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Exclusive: Outrage over 'porn film' pubic hair in GCSE textbook

Pearson faces backlash over diagram of pregnant woman with a 'Brazilian' landing strip

Pearson GCSE textbook shows woman with Brazilian

Pearson faces backlash over diagram of pregnant woman with a 'Brazilian' landing strip

A diagram of a pregnant woman with a "Brazilian" in a GCSE science textbook has sparked an angry backlash from teachers and parents.

The image of the naked woman with a "landing strip" of pubic hair appeared in Pearson Edexcel's International GCSE Human Biology, printed in 2017.

Twitter user @glaciuswhite23, who posted a photo of the image on the social networking site, said they were “disgusted” with Pearson for using it.   

Vivienne Porritt, co-founder and national leader of #WomenEd, said she was “shocked” to find this picture in a science textbook and called on the publishers to withdraw it.

“It’s extremely hard to understand why this was done and how it was passed by an editor and the publisher. I hope it wasn’t to indicate this is how all women and girls are meant to look in the 21st century,” she told Tes.


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“For both teenage girls and boys, this illustration will make them think this is how all girls look. The danger is the girls will feel ashamed they look different at best, with the [worst] case scenario being they will try to emulate this.

“It may encourage boys to ask girls if they have had a Brazilian. There is much evidence that girls are already victims of sexual harassment in schools and this image would add to that.”

Ms Porritt pointed to statistics showing that over a third of girls in co-ed schools say they have been sexually harassed, and the yawning gender pay gap in teaching.

“It’s not a big leap from showing a lack of value placed on women educators to this image suggesting women are seen as sexual objects to be curated for men,” she said.

Several parents have weighed in, with one using the moniker Funkyfunkybeat12 saying the image “depicts a woman with pubic hair that looks like it comes straight out of a porn film”.

“It may appear trivial, but it is definitely unhealthy,” added JellySlice in a thread on Mumsnet.

“This is part of the learning that gets drummed into girls about how disgusting they are, how they should be ashamed of themselves, how their discomfort is irrelevant to others.”

A spokesperson for Pearson said the image had been replaced when the textbook was reprinted in May of last year.

"Clearly, we did not mean to cause offence with the original version and we would be happy to provide the updated version free of charge to any student or teacher who would like a replacement,” said the spokesperson.

The furore comes not long after the government faced a backlash over an AQA-approved sociology textbook that included racial stereotyping of Afro-Caribbean communities.

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