The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Quickie: Sex Education (Not the good kind)

The New Zealand Herald does a really good line in moral panic. We’ve seen it time and time again. This time, they have sex-education in their spotlight.

Because you would think this would be the key point of the article.

“I didn’t wind up pregnant because I didn’t attend a class. I know all about contraceptives and safe sex. It was purely the fact that I was drunk, it was New Year’s, and some older male thought it would be fabulous to take advantage of me.

So some asshole chose to take advantage of a drunk teenager, but it is sex education’s fault? It’s funny how she listened enough in class to get that anal sex is OK, flavoured condoms mostly taste disgusting and the importance of consent, but not that “pulling out doesn’t work”.

Also, she’s very concerned about the fact that she’s being taught about sex before the age of consent. Guess that doesn’t matter for the drinking age, right?

Look. Sex education is fucking important. I’m just thrilled that, based on 2 NZ Herald articles, albeit, they seem to be teaching about the concept of consent. This idea that “if you’ve asked her and she’s OK with it”, is pretty revolutionary, compared with I got back in the dark ages. Schools seem to be doing the right thing – getting parental consent, and giving as much information as possible. Because:

Amber-Leigh has spoken out in the hope it may help other young teenagers to learn about the importance of having protected sex – or preferably waiting until they are older.

Which, I am pretty sure, is exactly what she would have been taught in class, no? Oh well, that “putting a condom on a banana” trick will serve her well at hen parties.

17 responses to “Quickie: Sex Education (Not the good kind)

  1. Lena Duffin (@superleeni) September 20, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Agree agree agree! I’m going to put a link to this up on my tumblr, I wrote about the sex ed panic yesterday.

  2. LadyNews September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I like this quote:

    “While she acknowledges some 12- and 13-year-olds are having sex, Amber-Leigh said that’s only because they think they are “cool”, but most children aren’t mature enough at that age to take in the seriousness of what they are learning.”

    So, basically there ARE some people that age actually having sex, but we STILL shouldn’t teach them how to put a condom on or whatever because they just wont listen? So either way (12 year olds aren’t having sex and don’t need these lessons, or they are but wont listen) apparently there’s a case against comprehensive sex ed. Fail.

  3. andie September 20, 2011 at 11:59 am


    … so sex education doesn’t work… because it encourages sex… so therefore, kids must be taught about contraception and delaying sexual activity.. but not in sex ed… because drunk guys…

    So from what I understand is that it’s better to have a bunch of teenagers get knocked up because they weren’t taught any better, than to have a few teenagers get knocked up because either they or their partners were taught, but just didn’t listen?

    Wait.. what?

  4. Draco T Bastard September 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I didn’t read the whole NZH article. I stopped reading when I realised it was about a bunch of “moralists” (who wouldn’t know a moral if it bit them) whinging about our children being educated.

  5. Trouble September 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    And then there’s this contribution. Words fail me.

  6. Beckie September 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I never got any sex ed from my parents,they were of the era that if you didn’t know or weren’t taught it,you wouldn’t do it. Naivety gets alot more in trouble than not and telling a teenager not to do something is generally akin to waving a red flag at a bull!

  7. Pingback: LadyNews » Blog Archive » Fact: Pregnant teens didn’t exist before the 1990s. - Information in bite-sized pieces for the feeble ladybrain

  8. Max Rose September 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    It’s pretty much a textbook example of how to whip a moral panic up out of nothing.

    As far as I can see, nothing actually happened to spark this all off, apart from a few talkback callers mouthing off. Someone at the Herald decided to make a story in the absence of any news, full of weasel-worded phrases such as “Schools are being accused of going too far in what they teach children about sex” (accused? By whom?). Then an unfortunate young woman comes forward (was she tracked down by the Herald? Did her parents offer her story?) to share her wisdom (funny how she says that kids are not mature enough to learn about sex, but she considers herself mature enough to lecture others about the effectiveness of sex education). Oh, and the ubiquitous online poll to show that (self-selecting) “readers are up in arms, plus the usual Your Views sewer-pit.

    There’s no individual event, no change in policy, no actual “news” worthy of an article in the first place. But a canny, cynical newspaper knows that moral panics sell, and manufactures a self-perpetuating shit storm. Of course, we all perpetuate it by getting involved, brumbling about it or participating in online debate. But how can we not? This is worth getting angry over.

  9. Trouble September 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    It has the feel of a campaign rather than news – there’s been a consistent line in the SST for several months now on young people having too much freedom with respect to sex. It looks to me as if someone has decided to make this an Issue, and has spent some time collecting outraged parent stories in order to do this. I’m not sure if real journos would have the time or inclination to bother with this, but conservative lobby groups would be motivated and ideally placed to attract parents having a panic.

  10. Psycho Milt September 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    No 14-year-old wants to blame themselves for the shit they got themselves into (It’s less understandable from the grown adults constantly doing it).

    In this case, faced with a choice of “In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have been out getting pissed and letting some asshole schtup me without a condom,” or “Those damn teachers!”, the 14-year-old mind isn’t going to go with option 1.

  11. tallulahspankhead September 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Um, seriously Milt? What the Fuck?

    I’m uncomfortable calling this a date rape, because she doesn’t herself, but at the very least, some dude took advantage of a drunk teenager. Let’s place the blame for that where it is due, shall we?

    He comments are ill-advised, sure, but most likely fed to her by her parents and/or the reporter.

    • Psycho Milt September 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

      I agree, some dude took advantage of a drunk teenager – have said so myself on the NZ Conservative thread on this subject. The sperm donor in this story warrants an article all to himself, and the attention of the Police and the justice system if he’s 16 – but for some strange, unfathomable reason the news media seems completely unable to construct a shock horror narrative around that side of things.

      Which means that what we have available to comment on is an article about her and her self-delusion about what led her to consent to the sex act that resulted in her getting pregnant. As you say, it might be her parents and the journo prompting the responses, but from my own memories of being a 14-year-old, I’d put money on an unwillingness to face up to consequences of your actions.

      • Max Rose September 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

        “and the attention of the Police and the justice system if he’s 16”

        I’m not sure why that would be. The article’s a bit confused, but it seems that while she “lost her virginity” (icky phrase) at 14, she’s 17 now and about to give birth. Which means that unless this is a prolonged gestation of elephantine proportions, she was 16 or 17 at the time of conception and thus legally able to give consent.

        • Psycho Milt September 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm

          The article’s a bit confused, but it seems that while she “lost her virginity” (icky phrase) at 14, she’s 17 now and about to give birth.

          It’s plain enough now I go back and read it again – sorry about that, no excuse other than carelessness for deriving “pregnant at 14” from the story.

          • Max Rose September 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

            It was appallingly written, whether they intended to ramp up the shock by confusing the two ages or just got it muddled.

      • Max Rose September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

        …though whether or not she did consent is another question entirely.

        I’m really wary about making too many assumptions about what actually went on, but I don’t think we can jump from her statement in the newspaper that “some older male thought it would be fabulous to take advantage of me” to the idea that she didn’t consent to sex. For a start, her parents are obviously conservative and quite likely instigated the article, so that even if she was keen on sex and cosented to it or initiated it, she could hardly admit that to them. I don’t want to deny her agency, but there are so many possible layers of guilt, shame, self-delusion and media manipulation here, but by the time it gets from the actual events to a statement in the paper it’s hard to know what anyone actually wanted, said or did at the time.

  12. Elene Parker September 30, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Speaking of sex education, here’s a bit of an interesting tidbit I picked up today that I think you may also find a fun read:


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