Thursday, January 24, 2008

For Your Health?

I'm reading my brother's Health textbook, Glencoe Health, and finding it a little disturbing. The book is really pro-abstinence. How pro-abstinence? Well, I can't find "birth control," "contraception" or "condom" in the glossary. They're not even discussed.

In the chapter entitled, "Abstinence; A Responsible Decision," abstinence is defined as "a deliberate decision to avoid high-risk behaviors, including sexual activity before marriage..." Well, I prefer the definition of "any self-restraint, self-denial, or forbearance" (, but I suppose I can let that slide, even if I think "high-risk" does not necessarily describe premarital sex.

But later, the textbook explains, "One of the important benefits of abstinence is that it leads to healthy feelings of self-respect." Excuse me, I've been abstinent for 23 years and I can tell you, my self-respect is at an all-time low. So there.

The book continues, "Often, the fear of being caught leads teens who engage in such activity to begin lying to parents or others. This dishonesty can cause emotional trauma..." You know, maybe there's a reason adolescents become sexually active, maybe they enjoy it, and maybe that dishonesty might not be an issue in an open, accepting and informed family that advocates safe prevention. Maybe it's unhealthy to have an unrealistic expectation for sexual behavior. Why isn't this viewpoint explored?

This textbook has a very biased agenda and it's unfortunate my brothers' are receiving such an ill-informed, myopic "education."


SuiginChou said...

I look forward to reading Dan's reply.

Daniel said...

Haha, actually I would agree completely with Jay's assessment of that paticular textbook, of course I haven't proofread that one. One anecdote though (not sure if I've mentioned this before):

I was proofing a series we have on environmental science and I was blown away by how progressive and clear cut it's attacks on fossil fuels were. We had entire chapters discussing the value of wind and solar energy, and another on how America is the most dependent nation on fossil fuels and its effect on the environment. Suffice it to say it left me feeling proud and hopeful.

The interesting thing was actually in the end credits, in which the American Geological Institute thanks those who contributed to the production of this series; namely Exxon, Mobil, Enron, etc. I haven't worked up the nerve to ask my boss why these company's are giving money to a book that preaches the evils of their product, but I would suspect it is either:
a) legal obligation, or
b) part of a PR campaign where Exxon can say they've contributed so much money in investigating green energy sources.