It is always great to have a whole day to work with students, so I was really excited to go up to York and to the Archbishop’s Holgate School. We started with a whole year assembly on gender and gender identity. We talked about sexuality and gender stereotypes using Disney as a prime example. For too long Disney films have produced one dimensional women who rely on men to save them and men whose job it is to go around beating baddies, it was great to be able answer questions about what the difference is between transexuals and transvestites (thanks to Eddie Izzard for support!)
I had had the next two sessions with a group of female students who were really engaged. We looked at relationship progression – from holding hands to having a baby and everything in between. The students got to choose their own relationship progression and discuss it with friends. We looked at consent and role-played saying no and then the students thought up some great ways to say no pressure from other people. Finally we looked at women in the media – looking at the male gaze and then using that to think about when people post pictures of themselves online.
With the lads we looked at sexual name calling – what do words like ‘slut’ and ‘bitch’ really mean? Why do we use them? We examined the issue of sexual bullying and harassment in the workplace and the consequences it has to your career. We talked about consent like with the female students and then finally examined porn and the impact it might have on how we feel about our bodies and our sex lives.
It was great to have good long sessions with these young people as it can take a long time to get them to open up around sensitive issues. Thanks for having me Holgate!