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Sexual Liberation Essay

1038 words - 5 pages

Sexual Liberation

Professor Stuart
October 26, 2012

The modern agreement is that the sexual revolution in 1960s America was characterized by a dramatic shift in traditional values related to sex, and sexuality. Sex became more socially acceptable outside the strict boundaries of heterosexual marriage. Studies have shown that, between 1965 and 1975, the number of women who had had sexual intercourse prior to marriage showed a marked increase (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2001). The social and political climate of the 1960s was unique; one in which traditional values was often challenged loudly by a vocal minority. The various areas of society clamoring for change included ...view middle of the document...

Since women could have a choice to use birth control to finish their education, a higher percentage graduated from school and college ultimately gaining professional careers.

This was due in part to fears over illegitimate pregnancy and childbirth, and social qualms about contraception, which was often seen to be 'messy' and unchristian (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2001). Modernization and secularization helped to change these attitudes, and the first oral contraception was developed in 1951 partly due to Women's Rights campaigner Margaret Sanger who raised $150,000 to fund its development (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2001). While the Pill eventually came to be seen as a symbol of the Sexual revolution, its origins stem less from issues of women's sexual liberation and more from 1960s political agendas. In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson instituted his social reform policy, The Great Society, which aimed to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. During this time, the Pill was endorsed and distributed by doctors as a form of population control to counter the fear of overpopulation which coincided with President Johnson's goal to eliminate poverty. By 1960, the Food and Drug Administration had licensed the drug. 'The Pill', as it came to be known, was extraordinarily popular, and despite worries over possible side effects, by 1962, an estimated 1,187,000 women were using it. The pill divorced contraception from the act of intercourse itself, making it more socially acceptable, and easier to tolerate for many detractors than other types of contraception (which had been around for years).

Foreshadowed as a technological marvel, the pill was a trusted product of science in an increasingly technological age, and was indicated as one of man's 'triumphs' over nature. It was often said that with the invention of the pill, the women who took it had immediately been given a new freedom - the freedom to use their bodies as they saw fit, without having to worry about the burden of unwanted pregnancy(Autumn, 1990),. It was also not the case that the pill went completely unopposed. The Pill became an extremely controversial...

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