Katie Larsen, Assistant Scene Editor
April 4, 2012
In honor of Women’s History Month, there will be events throughout spring quarter focusing on sex education and media literacy.
To kick off the activities, a display in SURC 137 named “History of Sex Education” offers students the opportunity to learn about the subject through visuals, short video clips, posted quizzes and literature about legislation regarding reproductive health. Viewing is available until Friday, April 6.
Some information displayed was gathered and assembled by Elsa Larson, English language arts education specialization. Larson is a post-baccalaureate student who volunteered her time for the exhibit. She was responsible for obtaining the movie, “The Education of Shelby Knox” and exhibiting different forms of birth control in a glass case.
“I was really surprised to see the answers I found,” Larson said. “Comprehensive sex education has been proven to be the most effective in teaching.”
Larson researched information from the Guttmacher Institute about different state laws regarding sex education.
“Only 12 states talk about sexual orientation and three talk negatively,” Larson said.
Bonnie MacDonald and Laura Yolo are both women’s studies interns who helped gather all the varied information for the displays.
“I think it will be a fun exhibit to look at-it’s not just a lot of facts,” Yolo said.
She is an English major with a specialization in literature and a women’s studies minor. Yolo has five kids and three grand kids.
“The biggest impact was learning so much I didn’t know,” she said. Yolo said schools are teaching “more health and hygiene in this day and age.”
Lisa Fields, senior public health, helped organize the information for the display. Fields works at the Center for Diversity and Social Justice and interned there for her major.
“Sex in general is still pretty taboo in our culture,” she said. “I think it is really interesting to see how things have changed, how it was portrayed back then and now.”
The theme of the celebration stemmed from Katrina Whitney, senior director of the Center for Diversity and Social Justice, and Cindy Coe, director of Women’s and Gender Studies .
“What’s so wonderful about this display is there is an opportunity to really showcase generationally ... what’s really occurred over the years in regards to sex education,” Whitney said.
The events are not just targeted at women. According to Whitney, there will be talks about sex education in regards to the queer community, college students and eugenics.
“We want to make sure we’re balanced with giving all, full perspectives, a comprehensive view of it, and it’s not just one-sided,” she said.
On April 5 at 5 p.m. in the SURC Theatre, Pepper Schwartz, a sociology professor from the University of Washington, will be giving a speech titled “Why are we so afraid of sex?” This event will be free to the public.
“She’s dynamic; she’s wonderful to listen to,” Whitney said. “I think people will enjoy it. She is going to spark discussion. She is very engaging.”
According to her website, , Schwartz is a nationally renowned relationship expert who has appeared on numerous talk shows and has been published in more than 40 scholarly journals and wrote 10 books. She even created the personality profiler on PerfectMatch.com.
“Let’s talk about what this issue means to us and where is our place in this and how do we feel and how do we want to feel,” Whitney said.