Dr. Meyerowitz shattered a lot of accepted ideals that I found myself actually adhering to. Nobody wants to be counted in the ranks of people who are told something about the past and accept purely for the fact that he or she is not old enough to remember what it was like. Tonight I found myself in that crowd. I had been told, or perhaps shown, that the 1950′s were notoriously tight-lipped about sexuality. In all honesty, I held this opinion about any time before Britney Spears and internet pornography. The work done to chip away my notions of popular thought on sexuality in the past has been furthered by my enrollment in this class and now by Dr. Meyerowitz’s lecture.
Firstly, I wish I had thanked Dr. Meyerowitz for clarifying sexual liberalism and conservatism. Again I found myself in the throng of ignorant people under the assumption that sexual liberals were “freeing” an oppressed notion of sexuality. Dr. Meyerowitz helped me to understand that both sexual conservatism and liberalism are forms of managing sexuality. With a sound knowledge of the terms, I could then comprehend her next point.
Contrary to popular belief (and the image above) dancing as well as the overall attitude of sex in the 1950′s was hotly contested. Rather than a bland landscape of floor-length skirts and early curfews, post-war America was a battleground for developing ideas about sexual freedom, restraint, and normalcy. Sex was far from oppressed during this period.
Sex sells. It is as true in 2013 as it was in 1953. Post war America was rampant with ads like these, and I must admit it does make you thirsty for a certain carbonated beverage.
Rather than rehash all of the points that Meyerowitz laid out, I’ll just state my shock at learning that much of the groundwork for modern sexual freedom was laid out in post-war America. Not only sexual freedom, but the public acceptance of interracial and homosexual acts began to gain ground. This is nothing short of astounding.
My final point is concerning Meyerowitz’s comments about generational resistance. The Bohemians of the 1920′s created a false notion of Victorian sexuality much as the youth of the 1960′s did for more immediate post-war America. As a child of the 1990′s and a current organism in 2013, I don’t feel that I have come from a hotbed of sexual repression. I do not feel the need to fight against a yoke of sexual oppression. My final statement I suppose is more of an open-ended question. Is sex becoming more publicly accepted, or are we moving towards a time in which revolt against the generation before us is no longer important?