey of 1,700 parents of UK 5-11 year olds surveyed by the BabyChild website, 59% said they disagreed with school sex education for that age group. Some 48 per cent said 13 was old enough to receive sex-ed in school.

Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education — which includes teaching on sex and relationships — is not compulsory in England, unlike other parts of the UK, although it is in the national curriculum. Even so, some councils have approved crude and explicit programmes for primary school children — including one with a cartoon depiction of a couple having intercourse.

Found here.

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  1. Mont D. Law
    May 10th, 2011 at 15:34 | #1

    [Teaching a child at the age of seven to apply a condom on a banana is almost saying, ‘Now go and try this for yourself’.]

    It is not true that this kind of specific sex education is done @ elementary schools in Britain.

    http://en-US.start3.mozilla.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official

  2. nerdygirl
    May 10th, 2011 at 18:43 | #2

    “So when Conservative MP Nadine Dorries (pictured) introduced a private member’s bill last week calling for all schoolgirls aged 13 to 16 to be given lessons in how to say “no”, you would have expected a good response. After all, she was not asking for the biological bit to be replaced, just something in the way of character education to be added.”

    Because god forbid we suggest BOYS not be encouraged to bang anything with a pulse. Oh, heavens no. That wouldn’t be character building at all. We couldn’t be telling boys they don’t have to prove their masculinity through having sex, that wouldn’t be manly enough.

  3. Betsy
    May 10th, 2011 at 20:21 | #3

    I agree. Perhaps that would be the next step. I think they’re probably thinking telling girls to say no is a lot easier than telling boys not to ask. Wouldn’t you agree?

  4. nerdygirl
    May 10th, 2011 at 20:57 | #4

    It also fits into gender stereotypes and expectations (after all, girls couldn’t actually want and enjoy sex right?)

    But I find the idea and practice of putting the “policing” of sex and morals solely on girls problematic. We end up in this situation where girls are expected to “give in”. If the girl, for whatever reason, has sex, it becomes solely her fault, she deals with all the social repercussions of having sex (i.e. she gets slutshamed.) whereas the boy gets hi-fives.

    Of course, concerned parents never seem to pay attention to that. It’s all the girls fault never the boys.

  5. Ruth
    May 11th, 2011 at 10:32 | #5

    @nerdygirl
    It could be stated like this:
    “Girls: If you would like to have something to say about whether or not you become pregnant, consider an abortion, contract a venereal disease, get your heart broken, and/or damage your self- respect, come to this class.”
    Now, let’s make an ad for the boys class.
    The benefits are absolutely there, in terms of avoiding disease, heartbreak, and loss of self-respect (for boys with a conscience), but the main benefits to boys in abstinence until marriage are positive: becoming a true man who really loves others and makes the world a better place.
    Maybe that could be the ad for the boys class. It would have to be taught by an adult.
    I’d like to open an Adult Bookstore.
    It would feature such titles as “How to Be There for Your Family in the Tough Times”, “Keeping a Commitment Against the Odds”, “Loving Your Family 24/7″, “Paying Off Your Debts” , “Saying ‘No’ When you Feel Like Saying ‘Yes” , and its companion volume, “Saying ‘Yes’ When You Feel Like Saying ‘No”.

  6. Betsy
    May 11th, 2011 at 10:40 | #6

    :)

  7. Betsy
    May 11th, 2011 at 10:48 | #7

    @nerdygirl
    “If the girl, for whatever reason, has sex, it becomes solely her fault, she deals with all the social repercussions of having sex (i.e. she gets slutshamed.) whereas the boy gets hi-fives.”

    And I wonder why this is. No, seriously, I do. Did teenagers start this themselves, or did it evolve from the portrayals of them in tv shows and movies? It would be nice if the stereotypes you mention could be turned on their head in tv and movies to hopefully change that. Seems more like popular shows are all for teenagers acting this way. I wish we had some pull in Hollywood.

  8. nerdygirl
    May 11th, 2011 at 11:38 | #8

    @Betsy
    I think it’s (at least in part) a carry over from the past. In the past if women were caught having sex out of marriage, it was a huge scandal, her family was shamed, her reputation and life ruined. But men could get away with visiting brothels. Some of it’s the property aspect of women’s sexuality, combined with cultural myths about virginity. Medieval Europe would have the men hanging out their wedding night bed sheets as bragging rights, because the amount of blood on the sheet spoke to the purity or whatever other awesomeness banging their new wife had. Of course, not all women bleed during their first intercourse or not much at all, but a bare sheet would bring shame, and doubts to her virginity before marriage. So, many women would purposefully stain their sheets with animal blood.

    Arguably because men controlled society, they were cool with sleeping with as many women as they could, but didn’t want women sleeping with as many men as they could. Now, the movie “Easy A” did examine the slut/stud stereotype, but whether it has any lasting effect is still in the air. I pointed this out to a coworker the other day, when she insults a female, she almost always uses “whore”, but if she insults a guy, it’s always “a*****e” or something similar. The girl is insulted for assumed promiscuity, the boy is insulted for a presumed character defect. Now, there is some ground that promiscuity could be considered a character defect (But i’ve met some very nice, honest “sluts” and some truly abhorrent virgins/monogamous types), but why is it only considered defective of women and not men?

  9. Betsy
    May 11th, 2011 at 14:42 | #9

    I’m with you. That is very uncool, and probably is based on the history of mankind and women’s lower place in society, etc. When I saw Becoming Jane I was so annoyed that she would like that man whom everyone knew was a frequenter of brothels. Gross! But he was “experienced,” and somehow that was a good thing? I guess the flipside for women in the day was indeed that they were prostitutes.

  10. May 11th, 2011 at 14:57 | #10

    @Betsy
    @nerdygirl
    I have always had the same view of men and women when it comes to sex – neither should be doing things outside the bonds of marriage. One is just as much a “whore” as the other if they are have sex outside of marriage.

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