Could Comprehensive, Accurate Sex Education Curtail the War on Women?

It wasn’t long ago that I was prepping for a lesson I would be teaching to a group of middle school girls in the Bronx on female reproductive anatomy. It was a lot of information so I was nervous and enlisted my roommate to run through my workshop. As I was going through my explanation I was pleasantly surprised with how engaged she was and how many questions she had. I had thought she was just playing along to help better prep me, but it turned out that my 25-year-old guinea pig actually didn’t know much about her own anatomy and reproductive system.

As the years have gone by, I’ve realized that she’s not alone and that men are just as ignorant of female anatomy.

Enter a recent social experiment conducted by the millennial media outlet Mic where men were asked to draw a vagina. Among a sea of nervous laughter and hesitations to get started, the men do their best to draw the “crotch area,” “vaginal lips,” “bottom,” “pee hole,” “baby hole,” and even “belly button” as they put it. While there were also some accurate terms used, like uterus, cervix and, most impressive in my book, the labia majora, the pictures were laughably inaccurate.

You can watch the video yourself here:

While the video really is very funny, it makes the serious point of how problematic it is for the overwhelming majority of elected officials to be men who know so little about women’s bodies. As the mastermind behind the video, Mic’s Senior Editor Elizabeth Plank, puts it, “America’s male elected officials continue to aggressively legislate women’s bodies in the year 2014, even though they often seem not to know basic facts about women.” From birth control to abortion to sexual assault, it is these men who are pushing through laws that impact women’s bodies. In fact, in 2014 alone approximately 75 percent of anti-choice bills were sponsored by, you guessed it, men.

Should men really be in charge of legally regulating women’s bodies if they can’t name the parts that make them up?

As a former sexual educator myself, this video also really spoke to the importance of comprehensive sexual education across the country. Unfortunately, while there has been increasing support for such programs over the last 20 years with 80-85 percent of parents indicating they want their children to receive comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sexual education, there are countless programs that are discriminatory, biased and judgmental, or use shame and fear to scare young people about sexuality.

What we need is not only for schools to accurately educate students, but for the conversations to continue at home from a young age through adulthood. Yes we all know that having “the talk” can be tricky and embarrassing, but if we want men and women to grow up and actually be able to name and identify their own body parts, we need to start young. This new project from The Cut about parents having the birds and the bees talk with their kids demonstrates just that:

Beginning to have conversations like these at home from a young age is incredibly important, especially for the impact it can have later in life. For example, in California college students are demanding schools teach prospective students about sexual consent in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The hope is that teaching students about consent before they get to college will prevent sexual assault and rape once they are there.

Meghan Warner, one of the students behind the initiative and the director of the Associated Students of the University of California Sexual Assault Commission, says: “Sex ed in California — and everywhere else — is really bad. If we can’t even get basic, accurate sex ed in schools, I’m assuming getting consent education won’t be easy. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to fight for it.”

This is a fight I hope these students win. Learning about the birds and the bees is certainly about much more than learning where babies come from. Empowering students with this knowledge can mean more understanding around sexual assault, rape, birth control and abortion.

What would the world be like if we all received comprehensive, accurate sex education from kindergarten through twelfth grade? Would there still be a war on women or a rape epidemic on college campuses? At the very least, would the men of Mic have been better prepared to draw a vagina? I certainly think so.

Photo Credit: Mic

225 comments

Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Yes, it could. Sharing

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trina firey
Trina D. firey3 years ago

All around pathetic! Men, clueless about the female anatomy, are determining what women will do with their anotomy. It's just baloney! How does this notion even get considered? Men make up the majority of Congress and they just vote on it, that's how.
Make me vomit! I would kill myself before I take orders from any man who wants to make me do something I do not want to do!
Just because a man makes a law doesn't mean it's worthy of being one. Men have made thousands of worthless laws for women-most out of need for control of them. Barf! As for sex Ed, we can and should be teaching it in elementary schools. Most kids have logged hours on porn sites where they watch men snuff out their ladies (slaves) in chains and dog collars and weighted nipple rings. Is this more acceptable to the U.S.? It seems like it...

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JM A.
JM A3 years ago

ABSOLUTELY YES, ALONG WITH EMOTIONAL EDUCATION!!

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Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush3 years ago

It's a very strong probability.

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Roger Hawcroft
Roger Hawcroft3 years ago

It certainly surprises me that some here respond so vehemently in the negative to the question asked.

Some of the comments show such little depth of understanding or rational thought that it is lamentable.

The article does not argue that men should decide what happens with women's bodies - in fact, quite the contrary. Expressing such a view suggests to me that either the article hasn't been read or hasn't been understood.

The argument that, effectively, we don't need to do anything until more has been done in "countries whose treatment of women and children is utterly dreadful" is utterly spurious. Should we not attempt to reduce our road carnage simply because other countries have a worse level of it? Should we not attempt to teach communication skills because some countries don't bother to teach any at all?

The argument that sex education can't or shouldn't be given to younger children is also spurious. It is a hangover from the days of Victorian hypocrisy. It is nonsense. Children, almost without exception, are curious about their own bodies and about the differences between them and those of others, from an extremely early age. The prudity and nonsense that many in our society have about nudity is one of the factors that contributes to inappropriate sexual behaviour and even violence.

It is arguable whether there actually is a "war" against women. Unfortunately, the word is now used carelessly to describe almost any significant movement to change wha

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Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey3 years ago

Agree with cynthia B.

Anyway, sex education needs to start with countries whose treatment of women and children is utterly dreadful.

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cynthia B.
cynthia l3 years ago

More sex Education early on! NO- men who do not know the basic names of women's body parts should Not be in charge of regulating them.

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