Via Feministe: there's an incredibly interesting reprint of a 1957 Atlantic Monthly article on sex and relationships in college, the general reaction being "this is the sort of thing social conservatives want to go back to?" (And this is a story from the upper class white folks.)
One of the things that really struck me was that, despite being from the 1950s, it's a very different 1950s than we typically see (Silent Generation, indeed). Our cultural narrative of the latter half of the 20th century is almost uniformly from the perspective of the Baby Boomers - it's Forrest Gump as documentary. So the 1950s are a decade of childlike innocence, and sex is pretty much absent because the people telling the story haven't discovered it yet. Which, in a way, could explain the fascination with the 1950s so many social conservatives have - it's a return to a childhood state where we were blissfully unaware of other people's problems.
I was also struck by the uncanny but unsurprising resemblance to Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons; though there are superficial changes (integrating the universities, cellphones and computers, Wolfe's attempts at modern slang, etc.), the characters' attitudes are much closer to the ones described in this article than those of the college students I know. (Not surprising - Wolfe's own college days predated Ms. Johnson's by only a few years.)
2 years ago