Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Ain't Sayin' She a Gold Digger

I’ve been trying this new thing at the office where, instead of listening to Kanye on repeat while I work, I listen to something educational or intellectual. It started with TED Talks about birth control and the spread of HIV, and eventually moved to listening to Dan Savage talks for literally, not figuratively, hours.

I’m kind of obsessed with Dan, with his job, and his views on sexuality and monogamy. I’ve read his books, went to see him speak when he came to OSU a few years ago, and read his column religiously, but it had been a while since I had listened to his recorded lectures .

I found myself switching back and forth between the SavageLove podcasts, his college lecture series on YouTube, and the debate on same-sex marriage that he had at his dining room table with that asshole Brian Brown. So after getting all excited up about sex-positive education and sexual acceptance like “YES! This is all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life!” I took a break. I went back to the Kanye.

18 years, 18 years, she got one of your kids, got you for 18 years.

And then I got caught in a flashback. When I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school, a woman named Pam Stenzel came to speak at a school-wide assembly. It was all very exciting – she was the sex lady who was there to talk about sex. I honestly don’t remember much of what she talked about that day, aside from rapping Gold Digger (see how we got here?) and rattling off all of the possible STIs that you can get when you have any kind of sex, protected or not. For me, this was the first time I had heard anyone speak so candidly about sex, and I thought that made her really cool. I remember going home, telling my parents about her, and two days later, she was on my dad’s radio morning show rattling off STIs to his listeners.

Throughout college, I’d read several articles about how most of what Pam has to say promotes abstinence-only education and slut-shames, two things that I am whole-heartedly against. I’d avoided listening to any more of her talks because, honestly, I wanted to remember her as the women who showed me that it was ok to talk about sex out loud. (I clearly missed the point of her lecture.) But today was different. Today I was curious.

Below Images are the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hit when you search
for Pam on Google.

So I googled Pam to find a recent lecture and started listening to one that was published back in April 2013. Pam was yelling. It seems like all Pam does is yell. She told a story about senior male who, at one of her previous lectures, stood up and confessed to his entire school that he was a father. Pam asked him if he had any advice for his fellow classmates, and his two words were, “Don’t. Drink.” Pam paused dramatically, then goes on to talk about how it was the alcohol’s fault that this boy hooked up with the hot girl who was vacationing in his town the summer before.

It is my personal opinion that this boy’s advice, and by extension Pam’s advice, is wildly unhelpful and unrealistic. It is unhelpful to teach high school students that it is wrong to want to have sex. Newsflash – high school kids want to have sex. Shaming them for their perfectly natural feelings isn’t going to make them not have sex, but it is going to take away from time that could be better spent teaching them how to do it safely. It is unrealistic to think that every teenage parent was drunk when conceiving their child, and it is even more unrealistic to think that every high school student who has sex is drunk every time. Yes, they are more likely to correctly use a barrier, or use one at all, if they’re sober, but abstaining from alcohol doesn’t equal abstaining from sex. Here’s two words for those high school kids: Use. Protection. 

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