Thursday, December 02, 2004

Abstinence only

I always figured abstinence-only programs would have some problems. Here's the proof, via Slactivist: a well-researched (unlike the programs he discusses) report on the sketchy stuff in many abstinence curricula.

Aside from the usual lies about condom failure, I'm pretty disturbed to see that schools are teaching Victorian-era gender mythology to kids. For example, one of the books includes a story about a princess that tells 'her knight' the best way to kill a dragon. I'll let the text take over:

Moral of the story: 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.
Well, it's never too early to teach girls to be meek and submissive. If you're from 1875, that is.

And, because I don't think I could put it any better, this is Lean Left's take:

The people doing this are actually and in the literal sense of the word evil. They are deliberately telling lies to children, and doing so in a way that denies these kids the accurate information thy need to maintain their health. As an added bonus, they are also told lies about gay teenagers -- lies that serve no other purpose than to smear gays and create a false image in teenagers minds about homosexuals. Apparently, the people who run these programs don;t like gays, and cannot stand the fact that today's youth are more tolerant towards gays than they are.
As I understand it, this is more or less accurate. The new marxist paradigm of right-wing christianity proceeds from the notion that a thick self (ie, all of the traits we identify ourselves with, as opposed to a 'thin self' that would be some metaphysical soul or something) is roughly determined by the education we're given as kids. Not so interesting so far, but they also tend to include a linguistic critique that mirrors the Foucauldian and Althusserian arguments that the words we use to think about problems are ways-of-world-making. To put it in the meme-du-jour, it's critical to 'frame' the issues and to interpellate Christian subjects early and often into semantic paradigms that will determine later ethical thinking.

As Althusser wrote: "All ideology has the function of 'constructing' concrete individuals as subjects." That seems to me to capture what's going on here.