Monday, March 07, 2011

Mommy goes to college?

So we've all heard about it by now, the post-lecture sex toy lesson at Northwestern University. Was this demonstration valuable as an educational tool (pun intended?) Guess that depends on how you define "valuable." Was it worth the price paid for it ($0.00, as it wasn't officially part of a class?) Yes, about that, I'd guess.

Feel free to argue about the legitimacy of a course of study entitled Human Sexuality, but it is an academic field at most universities. As such, it seems reasonable to me that this course would include a lively and graphic discussion of sex toys. But I can't imagine that it was necessary to give a live demonstration for the professor to make any particular point on the need for--or use of--sex toys.

Most courses and professors manage to make their points without demonstration, as much as hands-on learning is valued in the earlier grades.

Would it be possible for me to write this without double entendres? Apparently not. :-)

The Professor involved doesn't seem to be making the argument that it was necessary, though. In an alarming display of common sense that is sometimes absent from post-secondary academia, the demonstration occurred after the class ended and attendance was entirely voluntary.

So it wasn't necessary and it wasn't valuable. Clearly, I must be up in arms about it and want to protest as a concerned mother? Nope.
Sex is an adult topic, one legitimately studied in post-secondary education. Northwestern University is an institution where adults are educated. And as a tuition-paying parent, I'm ok with treating my progeny as adults.

While Mommy and Daddy may be paying tuition for educating these adults, they are no longer in charge of the education their children receive. Having parents show up to protest their children being exposed to such depraved lessons seems fairly out of touch with reality to me.

The reality is this: when your child leaves for college, you are no longer in charge of them or their experiences. If you ever were. If they choose to take a course on Human Sexuality, and then they voluntarily stay after class to watch a demonstration they've been told will be graphic, and they don't leave if/when it becomes very graphic, then the resulting experience is theirs to deal with.

If a student was offended or made uncomfortable or felt strongly that this particular event was a waste of their valuable academic time, then it falls on the student to say so--not the parent.

If I am disappointed about anything regarding this scenario, it is the apparent absence of discussion by female students concerning orgasm achieved with a modified sawzall, sexual roles, or a broader discussion of S&M and women (and whether the use of such a toy is S&M.) Those discussions might seem more than academic.

Perhaps those discussions are, in fact, happening. But we and the media seem far more interested in discussing how offended we are rather than stepping back to see whether any learning might actually be taking place from the experience.

Sometimes reading the news makes my head hurt. Guess I should go back to bed (no secret meaning there--I'm sick!)


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