REPRESENTATION MATTERS!

Vulve-peinte- peau brune

To respond to the expressed needs of sex educators, SEX-ED + is developing new tools which represents darker skin toned genitalia.

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Since it’s beginning two years ago, SEX-ED + politic has been to not create tools with realistic skin tones. The idea behind this stance is that one can learn about genital anatomies and their diversity with blue, green and orange reproductions of genitalia…We felt that producing models with realistic skin tones could encourage discussions around damaging and erroneous racial stereotypes.

The only exception to this rule has been when the tools are used to teach sex-ed to folks living with learning disabilities and/or are on the autism spectrum, as this population have special needs and react better to more realistic looking material.

This politic was definitely challenged when SEX-ED + attended the National Sex Education Conference in Newark in April. Many sex educators of colors there deplored the lack of pedagogical tools representing non-white bodies and emphasized the need of diverse skin colors representations in sex-ed classrooms and workshops. Special thanks to Dr Wendasha, The Sensible Sexpert and to Melissa Pintor Carnegey from Sex Positive Families for their precious comments and insights on that matter.

SEX-ED + listened. Took notes. Learned how to paint silicone. And here it is, the first dark skinned vulva out of the workshop! There is still much to learn in terms of painting techniques, so models won’t be ready for sale before October. But in the meanwhile, we welcome comments so we can keep on developing the tools YOU NEED to do your really amazingly important job.

“Think about how it is so difficult to find anatomy pictures or anatomical models that feature skin tones that reflect people of color. We show up in spaces with whatever diagrams or pictures we have and tell a room full of youth of color that ‘These parts look like your parts,’ just to hear them say ‘No, those parts don’t look like mine,’ because the flesh tone is not the same. For some people, this might seem like an insignificant detail but representation matters. Representation matters in everything that we do. Youth of color need to see people who look like them showing up to teach lessons with culturally relevant resources. Trying to find ways to make these types of changes will help us address how race and racism play roles in sexuality education.” – Nakisha Floyd