The workshop booklet can be viewed here
The workshop booklet can be viewed here
Around the world, the utmost concern of censors is the depiction of violence and sex. So we came up with a set of postcards as a part of our campaign ‘Make It Normal’ questioning India’s policy of censorship – a constant dichotomy that we live in. While there is no dearth of ‘item songs’ objectifying women in popular media, various scenes in a film are not allowed past the filters due to “questionable content”. While age appropriate censoring should be prevalent, an adult should have full freedom to choose between what she/he wishes to watch. There must be uniformity in the exercise of deciding what is aired and what is bleeped. Artists should be allowed to express themselves in the manner they believe will do justice to their work.
These postcards with reference to popular forms of art make consumers question their values and governmental policies that filter content, and in turn result in individuals having skewed notions about sexuality.
The various permutations and combinations from the GMTN model led to the following 8 approaches we wished to take forward.
To paint a clearer picture of the situation of sex and sexuality education in India and the world today, we decided to use the metaphor of lamp posts on the riverside.
Considering the fact that sex, sexuality and all related terms have been shoved into the darkest corners of our rooms and away from our children, whether at home or at school, we want these lamp posts to stress on our belief that light needs to be shed onto these corners, conversations regarding these topics and issues need to be started by us all.
Young individuals of today spend more time interacting with multiple forms of media, including the Internet compared other activities. 95% of today’s youth is online, and 74% of them are able to access the Internet from a personal mobile device. Clicking on screens and speaking into our mobiles and tablets readily retrieve information. It’s fast, it’s easy. Information has become ubiquitous in today’s technology-saturated world. But how much of that information is trustworthy? Combine that with the fact of kids being naturally curious about sex and wanting to find out as much as possible and discuss with their peers, and we have a big problem to deal with here. Modern sexuality education and the values imposed by our culture have continuously refrained from accepting the existence of all the exposure children are receiving today.
When a child comes across extremely graphic images or videos online, it can be both stimulating and upsetting. An unexpected encounter with highly provocative sexual material crosses boundaries and compromises innocence. As stimulating as it can be for kids to see graphic sexual material, it can also be overwhelming and even frightening. The association may often be direct, between one’s exposure to sexually explicit material and one’s sexual attitude and behavior.
Either we allow sexually explicit material online to be the sex educator of the youth today, or we take the responsibility on ourselves. For the latter to happen, we must clearly outline the existence and meaning of pornography and sexually explicit material, differentiate between porn sex and real sex, examine the frameworks of sexuality and its ethics, and exchange views on the idea of right and wrong in the context of sexual activity.
We invited a few of our peers and asked them to read out some general facts about sex. None of them knew what they were going to be reading. We captured their reactions on camera.
But apart from all the awkwardness and the laughter involved, there are other reasons behind the making of this video. Their reactions show that talking out loud about these topics is not the most comfortable thing to do, even though they were speaking these words before their own friends, even though these statements are facts, adults of their age should know (that is if they knew what all they were saying).
And beyond the kind people who spared time to participate, some of the ones watching this for the first time might just hear something they haven’t heard before, in a ‘more fun than biology class’ way.
But the bottom line is, why should it be so embarrassing?
We devised a workshop called ‘Make It Normal’ for school students of class 8 and 11 separately, with the objective of starting a conversation about sex and sexuality.
Before holding any workshops we consulted Ms. jamila Firdaus, the school counsellor at Navrachana High School, Vadodara. She helped us segregate our content age-appropriately and told us how to approach the students.
The workshop would begin with an ice-breaking video just to have a laugh and make the students feel comfortable. The ice-breaking videos for class 8 and 11 respectively are as follows –
The video would be followed by games – ‘Describe It’ and ‘Myth & Match’. Both games involve interactions between students that prompt exchanges of information between them regarding topics related to sex and sexuality, interspersed with us stepping in to provide them with extra information.
After playing the games, students would ask us questions anonymously using a question box, which would be discussed and answered by us in front of the whole class.