Amanda – in a new gig at RH Reality Check – reminds us why we have got to get rid of abstinence only programs. I wish I could have the same sense of humor about it as these guys. But instead, I just get mad.
While there is oh so much wrong with abstinence only programs, and with the fact that our tax dollars fund them (they’re often closely connected to churches), Amanda hits on what I find to be one of the most patently offensive parts:
Women, or at least vaginas, are objects that get “used up” fairly quickly. Abstinence-only educators absolutely love having classroom demonstrations to drive home the point that women who’ve had sex are used up and more suitable for being thrown in a dumpster than gussied up in a wedding gown. Various objects are used to drive home this point. Some educators prefer to compare women to toothbrushes, telling the students you don’t want to use someone else’s toothbrush after they’ve opened the package and used it. Some pass out gum or lollipops and then dare the students to swap them after they’ve started chewing on them, likening non-virginal women to chewed up candy. My all-time favorite, though, might be Jennifer Waters’s method, since she sticks tape to student arms and pulls it off, showing that if a woman has had sex with another guy before you, she’s less emotionally “sticky.”
So again we’ve got the women as vessels image rearing its ugly head. And while these games might appear gender neutral at first glance, the context in which they’re taught makes it clear what we’re talking about: girls. My question builds off of Scott’s continued highlighting of the inconsistencies in the fundies’ approach. And it’s this: at what point will they realize that the choice for many (most) teens is not sex or no sex but rather safe sex or unprotected sex (leading, potentially, to unplanned pregnancy and abortion)?