Forget Maths and History, there’s a new educational agenda sweeping secondary schools across the country, as schoolboys are being taught how to chat-up girls.
Aimed to help those who lack a positive male role model in their lives, the new mentoring scheme is designed to teach teens how to treat the opposite sex and about the importance of loving relationships.
So why is this necessary now? After all, hasn’t humanity progressed okay upto now without lessons in love? The answer is simple, as we enter 2014, we have to accept that our society is changing and as a result, so is the way in which we perceive our relationships.
No longer star-crossed lovers – a la Romeo and Juliet, under the influence of media, teenagers are now more likely to be starry-eyed sexters, with hardcore porn at their fingertips and an education that teaches them that sex is merely a biological necessity.
Headteacher, Victoria Overy, whose school will be taking part in the scheme, stated that one of the main reasons for introducing it was because: “sadly, through such easy access to pornography, the boys’ view of women has been skewed. This is hardly surprising given their objectification in this context. I mean, you hardly hear of guys sharing the best sites on where to stream rom coms, or the magazines that give the best relationship advice. Emotions don’t really come into question. When you’re done with one woman you can just flick on to the next.
This is reflected in modern student life, with a recent NUS study noting that relationships are now built on ‘hooking up’ rather than dating, focusing on one-night stands and friends with benefits arrangements. The report also states that although the amount of sex students are engaging in may not have increased, understandings of sexuality have changed.
Despite Sex Education being part of the national curriculum, this too does nothing to help the cause. Students are taught basic biological facts by their teachers, gliding past the issue of feelings that go anything beyond sexual. Sure, it’s a pretty awkward situation for both student and teacher to discuss these personal emotions, however, with now over a million children growing up without a father figure at home, where else do these young men have to turn for real-life experience and advice?
Although predominantly intended to help males who are on free school meals, the mentoring scheme could prove to be beneficial to students across the social spectrum – particularly those at same sex schools. Having no daily interaction with girls, young men in this situation often grow up without experiencing the full reality of the opposite sex. This is something which could have a damaging effect even in the years after school, with some students at the university stating: “the boys that went to single sex schools always seem to have quite a weird view of women”.
Although this is a sweeping generalisation, it makes it clear that problems do not just arise from porn, as Overy stated, but from a lack of understanding – something which the scheme aims to improve.
Obviously, these life lessons do not come without flaws. Although designed to protect women, the scheme generalizes women in the same way that it does men.
Girls will be taught just about career aspirations, not relationships. This implies that young girls can treat men how they want and do not need guidance, leaving little scope for the mutual understanding necessary for a successful and fair relationship.
As it stands, the programme also ignores the possibility of homosexual and bisexual relationships, focusing purely on male to female interactions.
Still in their early stages, the lessons no doubt need refining in order to remove damaging constructs about sexuality and gender – making sense for them to be taught to all students. After all, who would not welcome a bit of help in those tricky teen years?