Contexts of Countersubversive Moralism
Chapter Two contextualizes the Cold War linkage of countersubversion and moralization exploring what, precisely, rightists reacted against, and in what circumstances. I analyze linked cultural histories to uncover the ways in which emergent youth culture, sexual revolution, and radical politics were focal points for broad public debates in 1960s Brazil. Within those debates, right-wing reaction against changing gender and sexual norms represented only one of many publicly permissible viewpoints. The sheer diversity of these viewpoints makes clear several critical contextual factors. First, regardless of how extensively new gender and sexual patterns actually affected women, young people, students, or other demographics on which anxieties focused, moral panic was not the sole possible response to perceived changes in these realms. Second, though counterculture, political radicalism, and nonnormative sex each attracted considerable attention, narratives that conflated these categories did not monopolize public discourse—even those who denounced moral and sexual change did not always associate it with subversion. Lastly, for all of the Right’s insistence on this association, the regime’s fiercest and most visible opponents never embraced sexual liberalization. Many were the voices who constructed “youth,” “sexual revolution,” and “subversion”—and not everyone, least of all those on the political Left, saw direct articulation between the three.
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