The Marian Auditorium of Miriam CoIIege could seat one thousand fifty people, apparently, and on that day, it was a full house. Not necessarily by choice, of course. Every student there, aged twelve to probably fourteen at the oldest, had congregated into the air conditioned structure and settled into the smooth, wooden seats of the auditorium because this was a required thing, this talk on sexuality.
And if that isn’t a big, scary word. Sexuality. In a place like an all girls Catholic high school, saying the word “sexuality” was like opening a bag of chips in a dead quiet room. You will be met with winces or sneers or snickers. You might even get in trouble. The metaphor isn’t really foolproof, because on one hand, you’ve got a snack, and on the other, you’ve got an integral aspect of the human experience with endless variations. It’s a lot less “palatable”, for one. Not as tasty. Sexuality was funny. It was dirty. It was something to be whispered about and not spoken of, especially if you were twelve or thirteen or fourteen. Hell, even if you were older, it could still be something taboo. Growing up, or the failure of thereof, was a little peculiar like that.
But here they were for an entire two hour long talk all about sexuality. October of 2016, roughly one thousand fifty students were chucked into an auditorium where they tittered in a classic mixture of teenage curiosity, anticipation, and habitual boredom. On stage, the speaker, a family psychologist, walks out. The voices of the one thousand fifty students hush from a buzz to a hum to silence.
And the thus the talk began.
To say that the talk was a trainwreck would be a fantastic, monumental understatement. It seemed like every high school freshman I spoke to had something to say about the talk.
“Oh,” said A, a bookish girl with glasses who looked quiet and shy right up until I brought up The Talk. She pushed her glasses up in a way one knew meant she was livid. “It was awful.”
B, a student I had spoken to via email correspondence had written “It was terrible. Obscure. Immature.”
“I wanted to cry,” said R, looking like she was about to cry. “That talk made me want to cry.”
In a nutshell, the so-called sexuality talk was a verbal cavalcade of sexist stereotypes only thinly disguised as something educational. The speaker had talked about how men and women were different, how men’s brains were like waffles (boxed and organized) and women’s brains were like spaghetti (“Noodling around,” A told me. “I’m not shitting you. The speaker said, ‘women think like spaghetti, we’re always noodling around.’ What the hell does that mean?”) By the halfway point of the talk, students had resigned themselves to the fact that this was another one of those inane things the school did that they’ll have to forcibly erase from their memory. The talk went on about boys and girls and flirting and relationships and stuff everybody already knew about before always peddling back to “Studies first!” Educational stuff right here.
But the real kicker was this: one brave girl, just one out of roughly one thousand fifty, stood up, walked to the microphone set up in the aisle, and asked a question. She asked the question that was thrumming through the heads of a lot of students in the auditorium. She asked, “What do you think of LGBT?”
In front of one thousand fifty students, the speaker had smiled sweetly—sweet in the way that probably made you feel sick—and said “All the feelings you have for women, project them onto men instead.”
Same request (AU where Catwoman replaces Batman as protector of Gotham), same original concept that requester asked to modify, totally different outcomes. I focus more on practicality than flashiness, I guess?