Comissioned Art and Submissions from artists will be posted here.
"What is the price of wisdom?"
by Jazre (2022)
Cherry blossom in layton, UT this spring^
C'est bon tu m'as eu, c'est moi narracisoric
C'est pour ça que j'ai créé le site
Je veux dire de la merde
Écouter de la musique
bâtir des connexions
Mais je suis un vrai négro
Donc je sais que c'est difficile de l'admettre
que je fais la bonne chose
By Ok Waleed (2022)
Tape by Bayleaf
The final bell rang. The signal that I was late for health class. Only one more hour until lunch. I made my way down the hall and found my seat in the back of my middle school classroom. Our instructor had a video for us to watch today. An hour of dark relaxation, a welcome respite from the glaring fluorescent lit hallways. The humming buzz of the lights switched off, and the talking died down from the classroom full of students. It was dark and quiet now.
The video displayed a pleasant looking woman with dark hair giving a talk to an audience full of teenagers. She started with an analogy. “Imagine, if you will, a piece of tape. you stick it to an object, and it works. Now imagine peeling the tape off and attempting to attach it to several more things. The tape becomes less and less effective each time, doesn't it?”
She came to her conclusion and stated that the piece of tape was representative of one's chastity. And the more often you gave yourself away the less effective your bond would become with each partner. How could a person ever expect to have a healthy bond with their future spouse when they'd used up their tape?
As the video played, I was shifting in my seat. The discomfort in the pit of my stomach growing into an ache.
Over time I came to discover that I was that “piece of tape”. When my peers looked at each other, especially the girls among us, on some level we all saw pieces of tape.
When you heard whispers that so-and-so did things in the back of her car with what's-his-name. Tape.
When my friend wasn't nice to me anymore after I let him explore me.
When teen boys shout jokingly “No means yes!”
When you heard the coolest boy in the drama club held down and touched another female student.
I got older and I’m still trying to shake off the feeling that I’m tape. That my value lies in how I'm used. A tool to accomplish something. I wonder how many of us never corrected our thinking. How long did it take for everyone in that health class to discover that their sexuality wasn't something to be taken or given? But a beautiful part of our human existence.
Unfortunately, this idea is far from the only harmful concept being taught in abstinence only sex ed classes. Teachers in some states are not allowed to give students information on contraceptives, they are not allowed to answer questions about homosexuality, they emphasize the dangers of engaging in sex and tell you the only sure way to protect yourself is to abstain. When bill H.B.177 was brought to Utah legislators, a bill that would have expanded sex ed to involve consent education, the bill was shot down. (Villarreal and Evelyn, The Guardian, 11 Feb. 2021)
I can’t imagine how differently my life could have played out, especially in my earliest sexual experiences, if myself and my peers had been properly informed on the importance of consent and respect. If we had been instructed on the idea that sex is normal, healthy, and should be fun and enjoyable. Maybe I and so many others wouldn’t feel like tape. Nothing could ever be so much the opposite from that painful analogy. Comparing us and our experiences to a thin plastic piece of sticky nothingness. We are not tape.
Villarreal, Alexandra, and Kenya Evelyn. “Utah Rejects Bill That Aimed to Teach Consent in Sex Education Classes.” The Guardian, 11 Feb. 2021, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/11/utah-sexual-education-bill-curriculum.
A very short story by vicecream