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Saturday 24 March 2007

Channel Four's interactive deadend

Watched Davina McCall's piercing look at the UK's abysmal Sex Education in schools on Friday. (Apparently the right-wing press had been creating "Outrage as Ch4 show gives condom lesson to youngsters." all the last week, passed me by ... )

It particularly seemed aimed at parents and involved parents. It was quite a grown up show, though if I see another 'mother' balking at even the bare acknowledgement that some people are gay ... Davina did at the one mention in the whole hour, literally six year olds (in sensible Holland) being asked 'and what do you call a man who loves another man?' in a lesson about LOVE... she reminded me of mothers interviewed in leafy Richmond who didn't want their kids readng
'Spacegirl Pukes' - an adventure for young astronauts

When nausea grips intrepid Spacegirl on the day of a mission to the stars she is lucky to have two mummies to help her out, but soon - yes - everyone is going "Bleurgh!"
Sounds offensive doesn't it?

Anyway, the final shot was her yelling into the camera right at us 'AND WHAT DO YOU THINK?' Now you'd expect something to flash up afterwards, however given the bad press around pound-a-minute phone lines, it'd be the website?

Wrong. There was no specific link to anywhere to 'TELL US WHAT YOU THINK'. On Channel Four's website, below the big picture advertising the teen sex-fest Skins, was the link through to 'Lets Talk Sex' and here we have the options under the heading DO SOMETHING

  • The Sex Test
    the same 200 questions Davina did (did you know sperm hangs around in the vagina for five days? or that sperm travels at 28 mph?). I got 30/45 when you're told by them if you get less than 35 you're ignorant. But there were two duplicates and some of the questions don't exactly seem like one's vital for anyone to know about.
  • Have your say
    "The debate on this site is now closed"
    "Why not write to your MP and tell them your views."
  • Polls
    Tell us what you think by voting in our polls.
    Should sex education be compulsory in the UK for all pupils regardless of their parents' wishes? Vote now.
    At what age should sex and relationships education begin at school? Vote now.
There is a 'Resource aimed at all those involved in delivering sex education (Word 185Kb)' and many links but it's not exactly Jamie Oliver, is it? It all ends up at 'Write to your MP'? If I was a parent wanting a lead as to how to get things changed I'd feel a little lost after Davina's in-my-face exhortation?


  1. "if I see another 'mother' balking at even the bare acknowledgement that some people are gay…"

    What? Some people are gay?.

    Joking aside, I had the opposite problem in my university days, when my mother asked about girlfriends after my first term and - after a vain attempt to get her to mind her own business - told her I'd not had any.

    …which then launched a twenty minute discussion, during which she asked me if I was gay (no), whether if I was gay I felt I would be able to tell her (yes), was I sure I would be able to tell her if I was gay (yes), and was I gay then (no). And repeat.

    It left me feeling that I'd somehow disappointed her by being deliberately straight so she didn't have the opportunity to be really right-on and supportive. Sheesh. Sometimes you just can't win...

    [although a friend came out to their parents that they were gay, and their dad said "you're gay? Thank goodness for that... I thought you'd been going to tell me you wanted to support Sunderland"]

  2. yo jack! very funny, and true!

    I was far too bolshie to tolerate the same girlfriend search by my rellies.

    I think the point with a lot of the practical reality about talking 'straight' about sex, every variety. is it's *not just about* gay people! never was, really.

    i worked in sexual health years ago and learnt a lot about the sexual variety of human beings!

    and I find the whole thing about gay somehow = trendy, right-on etc. just tiresome ... bit like being a performing seal.

    oink! flap, flap ...