Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

Aiming to help children and young people to understand, question and challenge gender inequality and violence.


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Teacher Blog: Rebecca

How do we teach students about pornography?

In my school, Year 11 start the year with a PSHE topic about sex and relationships. They have already learned a lot of factual information earlier down in the school, topics like puberty, contraception, Sexually Transmitted Infections, pregnancy and parenthood, so we focus on relationship skills, consent and how the media can affect people’s expectations of a sexual relationship. We also talk to students about the impact of pornography.

Why? I can imagine a lot of teachers would be quite daunted by the idea of teaching young people about such a sensitive topic and unsure of how to go about it. But the NSPCC Sexting report of 2012 shows that accessing sexually explicit material is a real concern for young people. In a 2007 national survey 61% of young women said that they wanted teachers to raise the issue of pornography in lessons, 33% of young men said that they thought pornography was useful for learning about sex and over 90% of young men over 18 have viewed hardcore pornography. (Source- Sheffield Centre for Sexual Health training materials). I wanted to create a space where young people felt safe to ask questions about pornography and to discuss their views on it. As a school we wanted to send a message about the impact viewing pornography could have on a person’s expectations of sex.

I put together an idea of a lesson plan and got approval from the head and the school’s governors. Initially they were quite concerned about the subject matter but were quickly reassured once they saw the ideas for the lesson and understood the angle we were taking. We also sent letters home to parents to inform them that we would be covering issues such as consent, sexting and pornography. This is now the second year of running the lessons and we have had no parental concerns. The students have reported that after receiving the letter some parents have checked what their children are accessing via phones and computers, though!

The lesson starts with asking students to define what is meant by ‘porn’ and a discussion about the purpose of porn and how it is defined in law. We then complete a true or false quiz about facts and figures associated with the porn industry and the legal issues around porn. The main part of the lesson is a continuum style discussion about their own views on porn and this is revisited after watching a clip from a Channel 4 documentary where an ex-porn actor describes her experiences of working in the industry. The lesson ends with students self-assessing what they have learned and if their views have changed as a result of the lesson.

The main things that strike me are how mature students are with this lesson, after a few questions about whether or not I am going to show them a video of porn (!) they are inevitably really serious and thoughtful. They are shocked about the rise in plastic surgery for penis enlargements, breast augmentation and vaginoplasty as a result of unrealistic expectations as more young people watch porn. In most of my classes it has been a student who has pointed out that porn is often very derogatory towards women and the language used is often very negative.

I would thoroughly recommend considering developing a set of lessons around these bigger issues to do with relationships for older students (or use my resources!) in your own school and I hope sharing my experiences of how to go about this are helpful.

 

 


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Teacher Blog: Carol

Talking group – secondary

Session Two – Consent

Carol – The government have recently passed a bill to make consent a compulsory subject for 11yr olds.   Lets think about this. What does it mean not to have consent?

J (boy) – It’s rape.

Carol – Remember to talk to the whole group not just me. Is it a good thing to have lessons for eleven year olds on sexual consent?

J (boy) – No some families might think it is not a good idea.

Carol – Are parents concerned?

I (boy) – My Mum would be concerned. They are only doing it because there have been quite a few cases.

Carol – How much rape do you think there is?

J (boy) – Quite a lot.

A1 (boy) – There was the thing in Rotherham with the taxis, lots of under-cover people, Jimmy Saville – no one expected that.

Carol – Is it just about pinning someone down?

S (girl) – We did it in Crime Awareness. It’s rape if you are under thirteen, if there’s peer pressure and…something else.

Carol: If you are drunk.

L (girl) – It’s good we learn about it. It might happen in later life and we might not have the confidence if we don’t know.

Carmel: Does learning make you safer?

Carol asks S not to be on her phone but she is looking up rape statistics.

S (girl) – 85,000 rapes in England and Wales last year and 400,000 sexual assaults.

Carol – Those are very large numbers and they are only the ones who went to the police. Are there any reasons why people might not go to the Police?

J (boy) – You might be frightened or ashamed.

Carol – Or very angry.

(Got distracted by taking about school dinners cat-food, dog-food)

A2 (boy) – I was playing a game and I pressed the chat button and the next day someone was chatting to me and said, “Do you want to have sex?” and I said “No” and she said “Do you want the best girlfriend ever?” I said I was a girl and turned the chat off.

Carol – Do animals give consent to sex? Described guinea pigs mating – talked about bringing baby guinea pigs into school for them to see.

The group got excited and were pressuring Carol to bring them in soon.

Carol – I will not be pressurised into bring them in!

Some laughter – they saw the link

A1 (boy) – Is bringing animals into school allowed?

Carol – It is for me. Do you think rape is used as a slang word now? On Grand Theft Auto there are rape rewards where you get to rape a prostitute.

D (boy) – They do it to advertise the game more.

S (boy) – Like Pretty Woman.

Carol – Who would that appeal to?

? – People who watch porn.

A1 (boy) – Is it women rape men or men rape women?

Carol – Mostly men play. CBBC are bringing out a drama based on GTA for Cbeebies.

Shock from the whole group

J (boy) – They will learn to play it.

L (girl) – It’s frightening, rape, heist, sexual violence, robbery.

A2 (boy) – I’ve got GTA on my ipad and I play it, you don’t have to be 18.

D (boy) – On the shop it asks you for your age but not when you play it.

H (girl) – I have to ask my parents to download for me when I want things because it is on their account.

S (girl) – The law isn’t working it’s rubbish, it’s just on who buys it not on who plays it and there are no restrictions on watching.

Carol – Why should there be restrictions?

D (boy) – It’s a bad influence. Some children might not be very mature.

Carol -There was a case recently of a ten year old boy who watched something and then he sexually abused his seven year old sister.

H (girl) – There are age restrictions but you can put in a different date of birth.

S (girl) – My cousin’s tablet wouldn’t let us watch a video. We only wanted to listen to a song but it came with a rude video.

A1 (boy) – When something has age restrictions it makes you want to watch it more.

Carol – So it makes it worse?

S (girl) – But I don’t want to watch a PG or a 12. 15 and 18 are good films. I like horror movies.

I (boy) – It’s like smoking, young people do it because it makes them look cool.

Carol – When someone tries to control you it makes them rebel. –e.g. of own children.

L (girl) – I’m not allowed to watch 16+ programmes. My parents would have to watch it.

? – A ten year old boy would want to watch it then tell his friends, it’s being cool.

A2 (boy) – I had a friend who kept talking about women. I told him to stop. I died in the game I was playing so I had a rest. He was on my ipad watching women having sex. I said this is not for your age and he gave it to me. Then my parents came in and I was holding the ipad and it was still playing. – long explanation of parent’s reaction.

Carol – When you have seen images like that they can stay with you for a long time.

I (boy) – What if you saw your children watching porn?

Carol – They wouldn’t choose to do that they are only 6 and 7 so it would be traumatic for them. They know about sex .

Carmel – My boys are 18 and 21 and I would be worried about it.

S (girl) – Models in shops always show perfect girls and men see them and think all girls are like that.

H (girl) – On YouTube there was a film about people who were dared to look at porn on a site and you couldn’t see what they were looking at but you could see that they were really shocked.

L (girl) – Can looking at porn cause post traumatic stress?

Carmel – You can get flashbacks from porn, just the same as with post traumatic, the images can seem to always be there and they won’t go away.

A2 (boy) – In Iran there were no rules, my friend watched a CD with really horrible sex it was so bad I broke it.

A1 (boy) – Can you get scarred if you see someone naked?

Carol – Well it could have the same effect that you can’t get the image out of your head if it had really shocked you.

Time ran out the group disbanded without any time to sum up.

 

Name Questions Comments Total
A1 (boy) 3 2 5
A2(boy) 4 4
Carmel 1 2 3
Carol 11 11 22
D (boy) 3 3
H (boy) 3 3
I (boy) 1 2 3
J (boy) 5 5
L (girl) 1 3 4
P (girl)
S (girl) 1 1
S (girl) 6 6
59


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Violence and Prejudice Activities

Sue Lyle has given us permission to publish an article, ‘Violence and Prejudice‘, that she wrote for Creative Teaching and Learning (vol 5.1) which describes a number of activities using images which can be used to discuss some of the issues facing young people (particularly young women) today:

  • ‘girlification’
  • sexualisation and pornographication of society
  • pressure to achieve highly
  • class differences
  • search for the perfect body
  • dieting
  • self-harm
  • violence against girls and women
  • economic realities for women

As Sue says in the article ‘The activities are intended to promote discussion of values and promote principles of respect between young people and active participation’ and some teachers she worked with suggested that they could be used with pupils as young as nine.

Please let us know if you use or adapt any of the activities and how they went.


Leave a comment

Violence and Prejudice Activities

Sue Lyle has given us permission to publish an article, ‘Violence and Prejudice‘, that she wrote for Creative Teaching and Learning (vol 5.1) which describes a number of activities using images which can be used to discuss some of the issues facing young people (particularly young women) today:

  • ‘girlification’
  • sexualisation and pornographication of society
  • pressure to achieve highly
  • class differences
  • search for the perfect body
  • dieting
  • self-harm
  • violence against girls and women
  • economic realities for women

As Sue says in the article ‘The activities are intended to promote discussion of values and promote principles of respect between young people and active participation’ and some teachers she worked with suggested that they could be used with pupils as young as nine.

Please let us know if you use or adapt any of the activities and how they went.