It may seem like a bizarrely obvious statement, but somewhere between earning women the right to vote, pushing through legislation opening up universities to female students and advancing the Civil Rights movement (to name just a very few examples), feminism has indeed made life much, much better (and as a result, happier) — not just for American women, but American men as well. Far removed from the stereotypical and inaccurate image of the bra-burning activist, feminists have proven time and time again that women’s rights are human rights. And as the Declaration of Independence so elegantly points out, the ideals of life and liberty are intrinsically tied up with that third pursuit: happiness.
Of course children talk about sex. Tweens talk about sex. Teenagers talk about sex. EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT SEX.
Exactly what – and who – is a tween? Tweens range in age from 10 to 12 years or 8 to 14 years, depending on whom you ask. The U.S. Census estimates that there are more than 20 million tweens in the country; just under half are girls, and they are the primary focus of this story. The nickname “tween” references a vaguely defined life stage (somewhere between childhood and adolescence) but it also delineates a dynamic marketing niche. At the same time, the word tween has become so common that it allows many adults to distance themselves from this radical transformation in the sexualization of young girls, as if it were just another life stage.
Why do we keep thinking this isn’t happening? Why do adults keep fooling themselves into believing that children don’t want to know about sex? Why do adults keep thinking that if children know about sex, they will have it immediately after talking about it?
How many times do we need to remind you that children talk about sex, with their friends, ALL THE TIME? This is where they’re getting their information from, and if you can remember, it wasn’t great info. In fact, it’s really bad information.
They live in a world, especially girls, where if they look older, they’re treated as though they were older. I remember looking 24 years old when I turned 14, and I can tell you right now, the world treated me as though I were 24. Thankfully, I fought to stay my age, but that isn’t always the case.
“Tween girls are pseudo-mature. They have the lingo but they don’t have the life experience or the emotional maturity to really understand it and manage it. For some kids, that’s scary, though they probably wouldn’t admit it. For other kids, it’s provocative and titillating and something they can’t manage. Kids are being asked to respond to and exist in a world that is just too grown-up for them.”
Be in charge. Tell your children about sex, all of it, and tell them when and how they should wait, how they should say no AND how they should say yes. These conversations, I repeat, ARE ALREADY HAPPENING.
Don’t kid yourself, your child will one day have sex. Make sure it’s a healthy and happy experience when they do, because you taught them what a healthy and happy sexual experience should look like.
One of the reasons I think that the Our Whol Lives curriculum for 10-12 year olds needs to be expanded. This is such an important age for sex education.
I feel like this should be pretty self-explanatory. I’m drawing these for a zine at my college (and they have a tumblr! lips-appstate.tumblr.com!), but submissions are due today, so they’re a bit more rushed than I would have liked.
I tried to be inclusive and not-shitty. Hopefully I succeeded at that. There are more of these I’d like to draw, but like I said, time limitations :P
We wrote this haiku about getting tested for STDs. If you’re feeling inspired, submit a poem* to us about getting yourself tested. Limericks, 6 word stories, free verse, sonnets — whatever. Rhymers and non-rhymers alike, send us your submission and we’ll post the best ones.
*if you’re submitting off anon, we will link back to your blog unless you specify not to.