This morning I listened to the Today program and find myself in the usual position of slight outrage and growing indignation. The subject was of course the suggestion that it will soon be illegal to show pictures of anything to do with sex to children. The most annoying thing of all is that I do actually agree that we all gone much too far with our liberal outlook on reproduction. I heartily dislike the trend to put small children into dresses designed to show off breasts and hips not yet developed.
I am reminded of the man who on being asked how to get to a town said.
Well I wouldn't start from here.
But here is where we are. We can't turn the clock back in order to make things better and that leads to a different debate as to whether it was actually better before the present climate.
I grew up in the 50 s when the shame of unwanted pregnancy ruined many a poor girls life. When my friend got pregnant at 15 my mother refused to let me see her or take her the bootees I'd knitted. This was hypocritical and silly. My mother also had a saying to the effect that it wasn't bad girls who got caught. It was the innocent who had no idea how to circumnavigate the problems of birth control.
What happened was a realization of this hypocrisy and attempts were made to put it all right. As usual we overreacted in a rather big way and we now have this situation that Dorries is trying to rectify. Unfortunately the genii is out of the bottle. Children now know far more than I did at their age and not from sex education in schools
What we teach is an accompaniment to all the other information gained from the TV ,the papers and magazines. Teachers try very hard to give the information needed to deal with the overload.
Saying no is not going to work. The pendulum has to start moving back again but legislation isn't going to do it. Most children, boys and girls have a natural curiosity about sex. We did when we were young but finding out about it in my day was difficult. Dirty books passed around school. Girl schools were hot beds of detailed discussion.
It's much healthier today and certainly not so hypocritical. I would hate to see the sort of blame and guilt introduced back into society.
We have to start with the knowledge that some children can not only find out what they want to know easily, many of them come from households where pornographic videos are available to watch with little or no supervision.
When I taught sex in school I Was staggered to find that many of my classes not only knew about normal sex but had seen film of deviant sex and even snuff movies.
When I doubted that this was true one boy brought one to school to show me. He said it showed arms amputated and finally the victim cruelly killed. I said" Don't be daft. It's only a film they' re not really killed."
He said." Oh miss they are only druggies. Course they're killed."
The idea that sex is a loving relationship to bring two people together in joy
and commitment is never going to reach that generation, particularly if it's all driven underground and we go back to Victorian hypocrisy.
I do not believe that sexual images are everywhere you look unless you are someone who has an obsession with it. Hopefully most of us see the beauty and the joy surrounding us.
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