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Condoms should be everywhere, especially in school bathrooms

Flashback Friday, a column on feminist notions...

It's statistically normal for kids to have sex from age 12. Does that make it desirable? Safe? Emotionally fulfilling? Irrelevant. No matter what we think of sex at 12, kids are still having it. Honestly, do you think that anything we do or say will stop it? If we know there are condoms in the ablution block, being dispensed for free (knowledge) does that mean we have to run out there and have sex (permissiveness). Or is permissiveness what it is - giving ourselves permission. Is sex voluntary for boys at 12? Is sex voluntary for girls at 12? Even if these two questions illustrate how you think about permissiveness - that for boys it's permission, and for girls it's coercion or sluttishness, they are still doing it. It doesn't matter what you think. It's irrelevant what you think.

Should we return to a repressive Victorian society? If we never see breasts, it's titillating to see them when we do. If we see breasts all the time, we don't really notice when we see them. Perhaps we should overkill (bondage). Are we afraid that children will think (bondage) is normal - and what will happen if they do? They might try (bondage), they might try the (missionary position), they will decide which they prefer, they will get on with it and be happy. (Bondage) is a safe thing to try if you have enough information about how to do it. I think that there is a role being played of 'this thing is different, this thing is frowned upon, so let me test my resolve, my power, cut my teeth doing something that's a challenge, that's a rebel-element'.

What you have to sort out is whether we are going to empower the 12 year-olds with knowledge, or is there still time to push the kids back into the ignorant Victorian closet. Here lies the rub.

I am going to put my stamp down on the 'I am way not giving up my access and I am not going to wish zero access on anyone'. I say the emphasis should fall on our ability to use our brains to choose. Animals do stuff because they feel like it, and they take the consequences - the chips fall where they may. But humans can choose, they can say, "I know all of this stuff, the pros and the cons, and the sane thing to do is..." They can make up their own minds.

Part of the problem is that we are giving kids information with a slant. The slant makes them wonder what is on the opposite side of the slant. Information flows in to fill the vacuum filled by ignorance, shouldn't we decide what quality of information flows in. The statistics will never agree - yes, keep them ignorant, no, keep them informed - the statistics are one thing this month and another thing that month - so what. Do you want your kid informed or ignorant. Choose.

At the moment kids are choosing in an atmosphere of ignorance. That is a problem. I say, let's put the condoms in the ablution block, but let's contextualise that knowledge like mad. Let's say, "We are doing this, but these are the reasons why - that way kids will know it is not that we want them to have sex, it's that we don't want them to die if they decide to." Shift the emphasis. They are doing it anyway, so let's save lives.

Cinnamon Gurl sparked this off. Thanks. Each week the Flashback Friday: Feminist Edition will feature a story that has something to do with being or becoming a woman or feminist. This series will continue until I run out of stories. I love having guest bloggers. If you have a story you want to tell and you want to be a guest blogger here, please email me; or feel free to link to your own story in the comments.


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