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Produced and written by Linda Franchi

Cumberland County Family Planning Association, 1989. VHS cassette, 85:00 min., $315.00
Distributed by Atlantic Independent Media, Box 1647, Station M, Halifax, N.S. B3J 2Z1

Grades 7 to 9/Ages 12 to 14
Reviewed by Marietta Evans.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

Loving Yourself is an unusual videotape aimed at hard-of-hearing and deaf teenagers and, potentially, their parents. The topic of sexuality has been dealt with in many other videos, including the National Film Board's series "Growing Up," but this video is different. It is not only closed captioned, but the actors are all deaf (with the exception of the mother) and use American Sign Language throughout.

The experience for the non-deaf person is somewhat jarring. At first one feels lost in the sea of unusual facial expressions and noticeable hand movements. Voice-over narration is provided for those who feel uncertain how to respond to what was, for me, an unusual form of communication. However, after some initial discomfort the hearing person does adapt.

The plot depicts the Smith family, which consists of four deaf teenagers and the parents, one deaf, one not. The teenagers discuss sexually transmitted diseases, body parts, birth control and plain feelings. The scenes include a day in class, a visit to the doctor's office, a visit to the birth control clinic, and a shopping expedition to the drug store. All are well portrayed, except for the one concerning a young woman's desire to kiss her boy-friend. This episode is unrealistic, hypothetical and contrived in that she would discuss this with him and that he would reply that he does not want to be involved in sex.

The father of the family, who has been unable to discuss sex with his children, becomes more contemporary and decides to surprise his family with openly using sexual terminology such as penis, ejaculation and orgasm. The father discovers much to his chagrin that his son is gay.

This video covers sexuality from A to Z and probably tries to cover too much. Yet this is a worthwhile video especially for a deaf audience.

Marietta Evans, Barrie Public Library, Barrie, Ont.
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