An Odyssey of Sexual/Gender Evolution: An Autoethnographical Study of the United States from the 1950s to the Present, DH Weir

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Content: An Odyssey of Sexual/Gender Evolution: An Autoethnographical Study of the United States from the 1950s to the Present by Deborah H. Weir A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Maimonides University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Tampa, Florida April, 2002 1
William A. Granzig, Ph.D., MPH Professor and Dean James O. Walker, Ph.D. Assistant Professor W. B. Easterling, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Approved by the Dissertation Committee
William A. Granzig, Ph.D.
James O. Walker, Ph. D.
W. B. Easterling, Ph. D.
Maimonodes University North Miami Beach, Florida
Dedication Page This project is dedicated to my mother, who now sits in a wheelchair in a nursing home. Although she has severe dementia, her face still lights up with recognition, love, and admiration when she sees me. Forty years my senior, we have lived in different times and worlds--she in a traditional one, and I in an alternative one. However, we have maintained a mutual respect that transcends mere cultural elements, as we remain connected by the powerful feminine energy that rules us. She took self-sacrificing care of me in the past, and I am honored to serve her now in her time of great need. 3
Acknowledgements This project completion would never have been possible without my husband's encouragement, support, patience, and assistance. David is an exceptional individual, as well as a relationship expert, both elements of his character that I have greatly benefited from during this research project and self-exploration. There are no verbal phrases that can describe my deep appreciation of his being in my life. Thank you, partner. I would like to acknowledge Dr. William A. Granzig for his instruction and inspiring ideas that continue to mold me into a twenty-first century sex therapist. I particularly appreciate his agreement to bend his typical scientific program to include my unique narrative presentation as a part of this project. Thank you, Dr. Granzig. Another individual that greatly contributed to this project is Joan George, MA, soon to have her own Ph. D. from the Communications Department of the University of South Florida. Her many high-level consultations and comments were invaluable to me during my insecure moments, and I am indebted to her. Thank you, Joan. My Jungian psychotherapist, Angelo Spoto, MA, LMHC, has assisted me on this journey on many levels. His encouragement and assistance is helping me understand archetypal energies, as well as suggestions for on-going enlightenment have played a significant role in this project. Thank you, Angelo. Finally, my woman-friend Kay Overton remains my on-going feminine soul-level inspiration, and is a foundational contributor of anything that I create. Thank you, Kay. 4
Abstract Through an autoethnographical narrative and historical review of the changes in the associations with the concepts of femininity and masculinity, this study examines the question of there being a sexual/gender revolution in the United States during the past fifty years. There is an attempt to define the concepts of gender both in the 1950s and the twenty-first century, and to examine political, economical, social, and psychological elements that have contributed to the cultural associations. The presentation includes the author's personal story during the decades, paralleling an objective account of the United States cultural gender issues and events that affected the individual story through "cultural osmosis." Brief historical sketches, presented in decade time sequences, include the overall energetic tone of the traditional 1950s, the tumultuous 1960s, the explorative 1970s, the conservative 1980s, the expansive and controversial 1990s, and a description of the twenty-first century sexual/gender climate as a conclusion. Of significance is the loosening of moral codes brought about by the 1960s and 1970s rebellion of the baby boomers, the second-wave feminist movement, postmodernism of the 1980s, and the reacceptance of sex differences--supported by developments in biological studies of hormones and brain differences, as well as popular self-help authors and New Age spirituality. Conclusions revolve around a cultural shift from gender role associations of the past to more androgynous, energetic associations where the gender role delineations have blurred and that allow individuals to identify having both feminine and masculine sides within. Therefore, there has been a definite gender revolution. The question of a sexual revolution remains debatable. 5
Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Chapter One: Feminine and Masculine in the 1950s U.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Chapter Two: 1960s Cultural Upheavals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chapter Three: Sexual Revolution of the 1970s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Chapter Four: 1980s Conservative and Materialistic Backlash . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Chapter Five: Early 1990s Global and Technological Expansion . . . . . . . . . . 63 Chapter Six: Late 1990s Sexual and Gender Controversies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Chapter Seven: Twenty-first Century Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 References Cited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 6
AN ODYSSEY OF SEXUAL/GENDER EVOLUTION: An Autoethnographical Study of the United States from the 1950s to the Present Introduction Sex therapy and relationship counseling are specialties that cover broad bases. Most problems encountered in either of these disciplines require sweeping assessment, since no problem is easily diagnosed or treated. Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny's (1992) textbook, Human Sexuality, begins by commenting on the complexity of their subject. "While keeping in mind the private, public, and historical sources of our sexual heritage, we can broaden and deepen our understanding by studying sexuality from biological, psychosocial, behavioral, clinical, and cultural perspectives." (p. 2.) Their initial sex therapy case is presented and viewed through the various lenses of biology, psychology, and the culture to illustrate this complexity and the need for viewing a sex problem in all its many facets. One of the facets, the concepts of femininity and masculinity, as well as the nuances of sex/gender differences, have found their way into the everyday language and popular spectra of experiences in the United States. It is common to hear an individual today, either seriously or jokingly, refer to getting in touch with the inner woman or man, or similarly, to her or his feminine or masculine side. In wondering why and how this has occurred in United States culture, phrases come to mind, such as the title of the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (Gray, 1992), and the adage, opposites attract. Yin Yang has emerged as a popular symbol of inspiration and is frequently featured on T-shirts, in jewelry, on book covers and brochures, as logos, etc., reflecting a movement toward acceptance of New Age spirituality. Although professionally I have been working with gender concepts directly in my role as a relationship counselor for the past five years, I became intrigued with the concepts during the women's movement of the 1970s because of my confusion caused by the debates over sex difference versus sex equality. As I heard the term feminist, and considered if I could claim this title, I began a search to understand this part of my sexual identity. The search led me to women's studies, to being a women's counselor, to being a Mars-Venus counselor, and to being a sex therapist. Although I have begun to realize that my search is an exhaustive one without clear definition, the attempt to understand the dynamics of femininity and masculinity continues to haunt me in my personal and professional life. Fortunately, this doctoral dissertation has provided the opportunity to research pertinent elements of my gender and sex identity, as well as review and gain an understanding of cultural issues that have contributed to it, and then generalize it to the needs of my clients. As Masters et al point out, although one's sexuality is processed through an "intensely personal perspective", the perspective itself stems from "private, personal experience, and public, social sources." (p. 2.) Although the concepts of femininity and masculinity were in earlier times thought of as strictly sociological and psychological constructs, recent information on the effects of sex hormones on brain formation of males and females have resulted in a blurring of the definitions. Some current research is showing that a woman with high testosterone levels may have a tendency to express herself in masculine ways; a man with low testosterone 7
levels may tend to express himself in more feminine ways. (See Dabbs, 2000.) John Gray, the popular relationship therapist and author, uses the theory of brain differences to explain male and female differences as instinctually biological. Early in the conception of this dissertation, I realized the need to explore these expansive gender/sexual concepts from an almost anthropological perspective, which "investigates how human biology, social behavior, and culture interact" (Masters, et al, p. 641). Indeed, to examine a cultures' gender/sexual evolution requires viewing the mosaic of social elements, such as politics, economics, and lifestyles, along with the biological elements of the sexes. Included must be spiritual and philosophical elements. I have chosen to use the wide lens of qualitative research for this sexological project of attempting to understand personal and cultural evolutionary processes foundational to the sexual experience. Through the process, I have begun to perceive the concepts of femininity and masculinity in three separate domains. First and foremost, the cultural perspective includes the various social roles that men and women have been assigned and have played out over the years, which have been shifting as a result of complex social phenomena, such as contemporary feminist activism and recent technological advances. Secondly, the biological perspective puts females in a hormonal pool of femininity and males in a hormonal pool of masculinity, regardless of sexual orientation, social role, or political attitude. Thirdly, the spiritual/energetic perspective of these two concepts, evolving from such elements as religion, philosophy, and depth psychology, are present in the culture, and, although difficult to grasp or define, must be included in the examination. Therefore, I have attempted to represent the rich interplay of these three perspectives through my qualitative methods. Sex therapy today tends to present itself clinically in terms of research and interventions, being medically oriented and using scientific language and objectivity, especially in this "age of Viagra" (Lieblum & Rosen, 2000, p. 1). However, science and its various methods of objective investigation, with its lack of experience in its experiments, has been found to result in a disenchantment of the culture, particularly with regard to psychology and the more interpersonal treatment approaches. (Pickering, 1997.) Scientific approaches have generally been a masculine creation and have been criticized by certain feminists, such as Evelyn Fox Keller (1985), for creating a masculine bias and omitting elements of the human experience that involve more feminine concerns, such as feeling and subjectivity. (Brannon, 1999.) Certainly, Tantric practices, used to enhance the sexual experience by aligning it with spiritual expression, are clearly within the domain of sex therapy, yet not a part of the scientific world. (See Butler, 1999.) Sexuality, at its best, is a balancing act of masculine and feminine forces. In keeping with that, I have attempted to weave balance into this project by contrasting my personal selfdisclosures and first-person language, with the objectivity and third person presentation of the historical research. Project Description My project has revolved around an attempt to define the concepts of femininity and masculinity as expressed in recent United States culture, in the three domains of cultural, biological, and spiritual. After attempting several initial plans that proved to be cumbersome and vague, I eventually decided on a method of autoethnography, wherein a 8
historical review of the evolution of social sex/gender concepts from the past fifty years is accompanied by my personal life story as an illustration of how the cultural story affected one individual life. My review focuses on the notion that a sexual revolution has occurred during the past fifty years, and I have chosen cultural movements and events for review that seem significant to that notion. Methods This discourse is carried out with two primary methods: 1) historical literature review of selected cultural events, and 2) autoethnography in the form of personal selfdisclosure, as discussed below. Historical Literature Review Many events occur during a decade, and historical accounts abound. An attempt was made to research and gain basic knowledge of significant political, social, and economic events affecting sex/gender roles from credible sources, and present it in sections of various movements and issues arising within those categories. An attempt was made to use popular reference titles of the various issues. It was desired for the reader to have a glance at the issues; therefore, brief overviews were presented for each historical issue, foregoing details. The first four chapters are presented in decade accounts. The fifth and sixth chapters cover the 1990s, and the seventh chapter focuses on the twenty-first century in the form of a reflective summary. Autoethnography Richardson (1990) gives a brief historical sketch of the evolution of scientific research. She explains that, starting in the seventeenth century, intellectuals divided writing into two basic categories: literary and scientific. The scientific method tended to observe reality, while literature tended to use rhetoric, subjectivity, and fiction. The same source indicates that during the eighteenth century, the preference of scientific writing over literary writing was promoted by several influential scholars, who were primarily drawing from the bias of Plato. At this time, it was encouraged to use objective observations and a plain style of writing, devoid of emotion and figurative language. Richardson goes on to say that by the nineteenth century, "literature and science stood as two separate domains", with the scientific domain (in its use of objective language) dominating social science (p. 120). Richardson also states that the use of strict adherence to scientific quantitative research in sociology has been challenged recently, and that trying to suppress narrative and literary devices "undermines the very foundations of the sociological enterprise", which is so inevitably tied to the human experience (p. 124). Carolyn Ellis, sociology professor, author, and advocate of narrative ethnography, has formulated the referenced statement "...we have lost faith in the theory of language on which orthodox approaches to scientific inquiry are based, questioned the significance of a social science devoid of intuition and emotions, and raised doubts about the core values of the social sciences and the usefulness of rigid disciplinary boundaries that separate the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts." (1997, p. 115.) In her article, she goes on point out how difficult it is to personally relate to the statement, and begins to use a method of personal narrative to further advance her statement. Brannon (1999) has described an 9
evolution of qualitative research that, although used more in sociology and anthropology, has grown more popular with psychologists recently. (Barresi & Juckes, 1997; Wyche, 1999.) Even the medical field is beginning to value narrative life stories to gain insight on complex ethical issues (Tovey, 1998). Qualitative method "focuses on the complexity of the situation rather than trying to manipulate and control different variables" (Brannon, p. 32). Case studies, interviewing, and ethnography (being immersed in the situation being examined) are qualitative methods outlined by Brannon. A special form of ethnography advocated by Ellis and others is narrative autoethnography, where the researcher positions herself or himself within the domain of the question being explored and provides subjective interpretation in story form from a personal perspective. Newmann (1996) has described the method as "an attempt to interpret the public and private dimensions of cultural experience and seek a critical distance and perspective on each" (p. 192), and an attempt to "come to terms with sustaining questions of self and culture" (p. 193). As Newmann implies, narrative autoethnography is being widely accepted in anthropology, sociology and mass communication curricula as a viable qualitative research method and an effective way to gain perspective on complex cultural issues. (Bochner & Ellis, 1992; Bochner & Ellis, 1996; Ellis, 1997; Tierney, 1998; Richardson, 1990; Clifford & Marcus, 1986; and Berger, 2001.) Bochner & Ellis (1992) advocate this more personal approach as an alternative to "the old divisions between intellect and feeling, mind, and body" (p. 166), which, likewise, seems particularly pertinent to the field and study of sexology. One significant advantage of this approach is the ease with which the reader is able to relate to the topic being presented, which was one of the primary intentions of this presentation. Berger states that by using ethnography, "...we are trying to capture a segment of time in the lives of those we are observing and describe it in a way that allow others to understand what is happening." (2001, p. 507.) She goes on to state, "And I cannot tell the story while ignoring the fact that my research has caused me to embark on a personal, spiritual exploration." (p. 507.) Berger makes reference to Fasching's (1992) explanation that narrative autoethnography allows a reader to perceive her or his own life in new ways through the eyes of other. (See also Barresi & Juckes, 1997 and Tierney, 1998.) An attempt was being made with this presentation to invite and inspire the reader to evaluate her or his own sexual evolution, while providing knowledge of particular cultural factors, events, and processes that may have affected it. Self-disclosure Just as Berger (2001) explains, the self-disclosure that accompanies the autoethnographical approach requires risk of exposure to the researcher and to the others involved in the story. This is particularly pertinent in the specialized case of a sexology autobiographical presentation by a psychotherapist and certified sex therapist. However, one of the radical changes occurring as a part of the proposed sexual revolution was the general coming out of the culture on sexuality. (Vargo, 1998; Kranz & Cusick, 2000.) In the 1960s Masters and Johnson (1966) began to publicly expose their explicit research on the biological processes of the sexual experience, paving the way for open discussion on sexual behaviors and matters. The attitude toward sexuality has been changing, spurred by this radical event and others, bringing the population way beyond mere discussion, to more freedom for authentic sexual expression and a more positive view of sex acts. For 10
example, the gay-lesbian movement involved a number of courageous individuals not only exposing their alternate life style, but also demanding the right to have a more peaceful life without discrimination and threats. In many ways, they have been successful. (Vargo, 1998.) Women have more control of their bodies; sex-change surgery is more understood and accepted. Sexology supports this type of thinking and evolution. Certain aspects of the self-disclosure presented in this dissertation models current trends of coming out. Disclosure of personal information is the central feature of the psychotherapy process, (Barrett & Berman, 2001) because the personal narrative provides an effective method for understanding oneself and the means by which a therapist can begin to understand a client and develop effective treatment strategies. My impetus to pursue sex therapy education all began from a set of articles on sex therapy featured in a journal, the Family Therapy Networker. In the first of these articles (Butler, 1999) was an explanation of how our culture's sexual practices and attitudes have been affected by religion, politics, science, popular trends, psychology, etc. This candid and descriptive article caught my attention and helped me realize that, although I had had a generally pleasurable sexual evolution, I was seriously affected and limited by these cultural elements. These elements played into my sexual experience. "When we sleep with each other, we sleep with images we've absorbed and, without knowing it, those our lovers have absorbed as well" (p. 24). Previous intrigue with the concepts of femininity and masculinity, the most recent being my involvement with John Gray's Mars and Venus philosophies of sex/gender relations, resulted in my automatically relating to this article within the context of these concepts, as well. What occurred was an inner explosion of desire to more thoroughly examine my own personal experience in relation to cultural elements. After a series of events, this dissertation became my method for following through on that desire. I have not taken lightly the risks involved in sharing intimate elements of my selfdisclosure. As a therapist, I use self-disclosure in working with clients, as therapist selfdisclosure is now being viewed as an acceptable and therapeutic intervention with psychotherapy and counseling clients. (Bridges, 2001; Barrett & Berman, 2001.) Although good judgment and rules must be applied, particularly that of staying clientfocused, studies have shown that clients like their therapists better and have a reduction in symptoms of distress when appropriate self-disclosure of the therapist occurs in treatment, and I attempt to use this intervention carefully and appropriately. To further define therapist self-disclosure, types of revelations can be categorized various ways, such as personal experiences (either congruent with or dissimilar to that of the client), personal opinions, motives, intent, and emotions (both positive and negative). (Bridges, 2001; Barrett & Berman, 2001; Linehan, 1993; Watkins, 1990.) For instance, in my work with clients, I occasionally reveal intimate facts of my life that are a part of this dissertation and somewhat difficult to discuss, such as the fact that I have been married four times, or that I have been through an abortion, or even the fact that I consider myself bisexual, but only when I feel that it will be in some way therapeutic to the client's treatment program, and always carefully without too much detail. Although this differs from my counselor training, I have been affected by my studies of feminist theory, as well as other therapists, such as my partner and John Gray, who agree with the feminist therapy idea of creating a more egalitarian relationship through natural interaction, that 11
includes self-disclosure. Text-book author Lynn Brannon (1999) has commented that the authoritative and serious stance of the therapist that characterized earlier forms of psychotherapy have been affected by the evolution of feminist theory. Therefore, my self-disclosure in this presentation follows the same rules that I adhere to in working with counseling clients. I reveal only aspects that I deem appropriate and significant to the cultural elements that I have chosen to focus on in a particular decade. My personal narrative involves my family dynamics, my education and career evolution, my significant romantic involvements, and events that fueled my passion for the study of femininity and masculinity. It goes without saying that I have had to omit many of my life experiences, and, for the sake of literary flow, I have kept the various accounts relatively superficial. I have naturally omitted any explicit sexual information. Chapter Descriptions The first chapter is focused on 1950s traditionalism and paranoia in the United States that was filtering through the political, economic, and social systems, and set the stage for my beginnings. Cultural review elements include the baby boom and the Cold War, and movements leading up to these events, namely the industrial age, the 1920s sexual revolution, the economic depression, World War II, and the Kinsey report. The chapter ends with an attempt to describe the notions of femininity and masculinity at that time. The second chapter focuses on the 1960s cultural upheavals of my early childhood and adolescent years. Review elements include the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, youth rebellion, sexual activity changes, and the research of Masters and Johnson. More in-depth memories regarding my personal experience with racism and school integration are summarized as a closure for this chapter. The third chapter involves the apathy of the general public related to political upheavals, and bold reactions of women and gays during the 1970s, which brought about definite changes in cultural sexual attitudes and behaviors. This was a time of my personal experiences with college and my emerging identity as an adult. Elements of this review include a description of political events and climate of the 1970s, the women's movement, the gay rights movement, the human potential movement, and 1970s sex/gender role issues and statistics. I end this chapter with a personal insight around cultural osmosis. The fourth chapter concentrates on a cultural phenomenon of a war that developed in the 1980s between conservative politics and academic postmodernism. I was oblivious to this war, focused on my evolving career and personal discoveries of my continued identity development. Described are the political changes that Reaganomics brought to the culture, including various liberal backlashes and changes in sexuality, primarily that of the AIDS crisis. The academic developments of postmodernism, feminist theory evolution and offshoots, and renewed interest in androgyny are described. The chapter ends with a personal association with the term third wave feminist. The fifth chapter covers the first five years of the 1990s in terms of worldwide democracy and technological advances. It was a time when I had become an environmentalist and survivalist on a mission, and was training to become a private practitioner in mental health counseling. The historical review concentrates on changes that the Clinton administration brought to the culture, as well as an in-depth description 12
of the nuances of the proliferating New Age movement. The chapter is closed with my personal insight involving my parents and my own New Age alignment. The sixth chapter covers the last five years of the 1990s, focusing on the sex scandals and political absurdity. My personal involvement with John Gray and the Mars-Venus phenomenon is highlighted. The historical review includes a brief account of Clinton's impeachment, changes in popular culture with emphasis on the return to general acceptance of sex/gender differences, developments in sociobiological perspectives, and ensuing academic debates related to the concepts of femininity and masculinity. The chapter ends with my evaluation of the Mars-Venus cultural phenomenon. The final chapter describes my experience to date as a sex therapist, and my personal view of the twenty-first century sexual climate after completing this dissertation. Personal Comment At times I feel plagued by my obsession to understand the feminine-masculine dimension of human experience. Through my research I realize that I am in good company in my preoccupation with it, as many efforts have been made by scholars to measure and analyze gender characteristics of self identity, although as yet unsuccessfully, and not always with honorable intentions. Perhaps it is the complexity and inability to fully comprehend the concepts that draw me to it. Perhaps my obsession is related to the weight the culture attaches to whether one is female or male, feminine or masculine, and to the fact that one "50-50" biological fact can affect one's life with such great force. Or perhaps it is just naturally pleasurable to swing between archetypal dichotomies. For whatever reason, exhausted as I am, I cannot leave it alone. 13
CHAPTER ONE FEMININE AND MASCULINE IN THE 1950s Beginnings Being female, I have tended to view life through Mother's eyes instead of Dad's. I have often wondered how she must have felt to hear the news, in 1953, that she was pregnant with her fifth child. I have been told that she and the rest of the family were excited about the new addition, even though they were already bursting out of the small frame house in rural Louisiana. It had been seven years since there had been a new baby--time enough to accept that we would be a family with four children. Mother and Dad had married when Dad was finally ready to settle down after his nomadic travel adventures, the stories of which entertained us for the rest of his life. Mother, always studious, had found a way to attend college for two years, but that ended abruptly when Dad suddenly showed up at her dormitory and asked, "Are you ready to get married?" That was 1938. Prudish and shy, Mother gave only brief sketches of her pre-marriage adulthood, and the few stories she told only left us with more questions that we were afraid to ask. But we suspected by her nervousness and religious fanaticism that she had been through something hard. It was hard to tell, since back then everyone was living by staunch rules and was desperately working to keep a respectable reputation. In other words, everyone seemed a little nervous. I actually know more about Dad. He had worked in the shipyards, and later the oil fields, during and after WWII while Mom stayed home with the babies. His childhood home had somewhat fallen apart after his mother died when he was a teenager. It was then that he hit the road with a ninth grade education and a grief-stricken heart, to experience life rather aimlessly, yet adventurously, for the next ten years. I can imagine that eventually he would regard home-cooked meals, the devotion of an intelligent woman, and the warm embraces of family life a welcomed relief for providing more security and stability. After a series of moves across west Texas for Dad to follow his oil field jobs, my parents eventually moved near the place of their roots so that Mother would be close to her mother, to where she would have family support while Dad was away working, sometimes for weeks at a stint. The four children were handsome and healthy, and the big garden helped keep Mother sane, as well as put healthy food on the table. The tiny country church of fundamental Southern Baptist rounded out the social network, and grounded her in her role as moral leader. Although money was not plentiful, they had a nice existence of country life. That is, until the big accident.... In 1952, two years before this pregnancy, Dad happened to be on an oil derrick when it exploded. His fall resulted in a punctured lung, splintered pelvis, and a near death experience. It was a time of deep fear and deep debt. Although he survived, he had to change to less stressful and less dangerous work, which turned out to be working for a 15
machine shop. He then became a regular working man--home every evening and weekend. Time for the kids, time for home projects, and time for Mom. Maybe that is why she became pregnant. Maybe, also, that is why they were all excited to be having a baby. It symbolized "new life"--Dad's, as well as that of the family. I have been told that when I was in my first few weeks of life, Dad carried me on a pillow, parading me around family members as if I were a precious gem never seen before. Of course, I was. One would think that I would feel safe being born to a woman who was very familiar with the process of having babies, to a man who viewed me as an angel from God, and to a slew of children old enough and eager to hold me. I was a born "princess", indeed. My little brother was not so fortunate. The story told by my sister is that he was Mother's "menopause baby", and although the family was excited about my birth, another was overkill. Only two years apart, we were playmates and friends, being the only children around in the rural setting. However, he seemed to have unique challenges in being understood and accepted by the family. My earliest memories align with the picture painted by social historians of the 1950's. Mother was the domestic queen, and Dad was the working king. Life revolved around meals, church, television, music, and the "big kid's" school activities. Mother's life appeared to be a white tornado of cooking, cleaning, mending, praying, and worrying. She was the home accountant and primary disciplinarian. She worked hard to ingrain in us manners, religion, responsibility, and the importance of education. When she rested, she did so by watching television while shelling peas, mending, writing letters, preparing Sunday School lessons, and other such activities. Although Dad was at work most of the day, he was more passive when home, but involved with the family. At home, he was often involved in repair projects or working on the car. Relaxation for him included watching television with the family, or just sitting and smoking, which was my favorite because it was prime time for my little brother and me to entertain him. On the weekends, he took the older boys hunting. In fact, all the children adored him, and Mother coached us on having respect for him when he was napping or involved in a project. Their marriage was a beautiful team of leadership and effort, but we all knew that Mother was the true boss. Mother really became the boss when Dad's previous accident caused him to develop tuberculosis and he was shipped away for quarantine and treatment for a year and a half. It was time that required creative planning, doing without, and living on welfare. Mother's religious and writing activities increased significantly during this time, as well as her crying. Although I was very young, I missed Dad terribly, and etched in my mind is the day all of the children, now six of us, waited anxiously for the moment he arrived home from the hospital. Cultural Climate of the Early 1950s Although this chapter involves the United States (U.S.) culture in the 1950s, looking backward to the shifts leading up to the modern period provides a more complete understanding. Sociological historians (Lopata, 1998; Rotundo, 1979) explain that there was a pre-industrial traditional period where life was generally public and based on an 16
extended family system. Social connections were complex and included obligations to many others. The family was a primary unit of production and politics. The other primary units were church and state. All these units were governed and headed by males. There was hierarchical social order, and submission to ranks of age, class, and gender were expected and the norm. Industrialization and urbanization beginning in the eighteenth century caused a transitional period away from the large extended family to a division of the world into two spheres--a public world of economic and political life, dominated by males and considered to be the most important, as well as a domestic world made of the immediate family and dominated by females. By the beginning of the twentieth century, this traditional family life of dichotomous gender roles was pervasive in U.S. culture. Women had actually taken over the role as the moral leaders in the home (previously a male role), while the men were away long hours at their jobs. According to Banner (1995), women were allowed some education, were taking over clerical and teaching jobs, and were forming groups and organizations. Empowered by their new roles, a wave of discontent came over U.S. women and they began to demand rights more aligned with their heightened position. This, along with the sexual revolution of the Roaring Twenties, brought about significant changes for women, and subsequently for men, in terms of social sex roles. Roaring Twenties Masters et al (1992) describe several elements contributing to the sexual revolution that were seen in the U.S. culture in the 1920s, particularly significant since America had previously been puritanical and antisexual. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Victorian Age, prostitution and the sale of alcoholic beverages were issues that caused political and legal uproar, and pornography was banned by law for the first time. Also, at this time masturbation was viewed as physically damaging to the body by science and medicine, while women were blatantly viewed as inferior to men. Around the turn of the twentieth century, several respected scientists began to investigate sexual practices more objectively and to publish their reports. Sigmund Freud, at the time a neurologist, began to reveal his theory of personality, which included his belief that sex is the primary force in the motivation of all human behavior. Skolnick (1991) explains that the preoccupation with sex that evolved during the 1920s overlapped with the last stages of the first wave of feminism. Women were now voting (the constitution was amended in 1920) and were working in rising numbers, developing more camaraderie with males. The New Woman image rebelled against Victorian rules, particularly in the show of women's legs. Many women were also dancing, smoking, and drinking alcohol. Dating became the new way of male/female socializing, and "petting" was the avenue for acting on sexual urgings. The double standard continued to exist--unmarried men were allowed sexual activity, but unmarried women were condemned for it. Skolnick also points out that during this time, the sexual behaviors inherent in the institution of marriage were being emphasized by the popular culture and cultural authorities. The Great Depression The stock market crash in 1929 created a state of national crisis as many Americans experienced economic devastation. Historians (May,1988; Weiss,2000) explain that, 17
immediately following the crash, the preoccupation with sex and the heightened energy for play were replaced by the fear for survival and sustenance. For ten years, severe unemployment problems and financial deprivation gripped the nation, causing psychological distress. In 1932, the national unemployment rate was twenty-five percent. (Bondi, 1996, p. 311.) Although traditional gender roles remained, the marriage rate decreased because men were afraid of not being able to provide for the families. Men who were not working were also made to feel guilty, which served to push the low selfesteem of unemployed men to even further depths. May (1988) goes on to say that the role reversal of working women and unemployed men wreaked havoc in marriages, and many married women were forced by law to give up working. As part of the New Deal, Section 213 of the 1932 Federal Economy Act prohibited more than one family member from working for the government. State and local laws aligned themselves with the federal mandate, resulting in married women losing their jobs, particularly in the areas of teaching and state employment. Single women were made to feel guilty that they were working when men were not, which helped to promote the idea of them marrying a male who could adequately support them. Women often found that by taking over tasks and services that had previously been purchased, and by using creative spending of their husband's earnings, they could contribute more to the family resources. Glen Elder, a sociologist who carried out a cohort study of Depression children (1974), found that teenagers prematurely adopted adult gender roles. Boys often took jobs to help their families, and girls took over domestic chores when their mothers went to work. Elder concluded that this pattern encouraged the embracement of traditional roles in adulthood, which characterized the years to come. World War II According to May (1988), the war helped to feed the economy, and the nation was energized as men went to battle and women were called to work. After ten years of passive deprivation, men and women alike were needed to keep the American machine running. As more and more men left home to fight, women took over jobs previously held by men and enjoyed the financial independence afforded by the new position. May cites these statistics: In 1940, nearly thirty percent of all adult women over fourteen were employed (Bondi, 1996, p. 311; May, 1988, p.50); in 1945, sixty percent of all adult women were employed (May, p.59). May goes on to report that three-quarters of these working women were married, and that one-third had children under fourteen. This wide-spread independence of women and violation of the sex-segregated labor force resulted in a suspicion and threat of autonomous women. Therefore, they were held fast to the primacy of domestic concerns and made aware that their work was a temporary, emergency measure. In fact, marriages and birth rates were increased, perhaps explained by the notion that establishing connections to the future may have helped to ward off uncertainties that came with war. May also explains that this was a time of emphasis on female sexuality, as epitomized by the sexy, sweet screen stars of the day. However, she explains further, the paranoia surrounding the increasing position of women resulted in a dichotomy of thought: If sexiness was subordinate to family life, it was appropriate; if used for power, it was destructive and dangerous. War propaganda urged women to retain their femininity, 18
which included sexual chastity. Promiscuous women were touted as responsible for venereal disease. The double standard was blatant in the military as men were given contraceptives and devices to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases, but women were denied the use of birth control. After the war, many women left employment, returning to the roles of domesticity, as encouraged. However, many of the men were in hospitals, being treated for physical and mental problems. The returning soldiers were given housing and medical benefits. The U.S. Congress enacted the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, otherwise known as the GI Bill of Rights. This benefit included tuition, fees, books, and a monthly subsistence payment while veterans were in school. They also received aid to set up businesses, buy homes, and receive financial aid. (Bondi, 1996.) Female veterans were generally not awarded benefits, as they were expected to marry and inadvertently reap the benefits. (May, 1988, p. 78.) College enrollments increased during the postwar years, for men more than women. Women viewed college as a way to meet a husband. The Kinsey Report Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, a professor of zoology at Indiana University, carried out an extensive study of sex practices secondary to his appointment to teach a sex education course in 1938. (Brannon, 1999.) He and his research associates gathered the information through in-depth personal interviews, and eventually required national financial support and facilities to house the growing collection of confidential material, founding the Institute for Sex Research in 1947. (The Kinsey Institute, 2001.) The results were published in two volumes, the first describing the sex behaviors of males (Kinsey et al, 1948), and the second describing the sexual behaviors of females (Kinsey et al, 1953). Masters et al (1992) state that overall, the results of the Kinsey Report were startling, as it revealed high incidences of socially unacceptable and illegal sex practices, with particular emphasis on homosexuality, infidelity, and masturbation. Although the first volume, focused on males, was criticized as a threat to morality, it was generally positively received and stayed on the best-seller list for twenty-seven weeks. According to the same source, the second volume, focused on female sexuality, was very poorly received by the culture and even alleged as "tainted with communism." (p. 15.) May (1988) explains that the emergence of same-sex communities and the increasing visibility of gay men and lesbians fostered by the sex-segregation of the war made the Kinsey Report especially threatening to the traditionalists of the day. Paranoia and persecution of same-sex communities and homosexuals became intense, as well as other forms of then-regarded deviant forms of sexual practices. The Kinsey Report played a significant role in the push toward marriage as a safety measure. The Cold War After the defeat of Germany in 1945 signaling the close of World War II, intense rivalry continued between the two superpowers, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The struggle between capitalism of the U.S. and communism of U.S.S.R. evolved into a war without actual warfare, referred to as the "Cold War". Walter Lippmann, who in 1947 published a popular book on the subject, coined this term. Particularly characteristic of this war was an arms race or competition between the countries to accumulate advanced military weapons. (Microsoft, 2001.) 19
May (1988) described the paranoia that ran rampart during this early post-war period. There was intense fear of nuclear attack, and the country leaders preached the ideology of preparedness reaching into every aspect of life. The infiltration of communism was intensely feared and regarded as the "ultimate political evil" (Skolnick, 1991, p. 72), epitomized by Senator Joseph McCarthy's unfounded accusations of a large number of communist individuals working in the State Department. There was also paranoia related to sexual perversion, associated with communism, which added to the general fear of sexual chaos typical of crisis and rapid social change. The Kinsey Report, as already mentioned, added fuel to the fire of sexual fears. "Containment", the focus of May's presentation, was the overarching principle that offered the key to security, politically and personally. The Baby Boom Weiss (2000) explains that the traumas of economic depression and war, along with the fears culminating in this new Cold War environment, gave way to an unprecedented movement toward domesticity in the U.S. Family stability and wholesome living were seen as the domestic version of the containment philosophy and antidotes to the problems facing the nation. (May, 1988.) Both men and women alike were encouraged for a domestic focus, although the dichotomous gender roles stood stronger than ever. Rigid rules of appropriate behavior were ingrained in every man, woman, and child through various methods of influence by politicians, authorities, and experts in the form of political campaign platforms, television programs, magazine articles, handbooks, work training programs, community training programs, school educational programs, etc. The Baby Boom years stretched from 1947 to 1964 (Weiss, 2000, p. 4), and was brought on by younger marriages, more immediate births, higher number of children per families, and children born closer together. Weiss gives statistics of fertility rates in 1957 being 122.9 per thousand women compared to 79.9 per thousand in 1940 (p.4). As May (1988) remarked, "What made the baby boom happen was that everyone was doing it-- and at the same time." (p. 137) As family cocoons were being created from federal programs aimed at the middle-class population owning their own homes full of innovative home appliances, pervasive efforts were made to condition the population into traditional family marriages and gender roles. Men, although primarily breadwinners, were also encouraged to be emotionally strong, physically fit, and involved parents as protection against communism. (Weiss, 1998.) The increase in bureaucratic organizations decreased the entrepreneurial ethic, and men were trained in corporate behavior through courses designed to create more pleasing personalities at work and at home. (Stearns, 1979.) May (1988) also explains that women, as homemakers, were coached in taking a more professional approach to creating a secure and therapeutic home environment, made more exciting by the advent of new home technology. Along with emphasis on cooking, cleaning, and other work involved in creating a healthy home, they were trained in bomb shelter design and supply, and instructed in training drills for the family. Experts from psychology, medicine, science, and politics gave assistance to parents in the proper ways to raise children to prevent disobedience and subsequent horrors, such as pre-marriage pregnancy and homosexuality. The state of being single was regarded as dangerous, and sex outside of marriage was abhorred. In fact, May (1988) explains that sexual anxieties ran rampant with 20
continued concern over the impending doom of family values and traditions, and it became a national obsession. Sexual deviants were feared as a gateway to communistic ideas, and investigating suspicious employees was modeled in every work sector. May also stated that the changes in economic and sexual behaviors of women caused them to be a target for the sexual anxieties. They were viewed as the temptress of men and creators of wayward children, at the same time being considered privileged and glorified for motherhood. This was another reason for the encouragement for strong male leadership in the home. Channeling sexual energy into marriage was the rule for both men and women alike. Speaking of the cultural message to women of this time, May states: As long as they were subordinate to their husbands, sexually and otherwise, they would be contented and fulfilled wives devoting themselves to expert childrearing and professionalized homemaking. As loving, erotic mates, they would prevent their husbands from straying from the straight-and-narrow. [T]hey would raise healthy children to be strong, vital citizens. (p. 97.) Feminine and Masculine: Definitions This review of my beginnings and the cultural environment I was born into demonstrates to me that it was a time when social sex roles determined whether one was feminine or masculine: There was intense pressure for women to be feminine, which meant having the ultimate role of being a wife and mother, and being subservient to men and nurturing the children. The home was the primary feminine domain, and food, cleanliness, morality, sweetness, and attractiveness were the feminine elements of that domain. Feminine meant being sexual, yet only within the realms of marriage and home. Feminine also meant being emotional, dependent, weak, and intellectually inferior. The feminine work ethic was focused on domestic work, and if outside work was undertaken, it was only in assigned feminine work roles, such as clerical work, social work, or teaching, and only to provide a secondary supplement to the family income. At the same time, there was intense pressure for men to be masculine. This meant being physically strong and fit, ambitious workers and family providers, dominant, logical, and intellectually superior. The world of work was the masculine domain, and status, competitiveness, determination, and sacrifice were the primary elements. Anger, aggressiveness, and playfulness were the only appropriate emotions in the masculine expression. Sexual emphasis was a part of the masculine world, and regarded as a reward for hard work and family contributions. This review has also given me insight that a gender role reversal was present in some significant aspects of my parents' marriage. It seems that in terms of family authority, my mother carried out a more dominant, aggressive role, contrasted by my father's more passive and subordinate role. My mother has commented over the years that she took over this role purposefully to protect family members, as my father would be overly aggressive in his disciplining when called upon, although I saw no evidence of this in my lifetime. I suspect there were many secret dynamics between my parents. 21
CHAPTER TWO CULTURAL UPHEAVALS OF THE 1960s Country Living Perhaps it was the frequent reference to bombs and the need for bomb shelters flooding me from the omnipresent television, along with the added sound effects of the frequent sonic booms occurring out of nowhere for no apparent reason, that shattered my playful focus. Perhaps it was all the fire-and-brimstone sermons I suffered through, which were delivered by our red-faced, dramatic country preacher. I still cringe at the memory of white pieces of anti-acid tablets flying out of his mouth, as he screamed to the tiny congregation of all the sins we were committing. I suppose those were scary and confusing images for a tiny psyche. Or perhaps it was being so young and present for my four older siblings' painful emergence into adulthood. They seemed to be constantly getting into trouble and causing my parents extreme upset. For whatever reasons, my preschool years were spent with a strong element of fear. Although I played and explored in the surrounding woods with my little brother, and enjoyed family gatherings and positive attention, I often lay unable to sleep in the nighttime darkness, full of dread and disappointment with the philosophies and lessons that I was learning. I started school in 1960 when my two oldest brothers were away at college, and just after my sister had suddenly left home to spend time in Texas with a relative. Mother had previously delegated my care, as well as that of my little brother, to my older siblings, and their absence was difficult for all of us. My sister had practically adopted me, and took care of my needs, such as my dress and hair, so that I always looked like the little princess that I was. I felt Mother's awkwardness, sometimes irritation, as she took over these duties when my sister was suddenly not there anymore. Years later I learned that my sister, age nineteen at the time, had gotten pregnant, and Mother arranged for her to hide away in Texas at a special home for pregnant girls, eventually giving the baby up for adoption. I was told that Mother carried out such a good cover-up that even Dad did not know where she really was for that time period. I also found out that this experience haunted my sister for the rest of her life. Although first grade was yet another fearful experience, school offered more exciting learning opportunities, and quickly became my seedbed for achievement and creativity. My sister soon left home permanently, but continued to take an active part in my school and social needs. My oldest brother had become a librarian and eventually moved to California, but would write to my little brother and me, keeping us informed of the latest children's bestsellers. My memories of home included the refuge of the surrounding woods, regular meals and snacks provided by Mother, and the constant entertainment provided by television. The warm feelings were clouded by my growing awareness of my family's severe financial problems, the tension associated with the presence of my little brother, and the scary events that were seen on television. My most vivid memory of these events were of President Kennedy's funeral, and watching my mother sob as she fixed her gaze of horror on the screen. My initiation into "womanhood," awkwardly handled by Mother, and leaving me somehow guilty and afraid of the bodily surprises, served as foreshadowing to the scary times that lie ahead. When I was eleven, Dad lost his job due to the company going 23
bankrupt, and we were forced to move the family headquarters to another small town nearby. My parents, challenged by making such changes at their advanced ages, both found jobs at a local state facility and resigned themselves to being a double-income family. They were able to actually purchase a house for the first time, which was in the heart of the little town, but they had to give up having a car for a while to make the payments. They caught rides to work from neighbors, and the school, church, and stores were within walking distance. Needless to say, there was little money for clothes, activities, and extra-curricular opportunities usually afforded budding, popular adolescents. I aligned with the traditional image of young women of the day--I learned to sew my own clothes, kept myself attractive, became a cheerleader, made straight A's, and committed to Christianity. I became a town favorite, and used my creative resourcefulness and achievements to pull off my high profile at school. I kept the same steady boyfriend throughout my junior and high school years. Although we experimented sexually, which I was certainly ill prepared for, I kept our escapades totally secret, and lived with extreme guilt and fear of pregnancy the entire time. My little brother coped with the challenges of our family in a different way, as he always had. He aligned himself with the counterculture of hippies and drug users, grew his hair long, and viewed school as a place of drudgery and alienation. Music became his only study interest, and his room was full of black-light posters, stereo equipment, and ashtrays. Totally estranged from the rest of the family, he somehow managed to keep positive associations with my oldest brother in California, whom he had always been close to. An embarrassment in my traditional, upstanding life, I pretended that he did not exist. Another source of embarrassment was the apparent deterioration of my father. Although Mother's contribution to the family income was necessary and allowed us to eventually own a car again, drastic changes occurred in the family dynamics. For one thing, Dad began to drink alcohol unabated, without Mother's ever-present guidance in his choices and routines. He would spend hours in his room in the dark alone. He once horrified my brother and me by joining a town crowd in his underwear. He once got lost hunting and did not come home for twenty-four hours. He sometimes forgot what I told him about my whereabouts, undermining my attempts to be a responsible teenager. Although Dad and I overall continued our affectionate regard for one another, I felt deprived by his lack of positive contribution to my life at the time. In fact, it seemed that the four of us left at home segregated into our own worlds: Mom into her new employment and her new church, Dad into his unfulfilling employment and his alcohol, my brother into his counter-culture escapades, and I into my academic and social pursuits. Although Mother tried to keep us "a family", we were all estranged. It was as if the social unrest that we viewed on television and were insulated from by the small town setting, crept its way nonetheless into our home and emotional lives. 1960s Cultural Upheaval As the 1950s are warmly idealized for traditional family values and innocent heterosexual romance, the 1960s are passionately idealized for free expression and 24
individualism. It is an era frequently referred to as a cultural "revolution", although debates continue to engage around the accuracy of this reference. It was certainly a time of upheavals, of which the popular feminist statement "The Personal Is Political" is more than apt. A proper brief review of this era is difficult without engaging the passionate rhetoric that accompanied it--particularly if the reviewer is personally shaken and unraveled by what is found and revealed. The idealism of passion tends to cover up the negative realities of the pain and struggle that were the more accurate legacies of the time. Skolnick (1991) has interesting comments that fit in with this introduction. The first is that the reason the revolts of the 1960s were so fierce and traumatic stems from the 1950s reflecting a paralysis of cultural growth that began in the early twentieth century and was so at odds with realities of the times. (pp. 76-77.) She goes on to say that there was a generation gap of experience in the older members of the society and that of their children. The former were in psychological need of the security of material goods secondary to their post-traumatic stress of deprivation. The latter, who had no acquaintance with material deprivation, pulled from their sophisticated education of philosophic ideas of individual rights and other elements that describe a high quality of life. (p. 80.) Most exciting is Skolnick's reference to William G. McLoughlin (1978) who equated this time period with those of the past that have been termed "Great Awakenings". According to this author, McLoughlin stated that traditionally Great Awakenings are steeped in religious uprisings and conversion experiences, at the core of which is a disconnection between what the cultural standards are and the daily experience of large numbers of people of that culture. The picture of cultural confusion described by McLoughlin seems to perfectly illustrate this chaotic decade. For many of the participants of the various social movements who were mature and open-minded enough to review options, it seemed to truly be a time of Great Awakenings. Foreign Politics & The Vietnam War The PBS television series "Making Sense of the Sixties" (1992) attempts to explain why there was such an intense eruption of traditions and social scripts, generally attributing it to the confined and programmed baby boomers becoming young adults. The social concerns of the outspoken young people seemed to stem from two sources-building protests of the African-Americans and continued political obsession with threats of communism. As the political leaders tended to focus more on fighting communism oversees, primarily in Vietnam, they were slow to address the civil war going on at home in the U.S. It was the coddled and spoiled baby-boomers who were being drafted to fight in the ineffective war in Vietnam, and the rising deaths and mental torture of these soldiers became alarming to the U.S. citizens. As stated earlier, it was time of extreme self-expression--there was a bizarre, drug-using counter culture, unprecedented sexual behaviors by young adults, protesting African-Americans and college students, outraged traditionalists. All rules were questioned during this period--particularly the philosophy of capitalism and the United States' role in foreign affairs. Although just one of many, an informative and readable account on the background of the political climate that dominated the 1960s is found in Farber and Bailey's The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s (2001). The following is a summary of the 25
significant political events leading up to and into that time period, according to that source: President John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. His intelligence, charisma, discipline, dashing appearance, beautiful wife, and family wealth and connections put him on the political fast track, and he made an impact of hope in dealing with the two major themes of the day--fighting communism abroad and maintaining prosperity at home. Although he was assassinated before the most pressing political problem of the decade involving foreign affairs became apparent, he played a key role in its beginning. This problem was the Vietnam War. To provide background on the situation, Vietnam was a French colony. The Japanese took possession of it during WWII and a guerilla war evolved against this. When the Japanese were defeated in 1945, the nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh rode on the victory of democracy and declared Vietnam a free nation. The French did not support this, and began a war with Vietnam, assisted by American military equipment. The U. S. aided France to keep them as an ally in the Cold War struggle, and to reduce the possibility of Vietnam being communist-led. They were afraid that it would be the first in a communism domino effect. However, France decided to stop fighting in 1954, and Vietnam won. The peace agreement called for a temporary division into North Vietnam, led by communist-bent Ho Chi Minh, and French-loyal South Vietnam, headed by aristocratic leader, Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem was a Catholic and not popular with the Vietnamese. President Eisenhower and then Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, creatively decided to strengthen South Vietnam with money and training to illustrate the power of being a U.S. ally. However, Diem refused to participate in a national election, knowing that he was unpopular and would lose. Although the plan was to unify Vietnam in 1956, problems in both regions caused it to be delayed. In the late 1950s, the Viet Cong, who resided in South Vietnam and were pro-unification, began a guerilla war against Diem. Ho supported the Cong effort, and supplied North Vietnamese soldiers. By the time Kennedy became president of the U.S., the situation in Vietnam was serious. President Kennedy was convinced by his advisors to supply military aid to South Vietnam, and he increased U.S. soldiers from 900 to 16, 000 over the years. Reportedly, "...Kennedy signed on to a CIA-supported Vietnamese military coup against Diem." (p. 37), and Diem was assassinated in November, 1963. This source states that "Kennedy was horrified that the coup had resulted in the murder of Diem" (p. 37), and he called for a review of U.S. policy for being there at all. He was assassinated before this could be done. The story continues that President Johnson was not interested in the Vietnam War, having more focus on domestic problems. But he felt pressured to act, partly due to the coming Presidential election, and he called for an aggressive attack on North Vietnam. At this point, "the United States had moved from an advisory role in Vietnam to that of an active belligerent in the war." (p.38.) Between 1965 and 1968, American military involvement greatly increased. The Vietnam countryside was devastated by toxic herbicides. Often civilians were involved in the attacks, partly because of the bombs and other weapons used, and partly because 26
Americans had difficulty recognizing the enemy from the villagers. There were many horrors and ambiguities for the American soldiers. In 1968, there was a major unexpected raid by the Viet Cong during the Vietnamese holiday called Tet, by which it was clearly illustrated to disenchanted Americans that the war was going badly for the U.S. and far from over. At this time, an anti-war movement was evolving, and this Tet offensive pushed the movement into full swing. In fact, the country was actually polarized, with half of the Americans believing that the only solution was withdrawal of troops. To finish the story, McWilliams (2000) states that when the war began to go badly for the U.S., Johnson announced that he would not run for presidential re-election in 1968. There was intense dissension and turmoil in the Democratic Party, and Republican candidate Richard Nixon narrowly defeated the Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey in the election. President Nixon began to reduce U.S. forces, relinquishing military responsibility to the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam. The U.S. Air Force stepped up its role, dropping bombs on North Vietnam each month. Mounting anti-war sentiments continued to cause violent protests in university campuses around the country. A formal settlement was finally signed in January, 1973 to withdraw all troops from Vietnam. Many of the soldiers themselves turned against the war effort, with high desertion rates, combat refusals, and violence against each other. Few of the soldiers were celebrated for their efforts on the home-front, and many were ignored when they came home. The corruption and mistrust of the political process, the drain on the federal budget, and the bitter protests created a legacy of cynicism for the war. Both sources tell that the Vietnam War officially ended on January 27, 1973 when the White House national security adviser Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Le Duc Tho signed an agreement: "In return for an exchange of all prisoners of war, a cease-fire, and vague language stating that elections would determine the fate of South Vietnam, the United States agreed to withdraw all troops within 60 days." (Farber & Bailey, 2001, p. 53.) On April 30, 1975, thirty years after the war had first begun, the South Vietnamese government was defeated, and Vietnam was unified under communist rule. Over 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam, and at least 1,500,000 Vietnamese died. (Farber & Bailey, 2001, p. 53.) Home Politics & The Civil Rights Movement There was a war abroad, but there was also a war going on at home. The domino effect that so compelled U.S. intrusion in foreign affairs was actually happening more significantly in the personal lives of the population. A review of this element of the decade reveals that growing unrest and assertiveness of the African-Americans was empowering other oppressed groups, one by one, to speak up and against their situations. As in the Vietnam War, the story of the civil rights movement actually begins years before the 1960s. Farber & Bailey (2001), again, will be the primary source for this segment. It is pointed out that, although World War II was a time when Americans were claiming to be the champions of freedom and equality, they were enforcing a racial segregation system at home. The African-American involvement in World War II was carried out in their hopes of finally winning a victory over the pluralistic system at home, as well as the situation 27
abroad. President Truman, realizing the contradiction posed by the racial discrimination, ordered the armed forces and the federal civil service to end segregation in 1948. After this, lawyers for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) brought to court the Southern school segregation issue and won a series of major Supreme Court cases. In 1954, the most famous of these cases, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kanasas, ended states' legal right to segregate students by race with reference to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which states that all citizens of the U.S. are entitled to equal protection under the law. In response, southern whites condemned the ruling with white leaders arguing that black Americans did not want equal rights. The white leaders proclaimed a campaign of massive resistance, and many joined white supremacy organizations. In late 1955, the first post-World War II nonviolent protest by African-Americans began in Montgomery, Alabama when African-American Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white as ordered by the driver, who had her arrested. Parks and activists in Montgomery organized a bus boycott by Montgomery's entire African-American population. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the leader of the protest, a 26-year-old minister at that time. After months of struggle, the African-Americans took the case to federal court and won. The city appealed the ruling, but on November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal court's ruling that racial segregation on buses was unconstitutional. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed to continue the work toward civil rights, but resistance was fierce. A "breakthrough occurred" (p. 15) in 1960 when four young African-American college students in Greensboro, North Carolina asked to be served at a whites-only lunch counter. When refused, they remained sitting until they were finally served. This sit in protest tactic immediately caught on and was used by thousands all over the country. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was formed to promote the idea of a loving, nonviolent approach to protest. Organized protests grew to include picketing, boycotting, freedom rides, and voting campaigns, as well as the sit ins. Whites reacted violently to many of the protests. President Kennedy tried to keep his distance from the civil rights issue, but stepped in to assist a young black man named James Meredith to register at the all-white University of Mississippi in 1962. When Meredith's way was blocked by Governor Ross Barnett, Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent in 500 federal marshals to insure his safety. A riot broke out, and 5000 army troops were ordered by President Kennedy to end the violence. In 1963, civil rights activists planned a major series of protests in Birmingham, Alabama where they knew the racial discrimination was the worst. A horrible riot occurred that was televised across the country. Police dogs, clubs, and high-pressure fire hoses were used on peaceful protestors, including the children. This spurred even more riots and acts against African-American students trying to register at universities. President Kennedy went on television and promised to create a civil rights bill for Congress that would give all races equal freedom. It was in August, 1963, full of escalated hopes of victory by the African-Americans that a huge civil rights rally was held in Washington, where King delivered his most famous speech, passionately stating, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." (p. 19). 28
Since President Kennedy was assassinated three months later, his promise for the civil rights bill was carried out by the determined and energized President Johnson. In spite of southern Democratic rebellion, the historic Civil Rights Act was finally passed in 1964. Not only race, but gender discrimination was outlawed in this act. African-American voting became an issue when southern states retaliated to the act by using tests and other means to block their registering to vote. In 1965, King led a 50-mile march to the Alabama state capitol, and another violent riot occurred there. President Johnson went on television to speak to the nation, and a few months later Congress passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. "This measure largely ended the disenfranchisement of African-Americans in the South." (p. 21.) President Johnson's campaign for the election in 1964 included his vision that he termed "The Great Society", which included civil rights and no poverty. He easily won the presidential election against extremely conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, who had no interest in civil rights and was more focused on an aggressive attack on communism. Johnson used this opportunity to start a whirlwind of social reform programs that he termed a "war on poverty". These programs included educational assistance programs, job corps programs, community action programs, Medicaid, Food Stamp program, etc. The programs were very expensive, and were a political problem since many American saw them as a waste of tax dollars. The war in Vietnam and the civil rights movement simultaneously drained the nation's finances, as well. College students began to organize in protest to the political problems, referred to as the "New Left" political movement. Racial problems continued with violent riots in the second half of the decade. Some of the African-American leaders were rejecting the nonviolent, integrationist approach, and becoming more militant with an outcry of "Black Power." Many felt that the civil rights legislation did not address problems such as housing segregation, job discrimination, and unequal protection of the law, along with many other problems. They were also encouraging a rejection of white society and an embracement of black nationalism, pulling from their own Cultural heritage. This included education in schools on black history, and adopting African dress, and letting their hair grow natural. Several armed revolutionary organizations developed, the best known of which was called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. This resulted in violent conflicts between police and the Black Panthers. Some of the Black Power activism was more moderate, and had more positive effects, such as the election of African-American mayors and a more empowered identity for the black population. King was opposed to the violent turn and argued that this approach would delay the acceptance of integration. In 1968, during a strike by sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, he was assassinated by white southerner James Earl Ray. This resulted in extremely violent urban uprisings in cities all over the country, which included looting and arson. Senator Robert Kennedy, during his campaign in the Presidential primaries, attempted to reach out to the African-Americans to give hope for resolution, and was also assassinated two months later. Several historical accounts of the 1960s refer to 1968 as the gravest, most violent time of protest in the civil war being played out on American soil. (Bloom, 2001; Farber & Bailey, 2001; McWilliams, 2000.) McWilliams (2000) points out that the rejection of King's nonviolent approaches by some African-Americans and increase in aggressive 29
confrontation of white racism seriously weakened the civil rights movement. (p. 23.) As the national leaders focused on a domino effect from powers such as Soviet Premiers Stalin and Khrushchev, their most unsuspecting domino players were a middle-aged African-American woman in Alabama and four African-American youth in North Carolina. In fact, the same accounts referred to above report that the 1960s were years of unprecedented youth rebellion. Youth Rebellion McWilliams (2000) gives the four North Carolina African-American college students, Franklin McCain, Joseph NcNeil, Ezell Blair, and David Richmond, credit for setting in motion the youth revolution that occurred in the 1960s. From their courage to stand up for what they believed, young white northerners and other young southern blacks formed an alliance that took off like a rocket, spreading to college campuses across the country, and eventually altering the nation's conscience. Many historians give credit to this impact of the youth to the sheer numbers of baby boomers that were coming of age and involved with universities at the time, to the popularity of misfits and rebels in entertainment media, and to their reaction to the rigid rules set down by their authorities. One historian felt that some of the rebellious energy could be attributed to the age of adolescence being extended by a growing need for education for occupational success. (Skolnick, 1991.) McWilliams (2000) explains that the youth rebellion can be viewed as diversified, splitting into various groups and themes. Based on his explanations, it appears that there were primarily those who revolted against civil rights and the Vietnam War, and those of the counterculture who rebelled against traditional morality. He also implies that this legacy was actually exaggerated. He reported that only three percent of college students considered themselves activists between 1965-68. He also reported that of all the young men eligible for military duty during the Vietnam War, only thirty-two percent served in the military, and only eight percent spent time in Vietnam. (p. 13.) Until 1966, college students received deferments, and, when college students began to be drafted, students with the lowest grades were targeted. In fact, the draft for the Vietnam War from the beginning targeted "young men from working- and lower-middle-class families...with less promising futures ahead of them..." (Morgan, 1991, p. 150). Morgan reported that in 1967, blacks comprised twenty percent of combat forces (p. 150). Also exaggerated was the counterculture influence. The PBS video "Making Sense of the Sixties" explains that, although only a few youth were actually members of the counterculture, their colorful and unique presentation made them media targets. Although most youth were members of the so-called silent majority, the youth groups that formed were powerful in creating change. Student Activists There are two primary student organizations that gave young people a voice in the issues of the time period. One is the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that was formed in 1960 in the South in response to the "sit in" of the four African-American college students to protest public racial segregation. It grew and spread to include community involvement over the years, and was fraught with problems 30
as the tension increased during the civil rights movement. It eventually became more militant as the concept of nationalism and Black Power became more influential. (Farber & Bailey, 2001.) The other organization was the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which was inspired by the civil rights protests in the South, but had its beginning in 1962 in the North led by two white student activists at the University of Michigan. Their original statement spoke out against American capitalism, racial segregation and discrimination, poverty, and nuclear war, proposing a new kind of democracy. Even though the type of democracy proposed was criticized for its lack of definition, it formed a "New Left" political arm. Chapters formed on universities all over the nation, gaining strength and voice in opposition of the Vietnam War and civil rights problems. (McWilliams, 2001.) Many young people, students and otherwise, were involved in an anti-war movement. McWilliams states that the most vocal of this movement were the university students, who, incidentally, were exempted from the draft as they held a deferment. The Selective Service System was targeted by the protestors because it discriminated against low socioeconomic young men and racial minorities. The first protest was in 1965 at the University of Michigan by students and teachers in the form of an all night "teach-in". The protesters grew in numbers, and thousands of draft violations flooded the legal system. The violations were in the form of burning draft cards or fleeing to Canada. Others enrolled in religious educational programs or enlisted in the National Guard to obtain deferments. The protests became more antagonistic as the war deaths drastically rose, and even erupted into violence and deaths. In 1968, protestors attempted to raise their voices at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Police, army soldiers, national guardsmen, and Secret Service agents were called in to keep the violent demonstrators at bay. At the end of the convention week, almost six hundred arrests had been made, and more than two hundred participants were injured. (McWilliams, 2001.) Another horrifying protest occurred in Ohio at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 where students had assembled for a rally after three days of college-organized protests. The National Guard was present to assist in controlling violence. When the students ignored orders from the National Guard to disperse, the guardsmen began to fire guns into the crowd, resulting in the death of four students and the wounding of nine others. Just as the SNCC lost its effectiveness and membership at the end of the decade (Farber & Bailey, 2001, p. 248), the SDS collapsed in 1969 (McWilliams, 2001). McWilliams explains that the New Left radicals "grossly overrated their importance and were too self-delusional in thinking that middle America would find its cause relevant." (p. 38.) However, these youth organizations succeeded in forcing the establishment to reassess critical issues. Counterculture In the 1960s a long-haired, "freaky" counterculture evolved that, although appearing unique at the time, actually grew out of nineteenth-century Paris. Skolnick (1991) explains that this bohemian, romantic strain of bourgeois culture has existed for generations in various places and manifestations, such as the "beatniks" of the 1950s, and was always opposed to traditional values. Also outlined is the bohemian set of virtues: "the ideas of salvation through childlike innocence, of the body as a temple and sexuality as a sacrament, of living in the moment, of transcending mundane reality through 31
meditation or drugs. It was the sensibility expressed by William Blake and Walt Whitman." (p. 84.) McWilliams (2001) states that this group of youth threatened the establishment more than the New Left radicals or the antiwar protesters. McWilliams distinguishes these self-imposed freaks, called hippies, from the beatniks because they were apolitical, embracing no ideology except rejection of the system and seeking bliss. They adopted Native American mysticism and their dress to identify with primitive naturalness and victimization. They blatantly experimented with illegal drugs, such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, although marijuana was the primary drug of choice. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was a hallucinogen promoted by Timothy Leary, who was a faculty member in Harvard University's Center for Research in Human Personality. This drug was used for spiritual growth, and the League for Spiritual Discovery founded by Leary advocated the mass distribution of LSD. It became illegal in 1966, and gained even more popularity. An area of San Francisco, California, the center of which was the intersection of streets Haight and Ashbury, developed into the counterculture spiritual center and thousands of hippies lived there with full lifestyle accommodations. It became a tourist spectator area due to the blatant unconformity of the area and the inhabitants, and reached a peak of notoriety in the summer of 1967 when many young people were turning to the peace philosophies in effort to cope with the atrocities that the nation faced. The area became so overrun by inhabitants and spectators that the hippies were forced to move out of this area, turning to more rural setting where they might isolate themselves and live off the land in communes. They symbolized this departure with a symbolic funeral ceremony before leaving in late 1967. (McWilliams, 2001.) McWilliams also discusses popular music, which was greatly affected by the counterculture and the student activists, particularly in the second half of the decade. Folk rock reflected the intellectuals' rebellion with provocative lyrics concerning the heated political issues, such as Richard Holler's (1968) popular song "Abraham, Martin, and John", lamenting the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. Bob Dylan was famous for his political lyrics, such as the famous song "Blowin' In The Wind" (1963). The counterculture adopted "psychedelic" music with "nonsensical and enigmatic lyrics about surreal people exhibiting bizarre behavior." (p. 19.) An example is found in the Beatles' song "I Am The Walrus" (Lennon and McCartney, 1967): Yellow matter custard Dripping from a dead dog's eye Crabalocker fishwife Pornographic priestess Boy, you've been a naughty girl You let your knickers down. As communal living became popular, so did outdoor music festivals. One such festival, entitled Woodstock, held in Bethel, New York in August of 1969 attracted 400,000 young people and was hugely successful in every way. (McWilliams, p. 74.) McWilliams goes on to say that the counterculture hippies burned themselves out by the end of the decade with everything from malnutrition to filthy environments to general public hostility. But the establishment adopted their fashions in clothes, hair, and music, and today's culture is still affected by this fashion movement. 32
Sexual Revolution In keeping with the other movements of the 1960s, the legacy of sexual revolution had its actual foundation in the early decades of the twentieth century. Steven Seidman (1992) explains that sexual reformers began in the 1920s and 1930s to modernize the cultural view of sex away from the Victorian restrictions, which they felt created a sexual underworld of vice and pathology that threatened the institutions of marriage and intimacy. Viewing the Victorian approach as a cultural failure, reformers felt that relaxing the moral code around sex within marriage would help to reduce the amount of pathology and secure the legitimacy and stability of marriage. According to Seidman, this reformed attitude contributed to a culture of eroticism. Seidman, as well as other historians (Snolnick, 1992; Weiss, 2000), comment on the social liberalization that was evolving during the 1960s that made eroticism possible. Mentioned by most is the open forum that evolved for discussions and writings of sexual topics, as well as the state deregulation of sexual behaviors and the production of explicit materials. This, along with the shift to consumerism set the stage for a sex industry in the 1960s of sex aids, manuals, pornography, sex shops, gay baths, sex retreats and workshops, and escort services. Hugh Hefner, with his Playboy enterprise, is a prime example of this industry and its developments. Although communal living was carried out by the counterculture in the 1960s, sexual revolution practices were more hype images produced by the media than actual behavioral practices. (McWilliams, 2001; Seidman, 1992.) Mate-swapping and open marriages were introduced, and an estimated one to two percent of married couples actually tried it. (Snolnick, 1992, p. 92.) This source explains that this practice turned out to be generally unsuccessful with the couples becoming unhappy. It is also reported that cohabitation was generally disapproved of by the general public, and was still considered shocking in the late 1960s. However, it fit in with cultural developments in marriage and was widely accepted by the 1980s as a step along the way to eventual marriage. Many of the developments affecting the sexual revolution were found in the realm of femininity and the experience of women, and Ehrenriech (1986) regards the sexual behavior of women the most revolutionary development of the time period. The accessibility of birth control pills and the widespread use of antibiotics as a cure for venereal diseases significantly reduced the effects of two huge barriers to premarital sex. (Skolnick, 1992.) Brown's best-seller Sex and the Single Girl came out in 1962 and advocated a life of independence through work and casual, pleasurable sex. Betty Freidan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) inspired a female mass audience to re-evaluate their roles as wives and mothers, and to demand more meaningful regard. As the war and civil rights protests were promoting a climate of individual expression and freedom, feminism began to re-emerge and sexual behaviors of women began to change. Bell and Coughey's twenty-year study of premarital sexual expression in college students (1980) found that in 1968 one in four women were having premarital sex, compared to the one in ten statistic of the same population found ten years earlier. A development that helped to empower women toward equality in sexual pleasure was the emergence of Human Sexual Response (1966) by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, as explained below. 33
Masters and Johnson The Gale group (2001) explain that Johnson became employed as the research assistant of Dr. Masters, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1957. Johnson had some college training, but did not have a degree. Taking a scientific approach, the doctor and his assistant observed and photographed 694 volunteer subjects in various modes of sexual stimulation as a research project. From the information that they gained, they created the non-profit Reproductive Biology Research Foundation in St. Louis and began treating sexual problems in couples. In 1966, Masters and Johnson released Human Sexual Response, a book detailing the results of their studies. In spite of its scientific terms and presentation designed for medical professionals, it was a mainstream bestseller. Included in the book were the four stages of the sexual response cycle, showing women's orgasms to be "more similar than dissimilar to male orgasms" (Leiblum and Rosen, 2000, p. 120). They also contended to dispel a myth promoted by Sigmund Freud that clitoral orgasms were a more regressed form of orgasm, while orgasms achieved by intercourse (called vaginal orgasms) were reflective of more mature psychosexual development. The findings of Masters and Johnson suggested that all female orgasms followed the same reflex response pattern whether they were caused by intercourse or stimulation of the clitoris. (Masters, Johnson, and Kolodny, 1992.) Weiss (2000) purports that with these findings on women's sexuality, "they created the potential for a transformation in gender dynamics..." (p. 158.) Masters and Johnson gave public lectures, which heightened the interest in sex therapy, and they developed a big following of clients. A typical therapy program included two weeks of intensive daily therapy and assignments, and periodic follow-ups for five years. One of their most famous techniques is sensate focus, which is a series of graduated sensory exercises carried out by a couple, designed to reduce performance anxiety in sexual interaction. The exercises are carried out with the understanding that the couple will abstain from sexual relations, and will instead give full attention to sensations involved in sensual touching. Different levels of sensation are assigned, the most basic being sensual stroking of the partners complete body, excluding breasts and genitals. The partners take turns applying the stroking to each other. After a couple can comfortably carry out the basic exercise on a regular basis, they are instructed to move to the next level, where breast and genital stimulation are allowed, but not to the point of orgasm. The third phase involves containing the penis in the vagina without active movement by either partner. In all three phases, the partner being stroked is asked to give instructions and both positive and negative feedback to the other throughout the exercise. The goal is for the couple to develop sexual confidence and pleasurable intercourse. (Leiblum and Rosen, 2000.) As a team, Masters and Johnson continued to publish books, train sex therapy teams, and give workshops for professionals. Although Johnson never received her college degree, she was widely recognized for her contributions to sex research and therapy, receiving several noted awards along with Masters. They married in 1971, after Masters divorced his first wife; it was Johnson's fifth marriage. They founded the Masters and Johnson Institute in 1973. They began to lose popularity after publishing Homosexualtiy 34
in Perspective (1981) and Crisis: Heterosexual Behavior in the Age of AIDS (1988) due to controversial and inaccurate findings and reports. They divorced in 1992. (Gale Group, 2001.) Country Living Revisited During the decade of the 1960s, I was in my formative years, ages six to sixteen--too young to join in the actual revolt of the various cultural groups, but old enough to have awareness and memory of the temper of the times, and to have events significantly impact my life. This review of the major cultural issues of the decade brought to mind foundational elements of my personal evolution, in terms of politics, morality, psychology, and sex. I was a young teen when the heated debates of the Vietnam War were happening. I vaguely remember wearing a bracelet with a name (now forgotten) of an American soldier that could not be found, as a kind of mantra for bringing him home safely, which I regarded primarily as a fashion fad at the time. I also remember my three older brothers each having to go for draft physicals, and our relief each time that they failed and obtained a deferment. If I had been older and in college, I know that I would have been joining in organized protests. However, in my more primitive existence and immersion in southern "redneck politics", my understanding of the issue was limited and distorted. My experience with racism definitely shaped my moral development. The review brought to mind the fact that my small southern white school was forced by law to integrate when I was in high school. I remember questioning the wisdom of upsetting the lives of blacks by bussing them for miles from their small segregated area to our school, although I certainly had no issue with new students joining us. It was not explained to me that their schools were probably grossly under-budgeted and lacking in comparison to ours. For some unknown reason, there was only one African-American student in my small class. It seems that we liked him very much, and accepted him easily into our activities. However, I remember having nightmares about an African-American female in a younger class, who was more aggressive and frightening to me. It did not seem to matter that she had a different color of skin; it was her anger, as I recall, that gave me the fear. My parents had African-American coworkers and were not strong racists. In fact, I grew up being very shameful for inadvertently participating in something so horrific as racial discrimination. The idea of it still brings tears to my eyes and an adrenalin rise. Another idea that amazes me is that fact that I chose traditionalism over counterculture behaviors at a time when I could have joined my younger brother. I suppose that my role as princess of the family was strong, and kept me "in the light", so to speak. None of my friends had any acquaintance with drugs that I am aware of. Even our alcohol consumption was practically nonexistent. Perhaps my choice of traditionalism pointed to my peer group and my inherent passion for education. Perhaps it reflected the strong hold of my mother's focus on a good reputation and the religious beliefs that she had forced on me. I do know that these formed the therapy issues of my later years as I struggled with my identity. I had sex for the first time in 1969 when I was fifteen. I was full of shame and fear, but I did it anyway--the urge was too great and the opportunities too available. My 35
steady boyfriend (of five years) and I were allowed to go on unchaperoned dates every weekend. I had no way to get birth control pills. I was aware that abortion was not an option for any pregnancy that I might have. We used condoms and the withdrawal method, and neither very responsibly. I shudder to think how my life would have been different had I gotten pregnant at that young age, still under the control of traditional values of my parents and my small southern town. Lastly, I have realized through this review that many of the changes in our moral code that we benefit from today are owed to the African-Americans, who had the courage to stand up and resist pervasive unjust rules. They set a precedent that others followed, and helped our culture to have one big dose of evolution that has continued. Although studying the 1960s is disturbing and unsettling in its intensity and shock-value, I am grateful that my journey of evolution was paved by it. 36
CHAPTER THREE SEXUAL REVOLUTION OF THE 1970s A Feminine Feminist In 1972 in my little southern hometown of four hundred people, I felt the equivalent of Miss America. That year I graduated from high school as Valedictorian, Miss Simsboro High School, "Most School Spirit", Head Cheerleader and winner of the Betty Crocker Award. I also had received enough financial aid to fund my entire college education without my parents having to assist. My plan was to continue my education emphasizing my most coveted academic strength--mathematics. My valedictorian speech at graduation was entitled "Walk Into Your World", and it reflected the confidence within as I walked through my first gateway of personal growth: college. During my first year at Northeast Louisiana University, a series of significant events challenged my traditional philosophies. Assigned to the low-cost, dingy dormitory and cafeteria, and acutely aware of individuals much more privileged, I was stung by the realities of my low socio-economic status. In my naivetй, my first college paper dealt with my reaction to watching from the outskirts while the "rich students" ate and lived in luxury. Most of the students seemed from another world--city-dwellers and members of the younger counterculture. They smoked cigarettes and marijuana, listened to rock music, wore bell-bottom jeans, took birth control pills, and focused on partying and sexual escapades. Although I suffered humiliation in my realization that I was not only poor, but also "uncool" in my dress and straight-laced behaviors, I began to slowly adapt to the peer pressure and to clone a similar appearance and set of behaviors. I began to view my younger brother's rebellious ways differently, and we rekindled our connection, reveling in the deep conversations wafting from our marijuana-induced alteration in consciousness. The second and third years of college were highlighted by my acquaintance with lesbianism and feminism. I developed a close friendship with a drug-addicted, manipulative, yet intriguing lesbian, who introduced me to feminism and a new sexual identity. At the same time, my studies were helping to broaden my horizons in terms of options for religious expression, and I formally gave up my Christian beliefs. My firstyear pseudo-hippie friends ostracized me for my lesbian ways, and I was inadvertently introduced to discrimination and the pain of hiding my authentic self-expression. The women's rights issue of the day began to speak to me loudly, yet I listened with a halftuned ear. During this time, I read a book by Taylor Caldwell entitled Captains and the Kings (1972) that influenced me politically. The fictional epoch focused on a higher order of businessmen who ruled the world and used politicians as puppets, and took her preface (where she hinted at her novel being based on actual circumstances) as truth. Disillusioned by my personal experiences and the Nixon Watergate scandal, I adopted the belief that Americans were brainwashed and kept from knowing the actual circumstances of any event, and that it was useless trying to fight anything. Sexually I was charged, yet confused. My affair had been challenging, as my lover was abusive and addicted to drugs. However, lesbian sex was the most gratifying I had 37
ever had, and perked my ears to the information that was coming out on sexual expression. After my affair was over, I returned to heterosexual relationships, but viewed myself as a bisexual, attracted to males and to females. My mother was horrified by the changes in me, and the tension between us heightened. My sister took over as surrogate mom and discussed with me women's issues of abortions and homosexuality, revealing not only that she was pro-choice but confirming that my oldest brother was gay. I was aware that my youngest brother was gay, as it had been revealed in our re-connection and alignment of lifestyles. However, the homosexuality of my two brothers was not discussed openly in the family, and my mother and father appeared to deny it completely. My two middle brothers were obviously heterosexual, but were avid pot-smokers and "party-ers", which resulted in a family connection period of sorts, where I enjoyed family gatherings immensely. My sexual identity was kept low-profile, similar to that of my gay brothers since that was the family way, and I remained traumatized by the discrimination and hostility that the culture as a whole held for sexual "deviants". In other words, although I was sexually excited by my new discoveries, I was frightened, as well. During all the readjustment of my identity, I had realized that a major in mathematics gave my creative side little room for expression. Through career counseling I switched to a major in occupational therapy, which seemed a perfect balance of science and psychology. However, I quickly grew disenchanted with this curriculum as well, but I felt it was too late to change. The last two years of college were nothing more than miserable. When I at last graduated in 1976 and landed a job, I quickly fell in love and got married. He was an intelligent, creative ex-hippie, and my family readily accepted him, relieved that I had entered somewhat back into the world of traditionalism. Unfortunately, he had a personality disorder, and it took me two years to understand that the relationship problems stemmed from his psychological abuse, loosening my fragile, newly formed identity. Part of the problem lay in the fact that my husband had total control of the our money, although we worked at the same facility and I had the higher position and income. He also used his high IQ and academic prowess to communicate his view of my inferiority and ignorance. Once I understood the futility of the relationship, I left the marriage and the job and the house where we lived, and started a new life. Ironically, during our marriage my ex-husband had introduced me to one of his longtime female friends, and we bonded immediately. It was the alignment with this woman that helped me gain perspective on my marriage, empowering me to leave it. The relationship was sexually charged, although never sexually expressed for various reasons. However, the sisterhood of our alliance became my deepest and most inspiring long-term relationship for the next fifteen years. The end of the decade found me disengaged totally from my parents, re-aligned in my new life-style and close bonds with my younger brother and new "sister", reclaiming my maiden name as a symbolic experience, vowing never to lose my identity again. I quickly met another male and once again fell into an exclusive romantic relationship. Due to a problem with my birth control pills and lack of education by the prescribing physician, I immediately became pregnant by this male. I easily obtained an abortion and resolved a potentially catastrophic situation, but the experience left me with another deep, dark secret to harbor within. 38
Social Climate of the 1970s Although some historians refer to the time period as a dull interim between the drama of the 1960s and the rejuvenation of the 1980s, an overall review of the social climate of the 1970s leaves one with two impressions, and they are rather diametrically opposed. The first is that the political powers of the day, which the feminists referred to as patriarchy, were exhibiting flaws and distortions that brought down national morale and called into question basic founding principles, such as democracy and justice. On the other hand, the women's movement and the gay rights movement found a receptive culture, resulting in a loosening of sexual behaviors and attitudes. In terms of this particular discourse of sexual evolution, examining masculinity and femininity, one might imagine that it was a time when masculine ideals were depressed and choked, and feminine ideals were in metamorphosis and expansive. Politically, the 1970s saw a gradual end of the Vietnam War, with continued uprisings and demonstrations, including deaths of students and assassination attempts. The Watergate Scandal resulted in the resignation of President Nixon. There was a recession, an energy crisis, and an Iranian hostage crisis during the decade. Racial tension exploded at a prison takeover, resulting in a massacre of prisoners. Feminists were fighting for the legalization of abortion and equality at work, and homosexuals were fighting for the right to express their authentic selves. The political challenges affected the social culture in many ways. It has been referred to as the "Me-Decade" (Wolfe, 1976) as there seemed to be a preoccupation with the "self", evidenced by the emergence and sweeping popularity of encounter and spiritual groups, fitness programs, and self-help manuals. As women and gays enhanced their position in the culture, all sexual and relationship dynamics of the culture were extensively affected. During this time, there was mistrust of the scientific and medical professions and a general malaise among college students. The "smiley face" was the primary symbol associated with the decade, ostensibly reflecting the absurdity of the decade. (Gale Group, 1997.) Political Climate At the beginning of the decade, the Vietnam War was presenting itself as a fiasco and President Nixon was in command. Peter Carroll's It Seemed Like Nothing Happened (1988) account of the decade will be the primary reference for this section, along with the Gale Group's On-Line History Resource Center (1997): President Nixon continued to reassure Americans that he was curtailing United States involvement in the Vietnam War with the tactic of Vietnam assuming its own battle, which he called Vietnamization. Secretive about his plan, he was passive aggressive toward war protesters. He used the "majority rules" strategy along with reference to the silent majority and to the vocal minority to justify his refusal to listen. When it became known to the American public that he had expanded the war into Cambodia, protests escalated, the most historic being the one at Kent State University in May, 1970, resulting in the death of four students and the wounding of nine others. Along with shocking the nation, this protest also resulted in a plan, endorsed by the president, to intensify surveillance of dissident groups through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 39
Racial politics continued to plague the culture. Many whites reacted to school integration by developing private academies. Carroll (1982) described Nixon's southern strategy of appealing to white conservatives of the south to advance his Republican campaign. To avoid offense to the blacks, he declared the need for order and reconciliation of the division between blacks and whites. He denied the uniqueness of southern racial attitudes, diverting attention away from regional issues, and emphasizing the more complicated problems of racial justice in the country as a whole. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped to protect and encourage black voter participation, resulted in a drastic increase in black Democrats. "[A]s blacks entered the Democratic fold in greater numbers, more southern whites departed the party" (p. 45). Nixon's racial strategy also included stabilizing the black community by encouraging the emergence of a black middle-class and supporting black business development. He also increased funding to improve housing problems and black unemployment. At the same time, he upped the use of military force and surveillance for controlling militant protests. There were an increased number of blacks imprisoned and the inmate population became politicized and segregated. In August of 1971, a prisoner takeover of New York's maximum security facility Attica occurred, led by a black militant leader. It resulted in forty-three dead inmates. Blacks were added to the list of groups that were mistrusting the government. Secret surveillance and espionage became of a theme of the decade, as information on President Nixon's spying programs and secret maneuvers began to be revealed to the public. Through what has been referred to as a Democratic Party crisis (Wandersee, 1988), Nixon was re-elected in 1972. Voter participation had slipped to a new low level of 55. 7 percent (Carroll, 1982, p. 90), reflecting public apathy. Although Nixon's image was negative, he was viewed as the most likely candidate to end the war in Vietnam. He was carrying out Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and promoting a vision of a new world order, realizing that the ideologies justifying the war had been invalidated. However, the Watergate scandal became the primary focus for the country politics. Burglars had been arrested breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C. One of the burglars had a notebook, which linked them to the White House. The investigation for this burglary began in January, 1973. Much of the proceedings were televised, and the public reacted negatively to the revelations of the administration's corrupt methods of gaining information, surveillance, and political harassment. One focus of the hearings was the discovery that, secondary to paranoia, President Nixon had installed a taping system to record historical conversations. He refused to surrender the recorded evidence, causing even more suspicion of cover-up, instead offering written summaries of the tapes. During this time there were a series of resignations and firings of administrative positions. When Nixon surrendered tapes that had been subpoenaed, it was found that there had been deliberate erasures. Presidential impeachment proceedings were being organized and presented, and President Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. One year earlier, Vice-President Agnew had resigned while under investigation for receiving bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland. Subsequently, House Minority Leader Gerald Ford had been appointed Vice President. As President, Ford quickly set about attempting to rectify the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War by pardoning Nixon of his charges and offering draft evaders abroad a program of "earned 40
reentry". According to Carroll, Ford's popularity collapsed as a result of these measures (p. 162). Soon after, the CIA was found to be involved in assassination attempts against foreign leaders, as well as other criminal activities, and there was a reorganization of the agency to prevent further abuses. Inflation was rising and at it's worst at 13.7 percent (p. 173). The racial discrimination issue continued with the issue of forced busing receiving heated debate, and Ford was against it. There were violent riots and a backlash against black power. There was also resistance to feminist ideals with failure of women's economic improvements, and two assassination attempts by women. Ford also had several physical accidents, which seemed to add to his image of inadequacy, and public distrust of political leadership continued. After televised political debates of Jimmy Carter and President Ford, where both made serious blunders, Carter was elected President in 1976 by a thin margin. President Carter's term was riddled with problems and crises. He attempted to exercise "compassionate power", but it came off as hesitancy and impotence. He tried to promote human rights within the Soviet borders, resulting in a change in American foreign policy, challenging Soviet leadership. Terrorism activity ensued. An energy crisis occurred in 1977 as a result of both home and foreign events. There was a nuclear disaster at a plant on Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania which caused public suspicion and fear of nuclear power. Iranian oil production was curtailed due to their civil war, and prices for oil steeped. There was a serious gas shortage that resulted in riots, strikes, and long lines for gasoline. It was a time of emergency energy planning, administration resignations, and rising inflation. Carter allowed Reza Pahlavi, the dethroned Shah of Iran, to come to America for surgery. In response, Iranians held Americans hostage at the American embassy, demanding the repatriation of the Shah. The American people were upset when Carter refused to do so. He attempted to promote a program of energy conservation and to speak frankly about the changed conditions of life in United States, but the public resisted. The conservatism of President Carter cut into programs to assist minority groups. African-Americans continued to have an average of 20 percent lower income that whites (Carroll, p. 260), and poverty remained high, measuring 31.1 percent in 1977 (p. 252). Some African-Americans felt that there was a backlash toward economic and racial equality, due to Supreme Court decisions overruling previous legislation for ensuring admission of blacks to colleges and increasing membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Mexican Americans and Asians were also oppressed and discriminated against, with low incomes compared to whites. American Indians were particularly upset by administrative moves to tap into resources laying beneath the land allocated for Indian reservations. Dramatic legal action and conflicts, including white backlash, ensued. The Gale Group states in their summary of political activity of the decade that "all three presidents tried to restructure the relationship between U.S. government and business to meet the challenges of a transformed global economy." (p. 8.) They went on to state that all three advocated a need for equality with other world superpowers and a tightening of government spending and assistance, but that Americans in general rejected these ideologies, abandoning politics and apathetically turning to personal solutions and concerns. 41
Women's Movement The women's movement straddled both political and personal realms, and became phenomenally prominent during this decade. It has been viewed as the "second wave of feminism", in reference to the first women's movement of the early twentieth century. Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique (1963) is consistently given credit for affecting women on a mass level, educating them on the elements of their oppression by maledominated operations. Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl (1962) has also been credited as a major stepping-stone in gathering strength for the movement. (Radner & Luckett, 1999.) As Friedan's work focused more on the plight of married, familyoriented women, Brown's message of liberation targeted single, young women. These two popular literature events of the 1960s added to the general civil transformations that were taking place, empowering women to call themselves "feminists" and to connect in a mission to improve their cultural position. As Joanne Hollows (2000) states, it was difficult to define feminism due to the lack of uniformity of its ideas, but "it is generally accepted...[as] a form of politics which aims to intervene in, and transform, the unequal power relations between men and women." (p. 3.) The movement was complex and wide sweeping, taking many forms. Two primary forms are often identified and designated as political or reform feminism and radical feminism. Although often opposed, these two divisions served to make the movement more expansive and far-reaching. Political feminists were willing to work within the system and were optimistic about the possibilities of change. Radical feminists evolved out of the New Left youth culture and were more militant, calling for a radical overthrow of patriarchy, the supposed fixed, rigid system of male domination. These two opposing views gave rise to consciousness-raising groups, debating approaches and issues and helping to form their new cultural identities. (Wandersee, 1988; Hollows, 2000; Banner, 1995.) Hollows (2000) also points out that feminine values and behaviors were seen as a major cause of women's oppression and feminists tended to reject femininity. She explains that the feminists attacked the socialization process that resulted in femininity being associated with negative, self-defeating characteristics such as passivity, submissiveness, and dependence. "Culturally produced masculine and feminine gender roles...were mapped on to biological differences between males and females making them appear to be part of men's and women's biological `nature' rather than cultural constructions." (p. 10.) She also explains that feminists, although disagreeing about the causes and characteristics, generally viewed patriarchy as the cornerstone of the socialization process and women's oppression. Regarding flaws with this concept, she points out that the idea of patriarchy targeted by the radical feminists implied "an inflexible structure offering no room for resistance or change," (p. 7) and that the nature and form of the concept were often side-stepped in feminist literature, the understanding of which was assumed and taken for granted. Patriarchy was obviously not the perfect target, but was generally accepted by all feminists, and "remained the best tool for understanding women's subordinate position." (p. 8.) The primary resource for the historical account of the women's movement is Winifred Wandersee's On The Move: American Women in the 1970s (1988). In her introduction she states 42
The movement never enjoyed the kind of broad moral support and sympathy that the civil rights movement had experienced during the sixties. Americans never felt a collective guilt for their sexism as they did for their racism; they never accepted collective responsibility for centuries of discrimination and the consequential secondary status of women within society. Indeed, one of the major tasks of feminists was to convince women themselves that they had a right to their freedom, and that women's issues were justifiable political objectives. (p. xv.) The education of women on this movement took the form of prolific academic and popular literature, organized protests and other group strategies and discussions, and popular media. Wandersee reports that in 1962 there were two women-created journals, but by 1972 there were sixty-one of such periodicals (p. 4). The second wave political movement started with President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women, established in 1961 and headed by Eleanor Roosevelt with the primary goal to protect working women. When the Civil Rights Act passed, but Title VII of the act forbidding sex discrimination was not enforced, Betty Friedan formed the National Organization for Women in 1966. Liberal individualism was the primary ideology and the executive branch of the federal government was the main target. Reacting negatively to the flamboyant tactics of NOW, some professional women formed other political groups that were effective in lobbying for changes in federal policy, particularly the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL). WEAL, started in 1969, was more narrowly focused on legal, educational, and administrative discrimination. The National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) was formed in 1971 whose main concern was the support of candidates of either political party who supported women's rights. This organization was instrumental in increasing the number of women delegates in both political conventions in 1972, helping to create a substantial peak in women's politics. Although the political feminists were giving support to Democratic reform presidential candidate Senator George McGovern, he removed their primary issue of abortion from his campaign platform as it was seen as too controversial. However, the heated debates and high visibility of the women delegates helped to promote the movement and the issues. Other significant events of this particular convention was the campaign of Shirley Chisholm, a black female reformist, for President and Sissy Farenthold's (unsuccessful) bid for Vice President under McGovern. Although feminists felt defeated by the results of this convention, women's legal right to abortion was established and fully mobilized in 1973 after the Supreme Court decision, "Roe v. Wade." NOW maintained its strength and high profile, although it was strained by financial and organizational problems, as explained below. The radical feminists began to form women's liberation groups in the late 1960s when not taken seriously by the male leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and took issue with being delegated the more menial jobs, such as making coffee, filing, and running the mimeograph machine. Rather than work within the system as the reform feminists chose, these radicals tended to separate themselves from the culture using women power to deal with the hostilities of patriarchy. Many of these women chose lesbianism as a statement of personal commitment to their mission. The political feminists often felt that progress was threatened by these radical factions, including NOW President Betty Friedan, and there were many conflicts among them. However, 43
radical feminism used academia, religion, literature, counterculture behaviors, and women centers/shelters to intellectually challenge the present-day thinking. What evolved from their many-faceted activities was women's studies educational programs, feminist Goddess spirituality, women's art and literature, a focus on women's health and bodies, women's sexuality, and much more. Wandersee writes "The women's health movement of the 1970s was one of the most successful branches of the overall movement in that the issues it addressed hit a responsive chord in millions of American women." (p. 82.) Although NOW was considered by many as a radical organization, the radical feminists thought of it as conservative. This was in part due to Friedan's discomfort with some of the radical tactics and lesbianism, and her fear that the radicals were alienating many women. As Wandersee explains, she felt that the movement was in dire need of being taken seriously by the public, the politicians, and the media. One of the most critical internal issues causing dissention and splitting within the organization was that of homosexual rights. Lesbians were beginning to demand open acceptance and public support from women's organizations. Kranz and Cusick (2000) report that Friedan stated that she feared that the Central Intelligence Agency was purposefully using lesbians to discredit the feminist movement, and that she referred to them as "the lavender menace" (p. 141). Other members, similar to Friedan, reacted fearfully and took the position that lesbianism was not a women's rights issue. Friedan's "Strike for Equality", organized by NOW and held in August of 1970, was attended in masses and successful in creating positive public awareness, but was not supported by many of the NOW members. Soon after, Aileen Hernandez was elected the second president of NOW. African-American women adopted feminism, but they initially distrusted it due to the uniqueness of their issues and family structure. The Black females tended to view racial problems as the primary oppressor and held anger toward middle-class women who tended to generalize their situations to that of the ghetto and other poverty-related circumstances. Kristin Anderson-Bricker (1999) explains the evolution and diverted course of African-American feminism, evolving from the Students for Nonviolence Coordination Committee (SNCC). She maps a course of Black nationalism of the late 1960s leading to awareness of third world oppression in general, which encompassed a wider vision of the problems to include that of racism, capitalism, and imperialism. This wider context provided the impetus for African-American female activists to move beyond racism only. Some of the females began to align with the white women version of oppression at this time, however there was a strong faction uniting all third world women who viewed white women demanding reform as a part of the bigger problem of capitalism. In contrast, they embraced socialism as the way to relieve the oppression. Although many different factions existed, even more than outlined here, most had broad agreement on major issues of reproductive rights, respect for sexual orientation, Equal Rights Amendment, and social policies to benefit minority women. These and many other developments enhancing the position of women were a legacy of the 1970s. Gay-Lesbian Movement Homosexuals, representing between two and six percent of the population (Burr, 1996, p. 8), like women, found a new voice at this time, as well. Lesbianism was emerging from the women's movement, but there were several events that brought about an actual gay rights movement with elements of its own story. Kranz & Cusick (2000) give credit 44
to urbanization as stimulating a gay and lesbian subculture, when individuals were beginning for the first time to live lives separate from their families. As the gay and lesbian scene went more public in the early to middle 1900s, regulation was imposed. The authors give an example that in 1933 New York, there was a regulation against homosexuals congregating in bars, and bar owners risked losing their liquor licenses if they served gay and lesbian bar patrons. "Such laws drove gay and lesbian bar culture underground, into establishments run by organized crime" (p. 33). Another onslaught occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s with Senator Joseph McCarthy's association of communism with homosexuality. Police raids and arrests of gays became common during this time. According to these authors, the first gay rights organization began in Los Angeles in 1950 and was called the Mattachine Society. The originators referred to it as a "homophile movement", including supporters as well as actual homosexuals. Communism paranoia and emerging militant tactics resulted in its disbandment. During this time, gay and lesbian individuals were forced to keep their activity secretive, subjected to extreme criticism, ridicule, and even violence when exposed. Individuals arrested in gay bars were publicly exposed in the newspapers, frequently losing their marriages and jobs and were ostracized by mainstream communities. The first lesbian rights group in the United States was founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in 1955 in San Francisco, called the Daughters of Bilitis. It was middle-class, political, and emphasized respectability. The founders published one of the first lesbian magazines in the U.S. called The Ladder, and also co-authored the book Lesbian/Woman (1972) to educate the public about the realities of lesbian life. Autobiographical in nature, it was one of the first publications to reveal details of harassment and threats that they and other homosexuals had encountered. It is classified on an Internet web site by Columbia University (Chinn, 1994) as one of the most influential books on sexuality in the twentieth century. Many historians refer to the raid on a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York with the name of Stonewall Inn as the impetus for the new strength in the gay rights movement. (Carroll, 1988; Kranz & Cusick, 2000.) Kranz and Cusick have identified events just prior to this raid that set the stage for the raid as the formation of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore in New York City, which was actually a gay activity center, along with a series of gay manifesto writings that were emerging. Emboldened by the precipitating events, drag queens and other bar patrons began to fight back when police raided the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969. Soon after this, the Gay Liberation Front was formed, as well as other gay rights groups. Continued raids, arrests and violence characterized the movement. Changes began to take place. The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from a psychiatric condition to a sexual orientation variant in 1974, excluding it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. (Money, 1995, p. 30-31.) Gay lifestyle emerged with "gay pride" and "community" to provide a sense of belonging. In 1974, the first openly gay state representative, Elaine Noble from Massachusetts, went into office, and was soon joined by other gay legislators. Numerous municipalities enacted ordinances extending protection to homosexuals. However, the late 1970s brought on a backlash to gay rights. Singer celebrity Anita Bryant formed an organization called "Save Our Children", using it to campaign against a 45
gay rights ordinance in Dade County, Florida. She promoted the idea that homosexuals were sinful, infecting, and potentially endangering the lives of innocent children. Supported by politicians, religious leaders, and corporate organizations, her efforts were successful. In 1977, the Florida legislature went further to pass a law that barred homosexuals, both couples and individuals, from adopting children. (It is still in effect today, in the twenty-first century.) Carroll (1988) reported that gay men were made extremely angry by her campaign and lesbian feminists began to fear that gays were reacting to Bryant as a woman and not to the male-dominated supporters. Distrust and disagreements between gay men and lesbians emerged. Gay rights progressed in two major areas, Seattle, Washington and the state of California, particularly San Francisco. In 1978, former policeman Dan White assassinated two gay leaders in San Francisco, Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, member of the San Francisco board of supervisors. In reaction to the backlash, there was more activism and political organization. In 1978 there was a gay rights march on the nation's capital attended by one hundred thousand individuals. Kranz and Cusick report that by 1980, there were seventy-seven gay and lesbian delegates to the Democratic Convention. Sex Roles of the 1970s Carroll (1982) points out that many viewed the 1970s as a time of "extreme individualism" (p. 295), emerging from many sources. As a result of the women's movement and changing sexual morality, the sex role picture began to change dramatically. The traditional nuclear family of a working father, domestic mother, and two children represented only seven percent of American families by mid-decade (p. 279). According to the same source, divorce rates doubled from 1966 to 1976 (p. 278.), and Wandersee (1988) reported that by 1975 there was almost one divorce for every two marriages (p. 131). This increasing divorce rate, along with more co-habitation of couples and a dropping marriage rate, resulted in a drastic increase of individuals living alone, increasing sixty percent during the decade. The elderly population's extended life span and independent living attributed to some of the increase, but the number of those under thirty-five years of age living alone increased two hundred percent. (Carroll, p. 280.) Pets became more popular, as well as products for pets. Carroll commented that there still existed an ideal of two people living happily married together and that the remarriage rate was significantly up, as well. Wandersee reported that the rate of women working rose from 43.3 percent in 1970 to 51.2 percent in 1980 (p. 127). She also commented that work became a way for women to define their identity beyond the family, but that most women worked for financial support out of necessity. Although many women were choosing to remain childless, there was a drastic increase in the number of women heads of households. Therefore, they had to work to support the families. As a result, childcare was increasingly carried out by day-care centers and professional sitters. There was also an increase in the popularity of fast-food, convenience products and microwave ovens. Wandersee points out that the national system at that time was not supportive to single or divorced women, so that women's financial situation was precarious in the event of divorce. Often a divorced woman was faced with losing her job, her insurance, her health, her credit rating, her Social Security benefits, or other crucial survival elements. 46
Although domestic violence was on the rise, it was a time when abused wives began to speak out and seek shelter. In 1978, a national coalition was established to empower communities to help these wives. The superwoman image was popular at this time, reflecting women working and taking care of their families at the same time. It began to reflect poorly on men, and they began to re-examine their lives. There was a movement for men to be more involved with their families, with a new emphasis on fathering. Dr. Benjamin Spock revised his famous parenting manual (1946) to encourage fathers to be involved in childcare. Fathers were more readily given custody of their children if they sought it. Overall, according to Carroll, there was movement toward androgyny in terms of sex roles. Related to the changes in sex roles, there was a change in sex morality. As reported by the Gale Group (1998) there was more open marriage, open pornography, nudity, dirty language, interracial dating, open homosexuality, communal living, all indicating changes in the moral code. Although the sexual revolution began to emerge in the 1960s, it seemed to take root in the 1970s. Dating manuals were encouraging women to be more assertive and more sexually open. (McDaniel, 2001.) There were a number of popular explicit sexual manuals, and several pornographic movies were in the mainstream with "porn stars" achieving celebrity status. Eroticized romantic novels were popular, and in 1973 Playgirl began publishing its female-oriented magazine of nude males. Human Potential Movement Along with the emergence of feminism and new sexual fervor in the 1970s, there was a surge of interest in personal growth programs, which took many forms. The use of group dynamics for psychotherapy became extremely popular, and several large group awareness training programs developed. One of the most popular was the Erhard Seminar Training, referred to as "est", developed by Werner Erhard in 1971. Known for its confrontational tactics, prolonged mass group therapy sessions, and emotional intensity, est was a program designed to bring enlightenment to one's authentic identity, including one's flaws and values. Erhard referred to the methods used as "ruthless compassion", explaining that they came not from "social grease", but from real, deep respect developed "in the trenches." (Anthony, Ecker, & Wilber, 1986, p. 121.) Carroll (1982) explains est and other growth training programs of the day as sharing "a commitment to individual transcendence--the liberation of the self from the ego conflicts and institutional restraint as a way of attaining expanded consciousness." (p. 246.) Other forms of this personal growth included bioenergetics, Gestalt therapy, Silva mind control, humanistic psychology, primal scream--there were many choices available to individuals. Although Erhard adamantly denied that the est enlightenment was associated with any religious intent, many of the other therapy programs of the 1970s did evolve into religions and cults "under the authoritarian control of the charismatic founder" (Anthony et al, p. 13), such as Synanon, Scientology, and psychosynthesis. (pp. 11-17.) The groups' activities sometimes involved physical violence, isolation, entrapment, brainwashing, and sexual experiences. During this time, there was, in fact, a proliferation of spiritual expression in every direction. Although there were mystical expressions of this tendency, including transcendental meditation, yoga, Hare Krishna, and Zen, there was also an outpouring of the secularized dimensions of religion. Carroll reported that after nearly two decades of 47
steady decline, established denominational weekly church attendance and religious belief rose significantly during the 1970s. However, Carroll goes on to point out that these orthodox belief systems were forced to make adaptations to more modern cultural situations to compensate for the increased number of deserters. There were critics of the attractiveness of religious and therapeutic growth, who were attributing the phenomenon to a preoccupation with the "self". Stemming primarily from academic and journalistic opinion, the most notable is Tom Wolfe (1976), who was critical of the narcissism and preoccupation of the "self" that characterized the decade. The Gale Group (1998) also pointed out that the "looking good, feeling right, and eating healthy" crusade, as well as the focus on expression of feelings, was reflective of this self-obsession. Women, in particular, were overly concerned with body image and "slenderness--a physical characteristic that became a moral virtue in and of itself." (Wandersee, 1988, p. 173.) Wolfe's term, the "Me-Decade", is a symbolic representation that seemingly sums up the cultural thrust of 1970s. Sex Differences and Gender The primary thrust of this tale of sexual evolution focuses on the concepts of masculinity and femininity, with a particular interest in the psychological differences. Brannon (1999) has summarized the history of the study of sex differences in psychology. According to her review, when the study of psychology spread from Germany to the United States in the late 1800s, it became more practical in form and was termed functionalism. The theory of evolution was emphasized, particularly in the areas of adaptability and intelligence. Testing of abilities, particularly intelligence, became popular, along with comparison of differences in the sexes. The psychologists of this early 1900 time period were not in tune with the social influence in sex differences, and "their findings usually supported the prevailing cultural roles for women and men." (p. 4.) They tended to demonstrate that women were less intelligent than men and were more suited for maternal issues than education. Women began to publicly dispute the findings in the early 1900s. Brannon goes to say that when behaviorism became popular in the 1920s, the ideas of functionalism began to fade. The behaviorists did not recognize social forces and ignored gender, creating a psychology approach that failed to include women and gender-related factors. In contrast, Freudian psychology, emerging at basically the same time, had a definite element of sex differentiation. Because of contradictory writings and interpretations, Freud's view of women and equality has been hotly debated. He undoubtedly had many negative views about women, including his belief that they were inferior to men, contemptuous, and jealous of men. His theory held rigid standards for masculinity and men, as well. Women's studies interest developed as a result of the feminist movement of the 1960s. Brannon noted that in 1970, psychologist Naomi Weisstein published a paper that was influential in arguing that psychological research had revealed almost nothing about women secondary to biases of male psychologists. Sociology and other related professions began to echo the same concerns while women asserted their disdain over stereotyping of the sexes. As awareness increased, voluminous research on sex and gender began to appear. 48
Criticisms included the use of the term "sex differences," many feeling that its use was confusing and that it implicated biological differences without regard for social elements. Rhoda Unger (1979) proposed the use of the term "gender" to describe cultural traits and behaviors appropriate to men and women, and for use when discussing social and psychological constructs of differences. The confusion remains, but "those who use the term `gender' often intend to emphasize the social nature of differences between women and men." (Brannon, p. 13.) Finally, Brannon has reported that it has also been debated whether psychological research or information on differences between men and women can be carried out with bias eliminated. Some psychologists are concerned that this type of research exaggerates gender differences. Advocating a gender-neutral psychology of people, these critics are concerned that the research on differences may be misunderstood or used to perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination. Cultural Osmosis My review of the 1970s has been a multi-dimensional eye-opener in terms of my own development. I am amazed at how significant each of the primary cultural elements contributed to my personal evolution--the women's movement, the political absurdity, the fitness craze, the acceptance of sexual experimentation, the human potential movement--all huge impacts that seemingly occurred unconsciously. Not being a strongly political person, and being so young and narcissistic at the time, I had not the cognition or maturity to even pay attention to cultural happenings. Nonetheless, I absorbed them and integrated them into my existence. I have often marveled at how impulsively I aligned with the negative political perceptions advocated by Caldwell's The Captains and The Kings (1972). I became bisexual overnight, without any consideration of the consequences. My yoga phase of 1975 seemed to come out of nowhere. During the research phase of this review, I remembered that I began to jog and attend aerobics classes for the first time in 1978, yet I do not remember anyone suggesting that I do it. Where did these impulses come from? This review has shown me the presence and power of cultural osmosis, and that our evolution stems not only from the conscious choices that we make. Why, much of my identity appeared to be simply fashion! The review did not help me clarify the reasoning behind feminists repelling femininity. Although Hollows (2000) delved into the matter, there was no mention of the positive side or power of femininity. Being an individual with strong feminine traits, the masculine approaches of the women's movement were difficult for me and limited my participation. Although I was deeply upset by the discrimination that I received as a woman, and, without a doubt, I was awe-struck by the efforts and prowess of the secondwave feminists, denying feminine traits (as they tended to do) never fit in with my character and caused me to question the whole affair. But, then again, this very question has fueled my passion for understanding the feminine-masculine aspect of the human experience, and has been the core impetus for the entire dissertation. The review has helped me to understand that when I emerged from adolescence, becoming somewhat conscious to the world in my twenties, femininity versus masculinity was the issue of the day. It remains my strongest motivation. 49
Finally, through this review I am beginning to understand Radner's view of "sexual identity and sexual norms as the product of a complex set of negotiations in which economics, politics, and social mores all play crucial roles." ( Radner & Luckett, 1999, p. 29.) It is disturbing to realize how much the culture dictates and massages my existence, even my (seemingly private) sexuality, regardless of how aware, rebellious, or knowledgeable I become. The osmosis factor cannot be denied. 50
CHAPTER FOUR THE 1980s CONSERVATIVE AND MATERIALISTIC BACKLASH Metaphysics and Glamour By the time the 1980s rolled around, my career as a pediatric occupational therapist was well underway, and I was easily able to financially handle living as a divorced single girl. I was working primarily with babies and young children, and was involved in parental training for developmental stimulation of their handicapped or delayed children. Although I enjoyed the work and was generally held in high esteem by my coworkers and patients, I felt uneasy (even inadequate) with the heavy responsibility of the position. Stress became a chronic state, and I doubted my choice of career. Equally stressful was my personal life, dominated by my boyfriend, my best girlfriend, and my younger brother. My live-in boyfriend was a delightful hippie, selfemployed as a maker of wood furniture when I first met him in 1980. Recently out of college, the woodworking business was his first attempt at employment, and it quickly grew monotonous for him. Gradually he began to learn the trade of drug dealing from a friend, and within a year adopted dealing marijuana and cocaine as his career. Although I was not opposed to using drugs recreationally, this type of illegal employment contrasted totally with my strong work ethic and tendency to either deny or hide practices that were socially unacceptable. However, I unassertively condoned his activities because I had such strong feelings for him, and because I thought that I might be able to rehabilitate him. We even eventually got married, inadvertently adopting a strategy of my professional career serving as a cover-up for his criminal activity. My salary legitimately paid our bills, while the incoming cash of his business allowed us to eat out nightly, travel, and stay stocked with toys and gadgets. His Peter Pan approach to life seemed to me worthy of experimentation, as long as I could keep in good graces with my employers and clients. However, hiding my huge secret of his drug dealing left me feeling split in half, and I endured life on this razor's edge for six years. During the same time period, my best girlfriend began to introduce me to metaphysical thought, including extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, communication with the spiritual world, and using the power of the mind to create reality. I soaked it in hungrily, reading and practicing meditations and other various rituals in every free moment. This had to be carried out discreetly because my boyfriend/husband was adamantly opposed to it. In fact, he and my girlfriend did not align in any way, and my relationship with her was carried out in clandestine meetings, where we would discuss the metaphysical material that we were studying. By the time my father died of a heart attack in 1981, I was armored with positive views of death, perceiving it as an adventure and transition from a physical state to the next level of spiritual reality. Although this existential slant helped me deal with the immediate pain of his death, it separated me even more from the family, who already questioned many of my methods and behaviors. My younger brother had moved to California, following in the footsteps of our older gay brother, and we talked frequently on the phone and visited as often as we could afford. My oldest brother held a high position in the family, and the family as a whole continued to make no references to their alternative lifestyle, and the physical distance 51
between them and the rest of us allowed them to pretend to carry out a more traditional social role. My mother referred to my older brother as a bachelor, and would sometimes ask conversationally, "Do you think he'll ever get married?" It appeared that she was in complete denial of the fact that my oldest brother's roommate was, indeed, his committed partner, and we all played this hush-hush game with my mother and father. In fact, my brother's partner actually presented himself to the family as a divorcee, which was totally fictitious, to aid in his acceptance as my brother's roommate. California life seemed to be alien to us southerners, anyway. As my oldest brother and his partner's relationship was maintained, it became natural to think of them as a dyad. Of course, we siblings knew that they were in a relationship, although we did not speak of it in any specific terms. Regarding my youngest brother, the family never had taken him seriously. As a part of his ever-expanding gay social life in Los Angeles, he was becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. He had jobs in the music business and dressed in punk attire. He began to fall out of graces with the family even more than I, and the two of us emotionally clung to each other to cope. My relationship with my mother changed when my father died in 1981, partly due to the fact that I was the only child of hers still living in Louisiana. This meant that I would be expected to visit her more frequently and look after her, as instructed by my older brothers and sister. My boyfriend/husband wanted no part of my family, and seemed threatened by any attention that I gave them. So I would drive the five-hour trip alone to spend weekends with her at the old house, and, while there, listen to her feelings and her fears of grief. It took its toll emotionally, and the return drive often resulted in dramatic crying spells, prompting me to seek psychotherapy for the first time. It proved to be very beneficial, and gave me insight into the unresolved grief for my father, and the process of separation from my mother. Another element of my life that expanded during the first half of the 1980s was that of a fitness craze. I gave up drugs and smoking, began to exercise daily, and adopted a sports nutrition diet with vitamin supplements. Continuing to experience frustration in my career, I fantasized that occupational therapy might be molded into a career in the fitness business. I enrolled in a masters' program in exercise physiology and taught jogging and aerobic dance physical education classes as a graduate assistant. I was empowered enough through the psychotherapy and fitness to leave my chaotic relationship, and to beautify myself even further with breast implants. In another sudden burst of lifestyle change, I moved to the beach of the Florida panhandle in 1986, landing a job at a resort as the director of fitness, with a beautiful new body and free of my old work and relationship stresses. For the next two years I lived a somewhat glamorous life. I was a divorced single girl again, and I taught exercise classes at a posh resort, dated yuppies, stayed tan and wellgroomed, and indulged in massages and other beauty treatments. Although I was living on a low fitness salary, I felt relieved of the burnout and mismatch of my career in physical rehabilitation. Finances were always a problem, but my new job afforded me many fringe benefits, and I shared small apartments with roommates to reduce expenditures. I viewed this venture as a career experiment, and continually tried to identify my life purpose. Metaphysics and spirituality played a big part in the approach to my search. 52
By late 1987 I was disenchanted with the fitness business, as well as the dating scene. I had been contemplating another move and decided to consult a highly recommended psychic. She pulled out a map and pointed to Tampa, Florida, telling me that I should move there and attend school for psychotherapy. Since my best girlfriend happened to be attending massage therapy school in the same city, I could not resist following her instructions. In 1988, within two months of the reading, I was transplanted to another new location. Through a series of events, I enrolled in the masters program at the local state university pursuing a degree in counselor education, and landed a fulltime job as a psychiatric occupational therapist on the same campus. At the end of the decade I was, for the most part, more settled and directed. Fitness remained a high value, and I was hopeful of expanding my career goals more holistically into the realms of mental health. I had developed another romantic interest during my transition--a male musician who seemed to have an understanding of my creative interests, particularly metaphysics. We bonded quickly, getting married in 1989. My best girlfriend was far away working on a cruise ship after finishing massage therapy school, and I reached to other outlets for metaphysical studies. My mother had moved into her new role as an independent widow. I felt somewhat resolved in my relationship with her, and even enjoyed visiting her. My little brother and I continued to be close, in spite of the roller-coaster ride of his multi-substance addiction and wild alternative lifestyle in Los Angeles. In 1990, I was devastated to get the news that during a drug rehabilitation hospitalization he had tested positive for HIV. Social Climate of the 1980s Flipping through the pages of Time-Life Books Pride and Prosperity: The 80s (1999), the images reflect a general sense of national materialism. Although the decade is known for conservatism and a re-focus on family values, there is also a contradictory legacy created of self-indulgence and pop culture explosion. Naturally, President Ronald Reagan's charismatic presence fills many of the pages of this pictorial, as his visions and influence for a reborn America were credited for prompting many of the changes (p. 22). It is difficult to find images of tradition and family values in this presentation, hinted only by the pictures and stories of histrionic televangelists. What seem more predominant are images of high-powered businessmen and the stock market activities, along with yuppies, drug use, fitness fanatics, and personal computers. Wholesome, yet nontraditional, are images of pop personalities Oprah and Bill Cosby. Madonna and Michael Jackson dance provocative sexuality into the pages, contrasting with haunting reflections of the disadvantaged homeless and people with AIDS. It is a confusing picture. Republican Conservatism After the chaotic intensity of the 1960s and the despair of the 1970s, Americans were ready for the breath of fresh air that President Reagan breathed into the country in the beginning of the 1980s. As Time-Life Books phrased it, he exemplified "feel-good conservatism", capitalizing on the "restoration of pride and prosperity, but with little concern for pressing social and economic problems" (p. 22). Reagan was called the Great Communicator because of his polished eloquence, and he exuded confidence and charisma, in contrast to his predecessor President Carter. (Garte, Munter, and Landeros, 53
2000.) The pendulum was swinging to recapture some of the feeling of the 1950s traditionalism under Reagan's leadership. There was an upswing in the popularity of religion and family values, and Reagan himself was a declared born-again Christian. (Bondi, 1996.) According to Bondi's overview of religion during this decade, 1986 Gallup polls showed thirty-one percent of the population referred to themselves as born-again Christians (p. 539). This same source reported that Catholicism remained the largest religious denomination, and was becoming more conservative in response to the stringent moral doctrines of Pope John Paul II, installed in 1978. It is further reported that religion and politics became more intertwined during this decade as religious groups used "the pulpit to expound political ideologies" (p. 540), and the term "New Christian Right" evolved to refer to this phenomenon. Equally, there were liberal religious factions developing, including New Age spiritual groups, resulting in an amplification of religious debates and disputes. Andrews (2001) maps the conservative resurgence back to World War II. He explains that there were originally actually three strains of conservatives: 1) traditionalists, who stressed tradition, order, religion, community, and a bound society, 2) libertarians, who emphasized the free market and the importance of individualism, and 3) anticommunists, who made this a crusade. The common bond of all three strains was the opposition to liberalism. Fusionism, according to Andrews, which began in the early 1960s, attempted to unite the strains and strengthen their position in their common beliefs of an objective moral order and human freedom, and an opposition to state power. He goes on to say that the fusionism, anti-statism, and belief in human freedom led conservatives to resist racial integration, and that there was a tendency to reorient politics along a liberal-conservative axis, rather than a Democratic-Republican axis. According to Andrews (2001), the 1960s cultural upheavals alienated many traditional liberals, and led them to neoconservatism. These individuals abhorred extremism, and reasserted a sense of nationalism and superiority with regard to the United States. The neoconservatives tended to be scholars of economics, law, and political science, such as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Perle, William Bennett, William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Gertrude Himmelfarb (p. 210), and did not always share religious and humanistic extreme beliefs. The "paleoconservatives", who represented the old moral order, had little in common with the neoconservatives, but were brought together by the 1960s and the various crises of the 1970s. The New Right, resting on a traditionalist base and appealing to conservatives of both Democrats and Republicans, evolved in the late 1970s. It was a movement of political opportunism and philosophy that opposed interference of government in individuals' lives, and was characterized by its search for power. Andrews (2001) stated that the most important addition was the mobilization of the New Christian Right, which attacked secular humanism and liberal Christianity. All these groups united to back Ronald Regan in 1980. Reaganomics Reagan's new economic agenda included reducing income taxes, balancing the budget, and enhancing military defenses. Inflation was attacked, which was high at nine percent at the beginning of the decade. The strategies included income tax reduction, 54
which would allow Americans more money to spend, and clamping down on the money supply by increasing interest rates. The inflation rate came down to four percent in 1984 and to three percent in 1986. (Taylor, 1996.) In fact, the economy began to soar, and conspicuous consumption became a legacy of the decade. Time-Life editors (1999) reported that another part of Reagan's plan was a decrease in reform programs, such as food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid. The number of those living below the poverty line increased, and the number of homeless Americans increased dramatically. Garte et al. (2000) reported that this helped to enhance the evolving drug epidemic. As the wealthy became wealthier, and the poor became poorer, it was a time of economic disparity between the classes, and the middle class actually shrank. By the end of the decade, one-tenth of Americans controlled two-thirds of the nation's wealth (Time-Life, p. 24). Further, a new class of young urban professionals, yuppies, emerged who seemed to be infatuated with wealth and material possessions. Although Reaganomics is frequently blamed for the inequality, economy expert Timothy Taylor stated (1996) that this actually was happening internationally. He theorized that the phenomenon was related to the low demand for unskilled labor versus the high demand for skilled labor, secondary to technological advances of the time. Another part of Reagan's economic plan, which had actually started in the 1970s, was government deregulation of business, which helped the good times to roll. Wall Street started to produce millionaires by investment strategies, primarily that of mergers and takeovers of businesses. As Time-Life (1999) states, "Using large sums of borrowed money, corporate raiders bought out sound companies and then sold them off piece by piece to pay creditors and squeeze out a quick profit--typically at the cost of laid off workers" (p. 26). This activity resulted in a Wall Street extravaganza, and added to the capitalistic spotlight of the decade. Although Reagan's plan was for a balanced budget, the national deficit escalated to an all-time high. Taylor (1996) attributes this to four main causes: 1) defense spending was increased, 2) income taxes had been reduced, 3) Social Security taxes were raised and the program expanded, and 4) government interest payments rose. Consumption outpaced production, and the nation had to borrow money to survive. In 1987, Wall Street collapsed, and there was a new recession. (Garte et al., 2000.) Another roller coaster that Reagan rode involved his passion for foreign policy. According to Garte et al. (2000), his highest priority was to keep communism from Central America, and he was focused on strategies to control this. Along with the beefing up of the military, he strongly encouraged a satellite defense program. He also used the CIA in covert operations to support the freedom fighters in Nicaragua. This angered Americans, who feared a repeat of the Vietnam War. In fact, there were several scandals in his second term--primarily that he made deals to free American hostages by trading weapons and that he continued to support Nicaragua. This did not affect his popularity, however, as he was adept at eluding embarrassing situations and revelations. The role he played at the end of the decade in the reduction of tensions in the Cold War with Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, according to Garte et al., was Reagan's greatest contribution. 55
Liberal Backlashes The liberal movements of the 1960s and the 1970s suffered setbacks during the 1980s, as the conservative climate reverberated. Susan Faludi (1991) used the term backlash in her attempt to describe and explain this phenomenon, and it reached into all progressive domains. Racial backlash The African-American population was in despair as they realized that, during the Reagan administration, they had no allies in the White House. According to Bondi (1996), President Reagan "continued to exhibit a distaste for civil rights activism" (p. 406), and criticized school busing for integration and affirmative action. Budget cuts in programs that benefited the impoverished population contributed to the unsupportive climate, as well as legislation regarding violent racial crimes that seemed partial to whites. Bondi also reported that Ku Klux Klan (KKK) activity increased during this time. Coincidentally, a former KKK leader, David Duke, was elected to political office in Louisiana in 1989. Although it was a bleak time for African-Americans, it was also a time of significant contribution by black leaders. The Reverend Jesse Jackson was inspired to run in the primaries as a Democratic presidential candidate in 1988 with the "intention to build a coalition of dispossessed minorities" (p. 407) that included Native-Americans, HispanicAmericans, Asian-Americans, as well as African-Americans. Although he did not win the nomination, he gained the support of a significant number of white voters, and was taken seriously as a candidate. Other African-American celebrities included television personalities Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby, Virginia governor Douglas Wilder (elected in 1989), and General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Feminism backlash The political conservatism empowered the voice of the antifeminists, who attacked two main victories of the women's movement of the 1970s: the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the right to choose abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. Despite its broad public support, the ERA was defeated in 1982, only three states away from the thirty-eight states needed for final ratification. The opponents argued that, in the event of ratification, the government would be given too much power and that it would serve to blur gender roles. Their victory in this matter "was a profound blow to feminists' morale" (Bondi, 1999, p. 399). The anti-abortionists, their movement often called pro-life, were primarily conservative Catholics and Protestant fundamentalists. Politically, they were primarily Republicans. They viewed abortion as murder of human life and began to attack the prochoice women's movement. Strategies included picketing and blocking entrances to clinics, public harassment of staff or patients of the clinics, and occasional violence. Presidents Reagan and Bush publicly supported their position, and legislative measures began to favor pro-life. Subsequently, pro-choice advocates began to retaliate with demonstrations. In 1989, the largest march in Washington's history was held as six hundred thousand abortion rights supporters defended their position. (Bondi, p. 399.) Some feminists began to engage in soul searching and reevaluation (Bondi, 1999, p. 399). Even pioneering feminist Betty Friedan declared in her book The Second Stage 56
(1981) that the movement would do better to work on balancing feminism with traditional issues. The antifeminists called for a renewed focus on traditionalism with a re-celebration of home-making and family life as natural to the identity of woman. They blamed the women's movement for the rising divorce rates of the 1970s and the problems of troubled youth. Issues involving families dominated the culture. A special edition of Newsweek that appeared in 1990 focused on family life in the United States and presented a negative picture of the eroding traditional family, attributed to high divorce and single parent rates, high incidence of women working, homosexual parents, and available money in the future for nursing homes and day care. An article in this issue by Jerrold Footlick stated that the divorce rate had doubled since 1965, although the graph from the United States Census Bureau showed a leveling off of divorce after 1980. Laid out in the article were the opposing views of conservatives and liberals, the former wanting to conserve the family and decrease government intrusion, and the latter advocating a national program of family support and welfare for the disadvantaged. Another article in the same issue of Newsweek (Seligmann, 1990) reported that fewer than twenty-seven percent of the nation's households in 1988 fit the traditional model of a family, and that homosexual parenting and single parenting were both rapidly increasing. White (2000) pointed out that during this decade feminists and the moral majority were aligned in fighting battles related to pornography and date rape, with attempts made to educate and train students to control the incidence of rape among the youth. In his review, Bondi (1996) states that polls at the end of the decade showed that large majorities of Americans supported the developments of the women's movement, and that most women believed that their lives had significantly been improved as a result. Homosexuality Backlash At the beginning of the 1980s, homosexuals had definitely "come out of the closet" by being more open with their lifestyles and sexual expression, and the popular media was using homosexuality and bisexuality as provocative elements in their productions. (White, 2000.) However, when Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) began to show up in epidemic proportions in the early 1980s in male homosexuals and intravenous drug users, conservatives felt justified in their judgments and discrimination against gays. The Christian fundamentalists, who were gaining political power during the 1980s, viewed AIDS as God's punishment against immoral sexual practices, such as homosexuality. Although the gay community was pushing for research and assistance, the Reagan administration did not address the AIDS situation until 1985 when celebrity actor Rock Hudson made the public aware of his fatal infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), recognized in 1984 as the virus that caused AIDS. Other responses from many of the population were fear of contagion from homosexuals or indifference, since the disease did not appear to apply to them. People with AIDS were often treated as outcasts. Homosexual themselves were initially unwillingly to go public with their infection, believing that their newly won freedoms might be rolled back. (Bondi, 1996.) As understanding about the disease evolved, and it was discovered that AIDS was infectious rather than contagious, control measures began to be strategized and implemented. Researchers and educators worked hard to dispel misconceptions and to 57
teach safety measures and encourage testing. Gays began to develop programs to nurture compassion and to change discriminating attitudes, such as the red ribbon symbol and the NAMES quilt project. Celebrities began to get involved and movies about AIDS were produced. White (2000) explains that although AIDS brought suffering and repression to the gay community, the exposure brought homosexuality to the spotlight, eventually helping to desensitize the general population by creating awareness of homosexual sex practices, although this did not come to fruition until the 1990s. Liberal Progress Although the 1980s was a time of conservatism and a call to return to traditional ways, progressive movements continued. This was the decade in which personal computers became common in American homes and standard in offices. In fact, any invention that used the microprocessor chip was consumed in great quantities, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and video recorders. Technology swept the country, and began to change every aspect of life. (Bondi, 1996.) Although feminism was experiencing backlash, the number of women in the Labor Market rose dramatically in the 1980s. Taeuber (1991) reported that in 1988 over onehalf of all new mothers were employed, compared to the one-third in 1976. Many of the employed women were single mothers supporting their own children, and the cuts in federal funding for childcare drastically affected safe childcare availability for lowerincome workers, which was an issue of the day. (Bondi, 1996.) Women in high positions began to evolve: Sandra Day O'Conner was named to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, Dr. Sally K. Ride became the first woman astronaut in space in 1983, and Geraldine Ferraro became Democratic candidate for Vice President in 1984. (Time-Life, 1999.) On the international front, the 1980s saw drastic changes in Europe as a result of Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985 and reform of the Soviet system toward democracy and a free market. As he relinquished control over eastern Europe, which had been draining the Soviet economy, Communist dictators began to fall. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, erasing the major symbol of Soviet oppression, and started in motion reunification of East and West Germany. Another legacy of the 1980s was the New Age Movement. An extension of the human potential movement of the 1970s, this was a spiritual movement that avoided specific theology and embraced Eastern philosophies. In fact, the New Age followers pulled from many religions without seeking to downgrade any of the traditional practices, using an umbrella approach to spiritually. The core belief was humanity acting as its own god, and a universal message of "oneness in the cosmos" was a basic tenet. Other beliefs of this movement included reincarnation, spiritual healing, out-of-body experiences, meditation, yoga, astrology, supernatural powers, and extraterrestrials. Political views included opposition to nuclear weapons and nationalism, and environmental awareness and preservation. This movement offended many Christians and Jews, and was considered by some traditionalists as a blasphemous cult movement, shallow and wrought with fraud. (Bondi, 1996.) 58
Sexuality The sexual revolution continued into the 1980s with a vengeance, in spite of (or perhaps, because of) the conservative climate. The physical body was featured during the decade, and physical appearance was a national obsession. During the first week of November, 1981, Time magazine's cover story was entitled "America Shapes Up" (Reed) and discussed the phenomenon of this body boom as historically significant (p. 95). Comparing to twenty years earlier, the number of people exercising regularly had doubled to include almost half of the adult population, according to the article (p. 95). Pointed out were the various expenses incurred in this cultural movement, including money spent on workout shoes, health foods, vitamins, diet drinks, exercise equipment, fitness gadgetry (i.e. water filters, sport watches, shoe inserts, etc.), fitness club memberships, and cosmetic surgery. It was noted that the field of sports medicine was booming, and that facelifts and other rejuvenating cosmetic surgery was becoming popular for men, as well as women, and was encouraged for more success at work. It was felt that television accelerated the craze, and mentioned many celebrities who aligned themselves with this movement. Another point made was that aerobic dance had become popular, giving non-sports-oriented individuals a way to compete physically, subsequently raising their self-esteem. Statistics were showing, according to this article, that heart disease was down twenty percent since 1967, and it was felt that this was related to the shift in fitness consciousness (p. 106). Another phenomenon of the 1980s was related to the pop culture and sexuality. Madonna was the queen and Prince was the king, leading a wave of liberated sexual expression through music that encouraged nudity, open sexual discussion, masturbation, sexual music lyrics, sacrilegious antics, homoeroticism and other provocative angles. In fact, music television (MTV) was a development in cable television that began to greatly affect the popular media and, subsequently, the culture. (White, 2000; Time-Life, 1999; Garte, et al., 2000.) Besides creating made-for-video musical groups that capitalized as much or more on looks than musical talent, MTV helped to increase the choice of pay television over free television. (Garte et al.) Many of the videos were a form of soft pornography. (White.) White also explained that, during this time, Hollywood adopted a plan of more sex to deal with the breakdown of the old studio system and decline in censorship. Films were made that undermined traditional morality and family values, with themes such as single parents, homosexuals, and prostitutes. There was a trend to sexualize the male body. Advertisements freely used young bodies in underwear or skimpy swimsuits using exercise equipment, driving cars, etc. On the other hand, there were developments that put restraint on the rebellion against Victorian morality. Topping the list was the AIDS crisis, which White (2000) contends as the single important development in sexuality during this time. As he explained, it served as a warning against promiscuity, encouraging sexual constraint and sexual correctness. Already mentioned were the religious fundamentalists who gained power through television, politics, and other popular media verbalizing the need for sexual constraint, but who, in some cases, demonstrated opposite values. Another factor previously described was the anti-pornography being promoted by the feminists, and echoed by the conservatives. U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese created a commission in May 1985 to control the "problem" of pornography. A similar commission had been created in 1970 called the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography where 59
the eighteen members conducted scientific research on the effects of pornography on the United States population. (Marachino, 1999.) They concluded that there was no evidence of pornography being psychologically damaging, and it was also asserted that there was no reason for Congress to intervene in pornography sales or distribution. There were several attempts to discredit the report over the years, and the 1985 Meese Commission was created to find more desirable results. This study was not scientific, carried out by conducting interviews with victims of sex offenders, and based their findings on assumptions. According to Bondi (1996), it was a 1,960-page document, steeped in conservative bias, which advocated legal action to abolish sexually explicit materials. The members of the commission decided that pornography led to violence and debasement of women and children (p. 406). According to Bondi, this report was denounced by publishers and social scientists, and many Americans found it an intrusion into their private lives. However, some stores pulled magazines and some clerks were arrested. He went on to say, "Americans had come too far in its notion of sexual expression to revert to the attitudes of the 1950s....A few years after the report was released it was largely seen as much ado about very little." (p. 406.) Finally, the safe-sex program, developed to reduce the risk of AIDS, contributed significantly to the culture's sexual practices. The promotion for the use of condoms threatened to reduce intimacy between sexual partners and was a "dampener of passions" (White, 2000, p. 194). But the safe-sex industry also served to widely inform the masses on alternative sexual practices, such as oral and anal sex, "expanding the sexual boundaries and continuing the sexual revolution" (p. 194). It also had an underlying message giving permission for extramarital sexual activity, as long as it was performed in a safe way. Although AIDS set the culture back temporarily, viewed in this way, it ultimately pushed the culture forward even more. Academic Climate of the 1980s Parallelling the social conservative revolution of the 1980s was a contrasting and opposing revolution in academics. The American umbrella term for the primary academic movement dominating academic philosophy since the 1980s is postmodernism, and it is a form of criticism of European Enlightenment thought. It directly attacks and deconstructs the structured systems involved in traditional values that were popularized by the Republican political reign. Therefore, it has been said that during the 1980s, politics and the academy were at odds (van de Bilt & Kardux, 2001, p. 195.) This parallel popularity served to create heated public debates, particularly since both revolutions were controversial. Van de Bilt and Kardux stated that the debated issues primarily dealt with gender and race, "polarizing academic institutions and contributing to an atmosphere of political confrontation" (p. 195). Originating in the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, scholars began to look outside of the Anglo-American philosophies and began to import European, particularly French, philosophies. (Pencak, 2001.) Initially affecting language, literature, and history curriculums, these alternative philosophies were soon adopted by anthropology, sociology, and psychology. In many ways feminist theory paved the way for the popularization of postmodernism, as it fed neatly into the politicized gender issues of the 60
day. (Sullivan, 2001.) Liberalism continued to dominate the academy, and helped to create new spin-offs of feminist theories, including multiculturalism, queer theory, and masculinity studies. Curriculums began to change, and texts written by and about women and other marginal groups began to appear in place of the standard texts by primarily white, male scholarly authors. There was an opening up of literary and historical norms. (van de Bilt & Kardux, 2001.) Postmodernism The term "modernity" denotes an era of sociology in the eighteenth and nineteenth century associated with the European Enlightenment. Enlightenment ideas included those of order, obedience, and universal truths; science and reason as the method of obtaining truth; and rational language. During the early twentieth century there was a movement away from the objective, fixed perceptions of modernity to more subjective, fragmented, reflexive perceptions. It was called modernism, and it was primarily an aesthetic movement of visual art, music, literature, and drama. Postmodernism evolved after the 1960s as an extension of modernism, where universal truths or grand narratives still holding from modernity are thoroughly critiqued and deconstructed. (Klages, 1997.) Structuralism was a modernistic approach to interpretation of literature that was appealing in the early twentieth century. It helped provide scientific objectivity to narratives by viewing them as products of patterns, systems, and structures, rather than viewing them simply as the product of an individual mind. This model argues that reality is produced by the structure of language itself because humans think through language. Since any text is viewed as a function of a system, and the language is the central focal point, the author is somewhat canceled out. (Klages, 2001.) Structuralism was the dominant school of anthropology in the first half of the twentieth century, as "it maintained that societies were coherent entities whose institutions and symbols served functional purposes and provided stability" (Pencak, 2001, p. 215). Pencak goes on to say that flaws and deviance of a society were minimized, showing that these were necessary to the stability of the system. (Pencak, 2001.) Poststructuralism served to dismantle the constructs of structualism, and impacted the American academy in the 1980s. Van de Bilt and Kardux (2001) attribute the initial impact of poststructuralism to the English translation of French critic Jacques Derrida's works in the late 1970s, which is generally thought of as the theory of "deconstruction." Poststructuralism is said to be "so closely linked [to postmodernism] that it is futile to try and separate them" (Pencak, 2001, p. 215). The structuralists paved the way for Derrida's deconstruction ideology, which targeted binary oppositions as structures pervasive in the grand narratives of Western thought. He argued that the binary pairs imposed a hierarchical order of one term over the other (i.e. white over black, male over female, etc.) and that, when deconstructed, the boundaries are erased and they begin to contradict their own logic. (Van de Bilt & Kardux, 2001; Klages, 1997.) Pencak (2001) used examples of Derrida's deconstruction: 1) When the Declaration of Independence is deconstructed, "how can one `people' claim independence from another when only the document itself claims to constitute such a people? " (p. 220) and 2) "the Roman Catholic Church regards clerical celibacy as natural, and birth control and homosexuality as unnatural" (p. 220). 61
Michel Foucault was another French philosopher who pioneered postmodernism in the 1980s. His work concentrated on power structures, such as medical, military, educational, and other societal institutions and controls, demonstrating "how power, knowledge, and discipline are intimately related." (Sullivan, 2001, p. 263.) He was homosexual, and his work dealt directly with issues of sexuality, which was particularly pertinent to feminist theory. For example, Foucault postulated that the homosexual subject did not exist until medical science and other disciplines created it in the nineteenth century as a deviant form of personality, which led to oppression and discrimination of that particular population. He goes further in postulating that the homosexual population contributed to and participated in the oppressive power structure by seeking knowledge of their sexuality and helping to define their identity. (Sullivan.) In summary, the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries produced the modern era that involved mass acceptance of universal truths about the world and popularized scientific methods of obtaining knowledge. Modernism evolved in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a broad movement away from objectivity and fixed narratives, to subjectivity and reflexivity. Structuralism was a part of this movement, as it analyzed systems and patterns that produced the narratives, rather than the author and the text. Postmodernism and poststructuralism went further to actually criticize the grand narratives, deconstructing them and finding their fallacies, in order to provide broader understanding of societal issues and their boundaries. Feminist Theory As women's studies curriculums proliferated across the nation's universities, feminist theory expanded in various directions. One shift in feminist theory that took place during the 1980s was a movement toward the idea that women and men were different with regard to their development and perceptions, and that women were just as powerful and, perhaps, superior to men in their difference. (Sullivan, 2001.) Banner (1995) attributes the ensuing debate and split into equality feminism and difference feminism as evolving from issues regarding motherhood and child development, as traditional values were hotly debated in all arenas on the political scene. Banner remarks that difference feminists "recast old arguments about women's moral superiority into a new compendium under which women and men were once again seen as different" (p. 261). She explains that these two factions were in addition to others, including that of liberals, advocating a change in laws; Marxists, concerned with the class system; radicals, focused on physical oppression methods; and socialists, concerned with various issues, including that of lesbianism versus separatism, as well as capitalism. Banner also explains that moderate feminists existed who were not antagonistic toward men and advocated individual choice in personal matters, but had distaste for domesticity. In the intellectual world, Harvard University psychologist Carol Gilligan's In A Different Voice (1982, 1993) was foundational in establishing difference feminism. (Sullivan, 2001.) In her research on moral development, Gilligan found that girls used relationship situations to make ethical decisions, while boys used abstract moral principles. She pointed out that, because of the male bias on psychological measures, girls tended to appear morally and psychologically underdeveloped with respect to boys. Sullivan states that, in later years, contributions following Gilligan's lead "attempted to demonstrate that an ethics of care and an ethics of justice are not diametrically opposed." 62
(p. 264). Freudian developmental theory was attacked by feminists as they attempted to explore and redefine the different experiences of females and males in their connection with "mother". (Banner, 1995.) Debates within feminist theory evolved, particularly concerning issues of intersecting gender with race, class, and sexuality. Black feminists claimed that equality and difference feminists focused only on problems of white, middle-class, heterosexual women. Some lesbian feminists claimed that compulsory heterosexuality was pervasive and kept women dependent on men and minimized positive connections between women. Other feminists attacked the notion of adding other aspects of the self (race, sexuality, nationality, class, etc.) to the gender aspect, treating them as separate things that come in connection with one another. (Sullivan, 2001, p. 265.) The deconstruction of binary pairs, popular in postmodern philosophies, played neatly into gender issues, and feminist theory was greatly affected. Judith Butler's work (1990) was instrumental in impacting women's studies with postmodern philosophy. She argued that gender was performative, composed by the culture with styles of behavior, dress, movement, and thought. "According to Butler, even sex--the biological division of human beings into male and female--is constituted by the gendered performances of femininity and masculinity." (Sullivan, p. 265.) Sullivan goes on to say that Butler operated from the notion that the self "has no layer of sexed substratum underlying the layers of gender that constitute it." (p. 265.) In this way, she sought to destabilize rigid cultural sex roles. Other feminists attacked the issue of patriarchal power maintenance through feminine ideals of slenderness and beauty, analyzing the rising incidence of anorexia nervosa. Further, other feminists felt that the "skeptical" postmodern methods employed in deconstruction were problematic. Susan Bordo (1993) felt that obscuring gender differences and erasing the issue would risk service to male privilege, since the possibility of focusing on gender would disappear, and would prevent the exploration and critique of gender-based oppression. Young-Eisendrath (1997) agreed with this impression, and values more the "affirmative" postmodern branches of "hermeneutics (the theory of interpretation and understanding) and constructivism (the philosophy ensuing from the premise that we actively construe our reality)." (p. 9.) Androgyny As gender and sex role stereotyping became the focus of women's studies and feminist theory during the 1970s, the general techniques of measurement of femininity and masculinity came under attack. Marawski's (1985) review of the measurement of gender constructs credits Lewis Terman and Catherine Cox Miles (1936) with "the first major attempt to assess quantitatively the existence of masculinity and femininity..." (p. 207). According to Marawski, this evolved from an intense interest in sex differences which started in the early 1900s. As the avalanche of scientific studies proved unsatisfactory in ascertaining any significant measure of sex differences, and even at times showing females to be superior, psychologists began to use observation to make theoretical statements about the differences, such as attempting to explain the new type of woman, called the flapper, in terms of femininity and the related danger to the maternal instinct (Hall, 1922). Morawski explains that during this time, there was a general growing notion of human disorder and the need for control measures, along with the idea that only scientists were knowledgeable and responsible enough to lead in the controls as 63
experts. Psychologists felt the need to contribute to social controls, particularly in the area of marriage and family, as this was felt to be the primary source of individual well being. Standardized tests were promoted as a way to solve some of the earlier measurement problems. Since the definitions of the terms were unclear, Terman and Miles undertook an extensive project in the early 1920s. They constructed a test to give a more factual basis to ordinary concepts of masculinity and femininity by accumulating test items on which males and females differed. A preliminary version of the test was given to a group of gifted children. Most subtests were compiled by modifying existing tests in various categories. Items were converted to multiple-choice format. The final product was Terman and Miles's 910-item test, the Attitude-Interest Analysis Test (AIST), which contained seven subtests, including word association, ink-blot association, general information, emotional and ethical attitudes, interests, opinions, and introversionextroversion responses. Femininity and masculinity points were gained by responding negatively or positively to questions that were thought to socially discriminate between differences in females and males. For instance, masculine points would be gained by responding negatively to questions such as "Do you like to have people tell you their troubles?", and feminine points would be given for a negative response to the question "Were you ever fond of playing with snakes?" (Marawski, p. 205-6). Validity was assessed by ascertaining overlap of score distributions for male and female samples and by correlations with independent measures of femininity and masculinity. Comparison data was obtained from clinical studies. The test was felt to be successful in discriminating between female and males; however, the scores declined in older subjects, and the test was susceptible to faking. Measures of so-called abnormalities such as homosexuality and female delinquency were more promising. Marawski (1985) goes on to say that Terman and Miles endorsed their tests as a way to clear up the confusion with the definitions of femininity and masculinity, and to provide a better assessment than ordinary observation. The AIST became the model for gender assessment for the next 25 years, and spurred other researchers to attempt instruments focused on psychological phenomena related to evolving personality theories. These instruments took the form of vocational interest inventories, sex temperament measures, personality trait measures, projective tests, and self-administered rating scales. Marawski reports ...the constructs of the gender types, when put in verbal form, did not vary much from test to test. Masculine is powerful, strenuous, active, steady, strong, self-confident, with preference for machinery, athletics, working for self, and the external/public life. Feminine is sensitive, compassionate, timid, cautious, irritable, acquiescent, sentimental, preferring artistic and sedentary activities, and the internal/private life. (p. 212.) As feminist scholars of the 1970s reacted negatively to and began to criticize the credibility of the feminine-masculine scales, and began to question even the reality of feminine and masculine, particularly Anne Constantinople (1973), the idea of androgyny re-emerged. Psychological androgyny, indicating "the integration of femininity and masculinity within a single individual" (Bem, 1981, p. 4), was presented as a solution to the sexism involved in discussing gender bipolarity (Marawski, 1985), and an indication 64
of "psychological wholeness" and a "mental health ideal" (Watson, Biderman, & Boyd, 1989, p. 176) in the ability to identify with desirable characteristics of both polarities. This concept re-emergence prompted new interest in femininity-masculinity scales and measurement. As explained by Vonk & Ashmore (1993), Sandra Bem was most noted for her pioneering work in the area of androgyny, and development of an assessment that theorized that an individual is able to behave feminine in some situations and masculine in others, "depending on which is more adaptive" (p.279). This article goes on to explain that Bem's "situational flexibility" perspective, resembling notions of the multi-faceted self that psychologists began to adopt in the 1980s, was regarded as functional and selfprotective. The Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI)(1978, 1981) treated femininity and masculinity as two independent dimensions rather than as two ends of a single dimension, thereby enabling a person to indicate whether she or he is high on both dimensions ("androgynous"), low on both dimensions ("undifferentiated"), or high on one dimension but low on the other (either "feminine" or "masculine"). (p. 4.) Another famous femininity-masculinity scale whose authors promoted a positive view of androgyny was the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ) (Spence and Helmreich, 1978). Their assessment involved three scales, one for each gender dimension and a third for androgyny, which operated on a bipolar continuum. (Stets & Burke, 2000.) Although the concept received immediate popularity in feminist theory, it began to fall short of the expectations, and even Bem herself came to question the concept. (Morawski, 1985.) She suggested that the androgyny concept might self-destruct by the inherent contradiction that "masculinity and femininity themselves have distinct and substantive content (quoted from Richmond-Abbot, 1992, p. 384)." Morawski goes on to point out, in a postmodern approach, that the concept of androgyny was understandably readily adopted by feminists without attending to the reflexive thinking, as it was self-serving to them. The "primarily white, professional women...could find in androgyny theory an inspiring model for their own roles in a predominantly male world...(p. 216)." He also purports that feminist psychologists "may have been vulnerable to the lures of scientific ideals, and to the essentialist psychology that historically underlay the scientific ethos of skeptical empiricism...(p. 216)." However, androgyny remains a viable construct in gender academic studies. Feminist Theory Offshoots Multiculturalism, coinciding with the flourishing of Feminist Studies and the influx of immigrants from Asia and Hispanic America, was another movement that utilized postmodern theory and exaggerated its impact. Common people, previously neglected in social historiography, became the focus of research and teaching, and the emphasis in humanities shifted toward cultural studies, including black studies, Native American studies, and Chicano studies. Van de Bilt & Kardux (2001) report that multiculturalism consisted of pressure groups within the academy, rather than a formal organization, aiming to change curriculums so that they were more representative of the multiethnic character of American society. The term political correctness evolved as a catch-phrase to denote multiculturalism. In terms of post-modern theory, multiculturalists focused on the deconstruction of the self-other opposition, exposing the ways in which white males 65
and Western culture achieved and maintained dominance by defining non-males and nonwhite as other. As the movements went political, there was a shift to Foucault's critiques, which emphasized power structures more than texts. Queer theory, another academic development, grew out of Judith Butler's work and, aligned with postmodern thought, rejects political activity focused on the oppression of a sexually identified population, such as women or homosexuals. These theorists contend that the notion of a coherent identity itself is oppressive. They seek to demonstrate that no individual fully embodies the heterosexual ideals of Western culture, and thus destabilizes the sexual identity. Queer theorists hold that the fight against gay and lesbian discrimination should not depend upon configuring people in rigid sexual identities. (Sullivan, 2001.) Masculinity studies evolved out of feminist theory and the men's movement. Clatterbaugh's (2000) thorough review of the men's movement literature revealed that, similar to the women's movement, the academic developments in this area arose from consciousness-raising groups of the 1960s and eventually split into various factions, namely profeminism, antisexism, and men's liberation. He explained that early writings (1970s and 1980s) were grounded in assumptions that proved troublesome, such as those involving the debate between biology and social constructs of gender roles, and those related to sexism which were harmful to both men and women. Sullivan (2001) reported that many scholars focused on what it meant for men to be feminists, and the socialpolitical-cultural construct of masculinity itself. Clatterbaugh stated that these studies waned and are now encapsulated within women's studies programs. Clatterbaugh (2000) also explained that there were developments outside of the academy that provided other perspectives of the men's movement, namely men's rights and the mythopoetic movement. He stated that the men's rights movement emphasized the victimized, powerless male, arguing that it is a myth that men are privileged over women. These theorists wrote about the "problems of traditional masculinity, such as emotional repression, isolation from other men, fear of failure, and a high suicide risk" (p. 888). Clatterbaugh classified some of the men's rights arguments as absurd, making reference to Warren Farrell (1993) who argued against sexual harassment laws and child molestation laws as he felt they made men vulnerable to abuse by women and children. The mythopoetic movement was a specialized movement, falling between neo-Jungian and New Age literature, that viewed masculinity as an archetype that had been hardwired into human biology and that romanticized male bonding. (p. 889.) Harding (1992) explained that this movement involved the exploration of male spirituality and male psychology, and was characterized by retreats and support groups. Clatterbaugh was critical of Robert Bly's (1990) work in this area and this movement, stating, "The tendency to psychologize everything and ignore the social reality of male power and privilege is especially irksome to those on the feminine side who have spent so much time and energy trying to combat this fact of patriarchy....Bly often writes as if patriarchy is a thing of the distant past" (p. 889). He also stated that the mythopoetic movement boomed from 1990 to 1992, and has greatly declined, the same as the other movements. Finally, the fourth major men's movement identified by Clatterbaugh (2000) was the Promise Keepers, which began in the 1980s in the form of retreats for evangelical Christian men and became a media sensation. He explained that the members of this 66
group "think that men have not kept their promises to protect and provide for their families and that men have abdicated their responsibility for leadership in the family and church" (p. 889). He attributes the decline of this group to the fact that there was little vision of social justice and differential power groups in the United States, and the activities took time and resources away from their families. He also added that the Promise Keepers phenomenon may have been an attempt of older men to restore the institution of marriage and family that seems difficult for younger Christian males to relate to. Further, greater forces, such as the need for two incomes, racial discrimination, or gay discrimination, reflective of contemporary issues in the United States may have contributed to their decline. Cultural Wars Directly opposed to the conservative thought that was sweeping the social and political arenas, the academic theories of poststructualism and multiculturalism were heavily disputed and created a type of "cultural war." The influence of French thought became suspect when a few leading theorists were found to be involved, directly and indirectly, in previous nihilist wartime activities. These discoveries were used as an opportunity to discredit poststructuralism as a whole, and to promote the message that "French theory eroded America's most cherished values" (Van de Bilt & Kardux, 2001, p. 200). Feminism and multiculturalism were both charged by conservatives as being responsible for eroding family values, led by Bloom (1987) and his book The Closing of the American Mind and D'Souza's book (1991) Illiberal Education. Both were closely affiliated with the New Right and supported by Republican politicians, and their opinions became national news in the early 1990s. Bloom denounced the educational movements, stating the young Americans were morally confused by the substitution of relativism for traditional literature. D'Souza's attack focused on multiculturalism, which he felt "established a new kind of authoritarianism that undermined American constitutional liberties and fostered a spirit of intolerance on American campuses." (Van de Bilt & Kardux, 2001, p. 200.) Museums were also turned into politicized arenas, as political correctness and moral issues were debated. "Aiming to introduce diversity and create space for alternative points of view, organizers of museum exhibits entered a political minefield, often causing an uproar that alienated conservative visitors and sponsors and endangered the continuation of their programs." (Van de Bilt & Kardux, 2001, p. 200.) It was a confusing time for many liberals, as well as conservatives, alarmed as they were by the fragmentation and disuniting of the American academy and society along ethnic and racial issues. American philosopher Richard Rorty (1998) has been credited with proposing ways to end the cultural wars, pointing out that American intellectuals abandoned social reform and political activism, retreating into the ivory towers of the academy. Van de Bilt & Kardux stated that Rorty "argued that a diagnosis of the ills of the American society was pointless unless accompanied by an effort to remedy them (p. 201-2)," and that he proposed a synthesis between the philosophical approaches of liberal humanism and poststructualism and, politically, between activism and the insights of the multicultural 67
Left. The cultural wars deeply divided the nation, as political events of the 1990s escalated into mayhem. Third-Wave Feminist Reviewing my evolution from ages twenty-six to thirty-six, I feel that I was involved in a sort of delayed adolescence, exploring various developmental roles. Struggling with unresolved grief of losing my father, I left my feminist values, and began to experiment with drugs, metaphysics, and glamour. Looking back, it seemed to be a time of superficial focus, perceiving it with the fresh education that I gained as a result of the historical research of the cultural wars that were going on at the time--it is almost embarrassing to review it. I, like the other intellectuals that Rorty spoke against, retreated, not into ivory towers, but into a societal whirlwind that provided an escape from the conservative movements that I did not align with, and even frightened me. I appreciated the intense exploration of postmodern thought, which I finally have more understanding of and have been affected by. I also have a new understanding of the evolution of gender and sexuality, and I am refreshingly indebted to the scholars and activists that have attempted to expose and right the wrongs of sex and race discrimination. I now realize that I am a third-wave feminist (Sullivan, 2001), one who "grew up with the benefits for women that our `mothers' fought for", and who feel "that they no longer need feminism because the oppression of women allegedly no longer exists" (p. 266-7). As Sullivan states, we third-wave feminist attempt to understand the impact on women's lives from the viewpoint of class, race, sexuality, and nationality, such as I am doing with this very project. 68
CHAPTER FIVE EARLY 1990s GLOBAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL EXPANSION Wilderness Survival Tough-Girl At the beginning of the 1990s, I found myself, career-wise, very content for the first time in my life. Working in the field of mental health was like coming home, and I knew, without a doubt, that becoming a mental health counselor suited me perfectly. This was affirmed when I was introduced in one of my graduate classes to the MyersBriggs Type Inventory (MBTI). This personality inventory showed me to be an introverted intuitive with extroverted feeling, an INFJ. According to the careercounseling book Do What You Are (1995) (based on the MBTI), the very first career choice for my type was counselor. It was with passion that I threw myself into my work at the psychiatric hospital by day, and my counseling studies at night. On the flip-side, my new marriage, like the other two, carried another set of strange challenges. My husband's career as a creative guitar player made for an interesting home and social life, but with a heavy price to pay. Our schedules were opposite, and we would often go the entire work-week without seeing each other. His income was sporadic, and meager. His work setting included alcohol and cigarette smoke. His temperament was fiery and moody. Although he was metaphysical, incredibly creative, humorous, devoted, and fitness-oriented, he had difficulty controlling his temper, as well as the use of alcohol, marijuana, and food. We fought constantly, and I suffered from premenstrual syndrome, hypoglycemia, low sexual desire, and anxiety. Similar to my previous marriage, I was the primary breadwinner. However, there were serious financial problems, in part due to the debt I had incurred the past few years living in poverty on the beach, and in part due to my school expenses. The early 1990s proved to be an intensely stressful period of my life. My family problems were also escalating. My younger brother's HIV positive status caused him coping problems, along with the ever-evolving physical problems. His addictions to alcohol, drugs, and destructive relationships took control of his life, and our relations were strained. My older sister had a surprise heart arrest and was found to have a serious fatal heart condition at age fifty-one. This started a series of surgeries, medications, lifestyle changes, and family stresses. My mother continued to live her life as an independent widow, with her life revolving around her church activities and strong faith, but she began to have a number of health problems, which she denied and refused to get treatment for. In my continual search to find metaphysical connections, Native American philosophy crept its way into my consciousness. It began with a full moon women's circle that I attended on a regular basis. As I familiarized myself with Mother Earth spirituality, I began to recall my father's stories that revolved around the fact that he had Cherokee blood. He could remember teachings of his Native American grandmother, and would share those teachings with us at times. During my soul-searching phase in the late 1980s, which I spent living on the beaches of the Florida panhandle, I had even attempted to utilize a local service to trace my Native American lineage, as this had always intrigued me. My love of outdoor adventure aligned well with the earth-focused 69
philosophy, and I was as avid a student of Native American philosophy, as well as counseling studies. One fateful spring evening in 1991, I was driving my newly purchased used BMW (still influenced by my glamour training) to visit my girlfriend, who had lost her cruise ship job and was now setting up a private massage practice in the Florida panhandle. Late at night on the back roads of northern Florida, my car stopped running suddenly, and my weekend trip stretched into a week, as I awaited the diagnosis from the foreign car mechanics of that area. I had little financial resources to take care of a serious problem, and waited in agony for the outcome, as my engine was taken apart. As I waited, I read the only book I could find, one loaned by a friend that had been in my car for weeks. It was a Native-American-based book on wilderness survival. (Brown, 1991.) The book advocated the skill of wilderness survival as a type of insurance policy to protect against the current state of technological dependence that our culture was suffering from, which the book stated was resulting in a society of survival dummies. I related totally, as I knew that the car mechanics could so easily take advantage of me in my ignorance and lack of assertiveness. I continued to read this book, desperately searching for some way to handle the news that my engine had to be totally rebuilt. I vowed to attend the outdoor training program that the author ran in North Carolina to learn more about how to live off the land and take care of myself, which I followed through on three months later. The wilderness training in July 1991 was a turning point in my life, at which time I became a wilderness survival tough-girl. The basic idea of the training was learning how to survive if stranded in the woods--that is, building shelter, finding water, making fire, obtaining food, etc. Steeped in New Age spirituality, the philosophy behind it included feminine and masculine symbology in a physical-environmental perspective. I began to reconnect to my previous passion for feminine power, finding a new paradigm within which to contextualize it. I put this together with my counseling path, and began to envision teaching wilderness survival to women as a way to empower them. My deeply symbolic nature molded this concept into a mission for earth healing, the idea being that by elevating the feminine power, some balance to the masculine energies that were dominant in our culture would be created. Naturally, I expected it to metaphysically extend energy into the global realms, as well. Empowered on a soul level, I analyzed my life and decided that my first priority was to get out of debt. With only one practicum left, I talked my reluctant husband into accompanying me on a traveling occupational therapist job, where I could make money without having living expenses. He would tag along and tour with his music. Although the marital conflicts continued, the plan worked beautifully, starting in 1992, and ending at a placement in Palm Springs, California in 1993. There, after getting completely out of debt, and living in close proximity to Indian reservations and my two gay brothers, I felt more evolved and found the nerve to leave my third marriage at the end of my work assignment in the summer of 1993. I returned to Florida alone to finish my counseling degree. For my ending school project, I created a workshop for women with the help of my previous therapist, who now lived in New Mexico. We planned it together, and named it Women In The Wilderness. It was a success, and I began to plan workshops on a regular basis, buying camping equipment and marketing myself on local radio, expos, and 70
newspapers. This was in addition to my work as an occupational therapist, and my attempt at starting a traditional private counseling practice. Soon after I arrived in Tampa, and my school activities were squared away, I reconnected with an older graduate school classmate, who had started a private practice before I left. With the idea of having him serve as my mentor in my counseling practice start-up, I arranged for consultation meetings, which quickly turned into something more. Within months, we were deeply in love, and began to live together. He had lived in Tampa for many years, had a wonderful social network of high-level friends, and was in the process of leaving a career in business to go full-time into private counseling. He was thirteen years older than I, and reminded me of my father in many ways. Although my mother was disturbed to hear that I was divorcing for the third time, she was also instantly enchanted by my charismatic beloved and gave her approval. He was my finally-found soul mate and partner, and we planned to marry on my parents' anniversary date in 1995. My first formal romantic engagement started on my fortieth birthday on June 19, 1994. I was a new woman, empowered from the very depths of my being. I had completed my counseling masters degree, aligning with what seemed to be my perfect career path. I was out of debt for the first time in my adult life. I had found a spiritual philosophy that excited me and bolstered my identity and existential life purpose. I had found my true life-partner, who could share with me in every significant aspect of my life. Sexually, I was on fire with the heaviest case of what I now know as limerence. It seemed that I had walked through a cosmic gateway as a wilderness survival tough-girl on a mission and had reached a higher level! Social climate of the early 1990s The first half of the decade of the 1990s was a time of myriad adjustments. During these five years, the world was still reacting to the absence of long-term Cold War tension and to the unfamiliarity of the United States being the only international superpower. Challenges ensued abroad and resulted in the United States going to war in the Persian Gulf. Another political adjustment, closer to home, was the shift from a conservative Republican administration to a more liberal Democratic one, with the election in 1992 of President Bill Clinton. Not only were the platforms changing, but ongoing conspiracies and highly publicized legal disputes kept the rope tight in the tug of war between conservatives and liberals. Adding to the expansive atmosphere of the political globalization movement were technological advances shooting in all directions and catching on like wildfire. The Internet and the World Wide Web came into the hands of the entire population, escalating the feeling of individual freedom and power. The adjustment to this new technological scene carried with it many concerns, particularly that of the environment and the movement away from more natural ways. Save-the-earth politics gained momentum during this time of the Clinton administration, particularly since Vice President Al Gore was a passionate defender of the environment and had written an intelligent and popular book (1992) on the subject. His extremist position reflected New Age spiritual rhetoric, which was another cultural legacy of this time. 71
The spiritual New Age, put in escalated motion in the 1960s and 1970s, continued to grow, and in the 1990s was pervasive and powerful. A language of healing formed a major component to the new spirituality that included holistic healing of the land, as well as the person. As Catherine Albanese (1993) explains, a social ethic accompanied this movement, linking it with the broader American cultural issues of environmental reform, peace, feminist values, and economics. "It has become a mood, an atmosphere, a way of talking and being talked to" (p. 143). Although traditional religions continued to attempt controls over the New Age influence, the expansion tendency was the inherent energy of this time period. Politics: From Bush to Clinton In the new era of 1990s globalization, competition shifted from nuclear weapons to business and finance enterprises. McConnell (2001) commented that an irony developed concerning the end of the Cold War in that it was now safe for "a resurrection of ethnic conflicts" (p. 246), which took place in violent clashes among the republics of the former Soviet Union. A feeling of unrest existed, accompanied by violence and poverty, as countries attempted to adjust to the new situation by either integrating into free market capitalism or to stay with old socialist ways. When the Iraqi leader Hussein used his army to seize control of oil-rich Kuwait with a plan to unite all the Arab states to become the dominant petroleum power, the United States and Western Europe were threatened. President Bush went immediately to work to lead the United Nations coalition of twenty-eight nations created to find a solution. (Brinkley, 1998; McConnell, 2001.) In the account of Callaghan, Munter, and Khroustalev (2000), it was mentioned that when President Bush did not get the public response that he wanted, he declared Hussein an "evil dictator" to make a more substantial impact, and Congress narrowly gave approval for the military action. Brinkley explained that he then ordered United States naval forces to the Persian Gulf and obtained a trade embargo against Iraq. He also led an arms buildup in Saudi Arabia, and issued an ultimatum to Hussein to withdraw armies by January 15, 1991. When Hussein refused to withdraw, the United States military attack referred to as Desert Storm began on January 16, lasting for five weeks, at which time a cease fire was called. Hussein formally accepted the peace agreement, and was allowed to remain in power in Iraq. However, he continued to cause problems as time went on. (McConnell.) Callaghan et al (2000) described the media hype accompanying Desert Storm, downplaying the antiwar sentiment. They entitled it "the living room war" and stated that what Americans knew of the war was only the media version, which was extremely limited in scope. President Bush's popularity skyrocketed to ninty-one percent approval rating as a result of the Persian Gulf War. (Brinkley, 1998.) Because of Bush's popularity at the time of the 1992 presidential primary elections, many candidates opted not to run against him. Although Democratic candidate Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas did not have a high national profile at the time of the election, he benefited from the lack of significant competition, and easily obtained the Democratic nomination. In a surprising turn of events, Bush lost the election to Clinton for a number of reasons. Clinton focused on home issues, rather than foreign; Clinton used new technological advances in his campaign to expedite information to sources; and independent candidate Ross Perot gathered votes that may have gone to Bush. 72
Clinton positioned himself as a new Democrat, advocating for social reform, as well as free enterprise and global free market trading. As McConnell (2001) states, "his ability to position himself in the middle of the political spectrum was instrumental in securing the nomination and winning the general election campaign against Bush and H. Ross Perot" (p. 268). It was also mentioned that President Clinton "symbolized the rise to political maturity of the baby boomers" (p. 267), since he was the first president to be born after World War II. Brinkley (1998) mentioned that Clinton's charisma was helpful in dealing with his many challenges in the role of President. His first two issues of focus, discrimination of gays and lesbians in the military and health-care reform, resulted in failures. The strong opposition he encountered resulted in a compromise of the military to stop asking about sexual orientation, and homosexuals to stop revealing their orientation, which was not satisfying to either side. (McConnell, 2001.) Reflective of his liberalism, he named his influential wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as head of a task force to improve the health-care system. The program of healthcare recommendations was confusing, and the revised program made matters worse, until the attempt was abandoned. Brinkley (1998) stated that Mrs. Clinton opted for a lower public profile after this. The suicide of President Clinton's deputy counsel at the White House, Vincent W. Foster Jr., resulted in conspiracy theories hoping to smear the administration, and led to a web of relentless investigations. The 1994 mid-term elections resulted in Republican control of both chambers of congress. McGraw (1995) wrote that the conservative Christian capitalists were involved in a movement which helped finance Republican Party activities, and were partly responsible for their resounding success of the Republicans in the 1994 elections. They added to Clinton's problems, as they hammered on conservative moral themes against his political positions, homosexual alliance, and questionable ethics. (McConnell, 2001.) Technology The most significant cultural shift in terms of computer technology was the rise in popularity of the Internet and the World Wide Web. As described by Callaghan et al (2000), it changed social worlds to that of cyberspace, and it included chatting, dating, having sex with others in this world-wide cyberspace. Social establishments began to feature Internet access, called cyber-cafes. Although some less technologically-oriented individuals felt left behind, most Americans felt that their life was improving as a result of these developments. (McConnell, 2001.) A brief history of the Internet by the Microsoft Corporation (2001) revealed that the Internet stemmed from a project of the United States Department of Defense, which in 1969 began to link major computers of certain universities. It was designed as a military protection strategy to allow continued communication in the event of one or more sites being destroyed by nuclear attack, and was available only to the computer elites who understood the process. As these experts worked through the 1970s to create protocols for transferring information, Usenet newsgroups and electronic mail were developed. At this time, most users were affiliated with universities and libraries. Microsoft goes on to explain that the World Wide Web was developed by a team at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in 1991, and was based on "hypertext that makes it possible to connect content on the Web with hyperlinks" (p. 2). The first commercial online service 73
provider, offering full Internet access to its subscribers, was created in 1992. The websites grew from 130 in 1993 to nearly 3000 in 1994. In 1998, there were more than 2.2 million sites. (Microsoft, p. 2.) Microsoft also commented that no one authority controls the Web since it grew through grassroots activities, and that at present virtually any individual is able to post a Web site and contribute to the definition of the medium. They did report that there is a consortium, W3C, which oversees the development of Web technology. It is made up of an international group of industry and university representatives who develop common protocols for transmitting information over the Internet. Concerns with computer technology centered around the lack of privacy. Companies, as well as individuals, were fearful of sophisticated computer technologists who might hack into protected computer systems and erase or steal important data. Related fears included damage from computer viruses and digital surveillance. Debates about pornography and other disturbing material on the Web were sparked. (McConnell, 2001.) In Callaghan et al's (2000) video presentation, the question was asked, "Can a Democracy survive so much information?" Environmental Issues Biological technology of many kinds were advancing during the 1990s, resulting in pervasive moral and ethical debates related to what seemed to be a movement away from the natural environment. Historically, environmentalists had been a political force in the United States since 1892, when Sierra Club came into existence and resulted in a steady stream of environmental groups being established. (Miller, 2002.) Miller explains that during the first half of the twentieth century, environmentalism was primarily concerned with preserving the wild lands and parks, but an expansion of the focus occurred after the World War II industrial boom. Environmental devastation during this time in the form of air and water pollution, irresponsible waste disposal, effects of the use of pesticides, and problems caused by energy production caused the environmental agenda to change. He goes on to report that a number of highly publicized environmental fuel and chemical disasters in the 1970s and 1980s stimulated a cultural movement for environmentalism. There was reportedly a steady growth in environmental club memberships during the 1980s, possibly related to concerns with the management of environmental issues by the Reagan administration. This growth surprisingly halted in the 1990s, and Miller theorized that environmentalists might have taken comfort in the environment-friendly Clinton administration and Vice President Al Gore's position as an environment advocate, indicated by the activist agenda proposed in his book Earth In The Balance (1992). However, Miller also stated that "by the end of the century, literally thousands of new environmental groups of a whole new order sprang up all over the country" (p. 92), and he stated that the members were primarily white, male, upper class, and political activists. Psychologist Deborah Winter (1996) has identified two primary reactions to environmental problems, called doomster (pessimistic) and boomster (optimistic) responses (p. 16). She also indicated that the doomster view is the one that the majority of the population takes, which is one of hopelessness in terms of maintaining a sustainable planet for much longer. Vice President Al Gore (1992) demonstrated this response with his book outlining and explaining the present environmental problems, 74
including global warming, overpopulation, scarcity of fresh water, deforestation, and the diminishing ozone layer, as a result of a dysfunctional civilization. He outlined a radical Global Marshall Plan for preserving the resources for future generations that included population stabilization, environmentally appropriate technologies, global economics, new international treaties, and world-wide Environmental Education, as well as measures based in spirituality and changing attitudes. The opposing boomster view, which focuses on the creativity of humans to invent solutions as problems arise, and/or to feel that the present environmental concerns are exaggerated and not significant enough to make changes (Winter, 1996), is exemplified by Baden's edited book Environmental Gore: A Constructive Response To Earth In The Balance (1994). Although the authors complimented Gore on his depth of knowledge about various aspects of ecology (p. iii) the view was presented that he had missed the boat in terms of economic theory; scientific interpretation of the environmental status; metaphorical analogies; and vague, universal proposals for resolution. The authors criticized his understanding of political theory, and felt that his plan would "impoverish the future world for our children as well as for the rest of life" (p. 15-16). The authors purposed adaptive economics, which functions on the formula of all living things using resources to sustain and enhance lives in a way that complements other life. The above debate is also reflective of the general environmental debate between conservatives and liberals. As Miller (2002) explained, after the Republicans gained congressional power in 1994, they began to use antienvironmental riders added to legislative bills to advance their agenda. Miller went on to say that "so pervasive and potentially threatening have antienvironmental riders become that at least three environmental organizations...have established separate website links for the sole purpose of tracking and scorecarding these riders" (p. 25). He also explained further that President Clinton attempted to counteract the rider strategy by acting unilaterally through executive orders, memoranda, proclamations, and regulations. He particularly utilized the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President of the United States to proclaim historic landmarks without any other approval, in order to preserve various unique and fragile wilderness areas. Many thought that President Clinton's use of this act was exploitive. According to Miller, although any succeeding president can overturn the declaration of a monument, this has never happened due to the potentially negative public response to such an antienvironmental action. McConnell's (2001) account of the 1990s decade included a growing concern with global warming, being caused by the burning of fossil fuels causing a collection of gases in the atmosphere, resulting in a greenhouse effect. Related theories suggested that the rising temperatures could cause melting of polar ice caps and subsequent flooding, as well as massive climatic changes. It is significant that in 1992 there was an International Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a forum for leaders of various countries to discuss global environmental issues. Organizations were created to study various trends and processes affecting the global environment. "They also endorsed the Rio Declaration and the Forest Principles, which called for sustainable development, equitable distribution of resources, and more-thoughtful exploitation of forest resources" (p. 516.) Environmental concerns became pervasive in the culture during the 1990s, and have become of spiritual and psychological interest to many. One quick Internet search of the keyword(s) "ecopsychology", or "environmental psychology", will yield courses being 75
taught and degrees being offered by universities that allow deep exploration of the issues and identify motivation strategies for behavioral change that will have a positive effect on the environment, similar to the presentation of Winter's book Ecological Psychology (1996) previously mentioned. Many of the environmentalists approach the issue from an impassioned, even spiritual stance. As religion historian Albanese (1993) explained, the New Age spirituality historically has included tales of coming earth changes and purifications that would be painful for earth and its inhabitants, and has moved healing of the earth and environmentalists into the political realm, so that "[b]y the early 1990s, no major political leader could afford to ignore the environment, and at least lip service had to be paid to environmental concerns" (p. 143). New Age Spirituality Regarding New Age spirituality, McGuire (1993) referred to it as mind-body-spirit holism, Albanese (1992, 1993) referred to it as being part of religious pluralism, McConnell (2000) referred to it as aggressively millennialist and messianic, and Toolan (1996) referred to it as liminal. There is no denying that a "spiritual renaissance" (Harrison & Heath, 1997, p. 25) was occurring and being debated during the 1990s. Harrison and Heath's article, citing examples of the field of advertising's recent use of spirituality themes to sell products, proves to them that "spirituality is in" (p. 22). They also point out how book sales determine better than surveys and polls what is happening in the culture in terms of spirituality. They quote Phyllis Tickle, retired religion editor of Publishers Weekly Magazine, in commenting that individuals are reluctant to outwardly express religious beliefs that stray from tradition, but will read books on their religious topics of interest as a form of study and practice, which is private and safe. This article goes on to state that booksellers reported big gains in the sale of religious and spiritual titles in the 1990s, such as the nation's largest book wholesale company, Ingram Books, which saw a 249 percent growth in the religious/spiritual category in mid-1994 (p. 25). McConnell (2001) also mentioned that there were thousands of New Age bookstores in the 1990s marketplace. New Age spirituality is difficult to define because, as Albanese (1992) explains, it is an aggregate of ideas and concerns, which synthesizes into a type of self-consciousness that varies from one individual to the next. It has roots within the old world occult history, Transcendentalism, Native American religion, Eastern religions, quantum physics, astrology, various forms of psychology and parapsychology, and much more. Pulling from an Eastern universal concept of yin yang (forces in opposition with the purpose of providing balance), Albanese views the overview of New Age spirituality as one of general expansion and proliferation, contrasted with the contracting and consolidating forces of the more conservative traditional religions. She goes further to view it as reflective of America's heritage of "stretch[ing] itself to include peoples who seemed exotic and `other'" (p. 281), since many of the elements of New Age spirituality were brought by immigrants. Albanese (1992) also explains, similar to Harrison and Heath (1997), the sociological characteristics and the numbers of members of the New Age community are difficult to obtain because of the individualistic and fluid nature of the movement. She reported that 76
surveys suggest that 20 percent of Americans accepted beliefs involving reincarnation (p. 368), but many New Age thinkers are not associated with institutions or any organized community. They discover each other by their use of certain terms in a certain language, such as use of the words universe, energy, or honoring the feminine when speaking of spiritual ideas (p. 369). Although the New Age is thought to stem from the 1960s, in actuality it is an old movement. One only has to look on the back of the dollar bill at the Great Seal of the United States, adopted in 1782, to see the influence of mystical thought that prevailed among the founders of the United States. The unfinished pyramid and mysterious eye, as well as the phrase novus ordo seclorum ("new order of the ages"), symbolizes Freemasonry deism (Enlightenment natural religion) that was central to that male-only organization, called the Free and Accepted Masons, members of whom were referred to as Masons. (Albanese, 1992.) Albanese reported that fifty-two of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were Masons (p. 440), reflecting their belief in a God who was identified with natural law, and who was a Grand Architect (p. 440). Although the Masons down-played the tradition's esotericism, and emphasized its ethic of uprightness and brotherhood, rituals relating to nature during the meeting were carried out, such as facing east to emphasize the sun as the light of reason and action. Therefore, mystical religion has always been a part of American life. In colonial America, belief in astrology and witchcraft were strong. Entrancement and communication with spirits were popular topics of interest by the end of the nineteenth century. The New England Transcendentalists, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth century, were a strong force. Eastern religious literature was inspiring to Transcendentalists. During the early twentieth century, with the scientific discoveries of quantum physics, particularly the discovery that matter is not solid at the subatomic level, metaphysical followers had scientific support for their views. As developments in immigration, science, psychology, parapsychology, and popular media occurred, the old New Age continued to evolve. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the contemporary New Age movement was brought about primarily by a holistic health movement that incorporated spirituality and healing. The Age of Aquarius grew through an informal network of communication--health food stores, massage therapists, local directories, healing clinics, weekend workshops, etc. (Albanese, 1992.) Many of the New Age spirituality contributors had symbolic treatments for the concepts of feminine and masculine, and are, subsequently, pertinent to this discourse. The strongest contributors to this end were those of the Metaphysical/Occult orientations, the Native Americans, Eastern thought, and Jungian psychology. Each of these will now be briefly reviewed to determine their connections to New Age spirituality, in general, and to feminine/masculine symbology, specifically. Metaphysical/Occult Spirituality Albanese (1992) explains that in occult and metaphysical studies was the fundamental belief in correspondence, where the small scale of human life is reflected in the grand scheme of the cosmos. In this way of thinking, there is harmony of all things. Further, it is believed that action taken in the small world has consequences for the macrocosm of the universe. Therefore, taking practical action will help to control larger realities. 77
Evolving from Gnosticism of ancient Greece, as well as from Neoplatonism (inspired by Plato), as well as from ancient astrology, the powers of the mind and cosmos formed the basis of the beliefs. Hermeticism (derived from writings of an ancient Egyptian priest), alchemy, and the Jewish Kabbalah are a few of the other major contributors in this eclectic religious movement. The European Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries prompted a revival of the occult and metaphysical ideas. (Albanese, 1992.) Trickling down through the ages, this orientation made its way to American colonies, seen primarily in the form of the farmer's almanac, which was based on a type of astrology and found in almost every home. Witchcraft and magic was also present and included special rituals to contact the powers of nature. As science and industrialism grew along with Christianity, occult beliefs were rejected among educated colonists. (Albanese, 1992.) In the late nineteenth century, the Theosophical Society began, which united metaphysics with the latest reports of science. Using ideas that were reported to be channeled from spiritual entities, they formed theories of lost continents, races, and a future master coming to earth as a savior figure. This movement generated hundreds of small circles and organizations that continued the ideas. Automatic writing and stage trance speakers were popular in these organizations, with followers receiving the works as a kind of scripture. Many of the prominent mediums were women. Providing one of the few venues for women to speak publicly, and giving them an unfamiliar authority, a number of female mediums became active in the first wave women's rights movement. The atmosphere of the movement aligned with reform activity in general, with its investment in individual freedom and well-being. (Albanese, 1992.) The New Thought movement coalesced in the late nineteenth century, and one of the founding beliefs of this movement was that the mind could be used to direct matter. Affirmations and negations were formulated to address individual problems, believing that matter, being fluid, could be altered by conscripted thought. Health and prosperity were promoted as ideals to strive for. (Albanese, 1992.) As McGuire (1992) points out, although healing and health has always been connected with religion, it is surprising to find this so pervasive in contemporary Western society since the role of medicine and science is so significant and so separate from spirituality. Parapsychology gained respectability as research organizations were formed, beginning in the late nineteenth century, and began to fund experiments, conferences, and publications. The Parapsychology Society was admitted to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1967, indicating an enhancement in respectability and acceptance. (Albanese, 1992.) A series of sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) began in 1947, and were incorporated into the cosmic beliefs, so that the masters were seen as space commanders. The space commanders were understood to transmit their messages through a channel, or human receptor. This is actually the beginning of the contemporary reference to channeling. (Albanese, 1992.) Channeling, astrology, UFOs, affirmations, treasure-mapping, psychic readings, aura readings, hands-on healers, energy work, ghost sightings, and parapsychology remained as popular and accepted interests of New Agers in the 1990s. Celebrities, politicians, and national gurus helped to promote the movement coming out of the closet and going 78
mainstream. Although there were no significant feminine and masculine symbolic elements in this philosophy, the New Age focus on harmony and reform supported contemporary changes in feminism and gender concepts. (Albanese, 1992, 1993.) Native American Traditions Albanese (1992) reported that each American Indian tribe had its own language and set of sacred stories, and that in the mid-twentieth century there were 150 Native American languages still being used north of the Rio Grande. However, she has identified common characteristics that help to distinguish their religion. First and foremost, in Native American philosophy, the ordinary details of living were fused with the mysterious forces that they believed surrounded them. There was no separation between their religion and their lives. Albanese (1992) also explains that Native Americans sacred beliefs were founded in a network of kinship. In other words, their deities were in the form of Grandfathers, Grandmothers, and various men and women who symbolized a certain sacred myth. There were certain gifted human beings who were regarded as shamans--"holy people who [were] scared healers, mystics, and magicians incorporated into one" (p. 26-7)--that served as the authority for spiritual expression and understanding. As Albanese describes, "the world, in short, was a huge extended family network, with the Indians existing as young and humbler brothers and sisters among their more venerable relations" (p. 27.) Although the various tribes varied in terms of male and female domination, there was equal sacred reference to both feminine and masculine aspects of their world (grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers), and egalitarian relations between males and females aligned with their philosophies. The earth, including all the living elements, was conceived as feminine and sacred, and referred to as Mother Earth, as illustrated in Ed McGaa's (1990) account of Native American spirituality. The forces of nature, including the spiritual action taken by God, was conceived of as masculine, and symbolized in the reference to Father Sky. Nature served as their material world, and was sacred to them. "The sacred beings were conceived as animal and plant guardians who, in a pact long ago, had pledged the bodies of their species as food for Indian peoples." (Albanese, 1992, p. 27.) Native Americans evolved elaborate rules of respect for hunting or planting, apologizing to the spirits of the life forms they took, offering first fruits to these spirits, and being careful to use every portion of what they killed. Therefore, they tended to be natural ecologists from an age long before the contemporary concept became popular. As Albanese explains further on this topic of ecology, Native Americans view their religious purpose as bringing themselves into harmony with nature, and their rituals (sun dances, sweatlodges, pipe smoking, etc.) ensured it symbolically. In contrast to traditional Christian religions, they viewed themselves as centered within their sacred reality, rather than separate from it. Historically, American Indians were, of course, the first inhabitants of the Americas, and, according to Albanese (1992) they developed their culture without interruption for centuries. She explains further that by the late fifteenth century this began to change as other peoples, such as Spanish Catholics, Portugese Jews, English Protestants, and African slaves, began to arrive on the continent to live. The Native Americans were used to separate cultures and languages, but were unfamiliar with the Christian ethic of 79
religion transcending culture and the practice of converting others to Christian beliefs. Although they attempted to hold on to their traditional religions, they were forced to change, either by blending them with Christianity or maintaining their traditional religion alongside and separate from the new. With the New Agers' focus on Native American traditional religions in the 1960s and 1970s, they enjoyed a new prestige as a vehicle for maintaining their identity and encouraging political action to protect it. Eastern Thought Hinduism and Buddhism, the two primary forms of Eastern religions that were integrated into New Age spirituality, were introduced to America in the late nineteenth century during a time when the immigration of Chinese and Japanese was heightened. At this time, the population was intrigued by exotic and unfamiliar people and ideas. Hinduism, which exists in many forms, originated in India and was introduced to Americans by missionaries. It was a primary focus of Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalists of the nineteenth century. Buddhism was brought to America by the immigrants, as well as by high profile masters, who taught a form of Buddhism called Zen. (Albanese, 1992.) Also entering into the syncretism (religious combining) (Albanese, 1992) of contemporary New Age spirituality were other Chinese religions, mainly Confucianism and Taoism. (Bowker, 1997.) Philosophically, in Hinduism there were three broad routes to God: devotion, action, and knowledge. It was believed that within each human is an eternal soul that is reincarnated many times in many forms according the moral law of karma. By following the three basic routes, it was believed that one would eventually be released from the rebirth process. (Bowker, 1997.) The paths to God involved techniques of physical and mental control to create heightened awareness, one system of techniques was referred to as yoga, which was introduced to Americans in the early twentieth century. In this system, a series of body postures, breathing exercises, and mind calming were thought to open spiritual centers to receive divine energy and encourage inward quiet. Meditation techniques were central to all forms of yoga, where the goal was to be aware without thinking anything. (Albanese, 1992.) Another distinguishing feature of Hinduism is the many mythological deities that are included in the philosophy, and they include both male gods and female goddesses. (Bowker.) In explaining more about the popularity of Hinduism in America, Albanese (1992) reported that Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Hindu political and spiritual leader of India in the middle twentieth century, influenced the nonviolent resistance of blacks in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. Hinduism was even made more popular through the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the practice of Transcendental Meditation, beginning the late 1950s. "[H]e underlined the scientific aspects of his teaching, providing data claiming Transcendental Meditation (TM) lowed blood pressure, relieved stress, increased intelligence, and even reduced crime in areas in which a significant proportion of the people were meditating" (Albanese, p. 306). The practice of TM was referred to as the science of creative intelligence, and the Maharishi International University was founded in 1974 in Fairfield, Iowa. Albanese stated, "The university has conferred both bachelor's and master's degrees and has become an American hub for the world movement" (p. 307). 80
In Buddhism, the enlightened prophet, called the Buddha, also taught the importance of spiritual insight through meditation. There were Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha, which were "[h]uman suffering had a cause; the cause of suffering was desire; there was a way to end suffering; and the way to end it was to end desire, living in nonattachment to any persons, places, or things." (Albanese, 1992, p. 311.) By adopting these truths, it was believed that an enlightened state of nirvana (unconditioned reality) would be experienced. Although there were several forms of Buddhism (some resembling Christianity), the form called Zen, which stressed the practice of meditation, was the form that most affected the New Age movement. As Albanese explains, the artistic beat culture of the late 1950s interpreted Zen into "an exaltation of emotional release and freedom" (p. 316). Zen centers in California and New York, although more formal and traditional, helped to Americanize and promote the movement even further. According to Bowker (1997), Chinese religion is made up of many different philosophies, and the Chinese people tend to pull from various philosophies, depending on whichever seems most helpful at a particular time. He states that Confucianism, rather than emphasizing a pathway to God, "teaches a kind of humanism open to an agent or principle of moral order" (p. 88), particularly keeping harmony and balance in one's life. Taoism teaches of the Great Nothingness, which is the source of everything. Colegrave (1989) explains, This indescribable source without beginning or end, but which ordains all beginnings and all ends, is better rendered in English by the ambiguous word `Way': it is the Way of creation as well as the Way which precedes creation. Nothing is inferior or external to it, for all that exists is merely a more ordered expression of what was at the Beginning (p. 8). Colegrave goes on to explain that this thought includes an image of walking with the foot and thinking with the head to stay on the correct path, thus uniting earth (with the foot) and heaven (with the head) in "cosmic wholeness" (p. 8). Both Confucianism and Taoism involve Yin Yang theory. (Bowker, 1997; Colegrave, 1989.) Colegrave explains that Yin and Yang represent primal polar energy opposites that interact to create all things with vital energy called ch'i, and that the two energies must be in perfect harmony to reflect the Great Nothingness. The Yin force represents darkness and chaos, and what is feminine. It includes the principle of relatedness, including embracing, protecting, nourishing, supporting, and gathering. It is receptive and open. It is yielding, calm, reserved, and it carries and nourishes all things, without discriminating between good and evil. It is associated with the earth. The opposite Yang force, which is the masculine force, represents lightness and active motion, with the function being to lend form to the vastness of ideas. It changes and shapes all things until each attains its true, specific nature. It involves order, individuality, differentiation, leadership, and clarity. The Yin Yang symbol is a circle with both black and white sections, each containing a seed or potential of the other. (Bowker, 1997.) Colegrave explains that Yin Yang theory slowly evolved over many years, and came to full flowering with the Neo-Confucian philosophers of the Song dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) (p. 51), and she comments on the many ways that this symbol and principle has been used by theorists over the years. Feng Shui arises from Yin Yang theory, and it involves the organization of objects and construction in living space to enhance ch'i. It became one of the hottest trends for 81
interior decorating during the 1990s. (McConnell, 2000.) Traditional Chinese medicine, with the use of acupuncture and herbal treatments, is based on balancing the Yin and Yang forces in the body. (Bowker, 1997.) It has gained increasing popularity among Americans in contemporary times. Finally, related to Eastern philosophy, sex therapy, and this discourse is the subject of Tantric sex practices, that Butler (1999) refers to as "the West's most popular form of adult sex education" (p. 26). She also refers to the culture's current experience of it as a "postmodern hybrid" (p. 26) of Kama Sutra, which was a method of sexual practices presented in a sex manual from third century India. She also explained that it has evolved into positive sexual attitudes and techniques drawn from the combination of "Western humanistic psychology, Chinese Taoist sexology, and classical Indian Tantrism" (p. 26), and is related to yoga in the form of breathing, visualizing, and various techniques to transform sexual energy throughout the body. For example, in the original form of this practice, men participated in sex, but withheld ejaculation with the purpose of moving sexual energy from the genitals to the brain for an explosive experience of enlightenment and bliss. This approach to sex was viewed as a path to God. There are now many books on Tantric sexual practices in the popular market with the intention of enhancing sexual practices for long-term couples and to broaden one's sexual horizons. In Butler's article, Tantra teacher Charles Muir was quoted as saying, "You're going to learn to base love not on chemistry...but on alchemy. When the chemistry is no longer there, alchemy says that you take what is there and you change it" (p. 27). Jungian Studies The work of Swiss psychiatrist and depth psychologist Carl G. Jung (1875-1961) caught the attention of New Agers (Albanese, 1992), as his approach to mental health involved the mystical and mythical elements of nature religions, which he studied through travel to Africa, America (Southwest Indians), Asia, and the Far East. (Pascal, 1992.) He formed these elements into a path of achieving Self wholeness and individuation through developing a dynamic relationship between conscious and unconscious processes, thus "becom[ing] as complete a human being as it is possible for him or her to be" (Stevens, 1999, p. 9). Jung and Sigmund Freud were very close at an early time in Jung's career, when he and Freud shared common ideas about the role of the unconscious in personal development. However, Jung's spiritual upbringing led him to have unique and differing perspectives from those that Freud was presenting, and it caused a very dramatic and painful separation of the two legendary psychiatrists in 1913. (Pascal, 1992.) In fact, this led to a period of Jung's being out of touch with reality, at which time he studied his symptoms and his experiences to assist in his healing process. It was during this time that he developed his personality typology, which was later adapted and standardized as the popular and widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It was also a time when he was in direct awareness of his unconscious processes, which led to his desire for travel expeditions to help decipher the meanings of the symbols and images that he encountered during this experience. (Pascal, 1992; Stevens, 1999.) Pascal (1992) reported that Jung wrote around thirty books and ninety articles during his lifetime; however, his style of writing was difficult to read and required interpretation by his students, which are called Jungians. He named his type of analysis analytical 82
psychology to distinguish it from Freud's psychoanalysis. He was thought of as being ahead of his time, as his work is reflected in so many contemporary movements--the human potential movement, women's movement, the men's movement, twelve-step programs, visualization practices--as well as in contemporary use of terms such as extrovert, introvert, archetypes, synchronicity, etc. (Pascal, 1992.) His theory of archetypes or images as an instinctual part of the inborn Collective unconscious is unique and foundational to his overall approach. As Hill (1992) explains, archetypes are "inborn patterns or forms for expectable, typical human behavior" (p. xiv). Another foundational principle of his approach was the idea of the Self being a selfregulating system that continually attempts to achieve balance of opposing forces (Stevens, 1999), pulling from Yin Yang theory previously mentioned. Jung's theory of the Self includes basic archetypal energies of masculine and feminine, which transcend gender. He also theorizes contrasexual images--the archetype of man in each individual woman (called the animus), and the archetype of woman in each individual man (called the anima), which are significant in his relationship concepts. As Stevens explains ...Jung was convinced that the psyche, like the body, was a self-regulating system. It strives perpetually to maintain a balance between opposing propensities, while, at the same time, actively seeking its own individuation. A dynamic polarity exists between the ego and the Self, between the persona and the shadow, between masculine consciousness and the anima, between feminine consciousness and the animus, between extraverted and introverted attitudes, between thinking and feeling functions, between sensation and intuitions and between the forces of Good and Evil (p. 49). Although Jung has been appreciated by New Agers, as well as by other religious groups (such as Catholics) (King, 1999), he has been the target of attack, as well. Feminists have been concerned with his obvious participation in and acceptance of male societal domination, with references to the psyche of females being inferior to that of males. Regarding this, Stevens (1999) states, "...Jung was aware that his psychology possessed a masculine bias because he knew it had grown out of his own experience. For this reason he encouraged women with whom he was in close contact to develop a feminine counterpoise to his work" (p. 213). However, as Stevens explains, Jung's basic tenet holds that feminine and masculine principles are equal in significance: "each complements the other as mutually interdependent opposites whose constant interaction is homeostatically balanced and controlled" (p. 219). The notion of androgyny, revisited by psychologists as a preferred way of perceiving the equality of females and males, each having both feminine and masculine characteristics or energies, is actually not aligned with Jungian thought, as Stevens (1999) further explains. Jung believed in the cosmology of the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit, and that the biology of sex possessed the natural order. Androgyny would not align with those dynamics. Further, if each individual possessed the same potential, not only would the mystery of sex be diminished, but also there would be no polarity to ensure attraction. Stevens sums up by stating, whatever we may think or say about them, the archetypes will prevail, and no archetypes possess greater power than those of the Masculine and Feminine. Our egos may do what they like, but these great archetypal constellations will continue to have their way with us as long as our species survives (p. 219). 83
An Expanding Tough-Girl The "expansion versus contraction" philosophy presented by theologian Catherine Albanese (1992, 1993) in her overview of American religions, wherein New Age proliferation is balanced by traditional religion holding power, provided a different perspective on my frustration in dealing with my traditional, Christian mother. The two of us represented Albanese's dichotomy perfectly--almost to the extreme--which made for a challenging relationship. My father, on the other hand, had Native American in his collective unconscious. Although I never thought to ask about it, he wore a Masonic ring all his life. My older brother told me that before I was born, Dad would attend secret meetings of the Masons. He also would entertain us with stories of his youthful adventures, experiments with drugs, and unusual experiences. Therefore, he was more aligned with my expansive nature. Perhaps that is one reason why my connection with him, although in many ways deprived, was as stress-free and positive as it was. Following Yin Yang theory, however, I can see how my struggles with my mother led me to personal growth, as we attempted to balance each other. I recall that during the year of 1992, I painted a detailed watercolor portrait of her. It served as a meditation on our relationship, and, as a result, I realized that we were actually both extremely spiritual--she in her way and my in mine. Without her contraction, I might not have expanded quite so much. Her strong dependency on the contractive traditions actually motivated me to search for something else more fitting to my personality--something that would allow me individuality and freedom. I keep this portrait of her on the back wall of my counseling office to remind me of how my struggles with her have benefited me. And, anyway, in the spirit of Buddhism, suffering is essential to life. 84
CHAPTER SIX LATE 1990s SEXUAL AND GENDER CONTROVERSIES A Mars-Venus Counselor The flow of my life changed with my alliance to my soul mate. For the first time, I was in true partnership: he and I were so emphatically impassioned with each other and with the practice of counseling that a helix of connections was formed. It was an ongoing joke with myself that after three failed marriages, I would align myself with a relationship counselor, which was his chosen specialty. He, himself, had been through two failed marriages, and, as a result, had sought counseling for ten years prior to his decision to transform himself from a businessman to a counselor. He had also been significantly affected by est training, and a series of synchronistic events, which led to his unlikely pursuit of counseling. He felt that he had learned so much about relationships during his past experiences that he had a lot to offer in terms of helping others. And he possessed a certain type of charisma--a mature, soft-spoken, self-assured, sage-like quality--which most people felt charmed by and attracted to. (I certainly was.) In fact, it was challenging, albeit delightful, to be in relationship with someone so stable, established, and sophisticated. It was unsettling to align myself with someone who was, in many ways, my complete opposite. The interests and priorities that we shared and served to bond us and comfort me were primarily in the areas of mental health counseling, humanitarian causes, fitness and health regimes, art and film. Our sexual alignment was perfect, with a flow of sexual chemistry like none I had ever felt, and time for sexual experiences was created daily. We were both introverts and fell into an almost enmeshed bond of being together every possible minute, and revealing every aspect of our life to the other. The relationship had incredible intensity and passion, and I felt almost drained by it at times. Part of the energy drain was the fact that I felt intimidated by so many aspects of his life. Although we both were born late in our parents' lives and had a number of much older siblings, this is where our family similarities ended. He was raised in a northern, high-class setting, where materialism dominated and the best life had to offer was there for the taking, in total contrast to my deep-south, country-living struggles. Although I had dated rich men before, I had never been taken by the hand and actually oriented to that cushy way of life. It was a little disconcerting, particularly after my recent wilderness emersion, to be plunged into a world of fine antiques, original artwork, expensive clothes, and a social network of astute professionals. Although I had my strengths of resourcefulness and creativity which helped me to approach the situation with wide-eyed wonder and courage, on the other hand, my anxieties escalated, and I had to personally rely on mental health resources at various times, including counseling and anti-anxiety drugs. During our engagement period, we lived together and went to various counselor trainings, the most significant involving relationship counseling and hypnotherapy. Career-wise, I was working part-time as an occupational therapist, and was trying to build a private counseling practice and work toward my mental health counselor license. My practice was geared toward counseling women, as I felt that I did not understand 85
men, and I continued to build my Women In the Wilderness workshops as a side-line business. The relationship counseling training that we involved ourselves in I applied primarily to my personal relationship, but attempted a few couples as clients, with total inadequacy and dissatisfaction. The hypnotherapy training intrigued me totally, and was invaluable in developing an approach for clients, as well as helping me to deal with my insecurities regarding my new relationship. It became one of my specialties in my evolving network of counseling modalities. Somehow, in the midst of this intense time of work and career-building, we found time to plan and hold a wedding on April 8, 1995. Although my husband was a city slicker, I introduced him to the world of wilderness survival. Since I was promoting myself as a survival expert, I felt the need for ongoing training, and our honeymoon was spent in the Montana wilderness in a tent placed in a remote meadow as a part of an advanced survival workshop. While I covered myself in ash and leaves for camouflage, my new husband sat in the sun and read. Although he consistently took a more distanced stance in my personal mission of enhancing the feminine energy of the world, he began to enjoy camping and was interested in the Native American philosophies accompanying the activities. He totally supported my becoming the wilderness survival expert of Tampa Bay, as I jokingly referred to my fantasy, and assisted me in the business and marketing aspects of my venture. Another noteworthy connection of ours was in the realm of AIDS. My husband had had a series of significant contacts involving people with AIDs, and he understood my struggle with my younger brother's HIV positive status. He had a number of gay friends and associates in his social network, and he and my older gay brother, being the same age, fell into a comfortable friendship. In fact, my whole family felt comfortable with my partner, and I moved into a more favorable light with all my family members. As my younger brother was unable to benefit from the new, more effective medications for treatment of AIDS, and his illness and emotional state worsened, my emotional struggles with it were eased with the support and counseling provided by my partner. My mother's health was also taking a nose-dive, and my husband used his influence with her to get her the medical attention she needed. Over the course of these five years, she was found not only to have a number of serious physical problems, requiring surgeries, but obvious dementia and inability to live alone. In 1997, she had to move out of her familiar, yet dilapidated house to an assisted living facility in a nearby town. Unfortunately, she lost her church activities, and most of her friends. The family was spread out geographically across the United States, and, as such, was challenged by the physical distance as we worked together to help attend to Mom. My sister's heart condition was worsening, as well, and it was becoming apparent that a heart transplant was her only hope of survival. I felt overwhelmed by the fact that three of my significant others had fatal illnesses. However, I felt so strong in my relationship and my humanitarian mission of feminine consciousness that I kept amazing energy for psychiatric occupational therapy (my steady source of income), counseling training and practice, wilderness survival training and workshops, and various creative pursuits. My time away from my husband was primarily in the form of wilderness trainings, some local and some more far away. He was forever patient and supportive of my adventures, even when I attended a desert survival course that traumatized me and gave me, not only a case of giardiasis (intestinal infection), but 86
also a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder. He actively listened to the accounts of my workshops when I would arrive home on Sunday afternoons, dirty and exhausted. He coached me on marketing and promotional ploys. Although the mission element of the whole thing was mushrooming and providing extreme satisfaction and local notoriety, it was taking much of my time and energy and providing very little income or counseling clients, as hoped. Still focused on my feminine energy consciousness-raising, I was personally intrigued with John Gray's book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (1992). Not only did it appeal to my New Age spiritual orientation, but it also gave me new perspectives on the feminine-masculine definitions that I was experimenting with in my Native American explorations. My husband was also intrigued with the concepts as I read and shared them with him, and we began to hear more and more about John Gray's success with the popular media. Still feeling inadequate in the area of relationship counseling, fatefully, my husband came across information on formally training in the Mars & Venus approach to counseling, which included presenting a structured relationship workshop. In 1997 we flew to California, paid our money, and received training to sink ourselves into the Mars & Venus network as workshop facilitators and directors of a Mars & Venus Counseling Center. And we began to use our partnership to market our counseling services in the area of relationship counseling. Inadvertently, my masculine and feminine intrigue ricocheted between my wilderness experiences and my counseling experiences and my relationship experiences. In the woods, I began to notice when I would shift from a feminine wide-angle vision, meditative, relaxed mode to a more masculine tunnel-vision, focused, efficiency mode. The lessons I received from John Gray on recognizing feminine and masculine energy gave me an alternate way, along with my marriage, to explore the dynamics that I was teaching to my clients. It seemed possible that part of the chemistry between my partner and me lay in the fact that my extreme femininity balanced so well with his extreme masculinity. I began to feel that I understood and appreciated masculinity and males more, thus better able to assimilate my anger toward male domination. I opened up my practice to individual males, and began to give additional wilderness workshops to mixed groups. In 1998, my younger brother died at the age of forty-two. Although I felt extreme sadness and grief in losing someone so close to such a horrible illness, his tragic life was finally over, and I shared in the sense of relief that permeated the family's response to it. Soon after, it became apparent that my mother would not be able to live independently. In early 1999, after deep soul-searching and lengthy discussions with my husband and family members, I decided to move her to Tampa to a more supervised assisted living facility where I could be more involved. Although I felt at a peak in my career aspirations, and was unwilling to give anything up, I added one more iron to the fire. Her dementia was resulting in a rapid loss of memory, to the point of reliving the news of my brother's death over and again. Soon I resolved to save her grieving by pretending in my conversations with her that he was still alive, and I realized that her dementia had a protective quality, which almost made me suspicious. My connection with her deepened as I moved into the role of her caretaker. She was then eighty-four. The year 1999 had another surprise in store. My sister's heart condition rapidly declined, and she was given an emergency heart transplant. I left my mother for a week 87
to visit my sister in Texas after she had come home from the hospital, with the intention of assisting her. But there was little for me to do much of the time, and I ended up with a week's rest and relaxation by the pool of her apartment complex. It was at this time that I read an article in the then Family Therapy Networker (now called the Psychotherapy Networker) on sex therapy (Butler, 1999), including a description of a Tantric-type sex workshop. I was riveted, inspired in a whole new way, and I began to read more books and articles on sex. I began to realize that my sexuality was compromised by my traditional, religious upbringing and by societal distortions, in general. I decided to pursue sex therapy certification training, to enhance my relationship counseling, uniquely offered in Florida in the form of weekend trainings. As Y2K approached, my self-esteem was soaring for various reasons. My survival workshops were in demand, my counseling practice was rooted, and my marriage was phenomenally strong. However, it felt like a blow to my knees when my mother had a stroke and I was forced to place her in a nursing home at the very beginning of the year 2000. At this time, in a compulsory priority-setting frenzy, I cancelled my wilderness activities, and attempted to deal with her situation through Jungian therapy. Although I felt swept away by a feminine undertow of emotion and grief at the atrocities I faced with her being in a nursing home setting, the sex therapy training was opening my eyes to new dynamics and potentials. After one pivotal weekend of sex therapy training, not only did my husband decide to join me on my sexual journey, I made the commitment to accept the challenge of the affiliating PhD program. It was an opportunity to obtain a doctoral degree in clinical sexology, while giving me the chance to explore my passion and personal experiences with the concepts of feminine and masculine. Sexual social climate of the late 1990s White's (2000) depiction of the late 1990s sexual climate eloquently reflects the primary controversy of a supposed sexual revolt against conservative, traditional Victorianism. In the overview of his last chapter, there are brief accounts of the sex scandals that dominated the news, shifts to enhanced sexual explicitness in the movies and television, girl-power rebellion, gays and lesbians movement toward mainstream acceptance, uncontrolled Internet sexual activity, and much more. He effectively illustrated how traditional morality maintained its force in all the revolutionary cultural shifts. Another sexual debate that escalated with new fervor during this time was that of the differences between the sexes, as evolutionary psychology and biological discoveries gave new power to the arguments supporting the difference ideology, resulting in an outcry of many feminists. It is interesting at this point to make note of Myers-Shirk's (2001) historical account of the social construct of sexuality in the United States, which she derives from cultural anthropology, feminist scholarship, gay and lesbian studies, and postmodernism. In this view, the meaning of sexuality is derived from social elements as much as biological factors. She first mentions power dynamics that have played a role, such as that in gender hierarchies. Although women in the late nineteenth century were seen as passive and were confined to the domestic sphere, they were also viewed as morally superior, which put them on public missions and gave them power and influence in social reform movements. Power dynamics were also seen in the late nineteenth century movement by 88
medicine and science to define homosexuality as deviant, diseased, and abnormal, privileging heterosexuality over homosexuality. However, it also gave homosexuality a distinctive identity. She also gives examples of how racial and class hierarchies were similarly shaped by sexuality. In her presentation, Myers-Shirk (2001) outlines the shift from sexuality as a reproductive tool in colonial times to that of a pleasure tool in the twentieth century. Although colonial Americans shared assumptions of the importance of marriage, fidelity, and procreation, they began to highlight the importance of romance and pleasure. In the late nineteenth century, as the availability of contraception became wide spread, the ideal of sexual pleasure was further enhanced and the importance of reproduction was decreased. During this time there was concern that modern civilization had feminized males, and an emphasis on the difference between masculinity and femininity evolved. Included in the movement was the unacceptability of the gender invert, or one who had the genitals of one sex, but adopted the characteristics of the opposite sex. Contraception continued to be available, and was especially so during the 1960s when oral contraception was made available to women and the practice of limiting the number of pregnancies became expected. The acceptance of homosexuality, although repressed during the paranoia of 1950s, was firmly rooted after the 1960s liberation movements. According to Myers-Shirk, these two movements, along with mass media's public promotion of sexual pleasure expanding in the 1960s and 1970s, underlined the shift to the pleasure ideal. Myers-Shirk (2001) wraps up her historical account by stating, "Much of that which earlier Americans had considered immoral, illegal, or abnormal, twentieth century Americans viewed as good and acceptable (p. 88)." She also mentions that the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s helped to draw ethical lines to the pleasure ideal, as Americans were encouraged to use protection and to be responsible. She also mentioned the effect of women working, the sex market, medical opinion, scholarly research, and individual experience (behind closed doors) as significant in shaping the definition of sexuality. Similar to White's assessment (2000), although a definite shift has occurred since colonial days, Myers-Shirk (2001) viewed the 1990s as a time of volatile sexual elements with highly contested controversies and debates. Not mentioned in either of these accounts was the phenomenal economic boom that occurred during the late 1990s that economists do not fully understand (McConnell, 2000), which provided a hot-bed of consumerism and pleasure-seeking. The feminine-masculine dance became frenzied as it thrust its way into living rooms, onto computer screens, and around evolving sexual cultural dimensions. President Clinton's impeachment As a result of the Republican control of Congress, President Clinton has been described as adopting moderate strategies in a political move to the right. (Brinkley, 1998; McConnell, 2001.) As Brinkley described, Clinton's efforts in nuclear disarmament and other foreign affairs were successful, and his popularity remained high. The booming economy added to his appeal, and he had no problem winning the 1996 presidential election, although it unleashed torrential personal attacks from the 89
Republican leadership. McConnell explains that Kenneth Starr was appointed by the Republicans as independent counsel to investigate President Clinton's association with suspect land deals in Arkansas, which were connected to his deputy counsel, Vincent W. Foster, Jr., who had committed suicide in 1992. As Starr approached the task with missionary ardor, millions of dollars were spent, and several defendants were sent to jail. Starr was unable to gather enough evidence to indict President Clinton, so evidence of perjury in a previous litigation was used to incriminate him. This case involved an allegation by Paula Jones of Arkansas that Clinton had sexually harassed her while he was governor. This case had begun in 1991, and after a series of dismissals and appeals, had been settled out-of-court in late 1998. As Starr investigated the perjury charges, he began to discover other cases of womanizing by Clinton. (McConnell.) One case involved a twenty-one year old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, who had been taped while confessing a sexual relationship with President Clinton. These tapes and information became the center of the third major scandal. Clinton denied the charges in a public address, and to a grand jury while under oath. Seven months later he admitted that he had lied, but explained that he had felt justified due to the nature of relationship (oral sex), which prompted Starr to reveal graphic details about the relationship. These scandals were the focus of the press coverage, to the exclusion of all other public matters, for most of 1998 and eventually led to an impeachment hearing in early 1999. (McConnell, 2001.) Clinton was one of two presidents to ever be impeached, the other being President Andrew Johnson in 1868 involving his firing of the Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and neither was convicted. In contrast to Johnson's, McConnell (2001) described President Clinton's impeachment as a "tawdry affair" (p. 260) in that it involved personal themes, rather than political ones. She goes on to state that opinion polls repeatedly indicated that the public did not want Clinton removed from office (p. 269). White commented that the acceptance of the ordeal by the American people, with Clinton's continued popularity, "illustrated the extent to which Americans had been desensitized by the twentieth-century revolt against traditional morality" (p. 207). The fact that the sordid event happened at all, however, indicated that Clinton served at a more conservative, sensitive time concerning extramarital affairs and at a time when there was profound mistrust of politicians. (McConnell.) Sexual harassment As women permeated the world of work, and increasingly gained access to male domains, issues with sexual harassment began to amplify. A female legal scholar, Catherine A. MacKinnon, is credited with developing the concept as a legal dispute, and it was reported that by the 1990s fifteen thousand sexual harassment complaints were annually being filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (McConnell, 2001, p. 125.) Some of the charges obtained a very high profile, such as the case of Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1990, as well as the Clinton sex scandals just mentioned. McConnell also mentioned, along with other scandals, that in 1998 Mitsubishi Motor Corporation had to pay $34 million to settle sexual harassment allegations taking place in an Illinois plant. The complexity of the precedent and law that these many cases have generated, along 90
with the record settlements that have occurred, caused corporations to use consultants to develop awareness and prevention strategies. (McConnell.) The strategies primarily took the form of sensitivity training programs and employee policies regulating romance. Role-playing, case study reviews, and other tactics were used by hired trainers to help employees modify speech and behaviors that caused offense, and to familiarize employees with the consequences that could ensue with a charge. The policies attempted to either discourage or ban workplace romances, and contracts between couples were often used to deter problems. It became a profit-making venture for many lawyers, consultants, and therapists, and created paranoia in many companies. "Many male executives and workers refrained entirely from telling jokes, hugging, or touching their female associates or clients, or complimenting them on their dress or appearance" (McConnell, 2001, p. 126). As feminism and corporate initiatives analyzed the situation over time, more common-sense guidelines were developed, including responding forcefully when a company uncovered an obvious problem. Popular culture Provocative sexuality, primarily for women, was a powerful force in the late 1990s. Madonna's sexy images and notions of the 1980s became just one of many spilling from various forms of media--music, movies, television, books, magazines, newspapers, personal computer screens. Sharon Stone and Demi Moore were popular sex movie stars, using borderline pornography (White, 2000) to provoke attention. Traditional feminism was being challenged by emerging rock groups following in Madonna's footsteps, namely the Spice Girls, who deliberately touted their risquй stories and appearances to rebel with girl (sexual) power. (White, 2000; Bellafante, 1998.) White also points out how television began to expand sexual boundaries pervasively into situation comedies and talk shows, capitalizing on stories of birth control pills for adolescent girls, premarital sex, homosexuality, intentional single parenting, and the like. In a 1998 Time article on feminism, Bellafante identified "Ally McBeal" as the most popular female character on television, who is one of a team of young, attractive, and successful lawyers who focus more on their sex lives and self-indulgences than their legal cases, which also reflect culturally controversial themes. She is known for her anorexic, provocative look and actions, as well as her insights on being alone and single, and depicts a more contemporary form of feminism. These sexually robust images, along with the sex scandals of politicians and the corporate world being played on round-the-clock news shows, set the stage for other nontraditional popular explosions. One of the biggest developments in popular culture related to this discourse was the phenomenal non-fiction bestseller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (1992) that outraged traditional feminists and evoked cynicism from journalists in its emphasis on the psychological differences in males and females. The metaphorical title of the book became a catchphrase of the late 1990s, and its popularity as a "practice guide for improving communication" (Gray, 1992) between men and women became too huge to ignore. Mars and Venus products, such as audiotapes, videotapes, board games, calendars, interactive Internet activities, lectures, seminars, and stage entertainment flooded the market, making the author, John Gray, a very wealthy and influential pop psychologist. To date, a series of ten Mars and Venus books, written by John Gray, have become available. Many writers attempted to explain the Mars and 91
Venus mania that ensued (Cowlishaw, 2001; Mead, 1995; Paglia, 1997; Peterson, 2000; Reeb, 1999; Ross, 2000 to name a few). Likewise, Gray's unprecedented exploration of and capitalization on the concepts of feminine and masculine in contemporary times inspired this dissertation. Deborah Tannen (1990) is a linguist professor at Georgetown University who made a related splash in the popular culture during the same time period with her bestselling books explaining the difference in the communication styles of men and women. Academics and journalists regarded her more kindly, as she had more trustworthy credentials and used scientific research to back her theories. Her findings on the differing languages of males and females were presented in the theoretical context of social roles and sex-stereotyping, rather than psychological makeup (Bellafante, 1994), and found favor with feminists (Mead, 1995). John Gray, on the other hand, has been very open about his New Age orientation and training, most notable that he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in the Science of Creative Intelligence from the Maharishi International University in the 1970s. (Mead, 1995.) His Ph.D. was earned through a correspondence course in psychology and counseling offered by Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, California. He shares openly his stories of inspiration from meditation, life as a celibate monk, extraterrestrials, and other New Age areas of focus. His presentation is approached from a spiritual, symbolic orientation, bridging spirituality and psychology, in an updated version of the approach of the human potential movement of the 1970s and 1980s, aligned with other contemporary spiritual gurus, such as Deepak Chopra (2001) and Gary Zukav (1989). His frequent appearances on the Oprah talk show were reflective of his high regard in the self-help genre of popular culture. Both Tannen (1990) and Gray (1992) presented a male-female dichotomy of differences with the intention of creating awareness, understanding, and tolerance of the opposite sex. Both dealt in the area of communication and the fact that each sex had its unique language, although Tannen was more exclusively focused on the language patterns and meanings of words and phrases used by the sexes, while Gray approached a wider picture of attraction and romance. Tannen's theory emphasized that "[w]omen...speak in a way that seeks to build participation or rapport, while men tend to communicate in a manner that assert autonomous remove" (Bellafante, 1994). Gray's theory presents a strong universal opposites-attract foundation, where women are feelingand relationship-oriented while men are object- and action-oriented. Tannen describes ways that she has scientifically studied the conversational styles of men and women, and presents the results. Gray uses self-disclosure and stories of previous clients to lay out a series of insights that he has had about the heterosexual dynamics between men and women, with practical suggestions to reduce conflict. Gray's catchphrase and popular appeal made him a phenomenal best-selling author of the 1990s. HarperCollins, the publisher of the book, reported his basic book to be "the best-selling hard-cover nonfiction book ever (Gleik, 1997, p. 68)", selling millions of copies and being published in forty languages. Theories for Gray's success have varied. One feminist theorist argued that it was simply a narrative pulling from the subject-object binary that is already pervasive in Western thinking, one that was rhetorically powerful (Cowlishaw, 2001). A professor of anthropology was quoted theorizing that it may be tapping into greater Western psychological interests of sex and violence (Mead, 1995). A 92
well-known evolutionary psychologist felt that Gray's timing was the key, presenting his work at a time when Westerners had been deprived for many years of the chance to even discuss the differences, which do exist and are of interest to the general population. (Mead, 1995.) Gleick (1997) stated that Gray learned to build an "international organization" (p. 73) from his time spent alongside Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (nine years as student and assistant), who created the Transcendental Meditation movement. John Gray's work was strongly criticized in traditional academia "because it is widely consumed even though it is not based on research" and because it was felt to have "harmful implications for human relationships" in its sex-stereotyping. (Wood, 2002, p. 203.) He was also criticized for over-simplifying complex gender dynamics and overlooking similarities as significant. (Sollie, 2000.) Some scholars, such as Camille Paglia, professor of humanities at the University of Arts in Philadelphia and one of the leaders of the new sexual feminism (Bellafante, 1998), felt that his work was refreshingly a return to sexual mythology and more realistic than sexual ideas emerging from traditional feminism (Mead, 1995; Paglia, 1997). Gender issues During the late 1990s, there was an escalation of an evolving debate over feminism. Some felt that "the battle for women's rights is won" and that "everybody is a feminist now", as written in a 1997 article for The Economist (Anonymous, p. 87). This article (more objectively) presented similar information found in Time magazine in 1998 (Bellafante) on the changes in feminism, reflected by the reluctance of college women of the 1990s to call themselves feminists and the emergence of a new type of feminism with a different message than that of traditional feminists. According to The Economist article, although the new feminism has not fully gelled, there are organizing beliefs, such as those of "individual rights, personal responsibility, and equality before the law" ( p. 88). They view an imposed set of policies as evidence of a belief in the inherent weakness of women and an implication of the need for social reforms to assist them. They take issue with traditional feminist stance of women as victims of patriarchy, and they are opposed to the idea of women as morally superior to men, as it rings strongly of stereotyping. Therefore, they relish in sexuality as their main power-play, and they view traditional feminists as out-dated and prudish. This view has empowered many of the popular contemporary sex goddesses mentioned previously. As presented in the Time article (Bellafante, 1998), traditional feminists are outraged by this development and view it as "mindless" (p. 56), "flighty" (p. 57), "self-obsessed" (p. 57), and "psuedo-feminism" (p. 58). To those criticisms, Camille Paglia points out that popular culture developments "draw upon the wisdom of actual experience to present a picture of sexual relations far more persuasive than anything current academic theorists have yet produced" (1997, p. 4). Regarding typical gender issues, McConnell (2001) stated that in the 1990s women still earned less than men, stabilizing at seventy-one cents for every dollar a man earns (p. 351), and that the glass ceiling for women in top corporate positions was still impenetrable for most, as two and four-tenths percent of these positions were being held by women (p. 115). It was also mentioned that there was a trend for women to go into business for themselves, and that by 1999 thirty-three percent of all small businesses were owned and operated by women (p. 115). 93
Regarding family life, stepfamilies, interracial families, and single parent families continued to rise. (McConnell, 2001.) Greeting cards were being made to reflect less traditional families, and laws were being examined to deal with the authority and rights of stepparents, both illustrating the pervasiveness of these changes. McConnell also mentioned that sixty per cent of single mothers lived in poverty, and that the women's movement was being criticized for making child day-care a marginal issue in their reform efforts. Another gender issue of the 1990s mentioned by McConnell (2001) was the masculinity crisis, which she described of men as being "pressured to be masculine in a culture that no longer valued traditional codes of manhood" (p. 352). She pointed out evidence of the crisis in various sex scandals and high profile acts of unprovoked violence by men, as well as the masculine retreat to cigar clubs, strip joints, cosmetic surgery, and use of Viagra (a Drug Designed to enhance blood flow to the genitals). Other journalists reported on the acceptability of male-bashing in popular culture prompted by the traditional women's movement, creating awareness of the fallacies of these developments (Leo, 1998 for one), and prompting a men's movement (White, 2000). With the 1990s changes in politics, popular culture, sexuality, AIDS management, and feminism, homosexuality began to work toward acceptance in mainstream America. (McConnell, 2001; White, 2000.) Debates over the origins of homosexuality (genetics versus environment) continued, but, as McConnell states, gay and lesbian organizations were a welcomed presence in Democratic politics. Although President Clinton's support of gay rights was "unsteady and equivocal" (McConnell, p. 356), his political reign brought home the message that the gay and lesbian population was an important element of American life and politics. Conservatives wrestled with this cultural change, and it was not uncommon to encounter violence against homosexuals, and "by the end of the decade, forty-two states had passed hate-crime statutes" (p. 357). The issue of same sex marriage was widely debated during the 1990s, but as McConnell points out, most Americans during the decade did not support it, indicating widespread moral reservations. White (2000) reported on an interesting sex survey published under the name Sex in America in 1994 headed by Robert T. Michael, which "attempted to use state-of-the-art sociological techniques in an effort to update Kinsey but also to gauge what American behavior was like in a land of sex saturation" (White, p. 195). The results were stunning in its revelation of the deeply conservative sexual behaviors of the American people. The average number of sexual partners had not significantly changed, and marriage remained an important institution. The prevalence of homosexuality was surprisingly low at three per cent self-identified as gay and five per cent admitting attraction to a person of the same sex (p. 196). White also reported that Michael's study found seventy-six percent believing that extramarital sex is wrong, and almost sixty-five per cent believing that sexual activity between members of the same sex to be wrong (p. 196). Evidence of a shift toward more sexual freedom was found in a widespread acceptance of sex before marriage, cohabitation, and divorce. In the study, evidence was found that men were more sexually active than women, and that a significant number (twenty-two per cent) of women thought that they had been forced to have sex at some stage of their lives (p. 199). Based on this last set of statistics, White concluded that "women apparently had not benefited as much as men from the sexual revolution" (p. 199). 94
Evolutionary Studies Gaining increasing popularity in the 1990s related to the hotly debated question of sex/gender differences were studies in the area of evolutionary psychology." Through these studies, Darwinian perspectives are being applied to sex differences within a new discipline called evolutionary psychology that attempts to identify underlying psychological mechanisms that are a product of evolution. (Buss, 1994, p.3). The evolutionary perspective includes both social and biological constructs since the hominid world is so strongly affected by both. Ross (2000) explains that this kind of study is more accurately called sociobiology, and that the name evolutionary psychology advanced from negative reactions to the cultural implications of their various findings. Major studies and written works of this perspective have been completed by outstanding scientists in the various fields, often in collaboration with each other (Cosmides & Tooby, 1987; Buss, 1989, 1994; Geary, 1998; Townsend, 1998). A basic tenet of these studies is that our evolutionary past affects human behavior, in spite of the modern environment. Within this view, natural selection for reproductive success has resulted in sexual strategies that are different for males and females. For instance, females have over time risked enormous investment secondary to offspring as a consequence of having sex; therefore, females are interested in the resources that mates can provide and, to this end, are highly selective of mates, tending to withhold sex until they are ensured of commitment. Reproductive success has been aligned with marriage in terms of intercourse availability and survival of offspring, so males have evolved to being desirous of marriage. According to evolutionary theory, males desire young, attractive females, related to the female ability to produce offspring. Subsequently, these basic motivations result in other differences, such as females having evolved to being interested in beauty and appearing young, since this will ensure long-term availability of resources. Another example of subsequent characteristics is that males have evolved into being motivated for acquiring and displaying status and resources, since females want those. It is theorized that the use of evasiveness, a business tactic employed by men over the ages, has resulted in males being less emotionally demonstrative. Evolutionary theories attempt to explain why differences in the sexes exists, and present many more elaborate concepts of sexual phenomena than can be covered in this review including roles, mating patterns, casual and long-term relationships, conflicts, and emotional responses. A major criticism is the theories' ineptness to date of explaining same sex attraction, since it has been viewed as not supporting reproduction. Theorists have generally presented same sex attraction as an accidental happenstance, maladaptive, and insignificant. There are other valid criticisms of this perspective, particularly that the theories require imagination and are often "fanciful", since they require understanding of large time spans, even dating back to times when history was not in written form. (Buss, 1994.) The implications of the theories can be misused politically, as in supporting racial discrimination and sexual superiority. Many misinterpret the theory as explaining what should be, or is natural to be, and these studies allow little room for social adaptation to new situations brought about by social change. (Blustain, 2000.) Developments in Biology 95
Alongside the technological advances of the 1990s were those in biology, and many were related to sex/gender issues. Most controversial were those involving human and animal genetics, sparked by the Human Genome Project, which decoded the entire human genetic makeup. Animal cloning manifested in 1997 and the natural progression to the possibility of human cloning "threatened to open the way for `designer babies', who could be genetically altered to suit their parents' wishes" (McConnell, 2001, p. 513). As McConnell explains, many Americans were repulsed by the idea and felt that researchers were crossing boundaries set by nature. There has been more support for genetic research that could fight genetic diseases, and there has been very recent controversy over such research involving stem cells. These are cells that are produced by in vitro fertilization, where human sperm are fused with eggs in the lab. The spare stem cells that are not needed for implantation in the uterus are being found to hold the potential to produce tissue that might promote regeneration in diseased human organs. The ethical arguments, primarily related to right-to-life advocates, are holding up research in this area. (See Begley, 2001.) Sex therapy educators Leiblum and Rosen (2000) refer to a "watershed event" (p. 3) that occurred in 1998 when the drug Viagra (sildenafil citrate) was approved as an oral treatment for erectile dysfunction, and "a tidal wave of demand for prescriptions" (p. 3) resulted in a "revolution" (p.3). The phenomenal sale of the drug quickly pushed its distributor, Pfizer, Inc., into first place for pharmaceutical sales. Previous treatments had involved injections or suppositories directly into the penis, and had been difficult for many men to deal with. As Leiblum and Rosen described, men of all ages and relationship status began to obtain prescriptions from general practitioners and specialists, as well as through Internet alternative sources. Although it was viewed by many as an aphrodisiac, it actually works to provide an erection simply by increasing blood flow to the penis. It does not serve as a sexual desire stimulant and does not work without sexual stimulation. Therefore, there were some Viagra failures, and subsequent lawsuits which, along with deflating Pfizer, made apparent the need for education, training, and monitoring of its use, thus enhancing the profession of sex therapy. Forms of it are being used to treat female arousal and desire disorders, as well. Biological studies of differences in the brains and hormones of the sexes gained popularity and helped to support those advocates of sex differences of both the scientific and the popular genres. Books and articles on biological research related to differences proliferated during the late 1990s, and helped to popularize the ideas, such as Barash and Lipton (1997), Dabbs (2000), Blum (1997, 1999), Lacayo (2000), LeVay (1993) and Moir (1992). Although simplified, pop psychologist John Gray implied evolutionary theory in explaining sex/gender differences, and he emphasized biological differences in his approach, primarily that of the actual structures of the brain and the processes of the sex hormones. The material is actually very complicated to explain and to understand; however, it is intriguing to a wide public audience, evidenced by the number of books and articles being written on the subject, and its infusion into the realms of the general public. One theme that recurs in these biological accounts are the findings that males tend to have more lateralization between the two brain hemispheres than females, resulting in a tendency to use more linear, organized, and focused thinking. Some researchers have claimed that female brains have a larger corpus callosum and anterior commissure, which 96
connect the two hemispheres, allowing for more rapid access of various centers of both hemispheres (Durden-Smith & Desimone, 1983; Moir & Jessel, 1991). This has been used to explain the tendency for female thinking to be more web-like or expansive in comparison to males (Fisher, 1998, p. 11). This brain difference has been described as enabling women to have a more abstract and expressive style of talking, moving quickly from one subject to another, and having the ability to think about and carry out several activities at one time. Blum disputes these findings (1996, pp. 47-48), stating that the actual findings have been too insignificant to constitute such behavioral differences. The male tendency for more brain lateralization supports Gray's (1992) famous concept of the masculine cave, which he described as an intense focus on some activity, usually recreational, used to dissociate from problems and to relieve stress. Similarly, the idea of the larger connection between the two hemispheres in females supports his concept of females being naturally more talkative and actually having a need to talk to relieve stress, since, biologically, they are not as proficient as males in using the caveescape method. Perhaps brain lateralization differences also help to explain the slower sexual response in females when compared to men. Within this theory, females have a more difficult time clearing their mind of general problems and demands so that they can relax into and focus on the sexual experience. Men are taught, in Gray's approach, to be supportive to women as they talk to relieve stress. Likewise, women are taught to accept the cave phenomenon in men, and to be tolerant of it as something that is biologically determined and natural. An individual having both a feminine side and a masculine side, as John Gray (1992) and androgyny advocates (see Chapter Four) implied, cannot be easily explained biologically; however, the study of sex hormones provide ideas. Studies are showing that sex hormones fluctuate in both males and females, depending on certain biological cycles and environmental situations. (Blum, 1996, pp. 158-219; Dabbs, 2000). Testosterone, the primary hormone for masculinity, has been a fascination of scientists for years, and it remains so (Blum, 1996, pp. 158-9). It is associated with virility, sexual desire, aggression, and confidence in men, and, although men have much more testosterone than women, elevated levels of testosterone in women are thought to result in similar characteristics. Testosterone is also regarded as being responsible for the brain lateralization and specializations associated with masculinity mentioned above. It is routinely being prescribed as a treatment for low sex desire and low energy in both men and women, and it is becoming a common topic of sex-related discussion. (Lacayo, 2000.) Estradiol, the most common estrogen hormone, can be thought of as the counterpart to testosterone, since it is a sex hormone also shared between males and females, but in much greater quantity in females. Blum (1996) explains that it is associated with a multitude of bodily functions, including bone and heart health, protection from depression and Alzheimer's Disease, and boosting the immune system. Historically, it has not had the popularity of testosterone, and at this point is poorly understood, particularly in its role in sexual desire. New studies with primates are showing increased affection and sexual activity when estradiol levels are high. Other hormones are also targeted as responsible for connection and bonding in relationships, namely oxytocin (higher in females) and vasopressin (higher in males). (Blum, 1996.) The hormone differences are thought to be partly responsible for differences in the sexes response to 97
stress (males use fight or flight; females use tend and befriend). (Taylor, 2000.) These hormones are popular references for self-help authors in explaining sex differences; however, in reality, their functions and processes are still poorly understood by scientists. Similar to biological research on sex differences are new studies regarding the biological origins of homosexuality. Of particular note are the findings of neuroanatomist Simon Levay and his research team in 1991 who claimed to have identified an area of the hypothalamus of the brain in homosexual males that was different from heterosexual males. As the hypothalamus plays an important role in sex drive, Levay felt that it was a likely indication of a biological origin for homosexuality. According to journalist Chandler Burr, who wrote interpretive articles and a book on biological research for sexual orientation, the findings in 1991 quickly became public knowledge and controversial in their ramifications. Levay's study was carried out on the brains of deceased gay males with AIDS, and received much criticism and debate, particularly since the study could not be replicated. Another scientific event related to this was the discovery of a possible gay gene in 1993 by a genetics research team headed by Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute of Bethesda, Maryland. They noticed a prevalence of gay relatives on the maternal side of the families of the gay men they studied, and located a region on the X chromosome, Xq28, that indicated a male's chance of becoming a homosexual. A second study in 1995 led them to the same conclusion. (Burr, 1996.) This discovery has also been criticized by other scientists attempting to replicate it, and remains debatable. As stated by Burr (1993) Homosexuality's invitation to biology has been standing for years. Homosexuals have long maintained that sexual orientation, far from being a personal choice or lifestyle (as it is often called), is something neither chosen nor changeable....The very term "sexual orientation," which in the 1980s replaced "sexual preference," asserts the deeply rooted nature of sexual desire and love. It implies biology (p. 49). Within the realm of biology and sex/gender, intersexuals (individuals whose sex cannot be so easily distinguishable as male or female due to abnormal genitalia, internal organs, or genetic make-up) and individuals with gender identity disorder (those who feel within themselves the opposite gender of their biological sex) are finding new voices in contemporary debates. (Perper and Cornog, 1999.) One primary message from these individuals is the fact that there are more than two dichotomous sexes in human biology, and that it is time to make adaptations to outdated practices, such as severe social stigmatization of these individuals, and dangerous, painful, and often unnecessary surgical procedures inflicted upon intersexuals. (Burke, 1996.) It is now being argued that intersexuals should be allowed to make their own decisions regarding biological alterations, which is technologically and scientifically advancing, at a later time than having parents decide at the time of birth. Related to this is the recent debunking of the notion that gender is simply a social construct, as taught by sex expert John Money. In 1997, sex researcher Milton Diamond exposed a high-profiled case cover-up by Money, which he had used to promote his theory of the use of social molding and manipulation of gender as a way to manage intersexuals and similar so-called abnormalities. (See Colapinto, 2000.) Similar to the criticisms of evolutionary studies, research on biological sex differences has been strongly criticized by the scientific and academic communities. 98
Many of the studies are contradictory and inconclusive, and to fully understand the biological material is challenging. The simplifications by the media and other public writers can easily distort the findings and implications of the studies. Nonetheless, it is an area of exciting new developments and intriguing theories. A Confused Mars-Venus Counselor I, along with many others, was baffled by the popularity of the Mars and Venus concepts. Unlike other feminists, I was not in any way outraged, but was excited by the developments as they aligned with my way of viewing feminine power. It was disturbing and confusing to read the scathing denouncements of John Gray's work by feminists, academics, and journalists, when I had seen so many people benefit from the approach, including myself. It also did not seem logical to me to totally admonish a movement that reached phenomenal proportions. The aggressive, narrowly viewed criticisms of many, who did not appear to have studied his work in any depth, seemed to me reflective of the scientific, masculine energy that is overly abundant in our present human experience. Conversely, the study of the new sex-positive feminism was exciting and gave me a sense of hope that things are progressing in a more highly-evolved direction. My theory of John Gray's success, after gaining insight through my study, has to do with the way he bridged archetypal, symbolic material with sociobiological developments. New Age spirituality, as discussed in Chapter Five, is gaining popularity, and there is evidence of a religious-combining movement in our culture (Albanese, 2000.) His New Age associations placed his relationship concepts in a context of fun, entertainment, and romance, in contrast to previous relationship theorists who were hard to understand and who made the change process seem like drudgery. The feeling-good component for me, and for apparently many others, was an almost paradoxical process of validating the sexual/gendered characteristics, thus changing the context of them being bad or something that needed to be changed. I was given permission to be dramatic, in love with my cat, giving priority to my husband above that of my career, etc. In doing so, I was empowered to be even more authentically who I am, even if all my characteristics did not fit in with his descriptions. In fact, he made it clear that he believed that individuals had both a feminine and a masculine side, and that the possibilities of selfexpression were endless. It was totally freeing. This seems to be the power of his message, and one that I totally align with and want to provide to my counseling clients. It also allows me the freedom to develop his ideas further, which will be needed as his paradoxical intervention on the masses begin to work, and we evolve into more balanced individuals. At such time we will need an updated version of Mars and Venus. Perhaps, once this study is completed, I will work on such a project. 99
CHAPTER SEVEN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY DEFINITIONS A Twenty-first Century Sex Therapist The year 2000 held another gateway of experiences as my husband and I attended the weekend classes of the sex therapy certification training, led by Dr. William Granzig of the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists. We had to travel to a southern Florida city one weekend a month for seven months. The education that we received was unique and interesting, delving into areas of sexuality that I had never considered, and reading books on sexual psychology and behaviors. Since the training was held near the beach, we turned these weekends into mini-vacations. The two-day trainings invariably brought exciting new concepts and ideas into our discussions, which we held at beach restaurants and hotel rooms. It was an unforgettable expansion of our partnership, as we began to transfer the education into our counseling practice, as well. The exposure that I was having to various sexual themes and situations, some common and some alternative, aligned perfectly with my expansive nature and on-going desire to evolve personally. The training included presentations by various sex therapy experts, as well as individuals willing to share their sexual lives and challenges outside the realm of heterosexual mainstream experience. The program was designed to educate and desensitize therapists, and to help prepare us for unusual sexual situations that might be encountered in this area of counseling. There were video presentations, displays of books and materials, and an interesting group of about twenty therapists gathered to share the same personal expansion. My mind exploded with new possibilities for my counseling practice, and my own sexual horizons were indeed expanded. The last part of the year was spent focused on supervision of actual sex therapy clients, as Dr. Granzig assisted us in applying the education that we had received. I discovered that I felt comfortable delving into these realms with clients, and felt that I had a natural ability to make clients feel at ease and to facilitate exploration of difficult sexual situations. It was satisfying to round out my work with couples by having the opportunity to add in this important element. Being hyper-focused on the dynamics of femininity and masculinity, my experience as a Mars-Venus counselor for the past three years had particularly intrigued me in the area of Gray's (1994) emotional role reversal of heterosexual couples. Although it can take various forms, this role reversal generally depicts a couple where the male is very expressive and has feminine traits and interests, and the female is more literal and efficient in communications and has masculine approaches to situations. Included in the symptomatology of this problem is that sexual desire is usually greatly diminished. Couples in this situation are instructed to work on enhancing their suppressed, more natural side as an antidote of the problem. This was a part of the structured workshop created by Gray that we held regularly. After the workshop, certain individuals and couples would be interested in pursuing further counseling to explore this aspect more directly, prompted by their new association with this dynamic and their sexual problems. These individuals and couples would be particularly aware of how they did not fit the stereotypical mold that Gray tended to focus on, and it gave me an opportunity to be directly involved with more androgynous themes. Although I have found the concept 101
useful in understanding problems in certain couples, it is difficult to assess and explain. And not all individuals can easily determine which is the more natural side. It was for these reasons that I decided to explore the concepts of femininity, masculinity, and androgyny in my dissertation research project, which Dr. Granzig supported. My initial plan was to evaluate and work with individual couples that were in a role reversal situation, with an emphasis on the androgynous potential. When I outlined my idea to Dr. Granzig, he reminded me that I needed a historical background element added to the plan, which I reluctantly included. I began reading and carrying out preliminary research, but was feeling overwhelmed and dissatisfied with the project. An international sex therapy conference, called the "15th World Congress of Sexology," was scheduled for June of 2001 in Paris, France, and my husband and I decided to attend. I committed to submitting and presenting a paper that would serve as a pilot for my dissertation on androgyny. It was exciting to be a (very small) part of a major sex therapy conference. My husband made the travel arrangements, turning it into an overseas vacation, while I worked intensely on the paper. Although the paper and presentation went well, and the conference was mind-bending, through the process I realized that my dissertation plan had definite flaws. After returning from the overseas trip in July, I decided to work on the mandatory history chapter to allow time to sort out my plan. However, the historical research quickly became totally intriguing, and I began to realize that this research was significant and may hold a key to understanding my concepts. I automatically began to associate my baby boomer beginnings with the 1950s phenomenon of rigid family and sex traditions, and went further to realize that I had evolved sexually on the same schedule of the United States culture during the last so-called sexual revolution. I creatively outlined a parallel historical story of my evolution, as well as that of the culture. After some deliberation, Dr. Granzig agreed to my new outline of first-person narrative accompanying the historical research on the evolution of the concepts of femininity and masculinity. I read only one leisure book during the year, which held a surprise. Being a fan of Shirley MacLaine, I decided to bring her book The Camino (2000) with me on the overseas trip, which was her account of hiking a famous trail in Spain, referred to as The Camino, that supposedly follows earth energy lines and has the potential to provide a hiker with spiritual enlightenment. This seemed a nice choice of a fun, metaphysical book related to wilderness survival that might provide an escape from the intensity of my research project. As her visions unfolded in this book, she began to reveal information from her spiritual guides on pre-historic times when all beings were androgynous! In fact, the entire story had to do with the interplay of masculine and feminine energies from a metaphysical perspective. Although I approached the book with skepticism and simple entertainment, as I do most metaphysical material, the themes seemed synchronistic to my present focus and evolution in its timing and material. The past year has been an incredible journey of research, study, writing, and selfrealization. I have had to use my masculine side to stay focused intensely on the work, attempting to keep my half-time position as psychiatric occupational therapist, my counseling practice, and my marriage intact. Although my feminine side has been utilized in the creative aspect, and the ability to obtain needed overviews of these vast concepts, I have had to pull on my masculine side with more tenacity than ever before. In other words, this project has been a totally challenging experience. Although my 102
experience in the woods as a survivalist made me aware of the shifting inner energies, this dissertation passage was my most profound lesson on the dynamics of feminine and masculine energies to date. Having the knowledge and awareness of the energies helped me to regain balance when I felt my sexual energy being compromised, which I carried out through various methods--primarily that of meditation, feminine movies, caretaking my mother (who remains in a nursing home), and spending leisure time with my husband. Realizing that I actually had masculine energies to pull on, even if much less than my husband, was an empowering experience in itself. I enjoyed the exercise immensely, although it was wonderful to come back home to a feminine mode whenever I could allow it. Conclusions As I have now reached the end of my personal story, I will conclude with a presentation on what I have gained and learned in relation to sexual evolution from my historical research and personal exploration. My initial and primary purpose was to develop a more contemporary definition of the terms feminine and masculine. Related to this, my secondary purpose was to gain a clearer understanding of John Gray's work as a cultural phenomenon and what this might mean in terms of sexual/gender evolution. Another secondary intention was to explore the ideas of gender role versus sexual energies, which had blurred in my perception. As I carried out the research, I became interested in the question of whether the United States had actually experienced a sexual revolution after the 1950s, as frequently referred to and debated in various genres. I was also given the chance to assess in depth my own association with the term feminist. Although I included personal insights at the end of each chapter, the following presentation will serve as a closing summation. It seems that the idea of gender roles is rapidly becoming outdated. Although the male and female experience in the United States culture remains undeniably different, definite social roles can no longer be automatically delineated. Women work, just as men. Men carry out domestic chores and childcare, just as women. Whereas there was a significant division of roles in the 1950s, there has been gender evolution. We can look over the past fifty years and see a steady progression, although it has been a perpetual teeter-totter of events. After the rigid traditional gender roles of the 1950s, used for security to stabilize the adults psychologically, and drilled into the minds of the many children that were produced, came the upheavals of rebellion in the 1960s. Started by the African-Americans, followed by students, then by women and homosexuals, these upheavals included a loosening of the moral values that had entrapped and held the population hostage in terms of gender roles and sexual attitudes. This brought about a sexual revolution in the 1970s, which was evidenced by unleashed sexual practices and challenges to monogamy. Women were getting in touch with their masculine power, and asserting themselves, so that a gender evolution continued. The AIDS epidemic and political return to strong conservatism of the 1980s brought about a time of re-evaluation and re-grouping of various movements, but the gender evolution continued. Families were now dependent on the incomes of both parents, and women and men were forced to share roles to survive. The 1990s brought a technological expansion that mushroomed, changing the United States and the rest of the world in almost every aspect. There was an 103
enhancement of freedom and equalizing energy with the technological movement that blurred the gender roles even more. As a result, I have decided to refrain from referring to them. The idea does not fit our culture any more. Although John Gray was widely criticized for sex stereotyping, I disagree. He was using a Jungian form of reference to males and females, which was more expansive than mere gender (social) roles. His perception of the dynamics between males and females included archetypal energies that constantly sought balance with the polarity of opposites. He tended to use references to social roles simply to provide examples that individuals could identify with, never implying that anyone needed to follow any specified social role. This is a grand misconception of his critics. He also utilized developments in biology to illustrate how the body was connected to the sex/gender differences and to confirm the fact that females would have a propensity to femininity and, likewise, males to masculinity. His theory included a form of stress management by returning to the natural sexual energies when feeling out of balance. Although Jungian analysts and therapists have been utilizing similar ideas for many years, their clients tend to be highly intellectual and a specialized small group. John Gray brought these expansive Jungian ideas to the level of popular culture. In doing so, he expanded the definition of femininity and masculinity. Further, through his connection with the culture in the form of easy-tograsp, entertaining presentations, he raised consciousness. It is part of the New Age movement that is becoming more and more accepted in mainstream spirituality. The energy behind this movement was phenomenal and worth paying attention to. No one gains by simply criticizing it. The twenty-first century view of femininity now includes emotion, nurturing, receiving, intuition, expansiveness, wide-angle focus, creativity, beauty, attractiveness, romance, expression, and connection. The contemporary view of masculinity is that of action, logic, narrow focus, intense focus, efficiency, contraction, stability, penetration, assertiveness, aggressiveness, organization, categorization, and caution. They are both equal in power, and equal in their contribution to life. They are seen as energies in individuals, rather than social roles, referred to as the feminine side or the masculine side, thus including an androgynous potential and acceptance. It is not unusual for someone to refer to a woman as having a strong masculine side, and at the same time considering her attractive and desirable. Similarly, it is not unusual to refer to a man as having a strong feminine side, while simultaneously considering him virile and desirable. It is rapidly becoming preferred to see a woman being in some regards masculine, and a man being in some regards feminine. There is also the potential to access either of the sides, depending on what a situation might calls for, which can be either conscious or unconscious. The ancient Yin Yang theory appears to apply, where the two opposites naturally attract, although there must be an element of similarity in the two individuals to cause an alignment. This applies to heterosexuality, as well as homosexuality. This indicates a revolution in the terms of sex/gender psychology. As a relationship counselor, I am desiring a method of assessing the femininemasculine ratio of the individuals to define and sort out these concepts, and especially now, when roles and traits are starting to blend. Having a report such as this would allow an individual the benefit of self-discovery and awareness, as well as identify problem areas that might be leading to decreased sexual desire. It would be interesting to use a measure such as this to evaluate if opposites do attract, and to what extent. From 104
informal discussion of this idea with friends and clients, interesting insights and related topics have emerged. Although there have been several tools developed for the measurement of psychological androgyny (Cook, 1985, pp. 37-69.), it remains a relatively new idea, with continued problems in interpretation. Developed from a social sex role context, they do not reflect new developments in the perception of roles, nor of biological, or energetic possibilities. With some education, individuals are often able to subjectively state their own self-perception of their feminine/masculine ratio, and this can possibly be used to structure couples therapy in these areas until a proper tool has been developed. I continue to use Gray's protocol for acceptance and tolerance of the uniqueness in the other partner, and for emphasis on anger management. However, there are problems applying his initial theory of a simple return to the natural energies in our new day of more androgynous roles. Needless to say, the approach cannot be used with same sex couples without tremendous adaptation. I am presently inspired to research and study Gray's ideas more, particular with regard to sexual desire disorders, possibly advancing his work. In terms of a cultural sexual revolution, based on changes in the past fifty years, there seems to be a definite shift (relaxation) in cultural sexual attitudes, rather than in actual sexual behaviors. People were carrying out sexual behaviors all along, just keeping it more secretive. There is sexual permissiveness with young people, and open sexual themes in all forms of media, but the continued presence of the AIDS virus still creates behavior barricades, even in impulsive youth. Heterosexual and homosexual monogamy/fidelity is still preferred by most. Although less traditional situations, such as homosexual families, transgender surgery, and intersexual individuals, are more accepted and familiar, there is still a dire need for attitude adjustment in these areas. My sexual fantasy for the culture is that there will be a continued freeing of sexual expression along with a spiritual component. In this environment, the sexual experience can be used to further personal growth and self-awareness, rather than set up neurotic associations and complexes, which previous traditional religious perceptions of sexual practices being dirty or sinful seemed to promote. This is another direction that I plan to move toward in my work as a sex therapist. Since the energy for the masculine is action-oriented and aggressive, there is a natural propensity for it to be dominant. However, the intuitive, creative nature of the feminine is always needed to provide awareness and insight of right action. (My reference to feminine and masculine transcends male/female delineations.) The feminists, both female and male, were carrying out this role with their movement to raise consciousness regarding how women were being discriminated against. They used masculine tactics, and they were successful. Had I been a little older, and a little more opportunity-limited, I may have been a second-wave feminist. I did not want to be staunchly connected to a term that paradoxically denigrated feminine energy. Further, feminists that criticize and deconstruct individuals and theories that seem progressive I have no affinity for. However, I do align more with the new feminist movement, which agrees with my more expansive view in terms of validation of sex differences, enjoyment of femininemasculine dynamics, and more relaxed sexual expression. If feminism is going in this direction, then I will have no reservation calling myself a feminist and being a part of the movement. I totally believe in a continued need to bring consciousness to the power of femininity, thus balancing out the two energies, in individuals as well as the world in 105
general. It remains my mission. And, now that I am a twenty-first century sex therapist, I have an even more powerful strategy than wilderness survival. 106
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