I was initially drawn to the Penguin brief and I also debated doing the BBC brief too however after going to the tutorials for each, I didn’t immediately start having ideas which is unlike me. The next week I sat in on the Teen Vogue tutorial and felt much more enganged and passionate about the subject, I feel this always helps me create better work so I’ve settled on the brief. Plus I feel strongly about the topic as it is a real issue that has affected probably every woman so it needs addressing.
I wasnt sure which topic specifically I wanted to cover so I began by thinking of my own experience in school and growing up. I am from a mixed raced and mixed religious background, my mum was brought up Christian and my dad was brought up Muslim, they both were non practicing but still had some views or ideas derived from their childhoods, which I grew up around. There is a very large Pakistani Muslim community where I am from in Bradford, and my school’s students, nursery to a-levels, were 90-95% Muslim, I believe this is still the case now. As talked about in the brief, sex ed in schools is out dated and missing key topics on female sexual wellness, as my school’s students are majority Muslim our sex ed was even more ‘restricted’ I guess, as many parents did not feel comfortable having their daughters taught about sex. (my school is free of fees but was independent of the national curriculum im pretty sure as it set its own curriculum like a private school would)
However, due to this it caused many problems as we all matured, went through puberty and became sexually active. For example I started my period before ever being taught what it was, which was pretty scary.
A friend in my year at school, who was Muslim, started seeing a boy and accidently got pregnant, because our education on contraception was non existent, her family found out and no one from school saw her again. Her younger sister still went to our school but refused to talk about her sister and what happened to her. In 2019 my friend appeared on facebook, it turned out that her family were so ashamed of her that they had sent her to Pakistan and had her married, she now has two children.
This led me to think about how some girls have external factors outside of school that can restrict or skew their eductaion on sexual wellness.
Another friend of mine is from Scarborough, where majority of the schools are strict catholic and the sex ed there is pretty much just – abstinence, yet Scarborough has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the UK… a correlation perhaps?
Or circumstances where girls don’t have female figures in their lives they can go to for support when their schools fail, like myself for example, my mum became very ill when I turned 13 so all throughout my teenage years I had no one to ask those important question girls have about sex, relationships, their bodies etc..
Because of all of this, education of female masturbation/anatomy etc was no where to be seen and there would have been an immense stigma, shame and controversy attached to it.
However, the issue is that, I do NOT want to offend or upset anyone, this is the last thing I want to do.
I thought about taking my direction elsewhere because I felt my previous direction may be too sensitive.
I was struggling to come up with a different direction as through my research there are so so many different topics I could cover.
I sent out this to my female friends and colleagues in the age range specifyed on the brief, to get a better understanding of what they want from sex education or what they thought was missing.
I recieved so many answers on a whole range of topics but more so to do with the vagina itself and issues/topics surrounding it. I thought I might use the Vagina as my main topic and educate girls on its anatomy, how it works and include sexual pleasure within that. But it was just not engaing me 100%, i felt there was something missing.
For a few days I wandered around college, speaking to various people and trying to set a solid idea for me to cover and elaborate on. I couldnt stop thinking about my original direction anf how i could inlcude it in my idea.
Then I finally got an idea. I decided I would make a guide or handbook for girls that would cover many different essential topics currently missing from the curriculum. The main aim for the guide is for it to be very discreet so it gives those girls who may have social factors preventing them from a good sexual education a chance in their own space and under their own prerogative to learn without having it shoved down their throats (consent is very important).
This is where I will take this project.