I spent sometime watching Sext up Kids, a documentary about how sexualized our youth is becoming. Throughout the video I noticed two things, the documentary places a lot of blame on social media, and no one is talking about sex ed.
Even though this is the world we live in, parents and school divisions are still claiming we do not need sex ed. I know people that had pregnancy scares before they got sex ed, since it was only brought up in grade 11. Sex ed in Saskatchewan still on talks about abstinence, while when you are already having sex, than abstinence isn’t really on your mind.
In school we make sex look like a dirty, nasty activity that never actually happens. As teachers we know this isn’t the case, but we don’t know how to talk about it.
The documentary talks about how the fashion industry encourages women to be sexualized from a young age. However, the documentary does not talk about how the rest of society contributes to the same outcome.
Girls are told that if they dress a certain way than it is to distracting for boys. They can’t wear anything revealing, it is easier to tell girls that it is their fault for being sexual than to tell guys to stop thinking of women as sexual objects. A girl sends a revealing picture to someone, and it is her fault for trusting them. There is a law put in place to prevent people from sharing intimate images, but that does not mean people follow the law.
Students, as well as the rest of society, need to be taught that by letting the media tell them what is and is not acceptable, what is and is not expected of them, and how and how not to dress, that the are losing their own personalities. Companies know that sex sells, it sells because we let it sell. If we stopped giving in to the trends, stop letting a billion dollar fashion industry how to look, and stop letting people who are not us, influence the was we dress, act, and think about ourselves.
If you ask me, it is not the celebrities that need to be blamed, or even the fashion industry itself that needs to rethink its marketing. It is what teachers and parents are teaching students. How we react to situations tell our students something. If we get upset over a girl showing their shoulders, than guys will take notice when girls show their shoulders. If we teach students to judge people (even celebrities) than they will judge each other. If we decide to ignore the fact that students are curious about sex, than we a removing the chance to have an important conversation.
The internet can be scary, but what can be even more scary is how we choose to ignore it rather than educate our youth on how to use it positively, and what dangers can happen threw inappropriate use.