Ok, so you probably do not know that I, Ms. Erosophy, am quite the avid reader-of and researcher-into anything to do with women’s sexual and reproductive health. This stems from my feminist education that revealed to me just how much women’s bodies are still controlled by patriarchal power structures and also from my own erosophic understanding of the importance of looking at people in a holistic way that addresses us as embodied, sexual selves.
This weekend a friend reminded me of the dire situation that many women in the United States find themselves in when it comes to being able to address their basic sexual health needs, with pharmacists being allowed to deny women access to contraceptives and women’s health clinics being held to unreasonable high standards in order to make their job that much more difficult. I was also reminded of the general ignorance of many people when it comes to understanding things like the difference between emergency contraceptives (i.e. Plan B) that are basically just a large dose of the classic birth control pill in order to prevent pregnancy, and an abortion pill (i.e. RU486) that actually terminates a pregnancy, both of which provide women with safer, healthier options for maintaining their reproductive health and freedom.
Of course, young women in the US (and I’m just talking about the US here because things are very different in Canada, and though some problems are similar, the US situation is much more dire, though on further reflection, the situation of young women in the developing world is even more dire and frightening…) are possibly the most ignorant population when it comes to their sexual health since so many have been schooled in abstinence-only approaches to sexual education.
I was dismayed and yet not surprised to see a Reuters headline today that reads “Quarter of teen girls have sex related disease“. Quarter. 25%. That is a lot. That is too much. That is what happens when people engage in irresponsible sexual behaviour without regard to their own safety. True, there is really no such thing as “safe sex”, but rather just “safer sex”, but still, there are so many preventative measures that can be taken if young people are taught what those are.
Young people are bound to experiment and want to test-drive their newly formed sexual selves, hormones are crazy things, and we all know this, and we have known this for a long time, so why oh why do people still refuse to equip young people with knowledge that can save their lives!?
And so that is my rant of the day, I don’t make rants often, so take note that this news story must have really hit my heart, else I would not have written about it.
Good websites with genuinely helpful sex education info:
sexualityandu.ca: sex ed from Canadian gynaecologists who really know what they’re talking about. There’s specific info for teens, adults, parents and teachers.
scarleteen: “Sex Education for the Real World” – A site that has been around for a very long time with tons of resources and answers to pretty much any question about sex that you could come up with.
Planned Parenthood USA: the classic source for information and safe places to go for help and info.
Planned Parenthood Canada (aka Canadian Federation for Sexual Health): ditto above for Canada.