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I'm a bit uncomfortable with what I'm supposed to be teaching in PSHE...

(54 Posts)
TheFallenMadonna Mon 28-Sep-09 19:44:15

I'm doing personal safety with year 9. This week, according to the scheme of work, I'm supposed to adress the issues of underage sex and underage drinking. Which is all fine. But I'm also supposed to cover the issue of how girls, and it is girls, dress. The resources have a picutre of a girl dressed in 'suggestive' clothing and I'm supposed to ask if this is an appropriate way for her to dress. What signals might she be sending out?

Perhaps it's the thread on the 'how to avoid sexual assault' email, but I'm feeling all cross about this.

I know it's about reducing risk for our students. I think that is a good thing. But I'm doubting the delivery suggested. I'm not sure I want to be talking about the signals a girl sends out in relation to sexual assault. I'm not sure that is sending out the right messages.

Aaaargh. Am I overthinking?

cocolepew Mon 28-Sep-09 19:47:31

No that's not on. Can you change it?

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 19:48:31

you're overthinking I think

there are ways to hold yourself in public that make you less likely to be a victim

avoiding walking alone in the dark is sensible

walking in the light sensible

walking confidently and quickly sensible

not dressing like a hooker sensible

a sexual dress makes people think of you sexually as a young girl. And you know that so why is it wrong to open it for discussion?

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 19:50:50

there is a difference between theory and practically

you know that a young girl dressed in skimpy provocative clothes (which they do wear) is viewed sexually by onlookers

you know that you wouldn't want your daughter going out alone like that

it does not excuse any attacker - buit there are attackers out there and you need to teach young girls to protect themeselves to the best of their ability

of course the way the victim dresses should not be held up in court nor have any legal standing but you're trying to stop it getting to that poitn

cocolepew Mon 28-Sep-09 19:50:52

No the boys should be told no matter what a girl is wearing they don't have the right to touch her without her consent.

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 19:51:37

yes that's true too

Bellsa Mon 28-Sep-09 19:52:21

I think you're right. It sounds like the way you are being asked to present the subject is again putting the emphasis on girls/women not to dress in a certain way, because they'll be "inviting" sexual assault. Err, no.

RealityIsAnAuntie Mon 28-Sep-09 19:53:15

Message withdrawn

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 19:53:58

draw a diagram

the world as it is on one side

the world as we would like it to be on the other

where do they intersect?

within that intersection is it safe for a young girl to walk around alone at night?

DorotheaPlenticlew Mon 28-Sep-09 19:55:00

what Reality said.

Heated Mon 28-Sep-09 19:56:26

All I can say is teaching it to 16 yr olds, that the key message is it shouldn't make a blind bit of difference how a girl dresses but that there are some stupid men out there who think it does. Girls need to know this - and discuss what this means for them. And that boys are not immune from sexual assault either - but we don't say the were dressed provocatively & asking for it. It usually makes for good and stimulating discussion. Although this is with teenagers a bit older so how approp at 14, I not sure.

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 19:56:39

also agree with Reality

but I would be incensed if in a lesson on personal safety they didn't teach my DD to walk tall and stay safe and my DS to walk tall and stay safe too

it is different for both sexes

wishing it to be the same is not real life

gothicmama Mon 28-Sep-09 19:57:10

personal safety is being aware of how what youwear could be interpruted by others it does not mean you are asking for it as a girl nor does it give anyone the right to touch you make comments etc. you are there to help students of both sexes reduce the risk therefore you need to point out the above to both boys and girls (reduce teh risk of boys putting themselves at risk of accusations being made against them of sexism or worse and helpinggirls learn about the perception of others and the risk they could put themselves in equally valid would be mention thta boys can put themselves at risk to by what they wear of teh perception sof others for example someone in a hoody trying to help someone could be perceived as attacking them by a casual onlooker

DorotheaPlenticlew Mon 28-Sep-09 20:02:15

OK, there may be different issues that hit home for boys v girls; but the OP is being asked to frame the discussion in a way that seems to suggest, once abloodygain, that girls who dress a certain way are at least partly responsible if something happens to them.

I realize it won't be the intention of whoever designed this lesson to really, directly say this. However, the reality is sadly that lots of people think this way (remember that survey that made all the mainstream news a couple years back, saying a majority of folk think that women who drink are at fault if raped), therefore the lesson needs to be really clear that it is NOT TRUE.

hobbgoblin Mon 28-Sep-09 20:03:27

can you turn it into a discussion starting with pics of provocatively dressed young woman alongside pics of girl dressed more, er, demurely then give responses, etc. then talk about why the responses are as they are...predicting here that they will follow the short skirt, low top equals up for it stance.

this would offer opportunity to challenge male biased misconceptions re. women's rights both to dress as they wish and also to refuse sexual attention and uphold the right to say no whilst also addressing the issue of the realistic wisdom of dressing in certain ways until such time as culture and its male bias changes.

soz for shitola post but am multi tasking <love that phrase>

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Sep-09 20:05:06

I agree with franklymydear.

As part of a bigger picture, and as one small part of a lot of things covered in how to keep safe, there is no harm in mentioning to girls that they should be aware that how they dress can send out signals to people.

Don't overthink it, unless that is the only thing you are going to teach. But as part of a wider topic, there is nothing wrong with mentioning it.

ElaineFiggis Mon 28-Sep-09 20:08:33

Horrendous. No teenaged girl should be told that if she dresses in a certain way she is partially responsible if she is sexually assaulted - which is what this proposed lesson WILL be telling them

It's an insult and an outrage to all women and women teaching in schools have a responsibility to challenge it and if necessary refuse to teach it!

It's also an insult and an outrage to men. The implication is that men are amoral predatory abusers who cannot control themselves and will respond like animals to the sight of a woman - or a female child - in "provocative" clothing hmm

DorotheaPlenticlew Mon 28-Sep-09 20:10:55

But why should she not then teach that the way anyone dresses can send out signals to people? Why just girls in the context of provocative clothing? That is what makes it seem wrong.

As gothicmama pointed out, the hoody stereotype can lead to problems for boys; or even goth style & other teenage tribal stuff can lead to attacks. Like that young girl who was killed by other young kids in the park - they attacked her boyfriend first (dressed as goth) and then turned on her when she helped him. Was all over national papers, seemingly entirely sparked off by how the victims were dressed. anyone else remember? Was really shocking.

I just think reducing it down to girls only, specifically in short skirts and the signals THEY send out puts the focus unfairly on them and sends (hoever unintentionally) a worrying message that "here's one instance of personal safety where the victim IS partly responsible".

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 20:11:05

I stop DD1 leaving the house in "provocative clothing"

why do you think I do that?

PinkTulips Mon 28-Sep-09 20:11:59

I'd be very worried about that lesson

Both because i think telling a room of arrogant, hormonally driven, loud mouthed 14 year old boys that a girl who dresses suggestively is 'asking for it' and because i think if a predator is going to attack he'll do it however the girl is dressed, blaming a girl for what she wears is nonsense.... in that case i guess countries with very modestly dressed women have lower sexual assault rates? hmm Somehow i doubt it

It's completely the wrong message to send to both sexes and i certainly wouldn't do it.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 28-Sep-09 20:12:01

Thank you all. It needs careful handling, and I think I can manage the discussion so it doesn't give the wrong message. But am so angry at the scheme of work, written by a womnam BTW. It is shockingly phrased.

Are 'suggestively' dressed girls more likely to be assaulted? Is there any evidence? Or is it one of those things that we think must be therefore are IYSWIM.

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 20:13:02

boys are different from girls

doyou really think boys can dress provocatively in the same way as girls can?

girls get into sexualised clothing by peer pressure / magazines / society - it is a sign of adulthood hitching your skirt up (we all did it)

my 12 year old is already doing ti

SueW Mon 28-Sep-09 20:13:03

Can you use a pic of a boy/young man in skimpy shorts/tight top too?

franklymydear Mon 28-Sep-09 20:16:51

it's not the same is it? - boy in skimpy clothes against girl in skimpy clothes

more accurate to have a hoody boy than a sexually provocative boy

now think why we think that

OmicronPersei8 Mon 28-Sep-09 20:17:11

I like the sound of what hobgoblin said, but have no idea haw that would actually work in a year 9 class.

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