If they’re old enough to ask about sex, they’re old enough to know

Muse

S

Sam Rush

Adults don’t want children to know about sex but they are exposed to it anyway. I have always found it so ridiculous that it is still a question for lawmakers whether or not students should learn about how their bodies work in a classroom. Is it better to get that kind of information from the older kids cracking jokes on the back of the bus? Is it better to see it on the monitor of the computers in the public library? If children are old enough to ask, then they are old enough to know.

It’s no secret that sex sells. It’s a cliché for a reason. It catches eyes and clicks, but what worries me is how depictions of women being sexualized and objectified weave their way into our brains at such a young age. I can remember being a small kid and seeing bodies on the sides of billboards and beer cans: all circles and curves. Girls in middle school would stuff their bras and put on eyeliner not really knowing why but they did it anyway. 

I understand that advertising makes the world go around. I’m studying to be a graphic designer, I get it more than the average person does. But I think it’s important that those in charge of marketing understand that you reach farther and affect more demographics than just the target audience.

Clearly somehow and somewhere down the line we got lost as a society. Several months ago, I went to the theater to see a movie. I sat behind a family with three small children and they watched intently as gore flashed across the screen but the parents were sure to lean over and instruct their children to cover their eyes whenever there was nudity depicted. This is not just an outlier; G-rated movies can have depictions of violence where nudity will catch an R-rating. Violence is more acceptable in our society than our own bodies.

When I took health class in middle school, my curriculum was abstinence based. Throughout the semester, a sentence kept being repeated over and over: “abstinence is the only 100% effective method to prevent pregnancy and STI’s.” Although the health class motto was technically true, there is something very wrong with how the phrase is used and was used in my class specifically.

It was a mode of scaring my peers and I. Scare tactics were a common theme throughout our abstinence-only sex education. This stretching of the truth and, sometimes, outright lies are, in the eyes of educators, were supposed to be protecting kids. When in reality, it just makes the material less credible. Being taught lies and claiming that it is for the protection and for the good of the kids is not only immoral, but it crosses a boundary and exits the realm of education. It becomes down-right propaganda.

This rhetoric has proven time and time again to be ineffective in its goal of deterring young people from being sexually deviant. Sexuality is a literal fact of life and ignoring this fact doesn’t make it any less true.  

Providing a medically-accurate sex education to children is not only the healthiest method of sex education, but it is the most effective as well.

Telling children what to think and when, feeding them lies and not allowing them to form their own thoughts on matters is not a way to teach the next generation of men and women. It is the duty of our educators to provide the facts and the truth. It is the children’s duties to base their choices off these facts critically and thoughtfully, and it is our lawmakers’ duty to allow those processes to take place in our public school systems.