The Women’s Center and student group KSURGE (Kent State Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity) screened the documentary “Sex(Ed) The Movie” on April 2 in Nixon Hall as part of its event series in honor of Women’s History Month.
“What if I want to have sex before I’m married?” asked an adolescent boy in a clip from the film. “Well, I guess you just have to be prepared to die.”
“Sex(Ed) The Movie,” previously featured at the 2014 Cleveland International Film Festival, shows the evolution of sex education programs over the last century in the U.S. and explains the effect major cultural and societal events, from World War II to Roe v. Wade, had on sex education.
Dianne Kerr, associate professor of health sciences, said the film accurately reflects her own experiences as a sex educator through the decades.
“When I first started (in 1977), I taught in Catholic schools,” Kerr said. “I wasn’t allowed to talk much about sex when I was teaching health, and it frustrated me. I thought that girls should know about all the different methods of contraception, but they only wanted me to teach the Catholic-approved methods.”
Kerr and Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, assistant director of the Women’s Center, are co-advisers of KSURGE.
“We are really excited about the student group KSURGE that started talking about reproductive justice and how inclusive that was,” Pegg-Kirby said. “We thought a really good framework to start that conversation would be sex education.”
Pegg-Kirby said that while sex education is often not viewed as a component of reproductive justice, students should understand that information and access to contraception wasn’t always readily available.
“It’s interesting to watch how the pendulum swings,” Pegg-Kirby said.
Kali Heim, sophomore anthropology major and president of KSURGE, said the student group is concerned with all reproductive justice issues, including comprehensive sex education, and that “Sex(Ed)” was both entertaining and thought provoking.
“It’s easier to see what things are wrong with sex education when you can see how it’s changed,” Heim said. “I hope it can get a discussion started on how we can make a difference.”
Contact Kelsie Britton at [email protected]