thesis proposal

The goal of this work is to create a informational, illustrated, introductory sex education manual and guide to puberty. A series of books is an appropriate choice for my project because it is an object that can be easily handed to kids from their caretakers, it can be referred to at will, and can be digested per the reader's preference. This project calls for imagery that is both informative and entertaining, as it is speaking to kids 9-16 years old. I believe it is fundamental for individuals to have an understanding of their own and others' bodies. This would be beneficial because it would lead to a society with a deeper understanding and respect for one another.

I feel that abstinence only sex education is harmful to American youth. It is unrealistic for teens to abstain from sexual activity, and with lack of an education on the matter, there are negative outcomes. Research has shown that states with higher average percentages of schools teaching sex education topics tend to have lower teen birth rates, less sexually transmitted diseases, and less sexual violence.

The project idea came to me when I was with friends one day, and one of them had mentioned that they had never been taught about sexually transmitted diseases or even how to use a condom. This same individual spoke about how they had contracted an STD and had to google search to figure out what it was. I, on the other hand, had been taught the symptoms of each sexually transmitted disease, how to use a condom, how not to use one, and so much more in a middle school health class. In fact, from the ages of 10 to 15 I was in mandatory health classes that discussed sex and its risks. Unlike my friend who lacked this fundamental information, I would have known right away what was happening to me and I could have taken care of it. It can not be expected that every parent will educate their children on the matter, even if the parent doesn’t have religiously affiliated beliefs about contraception, there are still barriers to comfort that prevent these conversations from happening. That is why it must fall on the hands of a third party. 

Another benefit of sex education's demystifying of the body, besides knowledge of your physical health, is the respect for difference. Sexual harassment begins at a young age, whether kids realize it's happening or not. During adolescent years sexual curiosity take on a heightened intensity and profundity. The arrival of secondary sex traits gives youth the responsibility of recognizing and managing their personal emotional and physiological changes and impulses. This especially important to recognize in order to manage sexual impulses toward members of the opposite and/or same sex who are becoming more attractive.

This illustrated text will be gender and sexual orientation inclusive. Today, society is more accepting and aware of homosexuality and transgendered individuals than ever before. An article on the power of inclusive sex-education said, “According to a 2013 survey by GLSEN, a national nonprofit focused on providing safe educational spaces for LGBTQ students, just 5 percent of LGBTQ students reported having health classes that included positive representations of LGBTQ-related topics. And a 2015 study by the Public Religion Research Institute found just 12 percent of millennials said their sex education classes covered same-sex relationships at all.” This is a topic that for a long time has been black and white, my goal is to inform a broad audience as well as demystify the experience of those who do not fit into the heteronormativity to those who do. This will address the experience of those who feel they have a body that does not belong to their gender. I am a cisgender, heteronormative person, so I have sought out individuals who can speak from another perspective about what they wish to have seen in a sex education about this.

Due to the fact that sex education in a school comes down the their religious and political affiliation, I understand the culture that upholds abstinence only sex-education would not accept this kind of illustrated text. I am still in the process of figuring out how it is these individuals would obtain it. I feel that a guide to puberty, where all kids have the opportunity to freely read about the experience of all people, will demystify the taboo of each others bodies.