In a story on the book ‘Welcome to Sex’, Amy Remeikis writes in The Guardian:

The response to a sex education and consent book which was removed from the shelves of Big W stores shows how far Australia still has to go on sex education, a Senate committee inquiry has heard. Welcome to Sex, co-authored by the former Dolly Doctor and adolescent health expert Dr Melissa Kang and feminist writer Yumi Stynes, became the target of an online protest campaign. The book was pulled from shelves at Big W after staff members were abused.

I’m fairly done with the constant outrage in society today, the idea that we just need to be upset all day every day. It keeps journalists employed and right wing activist social media groups active. But I will say, I don’t want Luna or Goldie to stumble across this book in a bookstore without me there to guide them.

I have a theory that the problem with modern Australian society is that continue outsourcing jobs that families, humans, friends and partners should be doing. An example is there’s a guy in a Facebook group today hiring people to be friends with disabled kids and it’s NDIS funded. We’ve outsourced friendship to the Commonwealth. Even in COVID most didn’t understand that the reasons for the lockdowns and border closures is because we have outsourced out community wellbeing to the state, so their undertaking of the ‘contract’ is to minimise expenses.

As it is with this book, it’s a vendor looking to win the contract for the outsourcing of your parenting.

My worldview is that there are matters for the home, for the community, for the family, to deal with, fix, entertain, talk about.

An example is my controversial opinion that I don’t like abortion. I have no problem with liberal/progressive abortion laws, it’s good for it to be regulated and I don’t think people are just out there aborting babies like it’s a fun pastime, but ultimately - in my utopian vision for the world - I’d like to see no abortion. Instead as someone is presented with the crossroads where they would consider an abortion the community would help. If money was required, they’d help. If the baby needed parenting, we’d help. That there would be a personalised, tailored solution, involving community and family compromise that resulted in the baby being born and being loved. I’m aware that my utopia does not exist, but that’s just where I’d like to see society be. No need to @ me, I know that rape exists, there are medical quandaries, and sex protection doesn’t always work, but I’d really simply, almost blindly stupidly just love to see babies be born and be loved. It’s like a one in 400 billion chance that a baby would ever be born, I just don’t want to squander it.

So I have my utopian vision, and it’s about communities and families taking it upon themselves to care for and love the ones within. Of course Police and governance has its place, but we should take more responsibility in the home and in the community. If I see someone litter I call them out on it, and if they’re not there I pick the rubbish up and put it in the bin, that’s me.

So, back to the book.

The main problem I see with the book is that I don’t want my girls to pick it up, if I liked the books message, I would bring it to them. But the other problem in the story today is with the linking of the book and consent. It’s a long shot. Consent is important, should be deeply known, understood and respected by all people.

Chanel Contos, the founder of Teach us Consent, echoed those concerns. “Young people are learning about sex from pornography, which – a phrase I always use is that is basically like learning how to drive a car by watching Formula One,” Contos said.

If children are learning about sex from pornography - I’ll humbly admit that was my early “education”, not due to my own wants but a severe lack of parental input and presence (thanks mum and dad, didn’t mess me up at all) - the answer isn’t to put a children’s book about sex on shelves. Sure, make it available as a resource to parents who want to engage with that resource when they are ready to, but the gaping hole in Australian society today isn’t lack of resource, it’s leadership from parents, or as I like to call it: parenting.

Australians are parenting less and less. I can talk about this from my own experience, my mother walked out when I was five, my step-mother didn’t really like me, and my father worked often two to three jobs.

A former Channel V host should not have to parent my children, I don’t want Woolworths Group to parent my children, I want close to zero of the community group that identifies as politicians to parent my children, and regardless of education choices anyone makes the educators are not parenting our kids.

Parents need to parent. Families and communities need to step up. Parents are not the kids best mates. Parents are not caregivers or landlords. Parents are leaders, leading their kids from birth to greatness - of course that greatness does include a deep and loving understanding and respect of other people’s consent, and also an understanding of the concepts of sex, intercourse, dating, courting, etc.

We have a set of boundaries with our kids that we will not lie to them, we will not lead them astray, but we’ll also respect their need to play, rest, and learn at their speed.

I’ll let them learn about scissoring when their fragile-because-of-age minds can fully understand what it means. Not when they pick it up off a shelf in a book shop next to Paw Patrol.

Page from the Welcome to Sex book

I welcome resources like Welcome to Sex being made available as a resource for parents to introduce to children when they deem so, but please make a space in society for parents to parent their children in their own unique way. Don’t force our hands. We don’t live in a single-speed society. Our lives have a transmission, everyone’s driving at different speeds at different revs using different gears, on different roads, needing to operate at different gears. Making a book this graphic and forward available for my child to just to pick up isn’t the way.

Create space for parents to lead their children, and maybe they will?