Textbook Notes (363,441)
Canada (158,371)
Sociology (1,053)
SOCB51H3 (15)
Joe Hermer (15)

Postwar Youth and the Construction of Heterosexuality.docx

3 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Joe Hermer

Postwar Youth and the Construction of Heterosexuality  Sexual conservatives like to remember the 1950s as a lost era of family values and solid traditional morals. o Sexual politics the 1950s are the standard against which some conservatives measure changes in the organization of sexuality. o Mores of that decade sit as a kind of benchmark a symbol of how far North Americans have travelled since morality has clear gender roles and heterosexual conjugal monogamy is the primary form of sexual partnership o This portrait is an idealized version of fifties norms does not decrease its effectiveness contributing to present-day anxieties about changing sexual behaviors and identities  Study in 1940s and 1950s makes apparent the counter to the gains made by feminists gay men and lesbians over the past two decades  During the postwar years young people were targets of formal and informal sex education materials where mainstream sexual norms were reproduced and constituted  Assumptions about the corruption of young people about protection needs of moral harm and their role as representatives of the future set boundaries for how sexuality is understood o These systems are about the production of meaning a process not without its material effects. Discourses across to Foucault crystallize into institutions they inform individual behavior that act as grids for the perception and evaluation of things.  They are not unrelated to the material aspects of our world and material factors printing presses institutional resources money are what allow certain discourses to become more powerful than others. o The task of discourse analysis is to determine which discourses are operating when and how and in what configurations. In analyzing discourses one investigates the various processes language and social practices which make possible the statement of the truths that order our social world for instance the claim that heterosexuality is the most natural form of sexual expression  The most profound sexual-social division in present-day western culture is the one between straight and gay although they divide between homo and heterosexualites is perhaps more a linguistic construction than a reflection of the sociosexual landscape o As long as homosexuality and heterosexuality is dichotomized it is difficult to understand either side of the dichotomy without also considering its so called opposite.  The term homosexuality was coined in 1868 by German sodomy-law reformer Karl Maria. In his usage the term referred not to sexual object choice as it does now but to gender inversion that is to effeminancy exhibited by men ad masculine demenour exhibited by women.  According to gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz in his book the invention of heterosexuality this category of homosexuality was counterposed not to heterosexuality which did not exist as a word or a concept but to reproductive sexuality o Abnormal or perverted appetite toward the opposite sex  The equation of heterosexuality with perversion reflected the centrality of reproduction to pre- twentienth century sexual systems. Katz argues that the emergence of the homosexual/heterosexual opposition was part of this shift away from reproductive norms and towards what he calls a different sex erotic norm o The erotically normal heterosexual is counterpart to the abnormal homosexual thus setting the groundwork for the hierarchical organization of sexuality that we continue to face today.  Homosexual behavior per se became the primary basis for the labeling and self-identification of me as queer only around the middle of the twentieth century. o Prior to that time queerness had been attributed to a man’s inability to fit into normative gender roles not to the sex of the people he chose to have sex with.  In the 1930-1950s the now conventional division of men into homosexuals and heterosexuals based on the sex of their sexual partners replaced the division of men into fairies and normal men o Increasing importance of heterosexuality in the middle class reflected the reorganization of gender relations in the early part of the twentieth century and new forms of work the growing participation of women in the public sphere and perceptions that modern life was softening  Fear of effeminacy crystallized around the public image of the fairy translated into the fear of homosexuality making heterosexuality the route for demonstration of manliness - Erotic desire for women a mark of being a man while gender and sexual identity inseparable pair o They claimed that denying sexual urges made marriage itself less stable hence they argued for companionate marriages based on emotional intimacy and sexual satisfaction for both women and men. o New sexualized marriages diminished female power and women held a moral power that enabled them to determine the shape of their sexual relationships o Women were counseled to follow men’s sexual lead; to withdraw from sex was to threaten the marriage to treat a husband unfairly sex was the glue that was to hold these m
More Less

Related notes for SOCB51H3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.