Let’s Talk Healthy Sexual Development – Analysing Media Research Part 1

Welcome back to my fun-filled (and research filled) blog of BCM210!!! Today I will be analysing a research paper by Alan McKee, Anthony Walsh and Anne-Frances Watson called …

‘USING DIGITALLY DISTRIBUTED VULGAR COMEDY TO REACH YOUNG MEN WITH INFORMATION ABOUT HEALTHY SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT.’

Purpose/context: This particular research paper uses qualitative measures to address the issues of vulgarity (the language of ordinary people) and comedy in relation to the way it portrays and educated young mean about healthy sex practices. The paper looks at and identifies the gap between young and women and their access to the media and thus information about healthy sexual

Author + topic and position: One of the main authors, Alan Mckee is a professional in entertainment and healthy sexual development, and as a result his expertise is reflected in the research article with a fairly objective view shown throughout. Anthony Walsh is a Manager in Regional Services and Projects, Family Planning Queensland. (hense the use of the case-study organised by FPQ) and thirdly Anne-Frances Watson is a Lecturer in Communication, Queensland University of Technology.

The paper is primarily about the way in which young men are NOT as exposed to enough information about healthy sex in comparison to young women. As result of this the text leans slightly bias towards the promotion (Blokes Talking) as a positive form of education. As a whole however, the text is objective in its findings, and accurately portrays information, citing a number of sources.

Organisation: the layout of this article was very clear and succinct, categorising chunks of information into sections/headings such as ‘using comedy’ and embracing vulgarity.’ The information was communicated in a very formal, first person style, which made it very easy to follow and to read.

Audience: the overall audience of this piece may be other health researches, university students (like myself), parents, teachers or even the media. I think the authors were expecting a reaction by the audience in which they can take action and become more aware of these serious health risks/factors. I think the main aim of the text is to spread awareness about the particular issue and promote an equal distribution of heath education.

Proof/evidence: The research method they used to conduct and put together this paper was through the use of focus group discussions. 89 young people from five different Brisbane schools were split into groups and asked a series of questions relating to their knowledge of safe sexual health practices and whether or not particular vulgar comedies (such as family guy, or south park), educated them on any issued related to sex. Most just found the shows as funny or ‘making fun of sex.’ The article includes a number of sources, both for and against the idea of comedy educating young men, which added an element of legitimacy and depth to the research paper; however most of the sources were out-dated and not as relevant to current times.

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Key values and assumptions that the authors portray is that vulgar comedy, not matter how frowned-upon and disputed it may be, offers an avenue for education that becomes embedded in young boy minds. The main example they used in the paper was the ‘Blokes Talking’ project which “raises important issues for any attempt to communicate sexual health information to young people – and indeed, for health communication more generally.” The comments by these comedians/educators illustrate a vulgar tone however by also speaking to young men in ‘lay’ language about sexual health issues that are important to educators, and important to young men.

Overall I feel as thought the text excellently portrayed the need for more education in young boys, and the fact that this type of comedic/vulgar sexual health promotion can be a positive avenue of learning.

Below I will list a few links to similar articles that explore the gender-specific education barrier amongst young people so you can make a comparison of the type of research done in each article.

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