Is Sexual Health Education in Schools Tackling Andrew Tate?
Will the sexual health education curricula in the USA and the UK change as a result of Andrew Tate’s influence?
Andrew Tate, a very popular social media influencer, is one of the main, recent causes of the spread of misogyny in schools.
Issues surrounding misogyny and gender stereotyping have been spreading quickly among high school students in the UK and US. Tate’s fame and charisma have attracted many male students and as a result, his misogynic messaging is at risk of being internalized. Parents and schools are concerned about the effect he could be having on their children and students.
In the United States, children are usually given sexual health education at least once between the 6th grade level and the 12th grade level. If you are interested in knowing whether schools are planning to start giving elementary school students sex-ed classes or what is being done to combat Andrew Tate’s influence, keep reading.
What Is Sexual Health Education?
Sexual health education programs equip students with factual, age-appropriate information they need to be healthy, avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and prevent unintended pregnancies.
Some programs also provide information on topics regarding puberty, reproduction, abstinence, contraception, condom use, relationships, prevention of sexual violence, self-image, human sexuality, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Well-trained teachers who have spent enough time practicing the new skills they learned during professional development training are usually chosen to teach sexual health education.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, thirty-eight states in the US mandate that students take sexual health education classes. Only some of those states have laws mandating both sex education and HIV/AIDS education. Many actually consider sex-ed classes to be vitally important to protecting public health since education generally decreases the spread of STDs.
What Are the Different Types of Sexual Education?
According to the Scholars Strategy Network, there are three forms of the sexual health education curriculum being taught in the United States, and they include comprehensive sexual health education, abstinence-only education, and abstinence-plus education.
Comprehensive Sexual Health Education
Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is based on human rights and the syllabus includes scientifically accurate information about human development, anatomy, reproductive health, contraception, childbirth, and sexually transmitted diseases.
It encourages children to feel empowered and have a positive attitude towards their own sexual and reproductive health. Rather than teaching children that they should not have sexual intercourse, CSE is based on helping students to develop useful decision making skills that will encourage them to have safe sex.
As well as the topics mentioned above, this pedagogy addresses numerous other topics including gender equality, discrimination, sexual abuse, violence, family life, healthy relationships, culture, and gender roles. The needs of LGBTQ youth, transgender people, and young people who do not yet know what they identify as are all taken into consideration through this method of education.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage education encourages abstinence for young people until marriage. This curriculum does not give young people information on contraception such as condom usage or how to avoid unintended pregnancies. Abstinence-only interventions state that abstinence is the only way to prevent an HIV infection and pregnancy.
According to Teen Health Mississippi, an abstinence-only education curriculum usually teaches:
- The advantages of children staying abstinent until marriage and the disadvantages of engaging in sexual activities.
- The negative impact of alcohol and drugs on decision-making and adolescent health.
- The idea that abstinence is the only method to avoid pregnancy, STDS, and STIs.
- State laws that talk about sexual activity.
Abstinence-Plus Sex Education
Abstinence-plus education encourages abstinence but also provides evidence-based and age-appropriate information on contraception. The main goal is to prevent or decrease sexual activity among young people while still discussing contraception use for those who are sexually active.
According to the American Family Physician Foundation, research suggests that abstinence-plus sex education increases children’s knowledge of HIV infection and reduces the number of teen pregnancies.
Further research on abstinence-only sex education has however suggested that students who received this method of education did not reduce sexual activities.
Why Is It Important To Provide Sex Education to Students?
Below are the main reasons why schools should provide sex education to students:
- Providing sexual health education to young children decreases the number of unintended teen pregnancies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that teen pregnancies are one of the main causes of high school dropouts.
- Sex education programs help children build healthy relationships. Many middle school and high school students cannot recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships – these nuances need to be taught to young people in a safe environment before they go out into the world. Some of these programs teach children how to solve problems and make sensible decisions regarding their relationships and their individual wellness.
- Many sex-ed pedagogies also teach children about sexual development and how to love their bodies. According to ResearchGate, studies found a link between negative body image and participation in harmful sexual behaviors. That is why sexual education classes now include health information on body image.
- Sexual health education reduces health-risk behaviors and increases students’ academic success. According to the CDC, children who do not participate in health-risk behaviors such as the abuse of drugs or alcohol are more likely to achieve success academically.
So, now that you understand the background and current methodologies surrounding sexual health education, let’s discuss how the recent situation regarding Andrew Tate could cause some changes to wider curriculums.
Who Is Andrew Tate?
Image Source: AP
Emory Andrew Tate III is a British-American entrepreneur and former kickboxer. In 2009, he won his first championship. He became more popular when he appeared on the reality show Big Brother. However, he was fired from the show after posting controversial comments on social media.
Tate created his own website that offers classes on accumulating money and male-female relationships. He became even more popular after running a platform called Hustlers University to teach people how to make money from nontraditional employment like cryptocurrency and e-commerce methods.
According to the New York Times, Andrew Tate was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, rape, and forming an organized criminal group. The police also allege that he compelled victims into making paid pornography for social media.
Today, many young males are inspired by Andrew Tate and his outrightly misogynist beliefs. As a result, schools in both the US and the UK are afraid that their young students will be influenced by Andrew Tate.
Does Andrew Tate Have an Influence on Male Students?
According to the Guardian, Andrew Tate has a negative influence on male students around the world, especially in the UK and the US. Many teachers are noticing their male students making harmful comments similar to those said by Andrew Tate. Some are even stating that boys are better than girls.
According to BBC News, male students are continuing to admire him even after his arrest, with one student being reported to have said to their teacher, “Miss if somebody in your family commits a crime, you still love them." It is clear that his influence has not ended after his arrest.
How Are Schools Tackling the Issue?
Schools in the US and UK are starting to combat Andrew Tate’s influence in several ways.
1. Schools Have Created Guidelines to Combat Misogyny
According to BBC News, the Department for Education has created a plan for schools on how to recognize and respond to the issues of misogyny and gender stereotypes. According to the New York Post, teachers are making lesson plans for teenage students to better educate them about misogyny.
2. Schools are Encouraging Parents To Talk about Andrew Tate
Teachers in the UK and the US are also urging parents to talk to their children about Andrew Tate. Here are the steps you should follow when considering talking to your child about Andrew Tate, according to Suffolk New College:
- First, learn more about Andrew Tate.
- Ask questions about him. For example, do they know who Andrew Tate is, and what he says?
- Think big. Ask them if they understand what Tate says, and what kind of negative impact those words have on the world.
- Introduce words such as “stereotypes” and “misogynist”
- Always stay calm and keep the conversation open
3. Schools Are Introducing New Role Models
According to BBC News, schools are introducing new role models that students can look up to. Many male figures are worth mentioning because they have positively changed the world, unlike Andrew Tate.
4. Misogyny Is To Be Addressed in Sexual Health Education Programs
According to the PSHE Association, misogyny, social media influence, and male toxicity have become major concerns for schools.
The association believes that sexual health education programs should address these issues very early on to combat any effect they have on young minds. These concerns were present even before Andrew Tate.
Toxic masculinity and misogyny must be addressed very early because once they are ingrained, change becomes harder. According to CNN, defusing messages of misogyny is hard but possible. It is important to follow these three steps to combat the influence:
- Redirect children to positive representations of masculinity.
- Change common male stereotypes. A lot of children fall prey to the gender stereotype that all men are strong and lack compassion, which negatively influences their understanding of healthy relationships.
- Encourage men to speak up and call out Andrew Tate’s harmful behavior in order to positively influence young children.
Was this article helpful?
Halimeh is an experienced teacher who has worked in a variety of US classroom settings. She is highly experienced in curriculum development, educational technology, and creative writing.