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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: 26 May 2022

Someone to Love

Someone to Love

Teenage Girls, Queer Desire, and Contested Meanings of Immaturity in the 1950s

(p.143) Chapter Five Someone to Love
Bad Girls

Amanda H. Littauer

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter analyzes the prevalence of homosexuality in the 1950s and how this was considered to be a sign of immaturity. Psychologists claimed lesbians were psychologically immature, frozen in a state of permanent adolescence. This contributed to the portrayal of female homosexuals as sinful, immoral, and disgraceful. As a result, they were isolated, shamed, and punished by the decade's social forces and institutions. However, there are also accounts of same-sex-desiring girls and women experiencing the decade as dynamic, navigable, and even pleasurable. Many teens and young women pursued their interests and created a place for themselves in postwar society. Lesbian couples managed to articulate subjectivities as women-loving adolescents on the path toward satisfying, mature, lesbian adulthood. They connected through intimacy and sexuality, and were successful in crafting a sense of lesbian identity.

Keywords:   homosexuality, immaturity, permanent adolescence, female homosexuals, postwar society, women-loving adolescents, lesbian adulthood, lesbian identity

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