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Saturday, October 16, 2021
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Why vagina cupcakes are essential to ‘Sex Education’: A hearty review of Netflix’s new season

Recently, Netflix came out with their third and final season of “Sex Education,” a show in which the son of a sex therapist starts a commercial “sex education” clinic at his school in order to subsidize the crappy education the school gives. Touching on subjects as common as the pressure to lose one's virginity to things such as Vaginismus, the show truly accomplishes what its leading character Otis seeks to do: educate teenagers about the subjects they thought were taboo. Rotten Tomatoes says the new season is as “raunchy and riotous as ever,” but even with its shockingly explicit scenes and British setting, the show is much more socially valuable than another raunchy go. 

Probably the wildest installment of the show yet, with the most strange twists, this season is particularly important in that it examines a fair amount of more nuanced topics and gives representation to so many different situations and groups, even more so than before. With the current nomination of a Supreme Court packed with conservative judges, Texas’ passing of harsher laws regarding women's reproductive rights, and general women’s and LGBTQ+ rights issues cropping up all around the world, this fresh take on relationships and sexual health is a vital thing to be put into the world. 

The season begins with Moordale getting a new principal after the scandal of season two. Hope, the new principal, seems cool and relatable at first, but quickly she turns darker and darker, engaging in the extreme emotional abuse of some students. Obviously somewhat satirical in nature, her character still highlights the false ideas that educators have about children in schools all over the world. 

Hope returns the school back to supporting abstinence only and creates gender segregated sex ed, causing a mass panic about sexual fears. She attempts to crush the leading characters’ spirits, refusing to give proper information, not allowing nonbinary and transgender students to wear and participate in the identities they feel most comfortable with and instituting uniforms and strict school guidelines on student productions and clubs. Obviously, this results in a spicy rebellion, but you’ll have to watch to find out the conclusion. 

In response to this, students discuss how harmful bad sex education is, as well as echoing a pro-choice sentiment. We also get to see transgender students bonding together and establishing that gender is a social construct, and that being allowed to present comfortably is essential to success. Lastly, individuality — even in a vulgar manner — is emphasized, with Lily struggling to feel okay with raunchy creativity, the “wall of pensises” being painted over and replaced with something else and students performing their own, out of school drama pieces. 

Aside from this, the season also touches on a sexual assault case with Aimee, and her ability to genuinely  talk through it in a positive way and not be shamed for it, as well as her boyfriend being supportive and caring throughout it all. This is an important thing for young minds to see: sexual assault is not the victims’ fault at all. 

Differing LGBTQ+ perspectives are also seen in not only the nonbinary and transgender representation, accompanying  season two’s excellent portrayal of asexuality. Eric goes to Nigeria, despite fears of homophobia there, and finds  confidence in himself after being exposed to a broader range of LGBTQ+ identities. Adam also struggles with being perceived as gay and working through toxic masculinity issues. 

Even adults get a toehold in this season, as we see Adam's dad struggle with his divorce, his mom becoming more comfortable in her sexuality and our star therapist Jean struggling as an elderly parent with a new partner. There truly is something for everyone. 

Overall, this season was a much needed loud, aggressive endeavour into how truly in need of self expression and safe education our modern teenagers are. It catches your eye and forces you to pay attention to needed social lessons about topics most, even those who agree, are afraid to breach. Featuring — obviously — a central titular romance, explicit wild situations and even positive information about kinks and sexting, there is still room for a soft nonbinary discovery scene, cute friendships and vagina decorated cupcakes. Of course, we’d love to see more, but the effect of this show being out on television now is phenomenal. Keeping teenagers in the dark is never good, and this show in its final season highlights it all. 

Final Grade: A

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