At a moment when the popularity of the British TV melodrama, “Downton Abbey,” seems to have hit its apex in the United States, I’m hopeful that we Americans can take another cultural cue from the Brits.
Last week, a controversial bill calling for teenage girls to be given compulsory lessons in sexual abstinence was pulled at the last minute from the House of Commons order of business.
It was proposed by Nadine Dorries, a Conservative member of Parliament who is concerned that British society is “saturated in sex.”
“Teaching a child at the age of seven to to apply a condom on a banana is almost saying: ‘Now go and try this for yourself,’” Dorries told the Guardian when the bill was first proposed.
The bill was taken off the agenda before a protest by a coalition of feminists, humanists and abortion rights activists assembled outside of Parliament could even begin in earnest. It had already been roundly criticized by members of all three major political parties in the U.K. , including many Conservatives.
The general sentiment seemed to be that — however you feel about abstinence as an effective means of birth control — there wasn’t much sense in confining sexual education to only one gender. As one columnist in the Guardian noted, “And what about those boys? Should they just sit quietly in a corner with their fruit and their Durex Extra Safe?”
Read the rest of this article at The Washington Post’s She The People blog…
Image: Untitled by Riley Alexandra via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.