Two weeks ago the “Put On Something Sexy” flipbook was everywhere, the Health Services Center, the Counseling Center, even in the library had it (no doubt from a student who thought it should be put there) but last week it was nowhere to be seen. You have to go looking for it and even then the odds of finding one are skim. When asked the counseling services said it was removed because it was found to be offensive to some people. At first glance this could be seen as a valid reason, but I have a simple question to ask: So what?
Many people may not know this but we live in a region where HIV/AIDS is prevalent. The STOP HIV/AIDS Pilot Project has identified Prince George along with Vancouver’s inner city as priority regions that represent a majority of B.C.’s HIV cases as well as increasing rates of HIV/AIDS. We are constantly seeing posters, banners, and advertisements at the UNBC campus as well as bus stops, TV and clinics about the importance of being tested and using protection and prevention methods. This may seem like an over saturation of the message if the situation was different that what it is: that 25 per cent of the people who are HIV-positive are unaware of their diagnosis.
So with all this information I go back to my first assertion, so what if you find the “Put On Something Sexy” flipbook offensive. In the paraphrased words of Stephan Fry as circulated on Facebook “I find that offensive” has no meaning, has no purpose and has no reason to be respected, it is nothing more than a whine. The flipbook is a sexual health handout for people who WANT to take it and should be available to them. It has a valid message and many of the students at the university campus do not find it offensive. They instead pass it around to other students because it is worth seeing and most importantly, an interactive remember-able form of media they haven’t seen in a very long time.
Now some may say that the offense wasn’t about the message of the flipbook but instead about its pornographic nature. In this case it is a judgment of opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I would just like to remind people that no one is forcing you to pick up this flipbook. The cover clearly shows two naked people in the midst of a sexual interaction, a fair representation of what is inside. At this point the onus is on you, the person picking up the flipbook, to decide whether you want to keep looking or put it back.
If being offended is all that’s needed to make things in the university change, I’m sure more students are offended at the high tuition rates, and even more at the fact that those high tuition rates don’t seem to transfer to the UNBC campus where certain washrooms have had broken toilets for the past year and every winter there is a dripping leak right beside the cashiers office, complete with its own bucket. Why aren’t those things at the university being changed to appease the students but when it comes to our sexual health and wellbeing everything can be thrown out the window to get no complaints.
So here is where I voice my opinion. I am offended that my sexual health education is considered second to someone else’s modesty. Most importantly I’m offended that information that could potentially save me from a lifelong treatment regimen is being held from me.
By Leila Maheiddinibonab