4 May 2011

"Empowerment" Merlin's Soggy left buttcheek

I'd like to apologise in advance for any cisnormavity here, but this is Nadine Dorries (who quite probably has a secondary citizenship to Daily-Mail-land) we're talking about here. And the bill this post rants incoherently about discusses is pretty aggressively gendered.

Did you hear? Girls like me have apparently been so corrupted by the sex which is ever-present in the media that we have completely forgotten who is in control of our bodies, and as such need the wonderful, amazing, uber-empowering, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries to empower us through the medium of having special lessons set aside solely to teach us how to say no. And by empower, I mean 'reinforce negative perceptions about'.

There is absolutely no way that I can see this actually doing anything empowering, the exact opposite would happen. But this is what you get with a bullshit bill based off the bullshit premise that girls aren't taught how to say no (we don't need to be, if anything people should be taught that 'no' means just that no but I digress) and being given decent sex-education has caused the teenage pregnancy rate to reach the unacceptably high rate of.. oh wait, as of 2009 the teen conception rate has been the lowest since the early 1980s (when, if I remember rightly, it was Nadine Dorries's own Conservative party which was in control, how very odd). How bizarre. Still there's no denying that teaching 7 year-olds how to put condoms on bananas is wrong. Which is why IT DOESN'T BLOODY HAPPEN. In my LEA we do get a nice lesson on STD prevention in Year 8 and one in Year 10 on contraception where we do the condom thing (the learning how to put a condom on 3 times bit actually being true, probably), but we're told that abstinence is actually the best way to avoid STDs and pregnancy. So this bill is redundant, this raises the issue of what the bill would, if passed (something which is, admittedly, rather unlikely unless our MPs are exceptionally rubbish... and I mean exceptionally), actually do.

Since the extra sex-ed lessons are female only, well it's hardly going to be good for gender roles in that area. These 'empowering' lessons work off the premise that 'consent' is simply not saying no, rather than saying yes, I can't exactly see this as being a good thing. Saying nothing is not the same thing as consent. These 'empowering' lessons will also quite probably provide our still patriarchal society with a handy way of blaming girls who are raped for their rape* because girls have been taught they can say no, it puts the onus on women for stuff like this, when it takes two to tango, and some people may well not take 'no' for an answer. Not to mention that it's just a reinforcement of the patriarchal assumption that girls aren't interested (which I actually can't rebuke from personal experience, but I reason that this probably isn't the case), and shouldn't be, meanwhile guys will never need to say no* which probably isn't an exactly brilliant image to send out. And by 'probably' I mean 'bloody well'.

Meanwhile, the capitalist hierarchical culture which gives rise to patriarchy is going to escape unscathed; Dorries outright said that the reason behind her moral panicking was related to the media which is then completely ignored (Dorries seemed concerned about the abnormally high (read:low) teen pregnancy rate, I don't think same-sex kissing should be an issue for her, unless it is (wouldn't surprise me)). Actually that's unfair, she did say that Mary Whitehouse was right, but that's going a little too far in my humble opinion. Still, as a Conservative, and going off this bill, she doesn't see any issues with our place in society. So let's see, the proposed bill will reinforce patriarchal perceptions of women whilst not actually doing anything about said patriarchal perceptions. Really empowering Nadine. Thanks.

*I am aware that it is possible that guys can also be raped, this bill isn't.

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