Sexual education was severely lacking at my grade school, because the students were only allowed to know sex is on a biological level, and how bodies grew when they went through puberty. We weren’t informed of the bigger, cultural picture of how pleasure, non-hetero relationships, and sexual health are integrated into everyday life, or the effects of what gendering and sexual molestation are, which assumed that we all fit only two gender binaries and that we will be ok if they perfunctorily tell us to not let anyone touch us and not to have sex.The lack of these early education topics consistently results in homophobia and transphobia, STDs, sexual abuse, violence, and abusive relationships. (For example: There are many grown men who will not drink a fruity drink, because it is a “girly” one. But, fruity drinks are delightful, and do not dictate if you are a man or not, nor if you are gay or straight. It’s a type of suppression from pleasure, and people use it in a form of power. This is not uncommon.) Because my class was exposed to a limited sex education, the boys didn’t take it seriously, and projected many of their insecurities on the girls who they molested. Being more educated would propose that people of all types would not be pushed into gender binaries and that no person is set aside as “Other,” resulting in respect and a feeling of normalcy within all groups, for not only the victims, but especially their attackers. The amount of trauma I have received over the years from being sexually harassed, and put into discreet gender binaries obliterated my sense of self and confidence, because the people around me tore myself away from who I truly was, and who they were as well. The boys got away with sexual harassment and perhaps still do. But, for the girls in my class, sexual harassment and its effects will always sit on our shoulders somehow. Being educated differently makes the effects of the harassment to have the possibility to be undone.It took me years to go easier on myself to believe that the amount of sexual harassment I had experienced was because of the social environment I grew up in and its lack of sexual education. It has something to do with boys being teased for their favorite colors being pink and purple and not understanding why someone would tease them for something like that. We didn’t know what “flirting” meant, and then were taught that talking to boys is actually made out to be something else by other people. There is a difference between what these young minds are thinking and then how they are taught to interpret it.
➜ Megan Bryde on thefeministwire: EMERGING FEMINISMS, Puberty Ruined Me