The Roaring Twenties With Women's New Right To Sexuality

1108 words - 4 pages

This essay will analyse whether the iconic representation of the roaring twenties with the woman's new right to sexuality, was a liberal step of progression within society or a capitalist venture to exploit a new viable market. Using Margaret Sanger's work in comparison with a survey conducted by New Girls for Old, the former a more mature look at the sexuality and ownership to a woman's body and the second a representation of girls coming of age in the sexually "free" roaring twenties. Margaret Sanger is known as "the mother of planned parenthood", and in the source she collates a collection of letters to speak of the sexual enslavement of motherhood through the fulfilment of the husbands desires. While Blanchard and Manasses of New Girls for Old suggests the historical consensus that the flapper is a figment compared to the reality where promiscuity was largely condemned.
Both sources approach an issue from a different demographic, the married young housewife and the of age generation in the roaring twenties respectively. If we compare intent, we see Sanger's is a politically motivated piece seeking empathy compared to what appears to be a balanced study from New Girls for Old. Therefore the more representative source is that of the uninfluenced survey, while we can't discount that they are selectively chosen; in comparison to Sanger's selected testimonials are likely the most pressing and emotive letters written to her. This contrasting factor of intent also leads to their influence varying, as Engelman presents it was Sanger's pivotal activist role that when combined with the radicals, socialites and professionals that led to the successive progress of the birth control movement as one of the few women led social movements in American history (Engelman, 2011). When Blanchard and Manasses collection of discussion of petting fall into the well established notion of revisionist historians such Fass that sexual promiscuity of the roaring twenties through the cultural symbol of the flapper is a warped out of proportion into a revolution, when in fact it was a minority pattern of behaviour as the source proves (Fass, 1977). The representative nature of the collection of young women's discussions of the sexually "freedoms" of the twenties adhere more to a repressive tool to objectify women against an exaggerated and unfounded stereotype of the flapper. While Sanger's politicisation of her piece, means that as evidence for masculine influence over the birth control crisis isn't representative enough as the resistance to birth control can is linked closer to a Freudian civil religion in the American psyche (Idema, 1990).
In relation to whether women had the right to their own bodies in the roaring twenties, we see that the publicity generated by Sanger was more progressive in providing a liberal era for women. After her trail we see the creation of tens of agencies and organisation centralised around awareness of birth control, thus the politically...

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