Two articles on the sex talk, both from the New York Times (well, one is from a NYT blog, Freakonomics), caught our attention in the last two days.
Perri Klass at New York Times:
I am enough of an old-fashioned feminist to want to teach daughters the same fundamental lessons I teach sons: err on the side of respect and good manners; understand that confusion, doubt and ambiguity abound, especially when you are young; never take advantage of someone else’s uncertainty; and, just as important, remember that adolescence should be a time of fun, affection, growth and discovery.Ian Ayres at Freakonomics:
It’s too bad that one side of teaching our children about sex and relationships means reminding them that there are bad people in the world; stay away from them, stay safe, speak up if someone hurts you or pushes you. But everyone needs that information, and that promise of adult support. We have to get that message across without defining some of our children as obvious perpetrators and others as obvious victims, because that insults everyone.
I was somewhat concerned that the last senior on the show [Friday Night Lights] lost her virginity. The show has reached what the Supreme Court calls the “inexorable zero.” I am not a fan of “socialist realism,” the idea that art needs to move society toward a better equilibrium. But viewers may get the subtle message that it is really unusual to graduate from high school as a virgin.Ayres points to two Slate articles about the parent/child sex talks on Friday Night Lights here and here.
As I’ll argue in my next post, we might do well to correct the misimpression that it’s unusual to be a virgin in high school.
Thumbs up to Friday Night Lights for the sex talks, but a thumbs down for suggesting everybody in high school is having sex.
Addendum: Ayres' next post is now up,
Robert Cialdini has shown time and again that people like to conform their behavior to that of others. His new book, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, is chock full of examples. Want to get hotel guests to forego daily towel cleaning? Include a message telling them that most other guests reuse their towels. Want them to recycle even more? Tell them that most people using their very room recycle.And to enhance the chances they remain virgins once they get to college encourage them to be economics majors.
Cialdini’s simple idea is that public service messages would do well to implicitly tell high-schoolers: “Be like most of your peers — don’t have sex while you’re in high school.”