In the expository text Unzipped- everything teenagers want to know about love, sex and each other, Bronwyn Donaghy has written about the facts and consequences of teenage sex. By doing so she has presented us with her old fashioned ideologies and her strong ‘anti-teenage-sex’ values and attitudes. As the audience Donaghy has tried to scare us into believing and following these attitudes, which are very evident throughout the entire text. Virginity and abstinence is the way to go.
This text is targeted at young youths who are curious and want to explore their sexuality and their parents who Donaghy thinks should be open and willing to educate their children on the subject. In order to do this she has employed the use of three different writing styles: These being narrative, expository and real life accounts.
Between chapters and further the different sexual topics, Donaghy has split the information up by an ongoing fictional story, which runs through the entire book. It is a narrative story about two inquisitive and curious adolescent teenagers who fall in love and start to get ‘full on’ but then decide against the idea of sex as it is simply too complicated. Donaghy has done this by using very ‘down to earth’ language that she thinks teenagers can relate to and a simplistic story line. However by trying to relate to teenagers at what she perceives is their level in my opinion gives the story very little realism in regards to reality as she simply cant ‘pull it off’. The story is made to almost look superficial. Within the story it is made very clear that abstinence is the way to go, reflect Donaghy’s ideologies. As the writer she does not even try to hide this attitude of hers and at one stage, through Ben’s mum is able to vocalise this:
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‘ Love is a wonderful thing…. Sex on the other hand, can be very dangerous in the hands of the young and inexperienced.’
She then goes on to say:
I sincerely hope you wont’.
This is in relation to Ben and Lucy’s sex life. By creating this story Donaghy tries to manipulate us as the audience to accept these ideas and her values as being right. To further shape our response towards this very strong attitude Lucy and Ben adhered to Ben’s mum’s opinion and further Donaghy’s ideologies. She developed these characters in order to express her perception of what teenage relationships should be like in her eyes.
To reinforce her ‘no sex’ attitudes Donaghy moves from the ideal ‘perfect couple’, Ben and Lucy to a chapter of a real life account from the perfect virgins point of view. We meet Amira. Amira is 21 and still a virgin. She is described by Donaghy as having ‘the face of and eastern princess’, which immediately positions us to respect her and see her in a positive light. She comes from a supportive, hard-working family, goes to church every Sunday and does not believe in sex before marriage. She is made out to be ‘picture perfect’. As the audience we are made to see her as a role model.
Within this story Amira’s values and attitudes are made very obvious. She values love, companionship and a good family life. She believes that sex is special and is worth waiting for. It is worth waiting dor love. Within her story she even quotes:
‘ I want sex to be really special, with the right person. I would never consider having casual sex, just for the sake of it.’
Her values and attitudes reflect Donaghy’s ideologies perfectly and for this reason Donaghy has almost gone to the extent of putting a halo over Amira’s head.
In contrast to Amira there is Helen. She is very much not the little angel-like Amira. In her opening sentence to introduce Helen, Donaghy finds it difficult to reconcile ‘the purity and beauty of Helen’s face with the horrors of all she has experienced’. By saying this Donaghy automatically enforces her negative view towards Helen’s way of life. As the audience we are positioned to view her differently to Amira.
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Helen cam from a disruptive childhood, where she was physically abused by her mother’s boyfriend and her father was a drunk. By the time she was 12 she was in and out of foster homes and refuges for homeless girls. At 14 she had already lost her virginity in a ‘one night stand’ and had moved in with a friend Kenny. There she met Raymond and a year later was pregnant with her first child. Helen is now married at 17 and pregnant with her second child. Donaghy has chosen to tell Helen’s story in order to express the consequences of sex and a rough upbringing. She has tried to scare adolescences from having sex, instead enjoy the wonders of love. Raymond quotes:
‘It might have been fun to have had some time when we were just young and together’.
From this we are given the impression that even though he loves his son very much, he would of rather just be teenagers for a while and not have so much responsibility. After the consequences of sex, his son, he realises that love is better than sex and that life can be great without it; This conforming to Donaghy’s ideologies. Through contrasting these two very opposing situations we are persuaded to see how sex leads to serious consequences, however life without it is amazing and dignifying.
Further to scare teenagers off sex, Donaghy has provided information about sex, via facts, figures, opinions and credible experts. Personally I did not think it was Donaghy’s place to be saying quite a bit of this section of the text, as she is not a doctor; her opinions are not evidentiary. I found the chapter Love of Sex? Great expectations, on some occasions fairly contradicting. She tries to relate to teenagers at their level and deal with the subject of sex with maturity, however writes ‘a chapter mainly for kids’. She is not respecting teenagers as being mature. The opening paragraph tries to make the reader confused with sex and by doing so Donaghy has tried to stop teenagers from having sex. The chapter promotes abstinence and not having sex to you are older and or love, this being the whole ideology of the text. With the help of Professor Sol Gordon, Donaghy differentiates between love and sex and we are given the definite opinion that she does not believe in sex without true love. However she also states that teenagers fall in and out of love all the time. This contradicts what she has said, should we sleep with everyone we love? Despite this, the expository section of this text is simply developed to portray her old fashioned ideologies, lighten curiosity and to scare teenagers from sex.
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In this text Unzipped, Bronwyn Donaghy has tried to inform teenagers and their parents about teenage sex and the consequences that come with it. At first to an extent, I found this book quite factual and relevant, however the more I red into to it the more this seemed not true. It is all about Donaghy’s personal opinions towards the subject and how she finds teenage sex as a ‘bad’ thing. The text is very selective and there is not one occasion in the book where people don’t regret sex or come out with any good experiences from it. This makes us come to the conclusion, are all expository texts designed entirely to inform and provide information or do they have an underlining meaning?