The great tabu : a half century of population and family planning communication

Stycos, J. Mayone
East-West Communication Institute
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Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, East-West Communication Institute
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The author discusses the tabus on contraceptive and sex-related communication that have been common throughout history up to the present. He traces the development of the birth control movement and shows how, in order to gain legitimacy, Margaret Sanger and other early leaders had to drop their stress on female, sexual, and social liberation and to "desexualize" family planning communications. As a result, the emphasis in birth control messages shifted from sexual consequences to social benefits, thereby making family planning acceptable to the medical profession and the eugenicists. Because Western ideology has dominated the international planned parenthood and population planning movement, current family planning communications, worldwide, reflect these Western attitudes toward sex and reproduction. The author discusses current problems in family planning communications including the quality of family planning communication personnel, the small percent of family planning budgets devoted to communications, the lack of good, useful communications research, the agro-communication bias that assumes the ideal communication strategy for family planning is interpersonal communication, and the myth that communicating family planning is more difficult than communicating new ideas in other sectors of development. The author concludes by speculating on the future of population communications.
"This project was supported by the Office of Population, U.S. Agency for International Development, AID/csd-1059."

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vii, 25 p.
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