Grab a cup of tea or maybe a fine whisky and curl up with this awesome read, "The Weird, Fascinating History of America's Sex Ed Films." A collaborative project from the likes of Bitch Media, Feministing, and Making Contact, the piece provides a very insightful look into how the political, moral, and pop culture trends throughout the 20th and 21st century have affected the way students consume information about sex and sexual health.

Check it out:

No film mentioned how the clitoris relates to female pleasure until the 1980s. Films have been far more likely to discuss male masturbation than to consider that women masturbate and have sexual needs. While educational films that discuss hormone changes in boys often made reference to "nocturnal emissions," the exploration of girls' hormone changes focus on menstruation and the emergence of child-bearing hips, rather than on desire.

In addition to erasing female sexual agency, sex-ed films for a long time represented only white children. In early films, people of color were used as "others" whom the presumed white audience would observe. In that significant first film, Human Growth, the main, white teens' curiosity about how humans develop is piqued by looking at a picture book that featured Native American children wearing loincloths. African-Americans are almost entirely absent from sex-ed films shown in schools until the 1960s, when more films begin including some African-American, Asian, and Latino characters.


Image via Getty.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter