I find your idealization of “how things were” 50 years ago to be significantly more derived from Wishful Thinking as opposed to reality. 50 years ago, social norms were focused on ideologies that were rooted in a “cult of respectability”, one that substantiated much sexism, patriarchy, racism, and discrimination. I would argue that your definition of “how things were” is actually a reflection of sexist ideology of that era that rationalized a social system that enforced “how a select few said it should be”.
♥ Females didn’t have to fear vulgarity and disrespectful treatment, because males anticipated a female’s sensibilities and honored her expectations.
– Women have been dealing with “vulgarity” and “disrespectful treatment” in its many shapes and forms since the beginning of recorded time. I would argue that the vast majority of your posts (and the ideology behind them) contribute to said “disrespectful treatment”.
♥ Violence against females was rare.
– Violence against women has never been rare, sir. 50 years ago, it went largely unreported. Most violence against women is perpetrated by the men closest to them, mostly in family scenarios and/or relationship scenarios. 50 years ago, women who spoke out against their abusers were shamed and ostracized. Women’s advocacy groups have worked diligently in the last several decades to educate women on what abuse looks like, and how to extricate oneself from an abusive situation. 50 years ago, most women were usually tied financially and legally to the men who abused them. It tended to be more dangerous to themselves and their children to report this abuse.
♥ Violence of all kinds was much less common, because parents and especially females tamed, civilized, and domesticated males much better than today.
– Again, violence, not any less common. Widely less reported. The “cult of respectability” that was widely acknowledged in that era led to silence and shame that encourages the continuance of abuse. The expectation that females “civilize”, “tame”, and “domesticate” men is inherently saying that men are not capable of doing this themselves. I would like to give men more credit than this. This method of thinking has rationalized the abuse of women for hundreds of years. “She must have been asking for it” mentality stems from these kinds of rationalizations.
♥ Girls providing fellatio in school buses and elsewhere was never thought about, much less done and even copied to become popular.
– Where do you get this information? Sensationalized news reports on Fox News? Why don’t you address actual school aged girls and see how “prevalent” this kind of behavior actually is?
♥ Mothers directly taught and fathers indirectly coached daughters about boys. Brothers revenged harm to sister’s reputation.
– Oh my, what is a girl without a brother to do? No one to revenge the harm on her reputation? Why don’t we teach women to defend her own reputation. Moreover, let’s let our young women DEFINE what their “reputation” is. When we raise young women to have self confidence as opposed to conforming to a “reputation”, we allow her to develop strength of character that doesn’t wither under what other people think or define her as.
♥ Sexual predators were not unknown, but their numbers were extremely small and audacity weak.
– This is insane? Do you really buy this? AGAIN, sexual molestation, like physical violence, occurs first and foremost within families, close family friends, or immediate social contacts. The shame associated with acknowledging this is why sexual predation was not reported 50 years ago. The “politics of shame” that governed that era allowed the voices of those who were abused to remain in the shadows. The numbers of sexual predators went unreported, which means that their “audacity” was definately strengthened 50 years ago. You can learn about this by going straight to the source, all of the people who were abused and could never tell anyone about it until now.
♥ Girls were too easily embarrassed to talk about sex with boys. They explored the subject in the dark, as they were felt over by a boy’s hands. Modesty caused embarrassment in the light, and her virtuous character slowed or stopped his hands in the dark. Or she yielded, self-respect plummeted, virtue took a hit, and his respect and admiration wavered.
– Giving women the agency and the understanding of their bodies and sexuality allows them to explore the subject “in the light” as opposed to in the moment when some boy’s hands are on them “in the dark”. Giving women authority over their own desires allows them to say “yes” or “no” depending on what they want, and allows them to make that decision before they get in the bedroom in the dark. Fear and ignorance of their sexuality only leads to confusion, pressure, STDs, and unwanted pregnancy.
♥ Teen pregnancy was shameful and special care was given usually out of town, if the father didn’t marry her. Shame held down the incidence. (I knew of only one teen girl that reputedly had given birth, and I grew up in a mid-size city with four junior high and two big high schools. I got around to half of them socially during my school years: dances, dates, visits, hanging out.)
– If those poor girls had an understanding of their sexuality, they could have avoided pregnancy altogether. Isn’t it nice that young women who get pregnant don’t necessarily have to be social pariahs or be forced to marry the jerk that got them that way in the first place?
♥ Female modesty and feminine unknowns taught boys to respect girls in general. Chastity taught boys to respect each girl in particular. Silent admiration flowed easily out of respect, whether she was liked or not.
– I’m pretty sure that the only thing that boys learned from “feminine unknowns” is how to not be good in bed and to treat women as though they were “mysterious objects” and not human beings.
♥ Pre-pubescent girls knew nothing about sex and were embarrassed by thoughts of it. Boys of that age were ‘educated’ earlier, if they had bigger brothers. But disinterest usually prevailed until puberty set in. (Plenty of challenges other than sexual interests exist for boys and girls in the tweens.)
– It is interesting that you are idealizing boys being “educated” earlier by their big brothers? Because I’m sure that kind of sexual education is thorough and full of facts. Is this upbringing preferential? Boys who have poor sexual educations/expectations and girls who have none?
♥ Children aspired to become mature adults, not adolescent idols. Few grew up and retained the immature mindset of adolescence, because parents set examples to be admired and respected. Kids sought to duplicate parents.
– What parents are you talking about? 50 years ago plenty of parents were neglecting, abusing, and providing poor examples for their children. Also, it was socially acceptable to stuff them into “acceptable gender roles” or discriminate against them because of sexual preference/identity.
All in all, the nuclear family, middle class, Leave it to Beaver ideal that you are referencing in your blog has never existed. The scope of these “Ideals” that you reference are what cause the ignorance, shame, fear, and sexism that is so disastrous against women AND men.
I sincerely hope that these kinds of attitudes can be reversed and continuously challenged. It will help men and women if we can concentrate on understanding our shared history of gendered repression. From that position, we can forge ahead as human beings irregardless of gender, sex, sexuality, race, etc. Wouldn’t that be nice?