Sex Education earns a qualification in representation

Sex Education season 2 has finally dropped and it is bigger and better than anyone expected. Alongside a stellar cast, its comedic plot and brilliant one liners, Sex Education is possibly the best show on Netflix at the moment, and that is purely down to providing more representation and diversity than any TV show I’ve ever watched.

The show follows the trials, tribulations and sex related problems of the students at Moordale Secondary School. Season 1 focused on protagonist Otis, but season 2 works to include a wider range of characters, each with their own plot lines and appealing elements. Amongst the new characters in season 2 is the paraplegic actor George Robinson who plays Maeve’s trailer park neighbour Isaac. From the start of his introduction, I knew this season was going to epic as rather than just having any actor off the street playing a wheelchair-user character, Sex Education goes above and beyond with the disabled actor and it is truly heartwarming to see the representation. While other shows are often too afraid or believe it’s not worth the risk when it comes to acting decisions, Sex Education removes barriers and gives actors the chances they deserve to represent the reality of society.

Alongside actors, there is also representation in the plot that other shows fail to include. Alongside the fact that the school’s star athlete Jackson is the son of a lesbian biracial couple, something that is almost never represented on screen, the show features one of the main protagonists – Eric – as a proud and out gay man. And when we get to season two, we are given some asexuality representation, something that on TV and in film is very rare. When Florence turned up in the fourth episode, I was nervous because what little asexual representation I have seen, it is almost always inaccurate. And yet, I was shocked again at the way in which the show dealt with the sexuality that it almost had me in tears. Actually, that scene when Florence says she feels broken? I was sobbing.

We also have Lily (Tanya Reynolds) who is just a delight in every single way. The season 2 finale opens on a sex scene between Lily and Ola where we discover Lily has something called vaginismus. Now, until this show, I hadn’t even heard of vaginismus, never mind know what it is. But according to the NHS, “vaginismus is the body’s automatic reaction to the fear of some or all types of vaginal penetration.” And Sex Education does a brilliant job of showing that people with the condition can still have great sex lives. This is a show that opens up viewers minds about conditions we probably didn’t even know existed but all while portraying them in a comedic, but truly groundbreaking, accessible way to audiences that is true and accurate.

The way in which one by one, each character shares a story of assault, embodying female solidarity is by far the most emotive and powerful episode of the entire series.

What hit me the most this season was the story line that brought together the characters through Aimee’s encounter with a pervert on the bus. This is a story line that deals with sexual harassment and the trauma and anxiety associated with it. It explores the realities that women go through on a daily basis. And not only is it moving to watch and painfully relatable, it is also based on writer Laurie Nunn’s personal experience which makes it even more touching. The way in which one by one, each character shares a story of assault, embodying female solidarity is by far the most emotive and powerful episode of the entire series. It removes this pervading narrative and discourse surrounding female competition and manipulation, highlighting the issue of sexual violence hierarchies and the power of women in telling their stories.

Although I’ve only just touched the surface here, Sex Education is a show that has given us self harm, addiction, disability, sexual assault, bi/pan/gay and asexual representation all of which are dealt with in detail and development that is refreshing and empowering. It’s everything I’ve ranted and raved about for years, demanding TV to be more diverse, to represent society the way it is and finally, a show has come through. Thank you Sex Education.

Sex Education is a show home to diversity and comical reality

The overarching message Sex Education gives out through it’s representation and diversity is that no matter how different we all are, we must accept who we are and the differences between us because that is the reality of society. Sex Education is a show home to diversity and comical reality, the type that makes you smile at the screen as you realise that holy shit, this show really knows what we want and how to represent this in the right way. There aren’t many marks that Sex Education misses and I’m already impatiently waiting for another season.

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