In this innovative and revealing study of midcentury American sex and culture, Amanda Littauer traces the origins of the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s. She argues that sexual liberation was much more than a reaction to 1950s repression because it largely involved the mainstreaming of a counterculture already on the rise among girls and young women decades earlier. From World War II–era "victory girls" to teen lesbians in the 1940s and 1950s, these nonconforming women and girls navigated and resisted intense social and interpersonal pressures to fit existing mores, using the upheavals of the era to pursue new sexual freedoms.
Building on a new generation of research on postwar society, Littauer tells the history of diverse young women who stood at the center of major cultural change and helped transform a society bound by conservative sexual morality into one more open to individualism, plurality, and pleasure in modern sexual life.
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Amanda H. Littauer is assistant professor of history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Northern Illinois University.Review:
Amanda Littauer challenges the image of the sexually repressed 1950s, narrating the volatile stories of young women who found their voices and defied conventional morality. A much-needed and compelling exploration of the sexualized rebellion that catalyzed change in the years before the highly touted 'sexual revolution' of the 1960s.--Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Loyola University Chicago
From victory girls and wartime prostitutes to teenage girls petting and going steady, American women in the mid-twentieth century challenged conceptions of sexual respectability. In a fresh and compelling book, Amanda Littauer reconsiders the roots of the transformation of U.S. sexual culture in the 1960s.--Leila J. Rupp, University of California, Santa Barbara
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