Today in Official Sexism Promotion in Texas

I had to clarify we’re talking about today, because yesterday, we were talking about the City of Austin training on how to work with women once they defy all logic and expectations and manage to get elected to office.

Today, we’re talking about how the Houston Independent School District Health Curriculum apparently includes a unit on how girls should or should not react to when their male classmates pimp them out.

WHAT THE HELL, HISD? The only thing that will make you look worse than you already look for having something like this on a high school health assessment is if we find out that Pearson is getting paid for this, too.

I know, you think I’m overreacting or reading into it. But how do you interpret this question from the Health Education (High School) 2014-15 District Pre-Approved Assessment © HISD – Curriculum 2014?

HISD health assess fail

A friend received this photo from a student taking the test. The question says:

Tamika and Kayla were walking down the hallway of their school with Byron who had his arms around both of them. Byron saw two other males walking toward them and asked the two guys if they wanted to be with Tamika and Kayla? The boys responded by using profanity and laughing. The girls laughed also. Byron told the two boys they were missing out on a great opportunity. The girls continued laughing.

The girls displayed a lack of —

F  self-esteem

G  self-purpose

H  self-respect

I  all of the above

What, exactly, is being taught in these classes?

I struggle, so early in the morning, to analyze this in any meaningful way. Does this question mean the health class taught the healthy response you should have when someone tries to give you to another person who wants to get with you? Is there a unit on sex trafficking? On best practices for procurement of human flesh? Does “getting with” someone involve penetration, or does it just mean getting to second base?

There are critical questions to ask:

Where is the bar set, exactly, on these standards? What is being measured? Marketing skills?

Maybe there are some responses missing from the multiple choices. Perhaps if you go to the top of the next page, the options continue:

The girls displayed a lack of —

J  interest in hooking up with guys at all

K  concern that Byron didn’t realize the two guys were getting with each other

L  any ability whatsoever to give a fuck (literally)

L 1/2 any ability whatsoever to give a fuck (figuratively)

M  willingness to be responsible for educating yet another group of boys about the dynamics of agency and consent, because wasn’t that what the teacher was supposed to be covering

N  concern because Byron was their lab partner, and everyone knew Tamika and Kayla were the top students in chemistry, and everyone wanted to get with them on the upcoming science fair project, because it would pretty much mean a top grade, but the two other males took chemistry last year, and this year, were in physics, so weren’t competing in the science fair, and why would you even think this was about sex, you pervert

O  awareness about what was going on, because their “health” class did not contain any age-appropriate, medically accurate facts about healthy sexuality

P  shame, because everyone knows it is the ultimate rejection of your worth as a girl when dudebros can’t even pawn you off on other dudebros

HISD needs to come clean on what is being taught, and perhaps improve the curriculum. Because there are consequences for getting it wrong:

HISD teen birth rate 2011


We deserve better. Students deserve better. The responsibility rests upon the Superintendent, who needs to address community concerns and make sure dangerous sexist tropes aren’t being taught in place of age-appropriate, medically accurate health and wellness information.

Update: An HISD Trustee provided this information on Facebook:

This is from a health assessment. Locally written with questions submitted by teachers. This specific standard was HE.15A Apply communication skills that demonstrate consideration and respect for self, family, and others. They will replace with a better question and review processes in place for vetting these questions. I think the person who said: what about the boys? hit it on the head. I’ll ask to see the full assessment to ensure the other questions aren’t biased this way.

I would suggest an outside committee of experts—you know, with actual degrees and academic credentials, and not just asshats with anecdotes—review and evaluate the curriculum and assessment. Thanks to this trustee for acting so quickly.

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8 Responses to Today in Official Sexism Promotion in Texas

  1. Marie says:

    Ew! That question made me feel icky all over. What the hell? And the answers! Why isn’t there an option for kicking the guy in the balls? With diagrams, because health. Blecch. I can never unread that.

  2. Traquana says:

    I took the course last year and yes knowing that certain actions you take can show that you have a lack of something is an important part of the mental health. There were also questions pertaining to guys on the test as well.

    • Glad to hear from someone who took the class – at what high school? Certainly, it is important to discuss the fact that decisions have consequences, and to acknowledge that the goal of making choices should be making choices that one can be proud of and not feel ashamed about. This question, however, was very carelessly written. That carelessness raises questions about ways a possibly decent curriculum could be misinterpreted or twisted to reflect unhealthy attitudes about shaming and blaming girls for their sexuality, while making them feel responsible for boys’ behavior.

  3. AnnaT says:

    This is dreadful. At the same time, there could be a lesson about respect buried way, way, wayyyy down under the scolding and shaming – ie, girls, you don’t have to put up with this crap, and you don’t have to laugh about it, either. But of course, the answers given don’t provide any information, just the scolding.
    Tangentially, I’m also amazed that the boys were referred to as “males.”

  4. Drwe Palmer says:

    I have a bigger problem with the legend on the Zip Code infographic. How could UTHealth not have noticed is should be 25?

  5. Pingback: 6 Totally Dumbass Ways People Tried To Teach Gender Equality - funkrack

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