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Sex in the Heartland
 
 

Sex in the Heartland [Kindle Edition]

Beth Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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[A] vivid reminder of just how national and chaotic the events we call 'the sixties' really were...Bailey's exploration of the sexual revolution offers a subtler sense of the underlying forces of that era, which unified even while dividing a nation and, ultimately, the world. -- Tom Engelhardt The Nation [Beth Bailey's] applied research here is interesting, imaginative and compassionate, and the final treat is that Bailey is a very good writer. Sex in the Heartland is simply a fascinating read. I'm sorry I can't call her up and congratulate her on this book in person...[This book is] beautifully shaped, carefully thought out, a treasury of useful information. -- Carolyn See Washington Post One of the great strengths of this book is Bailey's ability to make local characters, institutions and fights vital and compelling, all the while keeping an eye on the broader issues at stake. She gives us a vivid portrait of one university town in transition and a case study for U.S. social history. A cast of local characters comes alive...Virtually every chapter has surprising, subtle turns in which Bailey's thesis of historical paradox and unintended consequences is amply demonstrated. -- Maureen McLane Chicago Tribune Published by the prestigious Harvard University Press, the book suggests that out-of-the-mainstream states such as Kansas actually were on the cutting edge of the nation's sexual revolution during the early 1960s. -- Matt Moline Capital-Journal "[Bailey] points out that those who claim the radical nature of the [sexual] revolution may be surprised by just how deep-seated and mainstream the origins of many of those revolutionary changes were." -- Philip Godwin, M.D. Journal-World "Bailey examines the 20th-century 'sexual revolution' as it played out in the midwestern college town of Lawrence, Kansas...Bailey is especially perceptive on the ambivalent and conflicted relationship of both the feminist and gay rights movements to the sexual revolution. She also has strong sections on the birth control pill and other moremundane but long-lasting changes in American sexual culture...[A] fascinating and impressive book." -- K. Blaser Choice Bailey's account of the sexual revolution in Lawrence, Kansas is a rejoinder to American critics on the right who continue to see this process as something imposed on ordinary people by bohemian intellectuals and sex radicals located on either coast, and not as a phenomenon integral to America's "heartland." In Bailey's account, the sexual revolution was a grassroots movement happening in any number of college towns across the USA, and created unwittingly by "people who had absolutely no intention of abetting a revolution in sex" Bailey argues that the replacement of moral with therapeutic frameworks for understanding sexual and emotional problems undermined any remaining moral consensus by offering non-punitive judgments on homosexuality and other forms of deviance Unnoticed developments like the reform of parietals were far more important, in Bailey's reading, than the pill or the counter culture...The fact that Bailey's attention is directed towards the less renowned, everyday sources of sexual revolution makes this a valuable book. -- H. G. Cocks Journal of Contemporary History The book's greatest strength is its delineation of "social and cultural changes" as effected by watershed events (panty raids, the advent of the Pill, birth control clinics, co-ed dorms, coffee houses, and underground newspapers); local and national institutions (which provided moral direction and financial and social support.) -- Jay A. Gertzman American Historical Review

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Sex in the Heartland is the story of the sexual revolution in a small university town in the quintessential heartland state of Kansas. Bypassing the oft-told tales of radicals and revolutionaries on either coast, Beth Bailey argues that the revolution was forged in towns and cities alike, as "ordinary" people struggled over the boundaries of public and private sexual behavior in postwar America.




Bailey fundamentally challenges contemporary perceptions of the revolution as simply a triumph of free love and gay lib. Rather, she explores the long-term and mainstream changes in American society, beginning in the economic and social dislocations of World War II and the explosion of mass media and communication, which aided and abetted the sexual upheaval of the 1960s. Focusing on Lawrence, Kansas, we discover the intricacies and depth of a transformation that was nurtured at the grass roots.




Americans used the concept of revolution to make sense of social and sexual changes as they lived through them. Everything from the birth control pill and counterculture to Civil Rights, was conflated into "the revolution," an accessible but deceptive simplification, too easy to both glorify and vilify. Bailey untangles the radically different origins, intentions, and outcomes of these events to help us understand their roles and meanings for sex in contemporary America. She argues that the sexual revolution challenged and partially overturned a system of sexual controls based on oppression, inequality, and exploitation, and created new models of sex and gender relations that have shaped our society in powerful and positive ways.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3258 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (30 Sep 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002OEBNN8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,121,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolution not Revolution - revisiting the 60s 8 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
How much of a revolution was the sexual revolution of the 1960s?

Beth Bailey addresses this question in an intriguing study of Lawrence, Kansas, and the KU campus there. This is a very readable book, of interest to sociologists, policy makers, and, probably, alumni of Kansas University.
Her ideas are well set out and argued. The local detail is fascinating and persuades the reader of the value of this kind of data. Simple analyses in conventional histories of that stormy decade are just that – too simple.
The revolution began long before 1960. The Second World War opened local communities up to a wider culture. Local arbiters of morality were sidestepped. Values came from the national media, laws, regulations and funds from Washington. This removal of local controls paved the way for further changes.
She elaborates how these played out over the next 20 before “the 60s” came to Lawrence. This was an era in which men and women gradually threw off restrictions, not to experience promiscuous free love, but to share meaningful relationships based on mutual respect.
The Pill was licensed in 1957. By 1969 8.5m women in America were using it as a contraceptive. Most of them were married. In Lawrence the struggle to make available safe contraception to unmarried women pitched health professionals against each other, against state taxpayers and the Supreme Court. A fascinating chapter by the author shows this was not a case of liberated girls storming the barricades. By 1972 the Pill had become embedded in a woman-centred health care facility, run by female doctors, addressing multiple issues of female health.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history of sex in flyover country 10 Oct 1999
By Michael D. Silverman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The sexual revolution didn't just happen in New York and San Francisco, and this book tell the story of how the sexual revolution came to the liberal college town of Lawrence, KS.
This book has a lot of fascinating stories, such as the history of birth control in Lawrence, the story of the town's attempt to "protect" itself from 10,000 sex-crazed young men working the nearby arms factory during WWII, and the history of gay liberation in the area.
Anyone interested in sexual/cultural politics and social issue will really enjoy this one.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very smart and accessible book about an important topic 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very accessible, well-written book which at the same time provides a complex analysis of American's changing attitudes and assumptions regarding sexual practices. While focusing on Lawrence, Kansas, (very useful for understanding how individuals and institutions reacted within a specific context), it says much about the country as a whole. It is refreshingly forthright without being unnecessarily salacious. And it manages to inform without taking all the fun out of the topic-quite a balancing act!
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolution not Revolution - the 60s revisited 8 April 2014
By gerardpeter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
How much of a revolution was the sexual revolution of the 1960s?

Beth Bailey addresses this question in an intriguing study of Lawrence, Kansas, and the KU campus there. This is a very readable book, of interest to sociologists, policy makers, and, probably, alumni of Kansas University.
Her ideas are well set out and argued. The local detail is fascinating and persuades the reader of the value of this kind of data. Simple analyses in conventional histories of that stormy decade are just that – too simple.
The revolution began long before 1960. The Second World War opened local communities to a wider culture. Local arbiters of morality were sidestepped. Values came from the national media, laws, regulations and funds from Washington. This removal of local controls paved the way for further changes.
She elaborates how these played out over the next 20 before “the 60s” came to Lawrence. This was an era in which men and women gradually threw off restrictions, not to experience promiscuous free love, but to share meaningful relationships based on mutual respect.
The Pill was licensed in 1957. By 1969 8.5m women in America were using it as a contraceptive. Most of them were married. In Lawrence the struggle to make available safe contraception to unmarried women pitched health professionals against each other, against state taxpayers and the Supreme Court. A fascinating chapter by the author shows this was not a case of liberated girls storming the barricades. By 1972 the Pill had become embedded in a woman-centred health care facility, run by female doctors, addressing multiple issues of female health. Its unmarried student recipients – of whom there were many – were in stable relationships; they did not identify control of their fertility with revolution or promiscuity.
The counterculture – for many people is emblematic of the 60s – came to Lawrence, as well, though not until the later years. There was an underground press and a lively, not altogether peaceful, drug culture; communal experiments established on the city’s outskirts. As elsewhere, aggressive sexism was one strand in this lifestyle, but not the only one.
It was partly reaction to this – as much as to wider discrimination – that the Women’s and Gay movements became emboldened. Again we can see this in Lawrence. WLM built on the progress made towards gender equality since 1950. As with so much else, the author shows how ordinary people in ordinary towns did the hard graft to bring about a better world. The violence of 1970 brought national attention to the campus, but it was neither typical nor productive.

Many portrayals of the sexual revolution are inaccurate. The real revolution – perhaps evolution – ran over many decades from 1940 to 1975. Bailey concludes that generally we now live in happier and less ignorant and repressed times, for which we should thank our grandparents [indeed greatgrandparents] as much as our parents.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-supported thesis 6 Dec 2006
By TEK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
To begin, I need to note that if given the option I would have rated this book 3.5 stars. But since I wasn't given that option I felt this book was closer to a four star piece of work than a three star book.

Bailey's main point in this book is that the sexual revolution was about more than "free love", and in fact had its roots in seemingly unrelated trends, such as the advent of mass media, interstate highways, and the growth of federal government power. Bailey does a great job in illustrating how such trends led to an environment in which the sexual revolution was possible. Her articulation of how administrators (at KU and in the army, for example) shifted from morals to practical outcomes was also very convincing.

On the other hand, I do feel compelled to dock Bailey 1 (or 1.5) stars because her presentation was one-sided and often inaccurate in its portrayal of the "traditionalists". The bulk of her writing is dedicated to articulating and exploring the meaning of the various factions of the revolution. I certainly think doing this is important, especially for a book on this topic. However, Bailey fails to get into the ideology/philosophy/theology behind the "traditional" views, which causes her portrayals of those views to be simplistic and monolithic. She is too willing to accept the verdict that all of "traditional" society was oppressive to women, minorities, homosexuals, or even different world-views. I think Bailey could learn a lot from the likes of W. Bradford Wilcox or Timothy Keller, who demonstrate that most people of the "traditionalist" camp in mainstream society actually are perverting the meaning of Scripture.

One example, especially pertinent to this book, would be the issue of "female subordination", as Bailey puts it. Timothy Keller, in particular, would absolutely refute that the Bible supports the subordination or oppression of women, and in fact he places a high level of emphasis on the meaning of love when the Bible commands men to "love their wives" in Ephesians. To be clear, Keller is one of the "traditional" fundamentalist conservative Christians that Bailey groups in with the rest, and I find his view of male/female relations more liberating than the views that come out of the sexual revolution.

In any event, this was a valuable read that helped me put the sexual revolution in its proper historical context. For this reason I would recommend this book to those wanted to getting a better understanding of the sexual revolution, its foundations, and its principal actors.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sex in the Heartland 3 Dec 2004
By mark twizzle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For those looking for a very informational book about the sexual revolution from the 1940's to the 1970's, this would be a book for you to read. This book was about how the youth at this time was blogged by war, lonely because they were away from their families at college, and stressed from school work. So naturally much of the youth turned towards sex.

Beth Bailey provides the audience with a lot of factual information regarding the change in youth. Bailey did an excellent job proving that the sexual revolution of the youth wasn't just in the west or east coast. It occured in the midwest as well as small towns such as Lawrence, Kansas. As a resident of Kansas right now and a youth I found this book very interesting because my parents went through the sexual revoltuon and I had no idea. They went through the same struggles kids today go through with sex in our country. I found this book an easy read and recommend it to not just people who lived through the sexual revoltion but everyone.
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