07 Feb Sex Education 80s Style
I started to write a piece about my experience of my mum’s menopause and how as a teenager in the 80s I had zero knowledge of the menopause. It then dawned on me that I had a pretty limited knowledge of what was happening to me at that time, puberty. I then started thinking about sex education at school and I couldn’t remember being taught anything tangible about this journey from girl to women apart from basic boring biology. So I put it out to my school friends and asked via Facebook if they could remember what sex ed we got in our Catholic comprehensive in the 80s.
No surprise that the men, now aged 50+ who responded, are still clinging onto the popularity they once had as teenage boys, with their ‘hilarious’ and in-appropriate smutty comments because someone mentioned sex. BUT what really surprised me was the revelation/reminder that THE GIRLS, and only THE GIRLS were shown an American film called The Silent Scream about termination. Yes, that’s right, my sex education at a Catholic comprehensive in the UK in the 80s was an anti-abortion horror film, no wonder I had blocked it out.
Apart from the horrific title and content, what I found more disturbing was the fact that this was only shown to THE GIRLS. Were the boys too precious? Too innocent to be held accountable? Slut-shaming was as much of a thing back then as it is now. Where was the education on consent, boundaries, self-worth/esteem? It took me until my 40s to re-educate myself on these values how I wish intimacy, and respect had been on my curriculum instead of fear and shame for both the boys and the girls
I’d love to hear your memories of Sex Education … A prize if it trumps my dystopian, misogynistic experience!