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2.12.04

No Sex, All Patriarchy

Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says

Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis [led by Rep. Henry Waxman] has found.

... Some course materials cited in Waxman's report present as scientific fact notions about a man's need for "admiration" and "sexual fulfillment" compared with a woman's need for "financial support." One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."


More evidence for why Henry Waxman is my hero.

The misinformation about disease and contraceptive failure rates isn't surprising. The ideology of abstinence-only sees premarital sex as a bad thing in and of itself. Concerns about pregnancy and disease are just tools to appeal to the self-interest of people who won't sign onto their moral code. If those purely self-interested reasons aren't sufficient to motivate people -- which, given the advances in contraceptive technology, they usually aren't -- then exaggeration is a logical step. This is why, instead of trying to justify their misinformation, the abstinence-only advocates always retreat to the slippery slope argument that presenting a less alarming picture of safe sex would lead to kids having sex.

What is surprising is contained in the last paragraph -- such outright teaching of conservative gender roles (literally feudal, in this case, since we've got a knight marrying one of his obsequious serfs rather than the uppity woman who outranks him). I tend to be a bit skeptical of those who see all conservative sexual opinions as part of a deliberate patriarchy promotion agenda, but sometimes it hits you over the head.

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