Monday, March 19, 2007

The times they are a changin'

One of the best books I've ever read was Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I remember wondering "Why didn't I learn this before now?" as I read about how my body works. It's a sentiment I've heard echoed hundreds of times on internet message boards and among friends, especially since we all had some type of sex ed in high school.

Well, you can imagine how happy I was to hear that there's now a teen version out to help young women understand their cycles. The focus of this book is obviously different from TCOYF in that there's no section on how to get pregnant, and information on how to chart to avoid pregnancy is also omitted (since Weschler decided that teens weren't likely to follow all of the rules safely) but the important parts about how to figure out what your body is doing when, and why it's doing it have been preserved.

I've frequently thought that if we ever have a daughter I want to teach her this information. Sex ed in the schools is unlikely to ever give the exact information I'd like my kids to have, and books like this can help clear up a lot of the misconceptions girls have about their bodies. Better yet, it can help them make smart choices when/if they decide to have sex. Thumbs up from me, all around.

Naturally, some are saying that the book provides girls with too much information. I think it gives them the facts they should have been getting all along. One mother (from Idaho, no less!) told the Washington Post that she's a fan of the book. "By giving them knowledge, you are treating them in a more adult way, and I think that helps them make more adult decisions," she said. I couldn't agree more. Denying that teens are having sex doesn't work. Statistics and my own personal experience (I have a number of students who are pregnant or parents already) prove it. What's wrong with giving up the scare tactics that have proven so ineffective in the past, and giving girls accurate, fact-based information about their cycles?

1 comment:

LJ said...

I'm totally with you. I remember reading books like "Our Bodies, Ourselves" and of course the Judy Blume classic "Forever" when I was a teen.

I would have loved a book like this when I was younger. I really take issue with the abstinence only or worse - ostrich approach to the problem. (Stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn't there).

We're complicated machines, us women. We need a good user's manual to keep it in good working order...