19 May 2009, Comments (12)

Heads up for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Author: Helen

Image of "eve" with an apple and snake, to illustrate the fact that sexual assault and simple bad sex is All Wimmins Fault.

I noticed an article in today’s SMH about yet another survey about sexual culture and mores which, of course, is in no way influenced by gender stereotypes.

Sex-education classes are failing to teach young women the skills they need to resist having sex they will later regret, an academic has said…

…Often neglected was the importance of teaching young women negotiation skills so that they could resist pressure from their peer group and partners.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia interviewed 68 girls aged 14 to 19 about the first time they had sex.

Read the whole article. What is missing here? Yup, that would be boys. And men.

I’m so sick of this deeply-entrenched idea that it’s is the responsibility of women and girls to police the boundaries of sexual behaviour and that, as we’ve seen in the Matthew Johns furore, men and boys are simply aggregations of brainless erectile material that can only be corralled, never asked to take responsibility themselves. As I’ve said elsewhere, and many have said before me, that view isn’t particularly complimentary to boys, is it?

I’m all for teaching girls to be more assertive, naturally. It comes with the territory of feminism. But not where it’s intended merely to compensate for boys’ bad behaviour. Why didn’t this study advocate behaviour modification as a necessary element in sex education for boys? Why can’t sex education address the rape myths and other toxic elements in our culture that keep the same bad things happening year after year?

As the events of the last few weeks have shown us, again, it’s not all about the girls.

(Update: H/T to Lauredhel for the totally-not-blaming-girls image, found on a page displaying the same article in the Independent Weekly.)

Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

Comments (12)

  • Caroline says:

    Here come the bhurkas.

  • Caroline says:

    That’s a joke, but not in Islam where the only way men can think of to protect ‘their’ women is to cover her up so she does not ‘look’ tempting. I don’t imagine many men are particularly insulted by the proposition that they are unable to restrain themselves.

    Sexual politics is confused, irrational, unfair and unsound out there in the mainstream. Which I guess is better than it being set in stone. Sexism/sexual violence and a general fear, loathing and derision of women is as fully alive as it ever was in society amongst both men and women and has even in the last thirty years managed to gain traction. Legislation changes but social mores not so much. Five years ago (even) it was a brave woman who would suggest that sexism was even an issue, as scores of men and women would argue that we had already achieved equality and the subject was now closed. Equality is not something I am seeking. I am seeking respect. For me better/worse higher/lower is not the issue, but equal vailidity and respect for the difference is.

    I would guess that the percentage of male feminists in society has probably remained unchanged over the millenia but tends to increase with a person’s age. i.e, really old age.

    Today, I think the only way to drive home the point that so called bonding activities that demean, degrade and disrespect women is to render the organisations and individuals behind these ideas completely impotent in the eyes of the mainstream. I.e, cut off their funds and pay them no heed.

    But of course we run into problems with making *value judgements* about what is demeaning or degrading. What I judge to be degrading another woman might claim as something she thoroughly enjoys.

  • Casey says:

    Good post Helen. Why not post this on LP? It links up to the Johns thing very well.

  • Helen says:

    See the last post – you read my mind on the burqa / coverup thing.
    I read Backlash more than ten years ago and I swear it’s got worse since then.

  • Helen says:

    Casey, I might just do that. It’s a bit quiet over there 🙂
    I’m enjoying your jousts with FDB.

  • Caroline says:

    I haven’t read ‘Backlash’, but I’ve sure as hell felt it. Casey’s right. Although the trogs at LP are also alive and well.

  • Casey says:

    Yes FDB’s one of my faves really. You would have read my convo with Brian about the policing of the ethics and the focus on the self esteem of the woman at the centre of the Johns thing. It really drives me up the wall it does, the way its always about the woman – which is what you are saying here, far better than me ….:)

  • Helen says:

    Oops, just remembered I’ve cross posted this already, so a post on three blogs might be overkill.

  • Dr S says:

    Having just successfully avoided that conference (by holding the baby while my wife went) it would perhaps be pertinent to mention that the RACP, despite their manifest and numerous faults, had little to do with the study involved except for accepting it to be presented in poster form at their conference. I should also note that such presentations included, if the abstracts are any guide, a spectacular array of the unrepeatable, unnecessary and unreadable. There was an abstract accepted from overseas, for example, that was utterly unintelligible. I think is was about how people shouldn’t wear too many clothes in winter.

  • Helen says:

    Thanks, Dr S, but I wasn’t suggesting that the FACP was the originator of the report. As the linked article states, they were the ones to which the report was being presented.

  • derrida derider says:

    Wouldn’t an opening like this make a lot more sense:
    “Sex-education classes are failing to teach young women the skills they need to have sex they will not regret …”.

    But then I suppose the puritans, including a couple of the commenters here, would object to that. Really, puritanism is thriving these days. And of course experience shows that women lose even more than men from puritanism – something that other commenter here (“Here come the burkhas” indeed) at least understand.

    I’m not upset that the survey only covered girls though – there are other surveys that cover only boys, and there is value in finding out single-gender attitudes.

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