Sexualized Society Essay

1804 words - 8 pages

Sexuality has became a form of personal identity over the course of history. Something that people were not allowed to talk about in the past has transformed with time and made American culture the most sexually open-minded nation. Sexual expression and repression are the influences and forces that directed the history of sexuality to what we have today. While sexual expression was a natural social desire of greater individual freedom, repression was a power of the Church or Government against sexual elements in the American society.
We entered the 20th century with women being more independent and educated. Women also gained access to sports, which made a way of socializing and seeking ...view middle of the document...

Single middle-class women, who wanted to go out, would have sex with their date as appreciation for good time and just a desire to be wanted. Known to be “charity girls” from Kathy Peiss’ “Notes on Working Class Sexuality”, those women were not prostitutes because they were not collecting money for sex. Instead, they were working class women who would sacrifice most of their wages on their looks and have none left for entertainment to let the date pay. “Sexual expression and intimacy comprised an integral part of these working women’s lives” (Peiss, 77). While some parts of the society criticized this view as immoral, “charity girls” offered some “model” of sexual behavior to the rest of women, who “would have [otherwise] had to weight their desire for social participation against traditional sanctions on [sexuality]” (Peiss, 76). The views of the dominant middle-class women gave a more respectable label to premarital sex as well as placed female sexuality into a new framework, different from being a prostitute.
Regardless of the Comstock Law, which was created in 1870s and banned mailing any information regarding sex or contraception, people were actively getting educated on sex from film. Whatever was seeing on the screens was enough to form a social lifestyle on a local level. The newly occupied city neighborhoods seemed to have plenty of clubs and places to socialize after work including those for homosexual people.
The idea that sex between homosexual people did not exist back then, stayed in history only as a myth. George Chauncey This was the time when Bohemian culture with gay men getting together in Harlem or Greenwich Village clubs gave a start. The gay men balls were getting together thousands of men from all over the country. Repressive Comstock Law had no power against prostitution that always existed and was making many men sexually satisfied. The new women style of the roaring 20s is known as the “flapper”. Flapper women were all about feeling free, beautiful and desired. They wanted to go out, have fun, dance, drink and smoke a cigarette.
The beginning of the century was also when the new sexual trailblazers emerged, such as Sigmund Freud, who set up the debates that are still common today. Sex became a wide spread topic, that had gained much of attention of Margaret Sanger, a birth control crusader. Sanger was concerned that women had no control over the reproduction. While some women were having sex for fun, others had unwanted pregnancies in marriage. The lack of education about sex, contraception and reproduction led many females being stuck at home with many children to take care of without an ability to support all of them. Even though Sanger’s views were against Comstock Law, she continued fighting though the century and became a founder of the first birth prevention clinic called Planned Parenthood. Sanger’s idea of the birth control and contraception gave a new hope for many women to leave unhappy marriages,...

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