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Securing SexMorality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil$
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Benjamin A. Cowan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627502

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627502.001.0001

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From Pornography to the Pill

From Pornography to the Pill

Bagunça and the Limitations of Moralist Efficacy

(p.211) 7 From Pornography to the Pill
Securing Sex

Benjamin A. Cowan

University of North Carolina Press

Moralism’s implementation and impact were complex and variable. Rightist anxieties emerged strongly in the late 1960s and retained their strength among police even when, after 1974, hard-liners found themselves in an increasingly embittered minority, marginalized by democratization. In cultural and moral policy, as in other realms, the Brazilian regime often devolved into a confusing and contradictory array of agencies, factions, and prerogatives. If the unwieldy machinery of government closed ranks for some time around the hard-line, right-wing prerogatives of moralism and repression, this was not always seamless. The relative strength of rightist prerogatives faced challenges both in the uneven application of moralistic countersubversion and in the vicissitudes of rightists’ power as the dictatorship dragged its way to a close. By the late 1970s, redemocratization and cultural pluralism waxed just as hard-line interests and the power of moralism waned—much to the consternation and alarm of rightists within and outside of the regime. Via the stories of Brazilian pornographic film and of debates over birth control, I demonstrate the ways in which moral concerns continued to motivate the regime’s most repressive elements, in and out of power and favor.

Keywords:   Abertura, Redemocratization, Censorship, Pornography, Birth Control, Planned Parenthood, Dictatorship

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