January 26, 2012
What is going on in the world?
That’s not a question I often ask since I pay little attention to the goings on outside of my glass bubble. But last week a British MP from the Conservative Party proposed legislation that can only be described as a HUGE step backwards. Nadine Dorries put forward a bill that would require schools to teach girls BUT NOT BOYS the value of abstaining from sex.
Shall I list the number of ways I am appalled by this…
One – The push for abstinence only sex education has made the US in the lead in teenage pregnancies in the Western world. Britain is still number one in Europe, so do we really need to rise further up the ranks?
Two – Just girls? Really? Because girls are an object of sexual desire and not creatures of sexual desire themselves? Or because teenage boys can’t help themselves, whereas girls so OBVIOUSLY should be able to? Surely this is just a way of encouraging the worst status-quo in gender politics; specifically that for boys sleeping around is good and girls who do the same are just sluts or fallen women.
Three – Just ARGH. Seriously, I was so angry about this as a concept I found it difficult to verbalise why. And to add insult to injury last Friday I was out of London and therefore unable to join the protest outside the Houses of Parliament against this bill.
Fortunately, for my sanity, the bill was withdrawn and common sense has prevailed. The very fact that the bill was viewed as highly controversial gives me some hope that Britain is moving towards more gender equality, and also becoming a little bit more sexually positive with respect to education as well.
Ah well, at least over here we don’t have awkward televised debates between Republican candidates on contraception. So it just goes to show that it could be worse…
Mind you it could be a lot better. In March 2010, Johanna Sigurdardottir Iceland’s female Prime Minister, banned strip clubs. And topless waitresses. And a lot of other nudey things, as it is illegal to profit from employee’s nudity in any way, shape or form. Please note this isn’t at all like US states with no table dancing. There is no supposed religious reason behind it all. This is a piece of purely feminist legislation; based on the concept that women are not property and should not be traded or sold in any way, shape or form. Refreshingly simple.
Prostitiution was already criminilised in Iceland, and the belief that many of these clubs operated as fronts for brothels was at the heart of the matter. Here in the UK there is some debate even among feminists onwhether prostitution should be legalised.
I understand that there is an argument of freedom to do as you please, and if that includes profiting on your looks or sexuality then perhaps that should be taken into account. However, the Icelandic ban was not imposed on women, it was created and campaigned for women by women, and as such should be celebrated whatever your personal stance.