education

Contraception & Sex Education

Though adolescent fertility rates have declined in the United States as well as nearly all western countries, the US rate is notably higher than most other western countries.  These changes are not due to how early and how frequently teenagers have sex.  Instead studies show contraception use and sex education have a significantly greater impact.

Unlike some other countries, the United States currently requires women to have an exam and receive a prescription before going to a pharmacy to get birth control pills.  In addition, conservative politicians and companies have pushed to not require coverage of contraception, with some arguing it will entice sexual activity.  Amy Schumer has parodied this process here as well as the following clip.

As to sex education, it is inconsistently offered and when available parents are able to opt out.

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Relative Deviance & Sex

Though there are objective and critical views of deviance, subjective views look at how deviance is constructed relative to cultural norms.  Deviance is then a behavior that is defined as deviant within a cultural context. 

In the United States, we tend to see violence and guns as more socially acceptable and sex as less socially acceptable than other industrialized countries.  In Texas, this line became clear when university students carried out a ‘Cocks not Glocks‘ protest, bringing sex toys around campus in protest of a new law allowing concealed weapons on campus.

dildo protest.jpgimage from Newsweek

The relative deviance of sex and sexuality can also be seen in how various countries rated the film Fifty Shades of Grey.

Gendered Toys

Various studies in sociology, psychology, and economics have shown toys for children are becoming increasingly gendered.  The toys children play with can shape their development and future interests.  Other studies have shown children prefer to play with toys marked for their gender.

The television show The Weekly covered the topic of gendered toys. If you have a VPN you can watch the following clip; if not it can be found here.  Update: Rey will not be added.

Incarceration v Education

Despite drops in crime, the number of prisoners in the US has continued to increase.  The US locks up more people per capita than any other country; we are 5% of the world population with 25% of the world’s prisoners.  The number of people in prison has quadrupled since 1980, currently roughly 1 in every 100 adults.  

Prison spending now costs states an estimated $80 billion annually, or $260 per resident.  In at least 40 states, more is spent annually to imprison an individual than to educate an elementary/secondary student.  The following chart can be found at CNN Money.

Education vs prison costs - CNNMoney.jpg