Medical Preoccupation with Sexual Education in the Prelude to Cardenismo

Thursday, January 6, 2011: 3:40 PM
Grand Ballroom Salon D (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Carmen Imelda Valdéz Vega , Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Azcapotzalco, Mexico City, Mexico
At the start of the 1930s, a group of doctors and teachers comprising the Mexican Eugenics Association provoked much controversy among many sectors of Mexican society by presenting the Secretary of Public Education, Narciso Bassols, with a novel educational plan that sought to include sex education topics in the programs and school curricula for children and youth.

The proposition that sought to provide sex education to young people through educational institutions was preceded by the medical concern of the negative consequences of the exercise of sexual practices considered "unhealthy" and "promiscuous" with no prevention. The medical gaze focused on the reflection of the social problems caused by the high rate of teenage pregnancy, female prostitution, clandestine abortions practices and the inability of the health control of venereal diseases like syphilis, and other diseases like blenhorrea, which had no cure.

This paper will analyze the scientific preoccupation with using Galena, a lead sulfide, as a measure to control the spread of venereal diseases.