What year is it? Just wondering, because the Fort Lauderdale Black Police Officer's [sic] Association, along with the City of Fort Lauderdale's Parks & Recreation Department, is sponsoring a program described as "Etiquette and Purity for Girls" as part of its annual Teen Summit this Friday, May 24.
From the Facebook page promoting the event: "This community outreach event will offer teenagers exciting and engaging presentations on topics such as Bullying, Life Skills, Etiquette and Purity for Girls, a Boys to Men session, and Police Interaction."
Seriously not mocking programs that promote abstinence -- that's an awesome choice and the only sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease (it can also help you raise a multimillionaire superstar child, a la Justin Bieber); but the "for girls" part was enough to raise a feminist's eyebrow. How come only the girls gotta be pure? In our culture, boys often get a pass -- or are even celebrated -- for being sexually active, while girls are frequently slut-shamed for it.
Not to worry, said one of the event organizers, Dellica Harris, who was reached by phone and chuckled. She confirmed that there is an abstinence education component to the program -- but it will be taught under the "Life Skills" session by county health department staff -- and both boys and girls can sign up for it.
She said that a female police officer and a female with the Urban League would teach the "Etiquette and Purity" lesson for girls, covering "like, proper etiquette when it comes to dressing, eating... etiquette, period. Dressing for an interview, how to wear undergarments with certain clothing. Some kids don't even know that when you wear white clothing, not to wear black underwear!"
Another organizer, in an e-mail, said they would "discuss the importance of personal hygiene, proper dress attire for different occasions, proper language usage, character (self-image & self-esteem) and developing into the "Total Young Woman.""
Harris said the Boys to Men session would be about "how to dress for success, helping them develop skills on how to become a productive man."
There will also be dancing, basketball, and free lunch. The event takes place at the Joseph C. Carter Park from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
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