Australian Christian School Kids Get Super Creepy Romantic Advice
It's easy to assume that America has the market cornered on extremely disturbing Christian abstinence lessons. After all, we've all heard about (or perhaps even experienced) those exercises where children are told that people (especially women) who have sex before marriage are like pre-chewed chewing gum, tape that has become unsticky, a rose without petals or my personal favorite, a bucket of their classmate's spit. Plus remember those father-daughter purity balls? YEESH.
But Australia might be giving us a run for our money.
A bunch of Year 10 students in a Christian Studies class at St. Luke's Grammar School on the Northern Beaches of Sydney were given very different romance/dating lessons depending on their gender. The girls were given a bunch of reading materials on why it is so very important for them to remain virgins until marriage and also on "how Satan provides opportunities for fleeting sexual encounters." (Thanks, Satan!)
Those girls were not too thrilled when they found out that the boys were given a different exercise, which they later referred to as "build-a-bitch," in which they were told to create their ideal woman from a list of "qualities." Each quality was given a set number of points, with virginity and looks being worth more than having a sense of humor or being adventurous.
The exercise, via Sydney Morning Herald:
You have 25 points to allocate on qualities that you would look for in a girl. Now this is supposed to be for a lasting relationship. Listed below are a number of qualities, each marked with a point system. You have to prioritise what you think is important
- Six points: popular, loyalty, good looking/attractive, intelligent, strong Christian, kind and considerate, virgin, trustworthy
- Five points: physically fit, easy to talk to, fun/sense of humour, wise
- Four points: sporty/sexy, goes to church, honest/doesn't lie or cheat, similar interests to you, friendly
- Three points: well dressed/groomed, artistic, good manners, good pedigree, ambitious goals, hard-working, great kisser, owns a car
- Two points: right height, good at school, brave - stands up for rights, socially competent
- One point: favourite hair colour, favourite eye colour, has money, sincere and serious, generous, adventurous, similar beliefs, cares for the world, comfortable even in quiet moments
Honestly, I am actually a little confused by this exercise and what it was even meant to convey. It's clear which characteristics have more value here, but the 25 point thing does not make a lot of sense because one would have to pick fewer of those things. So like, are they saying they have to choose between someone being a virgin and someone being intelligent or kind and considerate? Where is it that they were going with this?
Following the outrage over the two lessons, the school's headmaster, Geoff Lancaster sent out a note to parents apologizing and also telling them
Mr Lancaster wrote to parents after school on Friday, apologising and saying he had spoken to the teacher - a member of the Anglican clergy - about his poor judgment in using the material to guide the class discussion on relationships.
"He is very sorry for the offence he has caused and saddened to think that the way this discussion was framed has upset our students," the letter said.
"This term the students have been looking at the complex issues of consent and toxic masculinity and contrasting the negative images portrayed in society with god's plan for strong, healthy relationships where people respect each other as equals.
Who in the what now? They're learning about toxic masculinity and consent and equality and part of this is somehow that the girls are learning about the importance of their virginity and how Satan is out there trying to trick them into sex, and boys are learning that virginity is one of the most valuable qualities a woman can possess but also that owning a car is a more valuable attribute than caring for the world?
In a statement to the Herald, Mr Lancaster said: "Despite the best efforts to teach respect, healthy relationships, gender equality, consent and inclusivity, we don't always get it right - and last week is a good example of how the very best intentions can go terribly wrong."
After apologising, "we have ... received overwhelmingly positive support for our decisive and honest response. As Principal, I have removed the offending material, and one of the Christian Studies teachers has voluntarily stood down while the matter is under investigation."
How would this have been done with the very best intentions, though, re: "respect, healthy relationships, gender equality, consent and inclusivity?" What could those intentions possibly have been? Because I don't quite see how you can tell girls that the most important thing they can have is a pristine, untouched vagina while also teaching ... literally any of those things.
While it seems a little like this Headmaster fella is just spitting out random words he found on some kind of wokeness glossary he found on the Internet, I guess the response is better than what it would have been had this happened in the States. Because in that case, the school absolutely would not have apologized and the offending teacher would get a million dollars from a GoFundMe and become a professional right-wing grifter, talking about how they got canceled just for sharing their hymen-related opinions.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse