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Big Government and Girls’ Health

The Nanny State has reached a whole new level online, and many of its websites are directed at our kids. They come from every government agency imaginable: ATF, CDC, FDA, FEMA, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security Administration, Federal Trade Commission, and even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (You can find a full list here.)

My favorite is Girls’ Health, a website for girls aged 10 to 16. (There’s no Boys’ Health, mind you. Only girls get their very own special website compliments of Big Gov.)

The website covers everything from the body, fitness, nutrition, drugs, relationships, bullying, the environment, and feelings.

I assumed these were already being taught in government schools where teachers can at least add a level of personal accountability, but the state doesn’t seem to be satisfied with leaving this kind of teaching to schools—or parents, where it ultimately belongs.

In the section called “Body,” Big Gov addresses issues like puberty, menstruation, sleep, general health, and, of course, sex and birth control. Here’s their advice to young girls about dating and sexual feelings:

Starting to date, thinking about romance, and feeling attraction all can be incredibly cool — and a little overwhelming. As you start thinking about love and sex, don’t forget to focus on feeling good about yourself. Take good care of your body. If you have questions, talk to your parent or guardian, doctor, or another trusted adult. And don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. You’ll probably remember these exciting days for many years to come, and you want to remember them happily!

As you start dating, think about what you’re looking for. A solid relationship starts with being with someone who supports you, trusts you, and appreciates you for who you really are. You want someone who deserves you!

From dating, the discussion, of course, turns to sex:

For teens, not having sex—abstinence—makes good sense. That’s partly because your chances of staying safe from unplanned pregnancy and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are better if you wait. It’s also partly because being older can help you handle the strong emotional aspects of sex. Just because your body seems ready doesn’t mean that you are!

When people say “sex,” they usually mean sexual intercourse, or a man putting his penis in a woman’s vagina. But even if you don’t have sex and are thinking about other types of sexual contact, like touching your partner’s genitals, you want to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. These are very personal acts and are worth thinking about in a serious way. Also keep in mind that it is possible to get pregnant if a boy ejaculates (“comes”) on the outside of your vagina. And remember that you can get some STIs from oral sex or from genital-to-genital contact that isn’t intercourse. Above all, don’t do anything sexual that doesn’t feel right to you.

Wow, how did I make it through life without the government? That conversation I had with my mom on a sunny summer day in 1977 after I saw two lizards on top of each other sure seems inadequate! How did I make it through middle school without hearing from Big Gov that “it is possible to get pregnant if a boy ejaculates (‘comes’) on the outside of your vagina”?

Big Gov goes on to say, “You may get lots of messages about sex, everything from intense music lyrics to strict religious rules. Here’s what some young people are saying about waiting, staying safe, and respecting their bodies.” (So the government is lumping religion in with lyrics and urging girls to basically trust what other girls are saying. Now that makes sense!)

Of course, the messaging wouldn’t be complete without a discussion on birth control:

Anyone you’re seriously thinking about having sex with should be someone you can talk to about it. Talk about what kind of birth control you would use to protect yourselves from pregnancy and STIs. Talk about respecting each other’s feelings and not feeling pressured. It’s a good idea to talk about these things at a time and in a place where you’re comfortable and won’t be interrupted. And it’s a great idea to do this while your clothes are still on!

Some people feel like once they’ve had sex there’s no turning back. That’s not true. You don’t have to feel bad about yourself if you regret having sex. Everybody makes mistakes — that’s just part of learning. But it doesn’t make sense to keep doing something that feels wrong to you.

Finally, homosexuality is addressed:

If you’re having feelings of romantic or physical attraction to other girls, you may wonder about your sexual orientation. It’s natural as you develop to wonder about these feelings, and it may take time to figure out your sexual orientation. Also, having a gay or lesbian parent or sibling doesn’t mean you are gay.

If you’re feeling concerned about your sexual orientation, talk to someone you trust. Also, if you’re feeling stressed about telling others you’re gay or if you’re being bullied about being gay, you can get help. If you feel like you are going to hurt yourself, reach out right away to an adult, a friend you trust, or a counselor. Things can get better.

If you are going to have sex with another girl, keep in mind that women who have sex with women are at risk for many of the same STIs as women who have sex with men. Also, if you are a lesbian, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about protecting your overall health. Lesbians are more likely to have certain health problems, like obesity, smoking, and depression, so make sure you learn how to stay healthy and strong.

I’m sure there are some out there that say many girls don’t have parents they can talk to, that they need big government to step in and teach stuff like this. And yet, there have always been girls who didn’t have parents they could talk to. Who did they turn to? They learned from relatives, parents of friends, teachers, doctors, and, yes, even the church.

The point is that the government has no business instructing girls on these kinds of issues. It is devoid of a moral context and relational support. And it is just one more example of how big the government has gotten and how it has morphed into a living presence hell-bent on refashioning citizens in its own image.

  1. Guruforhire

    If they are going to use the vernacular they ought to learn to spell it right. ….  I stopped caring about what they had to say right there.

  2. Andy Hartzell

    I’m older than you, Denise–that is, assuming you didn’t first learn about lizard-sex when you were eleven. Yet the passages you cite as evidence of governmental overreach aren’t all that different from what I remember reading in the sex-ed pamphlet presented to me by my public elementary school in that same fateful year of 1977.

    The passage about homosexuality was not quite as affirming, of course. But, just like the passage you quote, it carefully refrained from judging, it assured us that feelings of same-sex attraction didn’t necessarily mean we were fated to grow up gay…and it advised us to talk to a trusted adult about our concerns, if we had any.

    The differences: the pamphlet I got in my youth listed “minister” among the suggested authority figures to consult with. And it went on to tell us that we should report any predatory adults hanging around the playground.

    The state has been intruding into sex ed for a long time. It’s only the nuances that have changed.

  3. C. U. Douglas

    I see this as another abdication of our individual responsibilities (as noted by Fred Cole regarding other matters). We started by turning schools into proxy-parents for our children. As schools are run by the government the creation of said website discussing the same thing is a logical leap.

    The problem we have in our modern day is we’ve given up too much, and the government that has taken that up is unwilling to let it go again.

  4. The King Prawn

    Windows parental controls: *.gov is going on the block list.

    And the reason boys don’t have their own website is they are less likely to vote democrat when they turn 18.

  5. D.C. McAllister
    C
    Andy Hartzell: I’m older than you, Denise–that is, assuming you didn’t first learn about lizard-sex when you were eleven. Yet the passages you cite as evidence of governmental overreach aren’t all that different from what I remember reading in the sex-ed pamphlet presented to me by my public elementary school in that same fateful year of 1977….The differences: the pamphlet I got in my youth listed “minister” among the suggested authority figures to consult with. …

    The state has been intruding into sex ed for a long time. It’s only the nuances that have changed.

    I was eleven (was I a late bloomer?). I don’t remember anything like this. Just basic anatomy and functionality. In the late 80s, I covered, as a reporter, the school board in a county in SC, and they were just instituting sex ed then, and even that was nothing like this. Plus, that was all handled locally. I realize it’s been in the schools. It’s the disconnected, unaccountable Internet presence directly from the Federal Government (as opposed to school districts and counties) that I have a big problem with. 

  6. Israel P.

    But… but… isn’t government just a name for things we do together?

  7. Guruforhire

    Because in feminist america men are subhuman disposable garbage.

    The King Prawn: Windows parental controls: *.gov is going on the block list.

    And the reason boys don’t have their own website is they are less likely to vote democrat when they turn 18. · 12 minutes ago

  8. 6foot2inhighheels

    A few years back, my son brought home a sheaf of worksheets to fill out for 5th grade sex education class.  After a few questions, it was obvious to me that he had no idea what sex was about and didn’t particularly care; he just wanted to get through the paperwork.  At the top of a page titled, “List things you can do instead of having sex”, was one entry: “Order Pizza”.  

  9. flownover

    Back in the days of our last homebound child attending public school ( we got her out in the 5th) I would always go the first day parent visit. One of my questions to the teacher would be “what day will you having sex education ? ” .

    The teachers would usually say “why do you ask ?”, to which I would reply that I was positive that my child would be ill that day and unable to attend . 

    It is not in the school/government’s purview to assume that they can instruct my child about sex. 

    The teachers were always fairly understanding, except they were probably muttering about that “damned Republican” or something.

    When we got to parochial school , it coincided nicely with the chance to send her to school with her Sarahcuda sweatshirt.

  10. Richard Finlay
    Israel P.: But… but… isn’t government just a name for things we do together? · 2 hours ago

    That would probably make for a good line in a singles bar these days: “I just want to be more governmental with you.”

  11. Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    Richard Finlay

    Israel P.: But… but… isn’t government just a name for things we do together? · 2 hours ago

    That would probably make for a good line in a singles bar these days: “I just want to be more governmental with you.” · 2 hours ago

    Oh dear.

  12. Benjamin Carter

    And thus the list of .gov websites blocked by parental controls, goes up by one…

  13. D.C. McAllister
    C
    C. U. Douglas: 

    The problem we have in our modern day is we’ve given up too much, and the government that has taken that up is unwilling to let it go again. · 30 minutes ago

    This is the essence of the point. 

  14. CuriousJohn

    When trying http://www.boyshealth.gov  you get nothing. Its only a matter of time

  15. CuriousJohn

    When trying http://www.menshealth.gov  you get nothing. Its only a matter of time

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