The Vagina Monologues should be mandatory in sex education

eve-ensler-one-billion-rising

If you haven’t read it already, go! Run to book stores, fill that shopping basket on amazon and get that book. I read it cover to cover in one sitting and I haven’t stopped raving about it since.

For those of you who don’t know The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eve Ensler in 1996.  She interviewed 200 women about their views on sex, relationships, and violence against women. The play itself is made up of narratives from different women as well as her own experiences. It discusses consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, direct and indirect encounters with reproduction, sex work, and several other topics through the eyes of women with various ages, races and sexualities. Doesn’t that sound like good topics for sex education?

Sex education at my school was poor. The teachers just stood at the front of the class and let some stranger come in and do the talking for them. What this stranger said obviously wasn’t very poignant because I can’t remember a single word of it. I do remember it was very much about the biology and not about practical knowledge. The whole thing must have lasted for two or three short classes.

The putting a banana on a condom thing was brushed over as the teachers were too embarrassed to show us. I remember one teacher just cast a banana out into the class alongside a condom, just so they could stop holding it. Can you imagine? One solitary banana and condom amongst a room full of sixteen year olds.

Avoiding sex education leads to underaged pregnancies, a lack of respect and shame. That class did nothing other than teach everyone sex was embarrassing and nobody wanted to talk about it.

There are so many issues around sex that people need to be informed about, really complex thought provoking ones that deserve to be discussed. I think teenagers partly feel so self conscious about their bodies because they know the opposite sex isn’t educated on what’s normal. Girls worry guys expect big round boobs and porn star vaginas and guys worry girls expect huge penises and six packs.

Eve tells peoples stories through their voice. She talks about how people are made to feel and real problems that still exist. The New York Times called the play “probably the most important piece of political theatre of the last decade” at the time and it possibly still is. Only because we’re still not talking about it.

I know teenagers can be immature and cruel but I believe that’s fuelled by a lack of understanding. If something is commonly known as normal then what is there to laugh about?

Another issue the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why highlighted was the damage schools are doing in relation to ignoring naked photos of young girls being shared around. I think this has happened at every school now. People need to be sat down and told this is wrong, not just an awkward announcement in an assembly hall. I mean really, they’re not going to look at the guys are they?

I don’t really know how to end this blog article because I don’t think the issue ever really will be put to bed (get it). In all serious though, I truly hope one day it will be.

 

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