Women’s Empowerment, with Jessica Biel and Saundra Pelletier by Larkin Oates

image of woman with outstretched armsThe last election has provided some of us with a spike of emotions. Me? I have been tearing up magazines for a bit of art therapy through collage. I enjoy ripping the slick pages when I am frustrated, and gluing found words and imagery onto canvases. Then, I watch as subconscious expression slowly unfolds.

During my last shredding session, I found, buried amongst ads of an old Glamour, a section called News and Politics. The article featured a project by celebrity Jessica Biel and Saundra Pelletier, founder of WomanCare Global.

Their collaboration began when Jessica admitted to Saundra that when she and Justin Timberlake decided to have a child, she had been on the pill so long she did not know the nuances of her cycle in relation to fertility. Similarly, Pelletier’s admits that in her small hometown, a girls’ focus was on the boy she would marry and how many babies she wanted. “Understanding how their body worked to make those choices wasn’t talked about.”

Biel and Pelletier’s efforts culminated in funny, and intelligent sex ed. videos (Perhaps not rated G) to dispel myths, empower women with knowledge, and prevent unwanted pregnancy.

With actresses Whitney Cummings, and Joy Bryant, some of the video sketches are called, “If you don’t tell them, who will?” One such snippet shows two presumably prep schoolgirls talking. One girl is clearly sharing misinformation given to her by her boyfriend. Yikes!

I wonder how many women in the U.S, received education about their period and the biology of their bodies by default or from their peers?  It seems that traditionally, largely male state legislatures have decided it is taboo for girls to learn about their bodies in school. Therefore, “sex education” is only required in 22 states in the U.S. This is in part evidenced by the fact that 47% of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. One might think we were still a developing country!

Such classes aren’t, as some would have us believe, about how to do, “It”. Perhaps more states could simply call the classes “Health,” and include information about nutrition, staying fit, and using deodorant. Therefore, in the other 28 state legislatures, providing information in class to help kids navigate their bodies might seem less threatening.

“There is power and dignity in understanding your body.” Pelletier

Sex Ed, Unfiltered: How Actress Jessica Biel and Activist Saundra Pelletier Are Helping Women Know Their Bodies. By ERIKA HAYASAKI, Glamour Magazine, SEPTEMBER 14, 2015


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