Words, photos, and sounds by Emily Powers
This past summer, I picked up the phone and called a friend who I talk to every week. This person is somebody who I had always admired and respected. The conversation took a weird turn when he told me about how he had a better chance at pursuing a hook-up interest if the other person was drunk, and so he was going to intentionally reach out to them when they were intoxicated. I told my friend that this was wrong, and he seemed genuinely confused. It dawned on me that he was never taught that this was something that is unacceptable. We ended up having a conversation about how this is predatory behavior. Even though I tried my best explaining and educating him on the situation, I still felt hurt and confused. It left a weird feeling in my stomach. This isn’t somebody who is an inherently bad person, this is just somebody who was uneducated, and was never taught about basic consent. There are so many people who are like him, and there are so many people who have been deprived of the education and the tools on not just consent, but a myriad of subjects pertaining to all things sex ed and health related. I had always known that the health education system was failing us, but it hit differently this time when somebody who I held in such high regard had such lack of awareness. I felt like I had to do something. I wanted to have more conversations.
Later that evening, I ran into a group of friends and told them about what happened. They were equally disappointed. I said, “If I weren’t studying fashion design then I’d totally be a sex ed teacher.” My friend Anna said, “Then why don’t you?” She was right. There was no reason I couldn’t pursue both fields. At this moment, Just FYI was born! I spent a week planning a lineup of all sorts of episode topics: STDs, body image and eating disorders, drugs, sexuality, gender, dating apps- the list goes on. The idea was to have a conversation about these given subjects with real people who have real experience dealing with them. I was tired of trying to find the answers to so many of my questions only to receive confusing and scary answers from overwhelming search results. I don’t think sex education needs to be scary, I think it can be approachable and fun.
With little experience with podcasts, I was nervous to pursue this alone, but my friend Sophia felt equally as passionate about the importance of this project. She offered to help and we recorded our first episode the following week. Today, Sophia produces and edits the podcast and I love and appreciate her beyond words.
This project would be nothing without the support, love, and encouragement that I have received from my friends. I told myself that even if one person listens and gains something from this then I’d be happy. It has only been one month (four episodes) but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m very thankful and I hope you all enjoy Just FYI.