So Much Sex!

Charles Blow has an OP-ED in the New York Times (3-2-12),  Santorum and the Sexual Revolution, where he quotes Santorum saying:

“It comes down to sex. That’s what it’s all about. It comes down to freedom, and it comes down to sex.”   &  …“Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. They prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.” & …” It’s a, in my opinion, a hedonistic, self-focused world that is, in my opinion, anti-American.”

&

“You’re a liberal or a conservative in America if you think the ’60s were a good thing or not. If the ’60s was a good thing, you’re left. If you think it was a bad thing, you’re right. And the confusing thing for a lot of people that gets a lot of Americans is, when they think of the ’60s, they don’t think of just the sexual revolution. But somehow or other — and they’ve been very, very, clever at doing this — they’ve been able to link, I think absolutely incorrectly, the sexual revolution with civil rights.”

Mr. Blow summation of Santorum is this,

“It’s a war on sex beyond the confines of traditional marriage and strict heterosexuality in which women, particularly poor ones, and gays, particularly open ones, are likely to suffer the greatest casualties.”

While that is true – I think it is so much more. And Civil Rights is very much tied to the Women’s movement which allowed more ‘freedom’ and vice-versa (which Santorum denies)/

The rights of women and the rights of blacks have developed in parallel. Starting in the mid 1800s. Harriet Beecher Stowe writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin – women had a lot to do with advocating the freeing of slaves and thinking of blacks as people. Many of the same people were abolitionists and suffragists.

The common denominator was creating a country / world where people besides white males were able to have control over their lives – to vote – to own property.

It seems to me that Republicans would like for all of us to think that our country has arrived – or that we never should have embarked on this journey to begin with. The journey of equality. They are still fighting it. Fighting against affirmative action. Fighting against voting rights – making it more instead of less easy to vote. Fighting against anything that helps to even the playing field.

The acceptance of Blacks, Asians, Latinos into the mainstream of society – a process that continues – has changed our society. Of course it would. And that is not a bad thing. The past was very influenced by a Puritan outlook. Englishmen & Germans. And yes – many came for religious freedom – the Republicans seem to like to forget that. They want to think that there is a particular type of Christianity that we all agree on – that was always agreed on. But it never was so.

Our country will continue to evolve. In the last 100 or so years, ideas about religion and spirituality from India have inspired Thoreau, Emerson, and many others who have been influential. The revolution did not start with Woodstock.

Early in the 20th century, many conservatives were very threatened by Modernism. They were afraid modernism was going to undo Christianity, then. Modernism, was a reaction to many changes. The industrial factory, workplaces – science, wars, trains, cars, planes. The world must have been seen as shrinking and coming together. Feminism was a big thing then, too – with women getting the vote in 1920. Socialism was influential – labor laws were passed.

Compared with Victorianism, even sex probably seemed loose. Women were wearing shorter dresses – showing ankles and arms. In the late 1880s, women were diagnosed by doctors as suffering from “hysteria” and treated with massage (and orgasms – though not recognized as such). VIbrators became a common appliance advertised in women’s craft magazines until it was figured out that there was a sexual association.

What is absurd – what Limbaugh does not seem to understand as he rants about women wanting “So Much Sex” is that our stupid society has been deaf to women’s needs for centuries. At various times, I expect people’s awareness waxed and waned. Some people figured it out, some didn’t.

The society that I grew up in – in the 60s and 70s – outside of the youth movement and feminism – was one where promiscuity was condoned for men and not for women. Men “sowing their oats” and hoping they didn’t have to pay for the oats to grow. White men who could discriminate against blacks and women in hiring. Where the good old boys network had not been broken – and was just starting to break as I was entering college.

Women, on the other have – in the 60s and before – were shamed and sent away if they got stuck with some man’s oats growing inside of her. I know a couple women who were sent away as late as the 70s. Freedom had not arrived everywhere. Freedom from ridicule, and from the fear of what such a thing would “do” to a family, that is.

That is what Limbaugh, Santorum, and Romney would have us return to. Shame for women. As welI as shame for homosexuals and anyone who does not play by the patriarchal rules – rules that are stacked for white men who already have more power than others. I hope to Goddess that that genie cannot get back in that bottle again – now that she has been out for awhile. That is not what is best for our society.

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