Sex Ed: Film, Video, and the Framework of Desire

Overview

In a 1914 movie, Damaged Goods, a doctor shows a character the horrific effects of venereal disease. In contrast, many of today's sex ed videos encourage viewers to realize their sexuality more fully as a source of pleasure. In Sex Ed, Robert Eberwein demonstrates how films and videos used for sex education have provided a complex ideological framework in which questions of sexuality, gender, and race are compellingly foregrounded.

Eberwein starts his investigation in the silent...

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Overview

In a 1914 movie, Damaged Goods, a doctor shows a character the horrific effects of venereal disease. In contrast, many of today's sex ed videos encourage viewers to realize their sexuality more fully as a source of pleasure. In Sex Ed, Robert Eberwein demonstrates how films and videos used for sex education have provided a complex ideological framework in which questions of sexuality, gender, and race are compellingly foregrounded.

Eberwein starts his investigation in the silent and early sound eras with educational films used both to warn audiences about venereal disease and to provide basic contraception information. World War II movies, he states, waged their own war against venereal disease-in the armed services and at home. Newer works deal with birth control and focus in particular on AIDS.

Sex Ed also highlights the classroom. Eberwein draws connections between the earliest and most recent examples of educational films as he analyzes their ideological complexity. He concludes by examining marriage-manual films of the early 1970s and very recent videos for couples and individuals seeking instruction in sexual techniques to increase pleasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Whether used in schools or special-interest settings, sex education films are generally associated with more contemporary times. But Eberwein (film, Oakland Univ.) traces their roots back to the World War I era, when the army used them as cautionary lessons on venereal disease. In sections including army training, public school instruction, and adult education, Eberwein aims to study this cinematic topic for the social, historical, racial, cultural, and gender questions it raises. He analyzes content, focus, subtle messages (e.g., sexual dominance suggested by male narration), and changing attitudes and issues (teenage pregnancy, masturbation, homosexuality, and AIDS). The titles themselves run the gamut, from the 1914 feature Damaged Goods (about the dangers of syphilis) to such films as The Birth of a Baby (1938), Egg and Sperm (1968), and Becoming Orgasmic (1993). Eberwein has done extensive research, and his conclusions should be of special interest to film students and those interested in the historical and sociological contexts of sexuality.--Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813526379
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 The Initial Phase, 1914-1939 15
Narrative Venereal Disease Films 16
Expository Venereal Disease Films 41
Birth Control, Eugenics, and Maternity 53
Ch. 2 World War II and the Attack on Venereal Disease 63
Training Films 64
Domestic Films 86
Ch. 3 Youths and Their Bodies 102
Informational Works 106
In the Schoolroom 113
Narratives 134
Animation 147
Ch. 4 Films and Videos for Adults, 1946-Present 150
STDs: Venereal Disease 150
STDs: AIDS 162
The Miracle of Birth 172
Birth Control 175
Ch. 5 Learning about Pleasure 181
Marriage-Manual Films and Other Works of the 1970s 184
Recent Sexual Self-Help Videos 192
Afterword 214
Notes 217
Films and Videos Cited 235
Works Cited 243
Index 257
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