Editorials and Opinions

Palin don’t preach

By Denebola
Published: September 2008

By Elissa Spinner

When you think of Sex Ed, you probably think of playing with condoms, teachers embarrassing themselves, immature classmates, and dorky videos.

Some of my favorite memories, in fact, are of the boys who would throw condoms at each other, mislabel their own anatomies, and speak to various contraceptives as if they were people. Half the students look as though they are about to lose their lunches while the other half crack crude jokes. Freshman, you’re in for a real treat.

I bet that at some point everyone has thought, why am I staring at a picture of gonorrhea? Why do we have to learn this? Sarah Palin, our Republican vice presidential nominee, asks that same question. Her position on this matter ranges from abstinence-only to no-sexual-education-at-all.

If she had her way, we wouldn’t have to have to hear teachers stutter over words such as “menstruation and “erection. We wouldn’t have to have embarrassing dialogues with classmates about how to respond to pressure.

But as much as I hated that class and would never want to relive those awkward moments, I believe Sexual Education is absolutely necessary.

American society sends mixed messages about sex. While our parents tell us no, the media tells us go. Have you seen the newest commercial for Levis? Or Abercrombie billboards? Ironically, their marketing techniques use naked people to advertise clothes – and they sure grab people’s attention. I’m sure people remember the models better than the product they advertise.

These advertisements show neither STDs nor pregnancy, just two people having a good time. The only time these issues are actually portrayed in television or movies is when the writers need a good plot twist to shake things up.

Even Juno, a movie about maturity and accepting responsibility, sugarcoats the harsh realities of teenage pregnancy. It is necessary to have a class that teaches the facts without preaching or over-glamorizing them.

So what’s wrong with abstinence-only education? It’s completely ineffective. Sex Ed needs to be as unbiased as possible in order for us to be informed and form our own opinions on the complex subject of sexuality.

How unbiased can a class be if the teacher constantly preaches his or her opinions on the importance of saving ourselves until marriage?

I don’t know who thought that telling people not to have sex until marriage would actually work – he or she must have been asexual. While I can see why people think that handing out condoms sends a “go for it message, abstinence-only education encourages sex just as much, maybe even more.

I do not believe that teaching about contraceptives will prevent teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, or that most students even pay attention in Sex Ed.

But isn’t it better to know how to prevent pregnancy and STDs than to have no clue whatsoever? Legislatures and politicians would do the country a favor by promoting Sex Ed in public high schools.

Sarah Palin is excellent proof of the fact that just because teenage sex is not acknowledged does not mean it doesn’t exist. Also, Sarah Palin, along with having a teen pregnancy in her immediate family, governs the state with the highest STD rate in America. Coincidence? I think not.

Should a person with this track record have authority over sex education? If her own daughter doesn’t follow her principles, how can anyone else be expected to take her seriously? Well, now at least I know how Alaskans stay warm without stressing over electric bills.

Some people say that Sex Ed is unnecessary because we can always talk to our parents about sex. Maybe in an ideal world, teenagers could go to their parents with any problem or question without feeling awkward or embarrassed. In that same ideal world, there would be no teen pregnancy or STDs. How many of you really talk to your parents about your relationships or sexual encounters? A smaller number than the population of Wasilla Alaska,I’ll bet.

Though there may be some people who are able to talk to their parents, what about everyone else? Shouldn’t everyone be informed enough to make their own decisions without any pressure from friends or the media?

I don’t know if Sarah Palin had a traumatic experience in her high school sexual education, but maybe if she had made use of it, neither Alaska nor her seventeen year-old daughter would be all over the news.

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