Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Just waiting on the world to change.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

It was surprising to learn that Spiritualism was a type of Christianity in the 1800’s. But of course, it was seen as a bad thing, just like other religious and non-religious movements in the same time period. It was said on page 139 that “‘religious excitement’ [was listed] as the prime cause of insanity.” And of course, as always, who gets blamed for everything? The poor women! What else could we expect.

I know, Spiritualism received the same hate as many other religions in American history. So what makes Spiritualism different from the religions we’ve learned about so far? Well, I think that could be summed up in two main points.


First, I would say the power people were able to have over their personal and intimate lives. Many Spiritualists believed in free love, which McGarry defines as “spiritual affinities.” People were bind together only if they were attracted to one another. A group that was based on attraction was the Oneida Community but it was completely sexual rather than an attraction in every sense towards a person. But no other religion has shown us that gender is not a barrier for the religion and sex.

I think the second point would be the power of science and evidence. At the beginning, science was committed to bringing Spiritualism down. There were so many excuses as to why there were weird noises and what was happening to the Fox sisters, such as the cracking of the joints or women’s vaginas tilting somehow. Yet, soon enough Spiritualism gained its acceptance by scientists themselves. We’ve learned about science justifying Christian societal norms but not much else. This was a time when technology was actually beginning to change people’s lives. Technology gave science the ability to prove what was in doubt. Science came together with Spiritualism.

To me this is really interesting because things are beginning to shift for everyone, at least faster than what it was before. This shift is challenging the American Protestant society’s thoughts.

Dr. Joanne Meyerowitz – Rethinking Sexuality in the 1950’s US

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Whether they realized it or not, the military took a cue from the 1950’s when they implemented the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  Even though the Kinsey Reports showed that people were having lots of sex and demonstrating sexual freedom, people weren’t kiss and telling. Upon the discovery of just how much money could be made off of “selling sex” and sex was in the faces of the public, the controversy began. From conservatives calling into question the morality of the people profiting from the sin of sex outside of marriage to the liberals saying that sexual freedom made people happy and demonstrated democracy, the debates between them were heated to say the least. Religion and it’s legislation of morality has always been used as a way to keep order and control of people. By conservatives pulling the religion card it was their way to squash the sexual revolution that was beginning to gain momentum. I found it very interesting however that movies and books of the time were more risque than television shows because they weren’t streamed directly into homes where children could see them. This helped me understand why movies such as South Pacific were so wildly successful but yet I Love Lucy would even acknowledge Lucy being pregnant. I also found it intriguing that tropical destinations were thought of as places of sexual freedom. I guess Vegas wasn’t the first place to come up with the “what happens here, stays here” code.

Flapping’ and Excluding Away: Race, Gender, and Flappers

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It is clear that the vessels for change in the revivalism era had not only a separate sphere in terms of private versus public, but it had also a lot to do with race as well.  Whilst white, middle age women were encouraged to stay at home and domesticate their children and their homes, African American women on the revivalism front were excluded at every turn of the page in Sin and the City by Thekla Ellen Joiner.  Largely, blacks were excluded from the revivalist moment to save the city from sexual immorality because black women were viewed as “…when compared to white womanhood , whites saw blacks as “morally loose,” and outside the parameters of respectability” (Joiner 12).

This exclusion of African American women from the largely, white, Protestant  women’s movement to in the 1920’s to take sin out of the city was especially evident in dividing the movement along racial lines.

Perception of flappers; white women were considered innocent, their virginity rarely held in question


Black Flappers OR Oversexed black women? What is the difference?

In terms of the black versus the white flappers  I do not see any difference, the fact that African American women were held at a different standard is all wrong!  Ironically, as Joiner points out, both white working class girls and black girls were influenced by the same ills of struggling to find work and having to engage in prostitution.  Just as Joiner points out, “…with the upsurge in working women (both black and white) paralleled by an apparent rise in prostitution  civic leaders and reformers began to investigate this network that lured unsuspecting women into prostitution” (Joiner 126).


The result is simple, it was a double standard.  The racism and stereotypes prevailed.  White was considered the mainstream and acceptable mode of address to question the sexual ills and morality in late 19th century early 20th century society.