Last night Channel 4 broadcast the latest edu-documentary, ‘Sex in Class’. Goedele Liekens, a Belgian sexologist delivered her programme of sex education at the Hollins Technology College in Lancashire. Armed with her vagina cushion and plasticine, she had 2 weeks to work with 13 students. She explored how pornography influences the pupils, both their behaviour and the expectations they have; she discussed masturbation and anatomy; and looked at relationships within families and with partners. It was brilliant. Her direct approach and understanding of what the pupils have experienced gained the respect of the pupils. Her shock at what the pupils didn’t know and hadn’t been taught was evident.
Something really needs to happen with sex education in our schools. Of course it’s a matter for our whole society, but schools are a significant part of that. It’s clear that adults in this country have no idea what our children are watching. The statistics on the programme show that 83% of children have watched porn online by the time they’re 13, and more than half view it regularly. Let me be clear. This porn isn’t the free 10 minutes at midnight stuff they put on satellite TV; this is hard-core, explicit, in-your-face stuff, and our children are normalised to this. They don’t have to look at the underwear pages of a catalogue to get their kicks, they have more than they want of the proper stuff online.
I’ve tweeted this in the past – Russell T Davies has written about this beautifully in ‘Screwdriver’ an online spin off from Cucumber on Channel 4. I would have every parent and every teacher watch this. It’s 15 minutes and the message is perfectly clear. Go on. Watch it. If you’ve seen it before, watch it again. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/cucumber/videos/all/screwdriver?cntsrc=4od (The irony of parental guidance notices)
I was aware of ‘Sex in Class’ because I had seen Goedele on This Morning talking about the project and taking part in their phone in. I was impressed by what she was saying but equally I was disappointed at the reaction of presenter Eamonn Holmes. I know that presenters are there in part to play the role of devil’s advocate and there’s nothing wrong with challenging what she’s trying to do, but the way he attacked her point of view came from a much more personal place. He’s not the only one to have these views of course, and the predictability of the professionally outraged in the media will be a reason for commissioning the programme. What I find frustrating is the assumption that people will find what Goedele is doing shocking. What I find most shocking is the naivety of the public as to what is happening.
Goedele wants to use her work to develop a GCSE in sex education and at the end of her course the pupils sat an exam. We saw her meet with Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the government’s Select Committee on Sex Education to discuss the content of sex education in schools. She set him straight on a few facts and stressed the importance of age appropriateness and pupils learning about sexual pleasure. He was so far out of his comfort zone that we witnessed the ridiculous situation where she’s talking to the chairman the Sex Education Select committee and he’s unable to talk about sex. He bumbled through a question about where the clitoris is and by the end of their meeting was declared as an Advocate for Sexual Pleasure.
The solution to all this is not to get rid of porn. We can’t. What we need to do is educate. We need to get over this uncomfortable, British attitude from government down. We can’t pretend it’s not happening. 10 year olds no longer cuss each other by calling each other a wally, they tell each other to ‘suck their mum out’. Obviously it’s not all of them, but it’s real and we need to do our part to educate. As Goedele so frequently stated; we can’t stop them from accessing online porn so we need to act to counterbalance this with facts and information across every aspect of sex and relationships education. I really hope the right people were watching.
Make up post! No education mumbo jumbo, pure self indulgence and something I know my favourite Margo will enjoy.
So here’s what’s in my make up bag at the moment:
Eyebrow pencil – Body Shop: 03 Brow Definer – Dark Brown
Eyelid primer – ELF: Sheer
Eyeshadows – MAC: Star Violet; ELF (a creamy colour. They don’t seem to do it anymore)
Eyeliner – Boots Natural Collection: Black eyeshadow – Midnight
Highlighter/Blending – Boots Natural Collection – Butterscotch
Concealer – ELF: (Tone Correcting) Rosey Beige
Mascara – ELF: Volume Pumping Mascara – Black
Lipliner – ELF: Mineral Lip Liner – Peachy
Lipgloss – ELF: Hypershine Gloss – Bubblegum
Blusher – ELF: Baked Blush – Peachy Cheeky
Bronzer – Too Faced (palette) – Snow Bunny, Sun Bunny, Pink Leopard
Brushes – Body Shop and EcoTools
I’ve used the Body Shop eyebrow pencil for 15 years. I know this because I bought the first one just before we all went to Tenerife after our A levels. It’s a perfect combination of being firm enough not to crumble but soft enough to be blendable and avoid sharp lines. I’ve tried a couple of other types but they’ve always either looked very harsh or rubbed off. I do however have a lid for it with an in-built eyebrow brush that I’ve taken from a different brand. Even for something I use everyday, I always think £8 seems a horrendous price for a pencil, so last time Body Shop had a 50% sale I bought 3. They last forever so expect to never have to buy another one again.
Eyelid primer is something that I really don’t know how I lived without. Eyes are my thing. I love playing with eyeshadow and always have. For a no-crease, well blended, lasts-all-day-and-night eye, you need a good primer. I’ve tried a few over the years and found my favourites. My first was the Urban Decay Primer Potion £16 – expensive but lasts a good while, especially if you only use it for nights out and special occasions. This is my favourite product-wise. It’s a great texture and has perfect coverage for me, but the downside is the price. Not an every day use sort of price. Another in the expensive category is the MAC Prep+Prime Eye, £13. This one I don’t get on with. It’s very oily and doesn’t seem to dry very well – for something that’s supposed to stop creasing, it creases all by itsself. I’m not a fan.
In my hunt for a good but slightly cheaper primer I was introduced to ELF (Eyes, Lips, Face). You can see from my list above that ELF feature heavily and I promise you that once you’ve gone ELF you will both love me and hate me in equal measure. Big tip here, they are cheap, but wait for them to have an offer on before buying, They have frequent 20%, 30%, 50% off offers so keep an eye out. The ELF Eyelid Primer £1.95 is cheap and a brilliant product. It has a spongey aplicator but I use my finger. It’s slightly thinner than the UD one, but at a fraction of the price it’s worth waiting an extra second for it to dry. The colour doesn’t alter eyeshadow colour and it lasts pretty much all day and night. Perfect.
Eyeshadows are also my favourite. I’m not a snob. Any price will do – whilst more expensive will tend to have more pigment and go further, in my experience, price doesn’t always indicate a good texture. I could do a whole separeate post on eyeshadow so I’ll focus on a few I use regularly at the moment. When doing eyeshadow I tend to use two colours, a main colour and either a darker shade for depth, or a lighter shade for highlight (depending on the main colour). At the moment, my everyday colour is MAC Star Violet £13 on the outside of my eye, blending into a paler colour (the ELF one they don’t do anymore) on the inner corner.
I use a black eyeshadow (£1.79) for liner – I find it blends well and I don’t have to be precise. It’s worth saying that the brush s important here, you need a brush with a good shape so that the liner doesn’t invade the whole lid.
Once everything’s on, I use a nude eyeshadow (£1.79) to highlight under my eyebrows and blend the edges of coloured eyeshadow. This removes harsh lines and softens everything.
I have bizarre eyelashes that stick in all directions and hate me. They hate me so much that I have to use eyelash curlers and mascara every day and even then they’re still evil. Especially the left eye. I’m not particularly precious about mascara either, although I favour a thick wand rather than a scratchy thin one. At the moment I’m on an ELF Volume Pumping Mascara (£3.95) but I have been going through small sample-size ones that have come as free gifts and as long as they aren’t flaky and clumpy then I’m happy.
I always wait until my eyes are done before putting any sort of foundation or concealer on. I only wear foundation for nights out and special occasions and I find the (again) ELF Tone Correcting Concealer (£1.95) is PERFECT as an in between. It’s cheap enough to use a reasonable amount every day and gives good coverage. It’s forgiving of different skin tones but one of the beauties of ELF is that you can afford to try a few colours out and pick one you like. When I do an ELF order I stock up on primer and tone correcting concealer always.
I’m a bronzer girl when it comes to cheeks. My favourite is my Too Faced pallette (about £20 years ago when I got it) with the Snow Bunny most of the year and Sun Bunny/Pink Leopard when I’m a bit more sun kissed. I go for the classic ‘3’ shape on my face and I like this brand because there’s a bit of sparkle but I don’t look like a glitter ball. Due to the cheap, can-afford-to-try-everything nature of ELF, I have started using their baked blusher in Peachy Cheeky (£3.95) which I really like. It’s more subtle than the Too Faced but this is good for a bit of pink with the bronzer and for all year round. Sometimes baked products are a bit hard and fairly useless but this has been good for me.
I don’t bother too much with lips. I buy all the lipglosses and all the lipsticks but they never last for long so anything with more than a hint of colour tends to take a back seat. My current favourite lip glosses are ELF, of course, in Bubblegum at the moment (£1.95). I also really like their mineral lip liners (£3.50) in Peachy or Rose for a bit of a matt stain that doesn’t leave a weird tide-line when it’s half rubbed off.
So, all that’s left is the brush collection. I have a few old faithfuls – the Body Shop ones I use for eyeliner and highlighter. I like the wooden handles and they haven’t sold those for years. I use the Too Faced bronzer brush with anything cheeky. It’s soft and a good shape. My newest brushes are EcoTools that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. I like these a lot – bamboo handles win with me and the brushes are robust. I never seem to use brushes for their named purpose and I use my fingers a lot too, but I don’t think that matters.
As I said, I use a lot of different eyeshadows so whilst this all seems a bit neutral in colour, I have a wider palette that I use regularly. Maybe I’ll get round to writing about those at some other time.