Friday, May 14, 2010

Fantastic WW2 sex ed film for soldiers

This film shown to World War II soldiers is already better than any official abstinence-only (a-h criteria compliant) education curriculum. The message is do not have sex, but if you do, use a condom, and it shows a condom and then tells how to put it on, and do not drink so much that you are careless. And then it closes with the typewritten message on the screen, "Do not be so weak as to let some ignorant individual persuade you that you must seek sex relations to be a good sport. If you follow his advice, you are only being a fool."

Short and to the point, and an easy substitute for weeks-long curricula. And this was before there was even effective treatment for either syphilis or gonorrhea. (And before we were aware of chlamydia, herpes, and HPV.) Interestingly, the film was made in 1941, or either in the 24 days after the US declared WW2 or prior to entering WW2. Either way, it's clear that the army clearly anticipated that STIs can be a major problem, and it knew that it had to prevent STIs as much as possible, rather than waiting for them to come up. Unfortunately, there is no such common unifying impetus to prevent STIs today.

Policy proposal: given that some idealize the times before the sexual revolution, states that are reluctant about giving modern comprehensive sex education should limit themselves to material produced by state and federal government bodies prior to the sexual revolution. The vintage government films that I've seen are more practical and factual than the abstinence-only curricula that I've seen.

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