Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women

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Related books and articles Young women moved into munitions work and previously male occupations, and many had their horizons widened by travel, work, and cinema. There was concern about improper goings-on in the dark of the picture palace, in dance halls, or indeed anywhere where young people hung about together.

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Girls gathered together in groups were held to egg each other on to unruly behavior. Lawrence, which was published in When she shows a desire for a fuller, more intimate relationship with him, the inspector, wary of her possessiveness, cries off. They press him to make a choice, to commit himself to one or other of them. He gets uneasy, feeling himself cornered, and then the girls set on him like Bacchantes, ripping his clothes and drawing blood. When they let him go, crestfallen, Annie is left miserable, and the girls completely nonplussed.

High-spirited and irrepressible, they zestfully pursue pleasure and personal gain.

From Victorian fears to 'fluffy pink' girl power, young women are still fighting

Horror, scandal and moral panic! The popular fascination with the moral decline of young women has permeated society for over a hundred years. Be it flappers. Since the suffrage movement, young women's actions have been analyzed and decried exhaustively by mass media. Each new bad behavior—bobbing one's.

They are magnets for men wherever they go, and though good-natured, they exploit their suitors shamelessly. The men are shown as gullible, shallow creatures, somewhat infantile and often at the mercy of their wives and mothers. Lorelei, as narrator, is something of a philosopher. Through the voice of Lorelei, Loos makes hay with the strictures of a society structured by class and patriarchy, up-ending double standards of morality.

He advises her to cultivate some inhibitions. The fashionable young woman, characteristically casting off her stays and inhibitions, caught the imagination of the s. She played the part of a shop girl, Betty Lou, who set her sights on seducing and marrying the handsome owner of the department store in which she was a lowly employee.

After a number of misunderstandings, and a lot of scheming, she pulls this off. Lil is lustful and sexually self-possessed, juggling between her own sexual needs and determination to marry wealth as it suits her.

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They stood as examples of precisely the kind of license and moral laxity that the Motion Picture Production Hays Code, which took effect in America from , was designed to censor and clamp down on. They are like cardboard cutouts, characterized by, and differentiated from each other simply by age, wealth, and handsomeness, serving as ciphers for, or objects of, feminine desire. This is in contrast with the male icons of celebrity culture of the s and s. While it was risky for individual women to lose control or to surrender to passion, there could be safety in numbers.

The maenads, after all, went around in a gang.

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There were historical precedents for this kind of thing. Such behavior has long been deplored and labelled hysterical. Women were said to swoon or shriek at the very mention of his name. When he appeared in public, they snatched at his clothing, jewelry, or cufflinks for mementoes. Valentino was, and remains a superstar, whose cult status has endured: his sex appeal is anatomized and hotly debated on the internet even today. In The Sheik , a brown-skinned man, ostensibly an Arab, carries off a pale-skinned girl, likened in the text to a pretty boy or a white gazelle. But fears about miscegenation were on the rise in the late s, and soon the Hays Code set out explicitly to clamp down on suggestions of interracial romance.

Adultery should never be made to look attractive, in order to protect the sanctity of marriage and the home.

Girl trouble: panic and progress in the history of young women

All this had an impact. Stars such as Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer, Marlene Dietrich, and Barbara Stanwyck all played convincing roles as women of uninhibited sexuality, pursuing men, enjoying sex, and challenging sexual double standards head on. In the later s this changed, and sex had to take cover under metaphor. She is passionately in love with Ashley Wilkes, who is bent on marrying the much more conventionally feminine Melanie. Ashley—represented in the book as a gentle, gallant, and cultivated young man—will never leave Melanie, however much Scarlett tries to push him into doing so.

A man of honor, he is aghast at her lack of loyalty to a friend. In the meantime, Scarlett goes from man to man, marrying variously out of pique, out of self-interest, and for survival. His performance failed to appeal to women viewers. Nevertheless, when Scarlett and Rhett do eventually marry, the marriage degenerates into a mutually destructive power struggle, with neither character able to respond positively to tenderness in the other.

We have to get to page 1, in this very long book before Scarlett starts to realize that her obsession with Ashley has had a negative impact on her life. Sexualisation of young girls by mass media outlets is perceived as a real threat to the health and well-being of young people. Feminist commentators of the time, such as Alys Pearsall Smith first wife of philosopher Bertrand Russell , believed that young women were frittering away their lives on trivialities such as asinine activities like embroidery and flower-pressing when they could be doing something useful with their lives p.

The Education Act of ensured that girls from all walks of life received some degree of basic education. Naturally, the education of women was not without its opponents. We have education, employment, the right to political agency, personal and reproductive freedoms unparalled in the Western world though often under attack by conservative forces , but do we have the body to mirror our successful transition through the peaks and troughs of the twentieth century?

Is society once again trying to protect young women from themselves? It seems that young women perceive fewer routes open to them as having the potential for them to progress in life, which may explain the mainstreaming of activities such as lap-dancing, stripping, and glamour modelling as viable career options for young women.

Though, as Dyhouse warns, in regards to glamour modelling and the like, judgements of class and taste tend to intrude on seemingly objective discussions regarding this topic p. For readers today, it may seem unbelievable that some of the opinions observed in Girl Trouble regarding girls and their place in society actually gained any popular support. From the view of art critic and social historian John Ruskin that young girls were akin to delicate saplings that needed to be protected from harsh frosts p. Girl Trouble , therefore, offers a perfect kickback to the saccharine and oftentimes, vitriolic mythologizing of the motivations of girls throughout the twentieth century.

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Scenes of breathtaking, orgiastic sensuality follow, before the king returns and massacres everyone except Zobeide, who takes her own life. For additional information, see the Global Shipping Programme terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. This covers a lot of time from Victorian to 20th century but it is eminently readable for all the information packed into the pages. If you have any problems with your order please contact us first before leaving feedback and our excellent customer service help to resolve the issue. In a certain male mindset this helped to explain why some middle or upper-class men turned to prostitutes.

Carol Dyhouse offers the reader a compelling, off-beat, and often witty social history that unpacks the issues that faced girls in their respective time periods, and analyses how far modern British society has really come in its acceptance of women as autonomous, ambitious, successful, clever and progressive human beings.

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