Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Erler, H. Abbie
In the last decade, federally-funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have become an increasing feature of public high school sex education classes. This thesis examines how these programs construct a discourse about normative understandings of deserving and undeserving citizens. Through a content analysis of four such programs, I find that abstinence only programs, through their lessons about poverty, family structure, and sexuality construct the deserving citizen as a middle-class person who participates in the patriarchal family and reserves sexual activity for marriage. I argue that these programs are ultimately harmful to students because they construct a narrow definition of the ideal citizen at the expense of the people who do not fit into this mold. This education, which is a reflection of our broader societal attitudes, teaches students how to recognize and become the deserving citizen and avoid deviance.
Stevens, Lindsay, "Federally-funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs: constructing deserving and undeserving citizenship" (2010). Honors Theses. 35.