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RUNNING HEAD: RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF SEX AND SENSIBILITY:

PUBLIC SCHOOL SEX EDUCATION AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND


WHY SEX EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT
Monica Lobera
Rhetorical Analysis of Sex and Sensibility: Public School Sex Education
and Religious Right and Why Sex Education is Important
University of Texas at El Paso
English 1302

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF SEX AND SENSIBILITY: PUBLIC SCHOOL


SEX EDUCATION AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND WHY SEX
EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT

Introduction
The debate whether to have sex- education in high school
classes or not is one of the most controversial topics of today. The
argument is whether the most productive way to prevent un-safe sex is
through religious right and teaching abstinence or comprehensive
education of sex. In genre 1, an article titled Sex and Sensibility:
Public School Sex Education and the Religious Right, the author sides
with teaching comprehensive education by pointing out flaws of
abstinence only programs. Genre 2, titled Why Sex Education is
important, is advocating for a program that teaches comprehensive
sex education and the benefits of it.
Audience and purpose questions
These two genres were meant to reach out to high school faculty,
students and their parents. Because the target audience reaches to
young students, both the article and video use a vocabulary that could
be understood by them. Bothe genres are given about 5 minutes, more
or less, to get their point across to their audience.
Genre 1 explains both sides of the argument on how to approach
the topic of sex to high school students, whether through
comprehensive sex education or teaching abstinence. Afterwards,
because it is an editorial, the article sides towards comprehensive

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education and points out the faults in teaching abstinence. The article
is hoping to persuade the reader to agree.
In Genre 2, the audience already agrees that the students need
proper education about sex and want to know more facts about the
benefits of comprehensive education and the different approaches to
this method. This source is a video of 6 and a-half minutes thats
purpose is to informs the audience of the benefits and positive
feedback of an online comprehensive sex education program named
Its Your Game.
Ethos
Genre 1 recalls on previous studies and provides an example of
an attempt by a Christian group to lean students towards abstinence.
Mentioning that studies have been done to back up his opinion makes
his word more credible to the audience. A technique the author used
to help persuade his readers to agree with him was mentioning a fault
only on the opposing viewpoint. The problem with this approach is
that it does not work, as numerous studies have shown In
Charleston, W.Va., recently, a fundamentalist Christian organization
brought a speaker to a local high school who spread a lot of inaccurate
information- that condoms dont work and that premarital sexual
activity can lead to infertility or even death. Many students were
offended by some of the claims this speaker made. Furthermore, lots of
them knew what she was saying was not accurate. (Sex and sensibility:

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF SEX AND SENSIBILITY: PUBLIC SCHOOL


SEX EDUCATION AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND WHY SEX
EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT
Public school sex education and the religious right, p.15) This provides

credibility to the article by showing genuine reaction of the students to


this approach to abstinence.
Genre 2 asks the students what they think about the program
Its Your Game and only show the positive feedback. This makes their
program for comprehensive sex education credible and helps the
audience trust what there promoting and leaving them confident that
their program is a good approach. The sex education program that
they are advocating for is reinforced by The University of Texas. The
program has been used by students and had great student feedback
and involvement. They also have done studies on their program itself
with proof that it has delayed any type of sexual activity from the
students; giving them more credibility with successful results.
Pathos
As for pathos in genre 1, there is not much evidence of it.
This article uses factual information to back up its point. The intention
is not to make you feel, but to understand. Adding emotional touches
into it is counterproductive of the effect it has now. It is a short article,
and gets straight to the point, without the extra fluff.
However, genre 2 puts a lot of emotional appeal into their
video. They start their video by using a peer pressure animation to
have their audience feel like they can relate to their point from the

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start. They also interview multiple students and teachers, asking their
general opinion on sex and why its important to learn safe sex.
Logos
Genre 1 provides a reasonable look at his opinions by the use of
statistics to mention how many high school students are sexually
active, 40 percent by the age of 17, according to the survey
mentioned. The article compares how students have reacted to the
comprehensive education theyve received at their school and how
other students have reacted to the abstinence approach. Referring
back to the quote taken from Sex and Sensibility: Public School Sex
Education and the Religious Right, adding that student reaction not only provided
credibility to the article, but provided logic behind the authors opinion, because
evidence was proven of the negative student reaction to abstinence only lectures.
Genre 2 also uses statistics to back up their program, Its Your Game.
Studies of the students have shown that the program has helped reduce oral sex
by 50 percent, vaginal sex by 29 percent, and anal sex by 66 percent. They also
interview parents with positive feedback about their children being properly
educated about sex.
Structure and Delivery
Genre 1 introduces the two arguments and shows the reasoning
behind the opposing view (abstinence) and then advocates for

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF SEX AND SENSIBILITY: PUBLIC SCHOOL


SEX EDUCATION AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND WHY SEX
EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT
comprehensive education by also introducing reasons why the

opposing view doesnt work.


Because the article is an editorial piece, it is originally biased and is
meant to only make one side look good, in result, is not as credible as
an informative article. Because it is advocating for comprehensive
education, the reader is given little information about the good that
could comes from one side of the argument and a lot of information
about the good that comes from the other side of the argument. It is
biased and that could turn away religious readers. The structure
facilitates its argument because it shows why its opposing side sees
things in that way and side with teaching abstinence and then provides
credible facts to why it doesnt work.
Genre 2 starts emphasizes that students need to be prepared
about sex and what could happen, then address why teaching
comprehensive education at school is so important. They then
introduce the program they use to teach students and show its
success. The video is meant to be informative about the benefits of
their comprehensive sex education program and only that. Some
restrictions are that it does not talk about abstinence so it does not
inform you about the other side of the argument. They shows the
outcome of. This helps grasp how helpful the program actually is.
Conclusion

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Both genres had different approaches. Genre 1 tried convincing
their audience why siding with comprehensive education was the more
reasonable way, while genre 2 assumed the audience had their mind
made up, and talked only about comprehensive sex education and the
benefits that their program, Its Your Game had on students. However
different their approach was, they still agreed on their argument, that
comprehensive sex education was the best way to go.

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF SEX AND SENSIBILITY: PUBLIC SCHOOL


SEX EDUCATION AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND WHY SEX
EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT
References
Sex and sensibility: Public school sex education and the religious right. (2013).
Church & State, 66(6), 15.
University of Texas Prevention Research for Middle School Students. Why sex
education is important. (2011, July 27).
Retrieved from http://youtu.be/XWvTeaBYxnE/