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Making Chastity SexyThe Rhetoric of Evangelical Abstinence Campaigns$
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Christine J. Gardner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267275

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267275.001.0001

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The Condom Conflict

The Condom Conflict

Saving Lives or Promoting Promiscuity?

Chapter:
(p.168) Chapter 7 The Condom Conflict
Source:
Making Chastity Sexy
Author(s):

Christine J. Gardner

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520267275.003.0008

This chapter examines how evangelical abstinence educators in Africa rhetorically construct the condom. It argues that they construct the condom as (1) a tool for marital fidelity; (2) a tool for saving lives; (3) part of holistic community-based development; and (4) a tool for female empowerment. After demonstrating the prevalence of these four themes, it turns to an analysis of an evangelical statement of conscience on the AIDS crisis as an example of how these constructions of the condom affect public discourse about AIDS prevention. Although evangelicals tend to view the condom as a tool for promiscuity, in Africa the potential to save lives trumps the potential for increased promiscuity. The perceived lack of choices presented by the dire health situation in Africa provides rhetorical space for a positive construction of the condom as lifesaving. This medical focus echoes U.S. evangelicals' construction of abstinence as the healthy choice.

Keywords:   sexual abstinence, condoms, sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS, evangelical abstinence campaigns, promiscuity

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