I, Jill Filipovic, pledge to never let tampons violate the sanctity of my hoo-hoo, because tampons are really nothing more than thirsty little albino penises.
Amanda has a great post up about an abstinence-only program which involves using tape to rip the skin and hair off of students’ arms in order to demonstrate the negative consequences of pre-marital sex. Seriously. At the end of the demonstration, the piece of tape — designated Miss Tape, to represent the girl who gets around — is tossed in the trashcan, as Amanda says, “to demonstrate the proper use of sexually active women.”
This isn’t the only wacky abstinence-promoting program that tells women we’re used up and unwanted if we have sex before marriage. As bean points out in the comments at Pandagon, the used-up woman is an ongoing theme in abstinence education.
A peppermint patty is unwrapped and passed around the class. Once returned, the teacher asks if a student would like to eat it. The teacher is instructed to ask, “Why is this patty no longer appealing?” The answer they give is “No one wants food that has been passed around. Neither would you want your future husband or wife to have been passed around.”
And it gets better:
One of the classroom exercises recommended by Free Teens is one in which students spit into a cup, trade cups with another student, and then drink from that cup. Students are told that sex is more intimate than drinking someone else’s spit.
Interestingly, other abstinence programs teach students that HIV can be spread through spit:
While explaining the various ways in which HIV is transmitted, some curricula state that transmission can occur through tears and open mouth kissing. This is false and inaccurate information. Similarly, Sex Respect chooses to focus on open mouth kissing to imply that it is highly likely for HIV to be transmitted through saliva, which is not possible.
Women and girls are the usual targets of abstinence-only campaigns, which remind us that we are both sexual temptresses and sexual subjects who are guaranteed to be soiled if we have sex for pleasure instead of in exchange for a wedding ring:
Nevada recently used some of its Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding to run two public service radio ads. One ad, written by the state’s abstinence-only coordinator, suggested that girls will feel “dirty and cheap” when they “lose” their boyfriends after having sex. The ads were eventually pulled by Nevada’s Health Division.
It’s not just radio ads — it’s what students hear in the classroom.
“Men sexually are like microwaves and women sexually are like crockpots…a woman is stimulated more by touch and romantic words. She is far more attracted by a man’s personality while a man is stimulated by sight. A man is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is physically attracted.”
“Girls need to be aware they may be able to tell when a kiss is leading to something else. The girl may need to put the brakes on first in order to help the boy.”
“A guy who wants to respect girls is distracted by sexy clothes and remembers her for one thing. Is it fair that guys are turned on by their senses and women by their hearts?”
“One thing that sex education and the media fail to communicate is the power of sex. Spies, who are trained not to give away government secrets, even lose their sensibilities and give in to the power of sex, often because of what a woman is wearing.”
Even spies will be brought to their knees by a miniskirt! Didn’t you know that’s why Russia lost the Cold War?
“Each time a sexually active person gives that most personal part of himself or herself away, that person can lose a sense of personal value and worth. It all comes down to self-respect.”
Women and girls are crockpots, peppermint patties, pieces of tape, spit, and beautiful, beautiful roses — unless they’re de-flowered:
Messages of shame are effectively dramatized in an exercise called “The Rose.” The teacher brings three roses to class and begins the exercise by explaining that all roses are “beautiful, unique, and valuable—just like the students are.” The teacher then begins peeling the petals off one rose and explains: “This rose illustrates a person who has chosen to be sexually active. When we are sexually active, we are giving ourselves—our body, our heart, our mind.” The students are instructed to pass the rose around the room and each pull off a few petals. They are told that “each petal symbolizes a sexual relationship.” After it is passed back, the curriculum tells teachers to “explain that 10 years have passed, and now this person wants to get married. What does this person feel that he/she has left to give?”
The teacher then presents the second rose which has all of its petals intact and tells students that this flower represents someone who has chosen to be abstinent until marriage. Students are told to imagine that it is 10 years later and this person wants to get married. “What does this person have left to give? Abstinence is about saving and preserving who you are and what you have.”
The exercise then continues with one more rose that is missing just a few of its petals. “This person says, ‘I’m not feeling very good about myself, and I don’t have to keep doing this. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in the past, I’m going to stop and save myself for marriage. Although one or two petals are gone, the rose is still beautiful, and so am I, even though I’ve already been sexually active.’ ” To conclude the rose exercise, the three roses are held up and students are told: “The choice is yours to make. Which rose would you like to be?” (Game Plan, Coach’s Clipboard, p. 12)
Candy is used in a similar exercise:
In one exercise, “Candy in the Bag,” students are given pieces of hard candy and told to unwrap them and put them in their mouths. The students are instructed not to chew or swallow the candy, but to spit it out after a few seconds and wrap it back up. The teacher then collects the re-wrapped candies and places them in a bag along with a few pieces of “fresh candy.” The teacher asks a student volunteer to “Reach into the bag and without looking or feeling around, take out the first piece that you touch and eat it.” The student will most likely refuse the candy; if he doesn’t the teacher is told to stop him from eating it. The teacher then holds up an unopened bag of candy and asks the student, “Would you rather have a piece from this bag?” (Game Plan, Coach’s Clipboard, p. 39)
My very favorite, though, might be this:
Throughout the curriculum, marriage is not only presented as the only positive venue for sexual activity but as the ultimate goal. In keeping with the sports metaphor, the section on marriage is called “Winning the Prize” and teens are told, “It’s the big day. You have trained all your life for this day—your wedding day.”
So… don’t you want to practice?