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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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Tearing Off the Veil

Tearing Off the Veil

Women and Girls Respond to the Kinsey Reports

Chapter:
(p.81) Chapter Three Tearing Off the Veil
Source:
Bad Girls
Author(s):

Amanda H. Littauer

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469623788.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the responses of young women towards Alfred Kinsey's reports published in his Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). This publication is packed with statistics about issues that most Americans were not accustomed to speaking of candidly, including masturbation, premarital petting and intercourse, extramarital sex, homosexuality, and bestiality. Kinsey demonstrated that much of Americans' sexual activity took place outside of marriage, and that the majority of the nation's citizens had violated accepted moral standards as well as state and federal laws in their pursuit of sexual pleasure. His discussion about sex made visible potential ruptures in systems of power relations. The published and private letters to Kinsey examined here reveal potential for average people to engage in public discussions about sex as part of attempts to contest authoritative knowledge.

Keywords:   Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, American sexual activity, marriage, moral standards, power relations, authoritative knowledge

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