If you didn’t catch Part I of this phenomenal interview, then you turn your horse right around this instant and go check it out.
You’ve heard them…. you’ve probably told them: stories that happened to a friend of a friend (FOAF) or to your sister’s teammate’s fiance, or your mom’s friend who works in the ER saw it happen to a patient. Or maybe you heard it happened to a famous person but their publicists are just being quiet about it.
Or maybe you know it’s not true, but you think it’s a funny story. This is the world of folklore, urban legends, gossip and jokes. They may be based in something true, inspired by a misunderstanding of real events or they may be outright fiction that spreads because they are simply too outrageous, scary, sexy or scandalous to let alone. And we can learn a lot about ourselves by the folklore we share: our beliefs, our fears and the messages we want to spread to others.
Enter Dr. Elissa Henken who teaches folklore at the University of Georgia. Along with her sister, Dr. Mariamne Whatley, a health educator, she wrote Did You Hear About the Girl Who…?: Contemporary Legends, Folklore, and Human Sexuality. It examines the stories about human sexuality that we share. From these tales we can ascertain what people believe and fear about sex so that we can be better educators and get accurate information out there.