Posted by: Mr E | 20 July 2008

Is pink emasculating our schools?

Recently, I’ve read quite a few bloggers commenting on the colour pink and it’s effect on the perceptions of sexuality.

RantingTeacher suggests that pink is actually becoming a hue for the elite; those lads oh so comfortable with their sexuality (at 13 and 14, no less) that they actively choose pink paper, pink pens, and pink clothing to prove as such. In my experience I haven’t come across such a phenomenon, but I have noticed a greater acceptance of the colour pink in recent years. Gone are the days when retaining masculinity meant calling your pink shit ‘salmon’, ‘magenta’, or ‘fushia’; it’s now fully acceptable to go to work looking like a flamingo! Unless of course your name is studentteacher83. Part of this is to do with the rise of the so-called ‘metrosexual man’: he who takes care in grooming his looks, which may involve exfoliation, skinny jeans and even straighteners.

I will now confess to owning skinny jeans, though in fairness my legs are so skinny that they fit me as if they were regular-legged. I may have also used straighteners once… or twice… I am not often very vocal about this practice, as contrary to what the name might suggest their use comes with the heavy implication that you are “a gay”, as the kids might say. Then again, my sexuality often comes under questioning whether I disclose my hair-straightening antics or not, so maybe it’s not something I should worry about. I will make one thing clear though: I have never exfoliated. Or moisturised. I’m a firm believer in soap!

This does raise the the point that MissB explores very thoroughly: kids (and I would argue adults) are given very mixed messages about what they need to be. In the example given above, it is definitely confusing to think that looking after your appearance is ‘cool’, yet openly admitting to using straighteners is a step too far. The same goes for our teenage girls: being sexed-up by wearing a load of slap is all the rage, but yet sex education is dealt with in such a coy way that they don’t even know what being ‘sexed-up’ is. Is it any wonder that teenage pregnancies are prolific as they are? And not only do we seem to be averse to preventing them, but we shun those who are mothers before their time.

As MissB suggests (please do read her post – it’s truly very good) we need to take a more open and honest approach with sex. No more sneaky morning after pills in the GP’s surgery; no more trips to the family planning clinic without Mum or Dad; and no more learning about the birds and the bees in a poorly-lit street. Teenagers need to learn about sex properly at home and at school, with their parents and their teachers, and be given the knowledge to make properly-informed decisions about what to do with their bodies. It’s shocking to discover that so few teens seem to know what chlamydia is (and does) beyond being “One of those funny STD thingies”.

I think what I’ve convinced myself here is that pink isn’t a problem. I just think we need to get our teens out of s*** creek, regardless of what colour the paddle is.


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