Myths and perceptions are discussed and knowledge shared – for Fair Sex on a broad front

RealStars visited Praktiska Gymnasiet in Gothenburg this week. The visit involved intensive hours with lots of discussion and many creative and exciting ideas about how we together can make the world a better place. We also talked about the many myths and perceptions that exist around discussions on sex, sexual norms, gender and abuse.

There was an introductory presentation on issues relating to trafficking and its links to prostitution, which was new to many students and a number of students asked questions on the issues raised. Several of the questions related to existing laws, both the situation in Sweden and other European countries. Discussions in small groups then followed based on the questions below. Each group got a few minutes to talk and ask questions and here is a summary of what was said:

What can we do to support efforts against trafficking – for Fair Sex?

  • Provide welfare support to prostitutes
  • More severe penalties for pimps
  • Better border security
  • Buy ‘Fair Sex’ t-shirts
  • Join and donate to an association that works for Fair Sex
  • Protest and demonstrate against trafficking
  • More police where trafficking victims are located, for example, on the streets
  • More people spreading the message that it is forbidden to buy sex
  • Increased financial support for police to fight traffickers.

What’s driving the demand for prostitutes, and how can we counter it?

  • There is a need for more feminists
  • Harder penalties that will lead to fewer sex purchases
  • Raid brothels
  • Ban street prostitution and give them the possibility of a new passport.
  • Give economic support to prostitutes
  • Demand is driven by people’s warped views of sex
  • People want money and power
  • Make prostitution illegal
  • It’s old ba**ards that drive demand

What can we do to make our school more ‘Fair Sex’? 

  • Hold presentations about Fair Sex
  • Talk about equality
  • Suspend students if something happens
  • Stop drinking heavily
  • Information posters in the corridors
  • Educate students about these issues (sexual assault and abuse) so that people can understand what it does to and how it influences our society
  • Create groups in school that act against issues such as assault and bullying

Why is it mostly men that men buy sex and women that sell sex?

  • Because men have a greater need for sex. Men have more sexual fantasies than women
  • Women are more sexualized than men (for example, in film, advertising, games etc…)
  • Women choose to have sex when they want and men are more desperate

Following the group discussion, a number of central themes were identified. We then focused on the perceptions and myths that had come up in the discussion and how they influence us and our view of society and each other.

The discussion around men’s and women’s sexuality has a close link to issues touching on prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse. The perception that men have a greater need for sex than women is still widespread and this is closely associated with the perception that men cannot control their sex drive. These misconceptions are very dangerous and have an influence on all of us and the society in which we live.

Norms around gender and sex are deeply ingrained as we learn them again and again as we grow up and daily from different parts of society. Regardless of whether it is through advertising, media, the Internet or whether it is about international organized crime that leads to systematic abuse, it is all part of the same societal system. A system where men and women are expected to be different in a lot of different ways.

We finished the day by identifying and discussing the stereotypes and perceptions we have of each other and how we are prescribed a certain gender identity and how that is the basis for much of the sexual assault and abuse that occurs today – whether in the playground, in the classroom or on the streets. We should, therefore, be critical of those prejudices and perceptions that we have ourselves and have the courage to learn by discussing these issues with others.

We will be returning to Praktiska Gymnasiet in a few weeks and look forward to a visit that will be just as exciting and important.

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