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Essay

“Common Man” Meets Local Women: Global Visions and the Foundations of National Fertility Regulation in Chile

Author:

Jadwiga E. Pieper

Rutgers University
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Abstract

In the 1960s Chilean women and men had, for the first time, the opportunity to watch educational films like Family Planning/Planificación Familiar, a Walt Disney production made available in English and Spanish for use in various parts of Latin America. The film introduced its viewers to a cartoon husband, claiming to represent “Common Man,” and to Donald Duck, the narrator, who led the audience from one theme to the next. After describing the dangers of overpopulation and underdevelopment, the Duck concluded that family planning, which would lead to small families and to population decline, was the only way to avoid poverty. When “Common Man’s” cartoon wife popped up intermittently, she had doubts, though she was too shy and embarrassed to speak. The wife only managed to voice her doubts about accepting family planning by whispering into her husband’s ear while he articulated her questions to the audience. The narrative concluded with an interpretation meant to comfort the concerned woman: family planning is not only socially acceptable, but indeed indispensable to the healthy future of a woman’s family, her community, and humankind as a whole.

How to Cite: Pieper, J.E., (2007). “Common Man” Meets Local Women: Global Visions and the Foundations of National Fertility Regulation in Chile. Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies. 13(1), pp.173–192. DOI: http://doi.org/10.23870/20
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Published on 01 Jan 2007.
Peer Reviewed

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