Sex in School
Sex in School
Educating the Junior High Students in Early Republican China
Nearly two hundred volumes of physiology and hygiene textbooks, together with governmental and other materials, are investigated in this chapter to illuminate the intricacies in drawing the moral landscape pertinent to sex education in early republican China. Frequent revisions of official directives testify to the fast changing political and intellectual arena of China. Shifted emphases between reproductive functions and puberty sexuality exemplify the professionals’ uncertainties in getting to the early teens. Pedagogical publication boomed and writers experimented on both textual and visual materials. Bio-medicine was flagged as entrance to learning one’s own body, but a healthier nation promoted in the New Life Movement eventually relied on the individual’s self-discipline not necessarily required of scientific erudition. Some may have found secretion system more useful than anatomical information to integrate physiology, psychology and pathology into the mechanism of sexual differences, so much so that a gender division of labour was proposed to fulfill both personal responsibilities and to echo contemporary political rhetoric. Not all endorsed such elaboration, however, and the zigzag between sexual differences and gender equality became a noteworthy parallel to the tug-of-war between sexuality and reproduction.
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