‘Progress’ Progresses Too Fast
Here, at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women, I have heard it said, over and over, that what the world needs most, “in this our dark hour,” is comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).
Comprehensive sexuality education is often thrown around as the solution to poverty, population inflation, gender equality, violence against women, economic development, women’s empowerment, teen pregnancy and child marriages, to name a few. And while I agree that they are hitting on a crucial element of the human experience that needs to be addressed and that has been largely neglected at a global level, to some degree or another, their approach may destroy that which it seeks to preserve and maintain. Humanity, in general, needs to do more to better understand itself, which includes taking the time to examine and reflect upon the mysteries of having a physical body. Yes! Women and men should understand the complex networks of the systems, hormones and cycles that make them who they are and, at the appropriate age, they should be taught about the beauty of attraction, desire and sexual intimacy. However, that is not what they will learn under the curriculum of CSE.
Sexuality education has a significant role to play in the formation of the world of tomorrow but it must not be taken lightly as the content that is developed and shared across the globe has the power to make or break society. The United Nations claims that CSE’s content will necessarily be taught in a manner that is age appropriate, but who gets to decide what is age appropriate? What research will be used to calculate such measurements? What will they consider a ‘successful education?’ At present, various CSE programs are planning to include instruction on both sexual pleasure and desire for children zero to four years old. On what basis was this decision made? What research indicated that the most holistic, comprehensive way forward was to teach children about the components of sexuality that many adults struggle to understand themselves?
The world is right to value education and to not underestimate its power as a remedy for many of our current crises, but it is wrong to accept, without criticism, a program that is ideologically driven to produce a society that will be increasingly dependent upon contraception and abortion. Looking out at the world we fall under the shadow of its millions of problems and chant “Progress, progress, progress,” the latest pinnacle of which appears to be comprehensive sexuality education. But, as children’s author Dr. Seuss once said, “They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!”
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