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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, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2020

Someone to Love

Someone to Love

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

Chapter:
(p.143) Chapter Five Someone to Love
Source:
Bad Girls
Author(s):

Amanda H. Littauer

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469623788.003.0006

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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