Sex In The Heartland Analysis

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Beth Bailey’s work Sex in the Heartland goes into a deep analysis of sexual revolution throughout America in the 1960s. Using Lawrence, Kansas as a representation of the rest of the country, Bailey argues that the sexual revolution emerged from both sexual and non-sexual changes during the Second World War, and continued to grow as repressive elites attempted to halt the growth of sexual culture through Kansas University administration, the distribution of an oral contraception for unmarried women, and oppression of local press and on and off-campus liberation movements. All these events and organizations eventually lead to the freedom and equality of sexual culture, but not before going through multiple protests, court cases, and other acts …show more content…
A major change in the daily lives of citizens was the authoritative intrusion of federal government. Military training and defense industries created a powerful presence of government that interrupted the continuity of local patterns in towns like Lawrence. In the 1940s, Lawrence saw its population nearly double to about 24,000 residents when it opened its smokeless powder factory, bringing more changes to the unintentionally dynamic town. The factory was created to bring war industry into Lawrence, successfully boosting the local economy through workers spending their earnings around town. The influx of new residents/workers was mostly comprised of males who used their wages to drink at bars and attempt to have sex with local women. This began an outbreak of venereal diseases across not only Lawrence, but other towns and cities that adopted war industries. Public health departments established during wartime became unnecessarily busy with treating venereal diseases, which in turn produced an aggressive campaign to control sexual behavior. After the war, the G.I. Bill for soldiers and a new focus on universal high school education inspired Lawrence citizens to become more educated. These individuals began attending Kansas University, which, at the time, exercised control over the nonacademic lives of students, including sexual …show more content…
The organization had trouble being officially recognized by Kansas University, but it was eventually given privileges by administrators, such as campus space for dances and meetings. Around the same time, the local women’s liberation movement used local newspapers such as the Freedspeak and the Kansan to convince authorities, courts, and medical personnel to redraw the boundaries of sex. The movement wanted the elites of Lawrence to not see rape as a seemingly acceptable act of sexual passion provoked by a woman’s actions and attire, but rather as a crime of violence. Bailey saw the accomplishments of both liberation movements as challenges to having the “freedom to.” She believed that, in a revolutionary sense, women had equal rights to saying both “yes” or “no” to a man, which was an important contribution to the overall “fine-print” details of the sexual revolution. It was around this part of the book that I felt that Bailey was really starting to scratch the bottom of the barrel for things that related to the sexual revolution. The Gay Liberation movement was most certainly a contributor to Bailey’s idea of a sexual revolution through protesting for campus recognition, but the women’s liberation movement was treading towards a

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