U. of Oregon's Movie on Sex Education for Children


Jonathan Stone for Art-Sheep

Today’s debates about sex education in the U.S. have a tendency to come back to the question of abstinence versus contraception. But back in 1948, when a sex-education curriculum was introduced to the , Ore., the conversation never strayed too far from the strictly biological.

If there was a list of people in whose shoes we wouldn’t want to be in, the 1948 seventh graders of Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School in Eugene would be in the top ten.

Back in the 1940s, sex education was an issue teachers and parents didn’t take lightly. The discussion about sex was strictly biological and the lucky student to first get educated on sex was in Miss Blenkinsop’s class. The sex-ed film titled, Human Growth, was developed by University of Oregon psychology professor Lester F. Beck. and it featured straightforward information about the human reproductive process.

The first sex-ed lesson was captured in its whole by LIFE Magazine using a hidden camera. After the screening the curious viewers had questions regarding the film, focusing on technical details like the processof pregnancy like “Why are babies born headfirst?” and “How does a baby breathe inside its mother?”

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