“Sex Education” Season 3: filled with sex or filled with meaning?

Christie Lanfear, Staff Writer

This article contains spoilers.

Upon first glance, “Sex Education” is just another slightly crude teen comedy filled with sex, heartbreak and more sex. But beyond this facade, the show is actually cleverly written to highlight a plethora of current social issues and problems that todays’ teens are battling. Whether it be overcoming repressed self-expression or combatting a narrow-minded society, “Sex Education” explores the deep inner struggles and triumphs of its characters as they prepare for their journey outside of Moordale Secondary School. 

Throughout the third season, several new and old characters face repression from a new headmistress, Hope.  At first, the change in head teacher is a welcomed one, as the students are encouraged by her plan for getting the school back on track and escaping the “sex school” reputation that it built during the previous seasons. However, Hope’s enthusiasm soon transforms into destroying and changing parts of Moordale that are cherished by its students: the abandoned location of the infamous sex clinic is destroyed, art on the lockers is painted over and traffic is regulated in the hallways. 

The major issues begin, however, when students are asked to change their appearance in order to comply with Hope’s policy of professionalism, removing piercings, dyed hair and overly colorful clothing from the school environment. This naturally ruffles the feathers of students at the school, due to their sense of expression no longer being respected.

Just as our beloved characters think it couldn’t get any worse, it inevitably does. The new school rules were extremely narrow-minded and did not accommodate, or even consider, the needs of nonbinary students. By doing this, the show’s focus on repression takes on a whole new meaning. Moordale only has boys and girls bathrooms, causing changing rooms to be an environment of stress and anxiety. School run events ask students to separate into boys and girls, so where do students go if they do not identify as a certain gender? Events such as these cause us to empathize and understand the consequent anger that is expressed by the affected characters. This narrow-minded view in the school environment also includes Hope’s new sex education program, which is extremely homophobic and emphasizes abstinence over actually educating students about safe sex and other important topics.

The show’s true impact is in its portrayal of a group of determined individuals as they stand against a bully—that epitomizes an oppressive society—even in the face of retaliation. To battle Hope’s repressive new school rules, the characters come together to crash a publicity event, simultaneously thwarting Hope’s plan to reintroduce the school to the press and embracing Mooredale’s status as the “sex school.” Students 1, Hope 0. The students also support their fellow non-binary peers and encourage each other to face the bully leading their school, regardless of the consequences. 

Would one single character have been successful while facing the challenges in the third season of “Sex Education”? No, but together they triumphed.