Given the often opaque, often misleading/criminally under-informing, and frequently just plain non-existent sex education classes and resources in the United States, I am quite interested in the forthcoming sexual education video which will be unveiled here in Iceland on Wednesday. This video will be notable for several reasons:
- It is called “fádu já” which can be translated as “Get Some Yes!” (I’m pretty sure that this is a pun, combining sex positivity with a push for young people to be conscious of needing to obtain sexual consent. See below…)
- It is directed by Icelandic pop singer and DJ Páll Óskar (written by authors Brynhildur Björnsdóttir and Þórdís Elva Þorvaldsdóttir).
- As far as I can tell, the purpose of the film is not to convey your basic ‘birds and bees’ information, but rather, (this per The Reykjavík Grapevine): “…to explain the difference between sex and violence, examine the affects that porn has on human sexuality, dispel misconceptions about sex and encourage self-respect in relationships.”
- The gist that I am getting from this article on mbl.is is that the video was commissioned by both the Welfare Ministry and the Ministry of Education and Culture as part of awareness initiatives related to the sexual abuse of minors and sexual consent. (There is actually a 17 page manual related to the video already on the Ministry of Welfare’s website, here, in Icelandic.) It is also worth noting that this video is being created to complement the efforts of the non-profit group Blátt Áfram, a child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention organization in Iceland, which, in conjunction with the Icelandic Puppet Theater, has developed a puppetry-based program on child sexual abuse awareness, education, and visibility which it performs at schools around rural Iceland. It is also worth pointing out that all of this is happening in the wake of a very high profile child sex abuse case here in Iceland.
- Fáðu já will be shown in every primary and secondary school in the whole country on January 30. Now, the age breakdown of schools in Iceland is different than in the U.S., but I still think this means that the video will be shown to a pretty wide age group. When they are all adults, every school kid from this generation will probably remember not “The Miracle of Life,” (or whatever the Icelandic equivalent is) but rather, a famous DJ’s sexual violence/consent awareness video.
- On January 30, to coincide with the screenings in schools, the twenty minute video will also be broadcast in its entirety online, with subtitles available in English, Polish, Spanish, Danish, Tagalog, and Icelandic.
Okay. So I will clearly be watching this on January 30, and reporting back to those of you who do not get the chance/don’t want to watch this yourselves. But should you be interested, I’ll give you the link of the official website right now: http://faduja.is/ There is a preview of the video available on that website now, but word to those who are either at work or take offense at/are squeamish about youthful sexuality: this may not be your cup of tea.
Please note, x2: the preview video makes a pretty abrupt shift from happy teen sexy stuff to pretty serious–albeit brief–representations of violence. So bear that in mind before watching. I think one of the most interesting things about seeing this video on Wednesday will be getting a sense of what kinds of images and subject matter state-sponsored educational programs share and discuss with children here in Iceland. No doubt it will be much different that what is generally shown to/discussed with kids in educational environments in the United States.