January 27, 2022

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Lesson of the Day: ‘Sex Ed, One Instagram Post at a Time’

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Note to Teachers: The article on which this lesson plan is based openly discusses sexuality and sex education. Please read it and the lesson plan before deciding if the content is appropriate for your students.

Featured Article: “Sex Ed, One Instagram Post at a Time” by Mona El-Naggar and Sara Aridi

Activists in Arab countries have taken sex education into their own hands as they create online content to teach women about their bodies and sex. Doctors, parents and others are using Instagram posts, TikTok and YouTube to make sex education available to women who otherwise might not have access to it.

In this lesson, you will learn about an activist-led movement to educate women in Arab countries about their bodies and sex. Then, you will identify and dispel misinformation about sex and sexuality that you have heard.

In your journal, reflect on the following questions:

  • When and how did you first learn about your body, sex or sexuality?

  • Is sex something that is openly talked about in your home? What about at school or with friends?

  • How important do you think it is for young people to learn about sex from a trusted and reliable source?

  • At what age do you think schools should provide sex education for students?

Read or listen to the article, then answer the following questions:

1. Why was it important to Nour Emam and other activists to create online spaces where women could learn about sex and their bodies? According to these activists, why is the internet the ideal place for this kind of education?

2. What are some of the ways Arab states are behind in gender equality, reproductive health and sexual education? How does this activist-led movement aim to combat those gaps?

3. What are some of the taboos that activists are challenging and topics they are trying to educate women about? Do any of these topics feel similar to things you’ve learned about or discuss with family, teachers or friends?

4. What kind of pushback have some of these activists and advocates faced? What is your reaction to the critiques of their work? Do you agree or disagree?

5. How does Sarah el-Setouhy’s story demonstrate the impact of the work that Ms. Emam, and others, are doing?

6. How is Dr. Deemah Salem, a Dubai OB-GYN, attempting to reach more conservative Muslim women? What are some of the needs of her specific population? How does she attempt to address those needs through her work?

7. What is your reaction to the article? Do you think it has relevance for communities outside the Arab world? Why?

Make a list of myths, stereotypes and misinformation about sexuality and sex that you have heard from friends or on social media. Or you can think more generally of the questions you have about sex and sexuality.

Then, use one of the reliable sources below to respond to at least three of the myths or questions from your list with accurate information.

  • AMAZE: A website featuring short videos that provide medically accurate, age-appropriate, affirming and honest sex education for young people.

  • Sex, Etc.: A website published by Answer at Rutgers University and written by teens for teens with answers to questions about sex, relationships, pregnancy, S.T.D.s, birth control and sexual orientation.

  • Young Men’s Health and Young Women’s Health: Two websites published by Boston Children’s Hospital that provide teenagers with carefully researched health information to give them the tools to understand their health and development.

You can share what you learned by creating a one-pager with the myths on one side of the page and the facts on the other. Be sure to cite your sources.

Want more Lessons of the Day? You can find them all here.

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