Okay, so it's really cliche to sit here and moan about what we learnt in school " Why do I learn about algebra and trigonometry, when I am never going to need it in life" " but they should teach us about tax and mortgages etc." which if you have this conversation with any adult they will probably reply " well some people might need it if they want to become an engineer, therefore, so do you! "
Yeah, that's a good point but I honestly think it's more than that! In life, you have to do things that you don't want to do and in way secondary schools teaches you that! The way in which you react to it- is up to you! Anyway, that's beside the point! Although I think learning about tax, money and conventional life skills are important there are many more important issues which need to be discussed in schools!
It's 2016 and yet there is still such a massive stigma around some of the issues I am going to mention in this post! It doesn't have to be that way! We can raise more culturally aware children if we start talking instead of brushing all these issues under the Carpet all the time!
Warning! This post contains a lot of documentary references because apparently watching documentaries is all I seem to do in my spare time!!
#1 MENTAL HEALTH
I can confidently sit here and say that I bet every single one of you reading this can think of someone you know that has suffered or is suffering from a mental health problem. Whether that be yourself, a close friend, a family member or even a celebrity.
Mental health thankfully is something that is talked about a lot more than what it was due to the work of charities and celebrity endorses, however, this isn't to say that a stigma isn't still there! And nowhere is this more present than within schools! I was watching the BBC documentary ' the not so secret life of a manic depressive' which followed Steven fry and other suffers from bipolar-related disorders. One particular young man was filmed during an episode of a manic stage of his bipolar disorder on a tube in London. This video was then uploaded to the Internet in which it was then flooded Nasty, rude and disrespectful comments.
As part of his campaign, the man showed this clip to a group of school children. Nearly all of the children are shown to be laughing and finding the clip hysterically funny and then he reveals what they had just watched to actually be someone's low in a mental health disorder! Part of me wants to scream and shout at these kids! Telling them they are all narrow-minded and disrespectful but can you really blame them if they have had no prior education! If children were made a lot more aware of mental health and the different ways in which it can manifest themselves, would they have reacted very differently?
To me, this just reiterates the importance of educating young people about mental health from an early age! What it is, the symptoms, how to respond to someone with a mental health condition and the support out there that is available to them, if they feel like they ever need it!
#2 CONSENT AND RAPE
Another touchy topic that is never discussed within sex education classes yet is probably the first most important element of sex!
Again I watched a documentary, last summer called 'Sex in class' ( Thank you channel 4) where a sexologist wanted to introduce sexology into the GCSE Syllabus with an exam at the end! A group of 15 and 16-year-olds volunteered for the classes and were taught all about things from sex pleasure to consent.
And it was their comments on consent that were most alarming for me! When they discussed consent the general response from the males was ' if she agreed to do it once and she automatically agrees to do it every other time' and ' if she said yes, that's an automatic YES to everything' NO! No, it's not!
Again, like the mental health situation! Your natural response is to slate these teenagers! Tell them how narrow-minded, disrespectful and arrogant they are! But in fact, okay yes, having respect for another human being is innate and shouldn't need to be taught, without any education into what consent sounds like and all the elements surrounding consent- are they really to blame?!
I mean it's safe to say I don't think these teenagers would laugh at rape ( well let's hope not) but if a girl refused to ' swallow out of respect' would that be followed with the same level of disgust as for rape- probably not!
Like mental health, I bet all of you sitting here can think of someone in the world, famous or not that has been affected by cancer! You only have to look at all the celebrities we have lost this year so far to realise how much of an issue this actually is!
Young people need to be taught about the signs to look out for that could indicate cancer! It's easy to shy away from going to your doctors because you ' Googled it and it's probably nothing' but actually although I don't think we should be banging on the doctors door every 20 seconds, encouraging girls to check their breasts and everyone to look out for changes in moles can surely only be beneficial for young people's health and wellbeing!
But not just the symptoms to look out for but teaching children about the support that's out there, the research that's been done to help and the ways you can help reduce your risk of getting some forms of cancer!
We fear the word so much through a lack of communication and talking about it! I am fully aware it's a sensitive topic but if young people are educated sooner there may be a day when we actually beat cancer all together!
#4 INFLUENCE OF PORNOGRAPHY
Okay, back to my Channel 4 'Sex in class' documentary! In the same show the class were shown pictures of female pubic hair and the males were asked to pick which ones they liked the best. The males picked the images with no hair. The teacher replied but what if your girlfriend decided that she shouldn't keep shaving because it was too itchy and she kept getting a rash! The young male replied " I would leave her the next day"
Thankfully, this comment was met with a round of disgust from within the class. Now I am not one to judge so I am not going to jump to conclusions about what he actually thought as it is probably likely he was showing off to the class and teacher but at the end of the day, the question is where did he get these opinions.
At the start of the show, the males admitted to watching porn. I think we have the culprit! The influence of porn needs to be discussed in sex education classes in school, with both males and females!
Young people need to be aware that what they see in these videos is far from the truth! They shouldn't let these unrealistic images distort their opinions. They are not the truth but again can students be blamed if they have had no prior education! Therefore, I think more needs to be done to raise awareness of this very important topic!
#5 FEMINISM AND EQUAL RIGHTS
I am aware this post is really long! Hang in there, please!
The last topic which needs to be talked about more in schools is feminism and equal rights for men and women! Thankfully, we have progressed so much and now women have so many more rights than what they did have however they still don't have equal rights to men, they still don't get paid as much for doing the same job as a man and still denied the right to do some jobs because they are a female!
Now, don't set me off about feminism otherwise, I will be here for hours but it's a seriously important topic! I think there's a lot of stigma around feminism and what it means to be a feminist! Uneducated people automatically picture hairy women, who hate men storming the streets with big placards! This isn't the case at all! And in fact, men can be feminists too!!
Children and young people need to be aware of the history of feminism and what it means to be a feminist! I think nowadays it's a very thrown around word, which is used a lot but not always understood!
This doesn't have to be the case! Talking about it! Raising Awareness! Just like for all of these issues is what is going to bring change!!
I hope you all agree!
If there is anything else you think that should be added to the list, which I am sure there is! Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you very much for reading, as always x