The rock and roll: American youth challenging sexual stereotypes During the sass, some Americans-?especially young college students-? challenged traditional notions of proper behavior. Encouraged by the decade’s prosperity, young people threw parties, drank illegal liquor, and danced new, sexually suggestive steps at jazz clubs. The sass saw a restless culture, spearheaded by America’s youth rebelling against the moral restrictions of past generations.
After decades where a children directly married and entered adulthood the sass saw an emergence of a new group of people who were willing to push social norms, rebel against strict conservative values of their parents and shape culturally a relatively new society. The emergence of a youth culture was possible because of the rapid growth of sex, drugs and rock and roll; a time where conservative ideologies were imposed on liberal minds and a new rebellious youth society was born.
The Sex: The flapper, one of the symbols of the sass, a new term used to describe a new group of young women who wore excessive makeup, drank, treated sex in a causal manner, smoke, drove automobiles and amongst everything discarded social and sexual norms. The typical flapper look was tomboyish and flamboyant: short bobbed air; knee-length, fringed skirts, draping necklaces; and rolled stockings (Merritt, 1275). The flapper’s behavior was considered outlandish at the time, as it redefined women’s roles in society.
These women began working outside of the home, thus challenging women’s traditional societal roles; they advocated for women’s rights and behaved in many circumstances like men. Although few women actually FLT this image, It was used widely In Journalism and advertising to represent the rebelliousness of the period. The flapper was portrayed In many Hollywood films and this new Independent women attempted to empower other women to do the same.
The Introduction of flappers Into dally life through media allowed for Americans to be introduced to more liberal ways of thinking which allowed for the beginnings of the sexual revolution. Although all women were drawn to the rebellious ways of the flapper, many young urbanize women clung on to this new style of dress and behavior and further questioned American social norms about sex and the role of women outside of the home. In addition with new social thinking and activities came new social conventions. Most prominently among the youth of the sass, sex became far less taboo than it had been previously.
The sexual revolution was a social outlook that challenged traditional codes of behavior which related to sexuality and relationships between women and men. This revolution took place throughout the western world especially In the united States from the sass until the rand sass. Many of the changes brought about through the sexual revolution developed Into new mainstream codes of sexual behavior. More and more of Americas youth both in films and advertisements, this led to an increase in pre-marital sex and the introduction of casual dating into society.
This increase in sex amongst non-married out led naturally to the promotion of birth control, first with the condom, and secondly the birth control pill introduced in 1960 which allowed for women for the first time to choose if and when they wanted to become mothers (Twice, 153). These new methods of birth control brought with it changing ideas about women; female sexuality was less suppressed, skirt hems were worn higher, and makeup became more common. This change from a more conservative representation of women and men into a more risqué depiction demonstrates a change in a societal and cultural outlook of what is acceptable.
Jumping on this new more liberated bandwagon many companies depicted the new social norms in their advertisements Sex was more openly discussed and pre-marital sex more common; these new less traditional ideas about sex and sexual relationships was traveling fast across America to much dismay of the older more conservative generation. The TV, a device of ass communication along with other media outlets such as radios and magazines could broadcast information in a matter of seconds to millions of people; this large audience was broadcast ideas which transformed into social norms such as consumerism and sexual liberation.
Sex and pre-marital relations were demonstrated in films, advertisements and talked about on the radio. People across the country were being introduced to these new less conservative ideas and a growing youth population was adopting these new values. Appendix A (a coke add from the sass) demonstrates the change in the way that women were portrayed in advertisements. The female character on the left from 1886 where she is fully clothed and proper, whereas the female character on the right from 1936, only 50 years later is dressed in only a bathing suit and is revealing much more skin.
These advertisements demonstrated the change in society, through only 50 years what Americans deemed acceptable changed drastically and this is largely due to the sexual revolution started in part by America’s youth. The Drugs: Prohibition in the United States was a national ban, which made it illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport alcoholic beverages, went into effect from 1920 to 1933. Enforcement of prohibition, however, was sporadic, under funded and faced opposition in many northern states and cities. Bootleggers smuggled liquor from the West Indies and Canada, while “saloons” in every city provided alcohol illegally.
Organized crime controlled the distribution of alcohol in major American cities, and gangsters such as AH Capons made a fortune while law enforcement officials often looked the other way. Capon’s income in 1927 was reportedly over $1 million, while the average American’s income was below $2,500 (Harding, 1275-1276). Once again the more liberal minds of American youth along with many northerners who were apposed to this amendment refused to abide by these laws. Many southerners believed that the only behavior associated with alcohol was mischief, fighting, gambling, and pre-marital sexual relations.
The sass saw a growth of popular recreation, in part because of higher wages and increased leisure time. Mass rose in prominence as a source of news and entertainment, movies were an immensely popular leisure activity that children youths and adults alike all participated in and they all promoted the consumption of alcohol and tobacco (Gallant, 321). The ban on alcohol in America was lifted in part to attempt to restore economic prosperity during the great depression and in part to satisfy the desires of many liberal thinkers, northerners and youth who possessed a disregard for these institutional amendments.
By the mid sass, when the consumption of alcohol was less taboo in the American society even Coca-Cola ads incorporated the use of their product with the sale and consumption of alcohol. Appendix B (coke add from the sass) demonstrates the willingness of Coca-Cola advertisers to associate their product with imported wines, and in later years Coca-Cola adds were associated with hard liquor stating that their product was “mixable”. The Rock & Roll: The sass’s marked amazing changes to the already booming music industry, the introduction of the phonograph.
This instrument allowed the distribution of music to flow much more freely, surpassing sales of both piano rolls and sheet music put together. The decade also marked the dawning of independent record labels which would in the latter part of the century spawn its own genre of music known as “Indy’. The two most popular form of music at the time was a typical ballroom style the bland boring song of yesteryear, but then a sound was heard by the masses of which they never heard, it came booming from the bayou of a New Orleans and it was called Jazz.
Upon its first introduction to the masses Jazz was a commercial success until the public found out that it was typically written and performed by African American artists. Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Duke Longtime all well known African American Jazz artists preformed their upbeat melodies over the radio and in small bars giving a voice to African American culture and struggles (Barber, 17). In and era of which racism was still rampant it was very difficult for the adult public to accept the music not for what it was but for who performed it.
Alas it came down to America’s youth who finding Jazz was similar in theory to their parents ballroom but tit a more upbeat beat which encouraged dancing , the teens rebelled against their parents clear cut bigot beliefs and began listening to it giving Jazz its true introduction into American homes in the late twenties. This was not the last time that teenage rebellion would give birth to new music trends . The sass’s could easily be considered a time where rock and roll was truly born.
The sass’s bred an era of conformity men wore 3 piece suits day and night, women were stay at home mothers who’s place was in the kitchen and children were to abide my their parents wishes to the letter. A booming economy and a booming population the United States all was well though they were completely unaware that there was a pending invasion from Britain which would change their country in ways they could never imagine. The “British Invasion” began in late 1962 introducing a true rock band to American youths, The Beetles.
Banned from their own country’s airwaves by their government the Beetle’s music debuted in the United States in the summer of 1962 igniting teens with a almost immediately band from every home by its adult occupants it was at first official to listen to until several business would play rock music in their stores to attract younger peoples business . Establishments like ” Malt Shoppe” became places of congregation for teenagers looking to get a taste of their favorite drink and a bit of good old rock and roll.
Soon the fantod of Americas youth became hysterical lines of screaming fans would wait all day to get a glimpse of their favorite bands, young women swooning and fainting at the mere sight of their idols who were in their parents minds the least reputable characters to ever look up to, they didn’t cut their hair, the wore strange clothes and poke all to freely, traits which soon would be inherent in the majority of all American teens.
This Also Gave birth the idea of free thinking teens who for the first time picked up an instrument and began to play because it was deemed cool by the media, who rebelled not only against their parents particular views but the law, sit ins in parks, walk outs in schools and riots in the streets were Just the beginning of what appeared to be a very long decade, until finally it all came to a boiling point in the penultimate year of the sass’s.
Until finally in 1969 it all boiled over on a 600 acre airy farm in the town of Bethel, New York, Thousands of people flocked to see all of their favorite rock bands perform at what would come to be known as Woodstock, a festival that united for the first time in the history of the country people of every race, color, and gender all in one place for a single purpose, an event that would not be seen for nearly another 30 years (Opener et AH, 276-279).
Showing truly the power of individuality which the youth of America possessed to not survive but thrive in a sea of conformity of which their parents had built around them proving to the world that it could be changed. You would hardly be able to see a Coca-Cola add after the mid sass which was not directly advertised towards American youth. It was geared towards the new generation, full of liberal values and ideas of consumerism; they were for the first time in the history of America the “haves” as opposed to the “have onto”.