Balloons!

Why are we so messed up when it comes to sex? You can’t get a straight answer out of anyone. A teen in Florida was suspended for wearing a condom-covered costume on Halloween. She was trying to make a statement about safe sex.

What I don’t understand is why we can’t just go one way or the other on sex. There are two ways to go: 1) Either safe sex is important and we’re going to talk about it and be open and make sure teens who want to have sex can get condoms; or 2) Talking so openly about sex is potentially offensive and encourages at-risk behavior so we’re not going to talk about it, period.

But instead we just get jerked around. People flip out when you pass out condoms, yet that’s what you do in sex ed. Is consistency too much to ask?

5 thoughts on “Balloons!”

  1. Students wearing either a condom costume (happened at my high school- no one was surprised at his suspension), or even condoms on their costumes are either morons for not knowing there will be consequences, or are blatantly making a statement or thumbing their nose at someone. As is the case with that one example: calling down a student for doing this is not being inconsistent, it’s just the way things work.

    Now, I do agree that people are all over on the whole sex thing, and we all need to get our act together. I just don’t think this student act of condom protest is an example of this.

  2. What do you mean this example is just the way things work? How is it not inconsistent?

    If my class is learning about hunger and trying to raise awareness of the issue, and I decide to cover my clothing in food packages for Halloween to make my fellow students more aware of the issue, that’s being consistent. If my teacher were then to suspend me for what we’re doing in class, that’s inconsistent.

    My beef is that we preach condem use in sex ed (some sex ed classes anyway), but we can’t actually talk about or promote condom use. That’s inconsistent.

  3. I think the issue here is tact. Students need to learn that there are certain things that are not appropriate in certain circumstances. If a student wants to wear a condom suit, fine, but I don’t think a public school is the best place for it. Can a student dress like a hooker to raise awareness about teens getting pulled into prostitution? Or could a student dress like a breast to raise awareness of breast implants gone wrong? While it is fine to have something to say, students (and all people for that matter) need to learn that different things need to be expressed in different ways because our culture does not feel equally open about different issues.

  4. Teen sexuality is an issue that American (parental) society as a whole seems to be deeply confused and divided about. In an historico-biological sense, sexuality does develop in the teen years, but our social mores suggest–I think rightly–that sex ought to be delayed until an individual matures in other important areas. But American adults have difficulty talking to teens about sex–due in part I suspect to social taboos around “sex and minors.” It becomes a forbidden zone.

    At the same time, as reasoning adults they can draw the statistical correlations from teen pregancy and STDs. Namely that teens are doing it. But this deep uncertainty of how to address the issue, at times even questions of whether the issue can be discussed, leads most people develop a deeply ambivalent attitude. The general attitude becomes “well, I’d rather they didn’t, but I can’t forcibly stop them if they decide to, so I’ll throw them some condoms, etc. and then they’ll be safe at least.”

    All of which is leading to my main point which is that it seems that based on the AP story it seems that the school administration reacted poorly to the situation. From the sounds of it, the girl had valid motives however misguided her approach may have been. They could have used it as an opportunity to engage her and model positive ways in which she could educate her peers about sexual health and safety.

    Unfortunately the charged air surrounding the issues of teen sexuality appears to have led to a less mature response that I’d like to see in our nation’s schools.

  5. While Jeremy makes good points, Steph basically said what I was trying to say, only clearer (way to go!). So, more awareness is needed, but grandstanding in a public school on Halloween isn’t exactly the way to go about it.

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