The Real Sex Education in Our Schools – And It Isn’t Part of Health Class


When we say Sex Education, you immediately think about health class, how boys’ and girls’ bodies work differently, and together, to produce offspring. But in reality, that’s just biology. Health class may provide information on how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and give you a healthy dose of respect for what those diseases can do to you.  Depending on the school district,  the class may provide information on preventing unwanted pregnancies.

But that is not the real sex education going on in schools. Well, if that isn’t it, what are we teaching our kids?

I suggest perusing through the student handbook. Stop at the dress code. Take a quick look at the boys’ dress requirements (it won’t take long as the list is pretty short.) Now turn over to the girls. Depending on the age category, you will find  host of things different than what is required of male students. While the boys’ dress code is designed to simply be neat and positive, the goal for girls is modesty. Straps on tops must so wide, skirts must be no shorter than X inches above the knee, no tight pants or leggings, no strapless tops, must wear undergarments including bras, undergarments must not be visible through clothing. Now, I am not saying there isn’t the school policy out there that states boys must wear undergarments and they can’t be visible through clothing, but I randomly chose 20 handbooks from schools across the country and the only mention of undergarments for boys was that their pants must cover them, as in, no sagging your pants around your knees like you forgot to pull them up when you walked out of the bathroom. But the reason for that is 1. it is (reliably or not) associated with street gang attire 2. Easy to trip walking through crowded halls 3. makes navigating busy stairwells unsafe for both the student and the students around him 4. they don’t want the boys more worried about holding up their pants than carrying their books and 5. they want to bring the kids out of gang/rapper mentality and encourage them with ideas and habits to help them succeed – and the grown ups just don’t like it. I list the reasons out because those reasons, whether you agree with them or not, are quite telling.

Why does a girl’s skirt or shorts need to be almost to her knees? Why must she wear a bra? Why does she have to have straps or sleeves on her shirt? Why must those straps be at least an inch wide? Why can’t she wear leggings? None of these things are gang related. None of them affect her ability to walk down the school halls or carry her books, or navigate stairwells or deflect from a positive attitude for success. No, they teach something completely lacking from the boys’ page in the handbook. They teach modesty.

And the reason? They claim that if girls dress a certain way, then it distracts boys from their lessons.

Let us reflect upon that. What does this really teach? It teaches that girls and boys are not equal. That girls must dress and behave to accommodate boys and that instruction is carried with them through their lives. It is subtle, but it tells both boys and girls that women are responsible for the behavior of men. If a girl wears a sundress with spaghetti straps and a boy decides to stare at her rather than do his work, his lack of discipline is the girl’s fault, not his. We are teaching young boys that they are not responsible for their actions if they are distracted by a girl, if the boy thinks she looks attractive or sexy and he chooses to think about that rather than focus on his assignment. We are teaching boys to not have self control, and worse, that they can blame girls for their lack of self control.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there should be a general rule of modesty for all students. Obviously we don’t want kids showing up naked or in their underwear to class. Not because it is sexy, but because it is a distraction to everyone. But tell me, why should a girl have to wear a bra? Bras are uncomfortable and actually bad for a woman’s body. They cause fibrocystic changes in breasts, loss of the musculature designed by the body to support them (which can result in back and posture problems) and prolonged use of ill-fitting bras can cause masses to develop in the breast tissue, which is believed to increase risk of breast cancer. Girls and young women can seldom find bras that fit them well because their bodies are rapidly changing. Low income families can seldom afford good bras, especially for girls who are still developing.

So, why do we make girls wear them to school? Oh, that’s right. Because boys are attracted to breasts and therefore, girls must bind them up. It doesn’t matter that they are uncomfortable and unhealthy, that is secondary to a girl’s responsibility to not distract the boys from their education.

Did it ever occur to anyone that if we stopped teaching boys that they should be distracted by female bodies during class, stopped making girls bear a greater responsibility for the the actions and self discipline of male students, perhaps the distraction problem would fix itself?

I understand boys go through changes as well, their hormones become difficult, etcetera. If a boy finds a girl attractive, she could be wearing a burlap bag down to her ankles and he could distract himself with what might be under the bag. He will still wonder if she likes him and think whatever thoughts he would if she were wearing a t-shirt and shorts. The same thing is happening to girls as they go through puberty. They look at boys, think they are cute. The difference is that girls are taught to accept all the burden. They are taught they need to look a certain way to attract a boy but then it is their fault if the boy is distracted by them. Confused yet?

This is the sex education we are teaching from as young as kindergarten where little girls are told they can’t wear a sun dress unless the straps are at least an inch wide on their shoulders or wear leggings or wear shorts or skirts unless they are a certain length. From this age forward, we begin reinforcing in both girls and boys the responsibility of women for men’s actions. Do you think that five year old boy cares if a girl in his class has thin straps on her sundress? No. He doesn’t until the school begins telling him that he should.

This is how we perpetuate rape culture in our society. This is why we cannot escape a fundamental barrier of misogyny. It has been ingrained by the school system, generation after generation, from the age of five, onward, that girls, and then women, are responsible for the actions of men. We begin placing culpability on women and teaching them that if they distract boys, it is their fault because boys can’t help themselves – teaching them this fundamental, misogynistic message before they even lose their first baby tooth.

But that is not the only message we send. We are also creating a system of patriarchy. We are telling our girls that the education of boys is more important. The girls must dress a certain way, even if it is uncomfortable and distracting, so as not to distract a boy. If her attire is questionable, she is removed from class. Her education is secondary to the distraction she didn’t cause until someone pointed out that there should be a distraction. So, she has to miss class until someone can bring her new attire or she is sent home. I have read so many instances where the student actually believed they were within the dress code policy, and often were.

The problem is that women are used to accepting this. They have been trained since five to accept it, therefore, it seems and feels normal. They have been taught it is indecent to not wear a bra, therefore this affects their judgment. But what would happen if we just stopped? If we just stopped creating this double standard? If we taught boys what is probably a much more beneficial lesson, that they have to learn to focus despite their attraction? In turn, that teaches them self discipline and responsibility for their actions. What if there was just a single dress code? That would better recognize transgender children and create a healthier acceptance of people as just people. What if we didn’t make dress codes based on the distraction of one sex? What if we don’t teach boys they should be distracted? If they see girls who don’t wear bras all the time, I promise it won’t be any big deal. It would be normal. I doubt any boy ever failed a test because Julie wore a dress with thin shoulder straps. If he did, then that is his fault for not learning to focus, and the school’s fault for not teaching him to ignore distractions.

If we ever want to move past our patriarchal society, this must change. We must start addressing these “what ifs.” We have to stop making a boy’s education more important than a girl’s. We have to stop teaching boys that they are not responsible for their actions or lack of self control. We must stop teaching girls they carry the burden for the actions of boys and men. We begin victim blaming them before they even know they are being victimized.

This is why so many women who have been assaulted do not come forward and why they blame themselves. This is why women who are violated feel ashamed. Because that is what they are taught before they even have their first visit from the tooth fairy. Girls are taught shame.

That is sex education in our schools.

We are One Woman, One World.


Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams


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Trump’s Comments Are NOT Just Misogyny; They Are Rape Culture


Donald Trump’s Comments on a hot mic published yesterday by The Washington Post revealed something much more than the obviously misogynistic Republican nominee we have all seen from day one of his campaign. Trump, both in life before and since the beginning of his political aspirations, has shown himself as a man who objectifies women based on their “hotness.” Even his own daughter is not immune to his degrading comments.

However, this October Surprise shows something more than mere misogyny. What Trump describes is not just about admiring beautiful women by use of vulgar language. He describes his sense of entitlement to those women, even if they are married, even if HE is married. By his own words, Trump believes that being a celebrity gives him all the permission he needs to kiss a woman without her consent and, far worse, grab her by the genitals. He literally says he can do anything he wants. That is sexual assault. This man, a man who is a breath away from the Oval Office, who is the Republican Party nominee for the President of the United States of America, is not only condoning sexual assault, but bragging about it. This is more than women being objectified, belittled or even humiliated. This is evidence of systemic rape culture in our society.

I have seen some puzzling and disturbing posts from people, sadly including women, who justify or attempt to whitewash Trump’s actions. One of the more disturbing was from a woman supporting Trump who said,

“…so he likes beautiful women. A lot of men do, so what?”

Well, here is the, “so what.” Sexual attraction is normal. It is okay to be attracted to someone, in fact, attraction is a series of chemical reactions in your body that you can’t really control. What you find attractive is most frequently influenced by your culture, but there are certain things which are unique from person to person. So, being attracted to beautiful women is perfectly normal. How a man reacts to those attractions define his character. But this is more than attraction. Sexual assault is not about sex. Sexual assault is about dominance, control and power. When Donald J. Trump talks about just doing whatever he wants, he is not talking about being so attracted to a woman that he just gets so horny he can’t help his actions. (Which would be seriously disturbing even if it were the case.) He IS talking about seeing something of value and his determination to possess it, and his feeling of entitlement to do so.

People, ANYONE, who dismisses Trump’s behavior is part of the problem. They are willingly promoting the subjugation and violence against women. Period. If you do not believe me, if you are one of these people, then ask yourself:

  • Can a man, celebrity or not, who thinks I am attractive just kiss me and grab my “pussy” if he wants to?
  • Can a man do this to my daughter?
  • Can a man do this to my wife?
  • Can a man do this to my mother?
  • Can a man do this to my granddaughter?
  • Can a man do this to my friend?
  • Can a man do this to my aunt?
  • Can a man do this to my sister?
  • Can a man do this to my cousin?
  • Should a man be allowed to do this to anyone?
  • Is a man entitled to do whatever he wants just because he is attracted to beautiful?

This idea that men get a frees pass as , “boys will be boys,” and that they are not responsible for their behavior because it is the wicked woman’s fault for just being too attractive is the very basis of rape culture acceptance in our society. If you said no to any of those questions, but you are dismissing what Trump has done, YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE. Period. YOU are part of the problem in our society. If you, for any reason, justify Trump’s vulgar descent into the self-description of a sexual predator, then you are part of the reason why women feel unsafe doing anything by themselves, like shopping, walking to their car, jogging or walking or even living alone. You are part of the reason why rapists receive a slap on the wrist for a few, “minutes of action.” You are part of the reason why a rapist’s college experience is more important than the violent crime they committed against another human being.  You are justifying the exploitation and dehumanization of victims. You fit every possible definition of deplorable.

There is a list of sexual harassment, attempted rape and statutory rape allegations leveled against the Republican nominee. Most have been largely dismissed in the public eye as political opportunism. While everyone can agree Trump is frequently rude and crass and a known philanderer,  no one really wanted to believe he was that horrible. This revelation, in his own words, about himself, lends credibility to those claims. It means they need to be revisited and re-evaluated with the knowledge of Trump’s mindset, his belief that he could just kiss and grab a woman or, “do anything,” he wants because he is a celebrity.

Oh, but the evidence of our rape culture did not end with that video and audio. As if adding insult to injury, Trump released a so-called apology.

While Trump’s ‘apology’ states that what he said was wrong, it also attempts to dismiss the action as a distraction from real issues. He tried to distance himself from the comments because he said them over a decade ago, claiming he has since been humbled by meeting so many people across the country in his campaign. Finally, he does what Trump so commonly does when faced with his own transgressions, egregious Rationalization.

Egregious rationalizations intended to deflect blame can also take the form of ad hominem attacks or DARVO. Some rationalizations take the form of a comparison. Commonly this is done to lessen the perception of an action’s negative effects, to justify an action, or to excuse culpability:

  • “At least [what occurred] is not as bad as [a worse outcome].”
  • In response to an accusation: “At least I didn’t [worse action than accused action].”
  • As a form of false choice: “Doing [undesirable action] is a lot better than [a worse action].”

He claims his actions aren’t so bad in comparison to his allegations against the Clintons. He justifies himself by claiming there is worse. So, in his so-called apology, he attempts to sidestep responsibility by minimizing his actions in comparison. But you cannot minimize being a sexual predator. You cannot minimize your desire to physically dominate women and reduce them to objects of property or ownership. Trump’s apology is equivalent to a rapist defending his actions by saying something like – “Well, yeah she was so hot I couldn’t help myself and I couldn’t stop and I’m really sorry. But, some guys would have just killed her and I didn’t. That man, Darrell Gurule, raped and shot a woman. That is really terrible.” Except, in this example, Darrell Gurule was actually convicted of his crimes with direct forensic evidence, whereas, Trump’s allegations against the Clintons are mostly based on conspiracy theories and innuendo. You will not see me ever praising the philandering of Bill Clinton, by no means. But you cannot justify you own admissions of sexual assault by citing the infidelity (or even the factual actions) of anyone else. Why?

Well, as obvious as that answer should be, it actually has deeper implications than the obvious. First, it is about being responsible for your own actions. Bill Clinton didn’t make Trump act like he did, nor did Hillary. No one else made Trump say what he did. No one else is responsible for Trump’s belief that being a star entitles him to whatever beautiful woman he sees. But the deeper problem with rationalization is that it lends acceptance to those actions. It says that they are not uncommon and, therefore, are not so grievous. When you are talking about something as horrible as sexual assault, this is the very basis of rape culture, from the most powerful person in the Republican Party, a person one election away from nominating and appointing like minded judges and cabinet members. Is someone of Donald Trump’s temperament likely to appoint anyone to any position of authority who has, does or would condemn him in any way for any action without first securing complete dominance over them? How can we possibly continue the fight against rape culture with a president who has marginalized the actions which support it? With a president who is, by his own admission, a sexual predator? We can’t.

Make no mistake, even though Trump begins his apology with stating that he never claimed to be perfect, do not forget that he has also claimed he doesn’t believe he has done anything he needs to ask God forgiveness for. So, until he was caught, he didn’t think this behavior particularly wrong. Trump does not regret his actions. One of his first comments after the release of the video was that Bill Clinton had said worse with him on the golf course. That is not remorse. He apologizes because he has to, but there is no sincerity, there is no remorse, there is no contrition. All you see is thinly veiled anger that he is being forced to humiliate himself for actions he goes on to rationalize and minimize. All women are now the victim of his harassment.


We are One Woman, One World.



Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams


Breasts Are Not Men’s Sex Toys. Get Over It.

Once upon a time, when I was a kid, we researched information by looking it up in encyclopedias. For those of you not quite as old as the dirt beneath the pavement, encyclopedias were collections of books which contained information about historical and famous people, events, things, animals and places. If you needed to write a report, you reached for an encyclopedia. It was like the stone age search engine, except the articles were well vetted for accuracy and devoid of opinion. Why am I bringing up the obsolete reference resource? Because I remember reading through them and seeing photographs from tribes in other countries that showed women topless. My first reaction was of shock. Women just running around without shirts on! Women openly breastfeeding babies! In fact, that is how I learned the actual purpose of a breast is to feed a baby. When I was young, no one spoke about breastfeeding. You gave a baby a bottle. I didn’t think about it. Women covered their breasts, for the most part, unless they wanted to look extra pretty for a man, then they showed just a bit of them. I was surprised to see they were actually useful for something else. But then quickly decided we must be feeding babies with bottles for a reason, it must be healthier and feeding a baby like that must be barbaric and uncivilized and probably dangerous. And I, of course, also thought Yuck! Who wants to drink human milk?” Just to set the record straight, I was six years old. So the conclusions were not so atypical or illogical. Or were they?

At six years old I had already determined breasts had a particular use, to make you look feminine and attract men. To sum that up: I thought breasts were for men. Even though I had no comprehension about sex, how babies were made (I had not read that entry in the encyclopedia yet, as Africa comes long before Reproduction in the alphabet) or really any idea of physical relationships outside of holding hands, hugging and kissing. Yet, the impression that the purpose of women’s breasts were for men had already been so well ingrained into my psyche that, I deduced, when confronted with their actual purpose, it must be a primitive practice they only do because they have no other choice.

It is a shocking revelation that by six years old I had already identified my body parts, which still had yet to arrive, were meant for men. I was not outright told that. No one had said, “When you grow breasts, those are special toys you use to please your husband.” No one had even told me that men liked breasts or found them attractive or that they were considered attributes to a woman. At least not directly.

However, I watched television and movies, even cartoons. I listened to the conversations around me. I saw what people wore and how others responded. I saw the world, even if I didn’t intentionally calculate and classify everything. I learned it all. I heard comments about women with large breasts, and the suggestions that it was why they were so popular. I heard derogatory comments about flat chested women. I heard women commenting on their own breasts, wishing they were bigger, or fuller, or perkier, or looked better in a bathing suit. I heard old ladies’ breasts called knockers because they were saggy and old. I saw television shows where a woman jumped up and down and a man was distracted by her breasts bouncing. I heard men say things about appealing, curvy figures. I heard and saw a great many things about breasts, yet none of them had anything to do with feeding a baby. Not once.

So what does that mean? It means I thought breasts were toys, men’s toys. No different than anything shelved on the boy’s toy isle, except for grown-ups. Taking away the identity of our bodies degrades us into submissive toys. Sure, men can find breasts attractive. But the greedy lust of our ancestors has created a degrading atmosphere. We have been taught that sucking on a breast is a sexual act rather than nourishment for a child. Misogynistic men do not want to see a baby sucking on a breast because they find it disgusting.  Why? They aren’t disgusted by puppies or kittens. And the answer is not because it makes us look like animals. The fact is, they have been claimed. They are designated as sex toys rather than serving a real and vital purpose in child bearing and development.

At six I thought breast feeding must be wrong, unclean and unhealthy simply because I had no evidence anyone did it. When I asked about it, I was told it was frowned upon and respectable women gave a baby a bottle. Women had been taught it was unsavory to breastfeed. A misogynistic society further placing women beneath men by devaluing their purpose, by claiming their bodies and demeaning natural practices which benefit both a woman and a baby, simply because the men preferred to keep breasts all to themselves. Pretty much, they just didn’t like to see a baby sucking on them because they liked sucking on them, too. They were sex toys.

To this day, despite the medical community encouraging breastfeeding to new mothers, despite knowing the irreplaceable benefits to both mother and child, we still think of breasts as sexual toys first. We have a culture refusing to let go of the idea that breasts are somehow indecent simply because men like them. So, the rational is that because men find breasts attractive, it is disgusting to feed your child with them. They have equated breastfeeding to a sexual act in public. Now tell me who the sicko is: the woman nourishing her infant in the most healthy way possible or the deranged person berating her who seems to think it is somehow sexually explicit and indecent?

Despite my shock at age six, by the time I was a young woman, I had learned the benefits of breastfeeding and elected to breastfeed all three of my children. Twenty-two years ago, breastfeeding was a serious challenge. In fact, most women were discouraged from it simply because it was so difficult. By my third child, a decade later, it was somewhat easier, only because breast pumps were not quite so cumbersome. Still, it was impossible to travel anywhere and breastfeed. At that time you could not even feed your baby in public if you were completely covered. You were expected to go into a toilet. Because that is sanitary. Right? Even today many people argue or suggest women should do this. Think about that for a minute, think about why this is misogynistic. Why is it offensive? Why do we place more importance on the fact that some man may find breasts exciting than we do on the nourishment, well-being and safety of an infant?

So, I finally came to the conclusion that the pictures I saw long ago did not depict a primitive ideology. I think, perhaps, the more primitive is the one we seek to overcome today, for it is one of coveting and human ownership. Breastfeeding does not demean a woman in any way. Misogynists demean women for breastfeeding. It has been taught to us as unacceptable behavior, but it only is so because we yielded to the opinions of people with, evidently, very naughty minds. We accepted that it was uncouth in public because breasts were sexual organs. If we decide to see something one way, we can decide to see it another. Collectively, that will not happen overnight. But we can begin the process by teaching our children, both boys and girls, what breasts are for. Do not teach children to be offended by breastfeeding, and they won’t be. We can support local, state and federal legislation to protect women’s rights to feed their infants, however, breastfeeding is perfectly legal in most states. (Idaho, time to catch up with the rest of the world.) The real problem is public harassment. To defeat this, we must continue to stand together and support businesses and venues which provide friendly atmospheres for nursing mothers.  Our daughters will grow up with a healthier self-image and our sons will have greater respect for women and their bodies.

See the links below for more information on the benefits of breastfeeding!

We are One Woman, One World.

21 Amazing Benefits of Breastfeeding


Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams