Gender Essay

933 words - 4 pages

Long before the development of iconic male-dominated American culture, the ideals of a patriarchal society have been implemented within the foundations of multiple civilizations, serving to dictate the actions of its individuals under the black-and-white confines of social constructions like gender roles, gender binary, sex roles, and many other aspects of everyday life that are still present at this very moment. One of the most crucial elements of contemporary American society that these limiting patriarchal values have latched onto is the comprehensive sexual education of it's youth. Undoubtedly, those who need it most are almost always doomed to receive the short-end of the stick with the ...view middle of the document...

For the majority of time, their fear-inducing campaigns were unsuccessful due to hard evidence of the prosperity of health-focused comprehensive sex-ed, but in the 1980's, a budding epidemic began to quake beneath American feet, later sending shock-waves throughout the land that still reverberate to this very day. The Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) paired with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) released a plague of fear into every household; its origins were unknown, its manner of spread was debated, and there were no known pharmaceuticals to combat it—meaning once an individual contracted HIV and allowed it to develop into AIDS, the fatality rate was one-hundred percent within one or two years (Blattner, William, Robert C. Gallo 1). The need for comprehensive sexual education was as dire as it ever was, but instead of responding with an expansion of these informative programs, those who had been advocating for Abstinence-based education saw this as the perfect opportunity to play on the ignorance of the people in order to push their agendas; the voices of radical religious conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell were heard as they stated homophobic and untrue information about this disease, such as how it could be spread through “sweat, saliva, and tears” (Schlafly, Phyllis 4) as well as how it was “the wrath of a just God against homosexuals” (McElvaine, Robert S. 35). In short, this frightening and deadly virus allowed advocates for abstinence a means to legitimize their arguments by stating that the only way one could avoid contracting it was to avoid sexual contact altogether—until marriage. Thus in 1996, government support for abstinence-only and abstinence-only-until marriage programs grew at an alarming rate with the installation of the welfare reform law, which contained a purposefully inconspicuous mandate of fifty-million dollars a year in order to fund them (Howell,...

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