7 May 2011

Heterodoxical Sex Education (Just Another Nanny State Proposal from the Tories)

Nadine Dorries MP, she who is the devil incarnate to the Twitterazzi Liberal Intelligentsia, this week proposed a return to heterodoxical sex education.

In line with the standard conservative approach to hegemony, Nadine Dorries suggests that girls should be taught the right to say no as a core and integral part of their education.

The Feminist Perspective

As Jane Martinson observes in The Guardian, Dorries is not empowering women, but proposing "an atavistic move that in effect blames weak-willed, ill-educated teenage girls for many of society's ills".

The Conservative line seems to be that we should return to a pre-Germaine Greer society where Girls, instead of becoming women in control, should "adopt the proper feminine passivity" and return to a prerevolutionary concept of a female eunach, who cannot observe her own emotions, cannot challenge, express or enunciate sentiments, whether libidinal or less (allegedly) depraved.

The worst of this proposal is that the message is targeted specifically at girls, who are apparently the sole reason for sexual activity occuring, while men remain in angelic and patriarchial innocence, protected by a society that still considers it appropriate for women to strip and men to watch.

I am interested that Schools now refer to "Sex Ed" as SRE (Sex and Relationship Education). Perhaps the key to the lack of education in preventing girls from realising the potential harm upon their lives from inappropriate sexual behaviour is identified by this simple acronym.

Were the education geared towards relationships with sex only forming a minor part of a strong commitment, girls, and indeed, boys, would be looking at relationships in a completely different way, and such empowerment to say No would not be an isolated issue but part of a wider scale of personal development, self respect and without returning to an archaic concept of autonomy of female submission.

[I would add here, that to follow on from Greer, the development of sexual liberation has become a marketing tool so clearly defined and deplored by Nina Power's One Dimensional Woman and should be explored by anyone who is interested in the matter]

The Political Line

Removing from the argument, for a moment, the feminist issue so prevalent in this bill, let us examine the political impulse.

Once again we see a creeping nanny-state approach from Tory MPs as they dictate an education system that should be provided by the parent.

While I appreciate Conservatives desire to maintain a status quo, a heterodoxy focused on maintaining a social and political marginal change at best, I fail to see why the Conservative MPs, especially the female ones, are so intent on telling parents that their role is defunct and the state can fulfil that role.

First Jowell talking of imposing chastisement on teens who commit offences, such as removing their iPods, now we see Education being shaped to control and manipulate female sexual activity.

From a feminist perspective, I can only assume that Conservative MPs are actually attempting to create a catabolic effect on the pursuit of female emancipation, otherwise why would they so clearly condone the proposal that women are responsible for their own abstinence, and seek to reinstate full patriarchial control in Britain?

But, clearer than that, the Conservative ideology in the UK is one of extreme social divide, centred around Victorian principles of female passivity, acqueient children and, ideally, no welfare state, no left-wing idealism and an ongoing pursuit of an archaic morality that adheres to preservation of these ideals.

Rather than perpetuating entropic conservatism, the Conservatives wish to return to a previous age. But all the sex education and three straps with a birch won't change the progression of liberation, democracy and, above all, the advancement of technology which both fuels and hinders these.


  1. I was utterly disgusted that our MP Jason McCartney, who has claimed in conversations with our Lib Dem candidate to be "socially liberal" has voted for this bilge.

  2. The representation in parliament was standard paternalistic approach.

    Dorries struck a chord by mentioning female empowerment, thereby putting all people in a position to look like anti-emancipation if they challenged her.

    I would suggest your MP was ignorant to the details in his vote, rather than deliberately intending to promote a return to a patriarchal state. That's the nice view.

    However, I am sure there are a lot who saw the implications and relished them.

  3. I honestly laughed out loud when I read what was being suggested by the bill... Until I realised they were serious, then I wanted to cry a little. The notion that girls should be told to "close their legs" and boy cannot possibly be told to "put it away" is ludicrous. It absolves the men from any idea of responsibility for controling their own sexual conduct and makes women the "moral guardian" of sex. Sure sounds equal...


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