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Bad GirlsYoung Women, Sex, and Rebellion before the Sixties$
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Amanda H. Littauer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469623788

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469623788.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

What Are We Waiting For?

What Are We Waiting For?

(p.1) Introduction What Are We Waiting For?
Bad Girls

Amanda H. Littauer

University of North Carolina Press

This introductory chapter traces the rise of sexual autonomy among young American women. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, urbanization presented opportunities for many young women to pursue sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage. This further developed in the earlier half of the twentieth century when immigrant and working-class young women explored the amusements and commercial opportunities of city life, often on the arms of young men who paid for sex. Younger girls joined in despite scrutiny from the new juvenile courts. The rise of dating practices eroded parental and community control, and prostitution lost ground to taxi dancing, stripping, and erotic dancing. The period also saw the legalization of contraception and birth control which accelerated the separation of heterosexual sex from reproduction. In all of these ways, the sexual culture before World War II was already shifting and changing, opening up certain possibilities for sexual independence.

Keywords:   sexual autonomy, urbanization, young American women, sexual relationships, heterosexual marriage, city life, dating practices, sexual culture, sexual independence

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